Having given viewers inside looks at fashion, food, hair, real estate, house flipping and a real housewife or two, Bravo has turned its cameras on the publicity world with guru Kelly Cutrone, whose hardcore approach to the PR world is on display in "Kell On Earth," which premieres tonight. Whether she's instructing interns that they are not allowed to cry in the People's Revolution office or kicking crashers out of a Bryant Park Fashion Week show, Cutrone knows her stuff and takes her business (and her employees) seriously. With partners Emily Bungert and Robyn Berkley by her side, Cutrone recently fielded calls from journalists who wanted to know how it felt to have both their professional and personal worlds exposed on a cable reality show and what she was doing with a certain hooker who was involved in the bringing down of a US governor.
First things first, Cutrone is still surprised that so many people are interested in the fact that she doesn't dress for the cameras and that includes wearing makeup. "My whole thing is I'm busy," stated the no-holds-barred Cutrone. "I'm a single mom and it's like I'm working... I'm not an actress, I'm not somebody who's job it is to go somewhere and get hair and makeup done." She added that when she has appeared on MTV reality shows "The City" and "The Hills" there is no makeup person on the sets. "The truth of the matter is you know with the exception of my mother, most people who know me know that I actually don't look great in makeup, I don't love the idea of looking pretty. It's not my thing."
Cutrone even made digs at her own publicity shots that were done to promote "Kell on Earth." She explained, "I'm just not into it and if you've seen TV segments where I have done hair and makeup or even my Bravo shots, I look kind of weird. I mean the Bravo shot of me on the couch, I look like I had sex with Heather Locklear and drank five margaritas afterward."
One place she did draw the line was having anything filmed in the first moments of the day. "Throughout the filming they were like 'Can we please, please, please come into your bedroom and get you waking up?' I was like 'are you out of your fucking mind?' I was like 'absolutely not! America does not want to see me in a nightgown, OK?"
Back to the People's Revolution offices, the number one rule (and an example of how Cutrone does not want emotions to get in the way of the work at hand) is that nobody can cry in the office and, at times, it can lead to you getting the kicked to the unemployment line. "I mean, we have a lot of criers here you know," Cutrone said. "We have a lot of young girls and gay kids and they come in and they've been kind of set up to believe that they're God's gift and that they know everything." When the job gets intense, then, Cutrone gets more annoyed than anything when these employees break down and cry. "That usually causes them to either get fired immediately or want to cry. So on top of not being able to accomplish a task that you've engaged them to do, next thing you know you're trying to comfort them, which is not my job so if you have to cry, just go outside. It's bad enough you're screwing up the job and now we're going to have sit here and watch you cry?"
While the no-crying rule may be controversial, it's also a big part of Cutrone's just-released book. "If You Have To Cry Go Outside And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You." While giving examples from the PR business, Cutrone's goal is bigger than just being an expose. "It's kind of a combination of all this stuff that my mom never really set me up for. Like, how to have a baby by yourself and how to hire a doula and how to date three guys at the same time. You know it's all about stuff." Since Cutrone's personal and professional style is full of self-deprecating and straightforward behavior, she said the book had to have the same elements. "I think it's a good book for kids who really feel that they're special and they want to do something magical and people tell them that they can't because it's not going to happen for kids like them you know? This is a book for the village girl. And the gay boy."
Back to talking about the show, why did Cutrone and her team allow cameras in to add to the chaos in the first place? Cutrone explained, "It gives us the ability to distribute our message and our own brand and our clients' brands into the homes of America. That's appealing, especially when magazines are closing and we're redefining what it means to be press agents. And it gives us an incredible platform to communicate, which is what we do. We're storytellers."
Bungert added that this world is something that wasn't seen on either of the popular MTV reality series that the trio appeared in. "I think that one thing that's important about it is that it does give a glimpse into the real life and what really goes on in the type of fast paced job that we do have. And it's something that hasn't been seen on "The City" on MTV or "The Hills," where you know you actually get a real glimpse into the real day in the life of what a fashion publicist does."
The presence of strong women in the office is an appeal that Berkley stressed. She said that the Bravo series "really is about women in the workplace and being able to kind of communicate, work really hard and get things accomplished in a different way."
One woman who may not necessarily be seen as a workplace staple is Ashley Dupree, best known as former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's hooker during the infamous 2008. But, while Cutrone gives advice to Dupree on tonight's premiere on how to handle the press attention she has gotten since the scandal, the super publicist also uses the name 'hookers' to describe publicists, including herself. Berkley was asked how she felt about called a name that stands for the world's oldest profession. "I agree in some aspects. I think that Kelly's very outspoken in how she says things but you know we're here to provide for someone and in return for whatever it is that we can do for our client or a person, we get paid for it, so that's kind of how our business works."
Cutrone also addressed the criticism she had received for spending time with Dupree even when partners Bungert and Berkley were dead set against it. Making no apologies (but clarifying that she was only giving Dupree style advice), Cutrone said that it's a perfect example of how the three women work even when something controversial is on the table. "I actually did not listen to Emily and Robyn so they don't agree with me all the time and I think that's good. I mean that's why they're partners and not just straight employees. And you know it's interesting to have different points of view and I mean I actually went to them after that and I apologized because they were both really great, great publicists, and you know before they worked here, were incredibly well respected in the industry."
To see more of Cutrone and her team firsthand, the premiere episode of "Kell On Earth" airs on Bravo tonight at 10:00/9:00c.