Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

The Unstoppable Ellie Kemper

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

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I love Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix. And, now that I got to sit down with its star for the cover of the New York Post‘s ALEXA fashion special, I love Ellie Kemper, too.

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 11.39.49 AMHere’s my interview with the warm and hilarious actress in the latest issue as she talks about her career, her husband, her off-set style (which is about as casual as it gets), her experiences working with show creator Tina Fey, and some of the funny and inspiring moments she’s had at work along the way.

You can read the full story here: Ellie Kemper Is As Wide-Eyed About New York as Kimmy Schmidt, in the New York Post.

—Amy Spencer

The Property Brothers: Living the Dream

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

I recently flew out to Las Vegas for a different kind of story: To visit the dream home of HGTV superstar home experts Jonathan and Drew Scott, also known as The Property Brothers. I sat down to talk with them for the cover of PARADE magazine about their childhood, their careers, their downtime, and their new book Dream Home, out now (it debuted on April 4). And consider me impressed. These twin brothers have officially been working it since they were kids, and they intend to keep their empire growing.

You can read the full piece on Parade’s website—Property Brothers: Living the Dream—or take a look at the story here.

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—Amy

Carol Burnett: First Lady of Laughter

Monday, January 25th, 2016

What an honor my latest assignment was: to sit down for a chat with comedy legend Carol Burnett for Parade magazine.

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Carol was everything I’d hope she’d be—warm, real, sharp, funny and kind—and I got to hear her do her Tarzan yell in full throttle, so…yeah, it was a good day. We talked about her groundbreaking skit series The Carol Burnett Show, what she thinks of comedy today, and how nervous she is to give a speech (really!) when she accepts her SAG Life Achievement Award (airing January 30 on TNT and TBS at 8 pm EST).

You can read the full story here — Carol Burnett: First Lady of Comedy — on the Parade magazine site. I’ll be tuning in to watch her receive her well-earned due.

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—Amy

How I Got My Start in Magazines

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

I remember watching an episode of House of Cards in Season Two, when they spoke of a “Deep Web” which most of us don’t know how to access through standard search engines. Well, now I believe the web goes deep. Because yesterday I was searching for something I had written, and I didn’t find that. But I stumbled upon this:

It’s a Q&A I did for a site called rockerchick.com. Apparently I did the interview in June 2001, and I was so honored to be asked to participate because rocker chicks tend to rule. This page isn’t just a throwback in style, it’s also a snapshot of who I was fourteen (fourteen!) years ago.

The page design? Olive green with mustard yellow type.

The font? Courier.

My favorite television shows at the time of the interview? Real World/Road Rules Challenge and Making the Band.

Sigh. Real “web history” rules. One of the predictions was wrong—how a friend of mine predicted I’d be running my own magazine at some point. But the prediction I made for myself was spot on. As I said back then, “I want to be able to look at a stack of pages and know that the words are all by me and for me. Kind of like the sous chef who opens her own restaurant — I want to be able to say ‘If it was all left up to me, this is what I’m capable of.'” As it turned out, I was able to create a few “stacks of pages” with my books, and having full control over what ended up on those pages has been more satisfying than I ever imagined.

The homepage of this site says it’s for sale, so to make sure this story lives on forever (as it must!) here is my interview. If that link no longer works, here it is printed below in full:

ROCKERCHICK OF THE MONTH 

6.01

NAME: 

Amy Spencer

WHAT SHE DOES:
Senior Editor, Features, Glamour magazine

Amy Spencer Rocker Chick

Here’s the original site. Click to see larger…if you dare.

WHY SHE ROCKS:

To quote friend and former co-worker, Stuff magazine’s Managing Editor Sky Shineman [and February Rockerchick], “I’d bet money that in three years Amy Spencer will be running her own magazine.”

HOW IT ALL STARTED:
“After college, I sent a few cliched ‘I love to write and I love your magazine’ letters to editors-in-chief. After the rejection letters came back, I asked someone I knew how to get into the business. She said ‘Either you work for free or you know somebody.’

“I couldn’t afford the former and I had no one to pull out of my hat for the latter, so I took a different approach. I called New Woman magazine [I was a diehard fan of it at the time] and asked them which recruiting company they used. Then I called the recruiting company and said I wanted a job at the magazine. She told me she didn’t fill editorial positions, only marketing and advertising ones. ‘You’d probably be much happier in one of those departments anyway,’ she said, ‘because editors just sit around at computers and type all day. It’s pretty boring.’

“I knew that getting my foot in the door was more important than arguing with her, so I told her I’d take the first opening. Three days later she got me a job as an advertising assistant.

“I assisted two salespeople, reserving them restaurant tables, tallying up their taxi receipts and shaking my head at the travesty that Schick razors chose to advertise with Self instead. My boss left after five months and hooked me up with the publisher of a new launch called Maxim magazine, a men’s import from England. They needed their own advertising assistant. I remember worrying that it was bold jump for me to go from a huge women’s magazine title to a no-name men’s magazine. [Four years later,Maxim would sell more copies than GQEsquire and Details combined each month; New Woman would fold.]

“During my interview, I told the publisher that I didn’t actually LIKE advertising, that I wanted to be an editor. He was so desperate for help, he said they could work something out. I basically arranged a 75% advertising, 25% writing gig at Maxim. I wrote my first story — on men’s colognes — my first week and by the end of the month was covering the entire men’s grooming market. At breakfast, the president of Calvin Klein cosmetics would be schmoozing me; by lunch I’d be disguising my voice as I took a message from her for my boss.

“At the end of the year I jumped over to the editorial side full time, as assistant to the editor in chief. She quit one week later. The new editor brought in his own assistant, so I was promoted by default.

“I spent the next three years writing and editing everything from how to spin a basketball on your finger to how to diffuse a fight with your girlfriend. Then my friend, an editor at Glamour, called and asked if I would write a feature for her.

“After handing it in, I got a call from the deputy editor saying she liked the story and wanted to meet with me. Apparently my Maxim sense of humor appealed to the editor-in-chief and they offered me a job as a senior editor at Glamour. I’ve spent the last year editing a few dozen ‘How to Make Him Love You in Five Minutes or Less’ features.”

WHY SHE CAN’T STOP:
“Because a few times a week, I write something that makes me laugh out loud as I type it. And I think to myself, “How cool is this that I get to write something that will make my friends laugh, and to know that 2.5 million other women are also going to read it? More than twice I’ve had the straight-out-of-a-movie moment after meeting a stranger when they say, ‘Oh, I just read this thing in Glamour about such and such,’ and I get to say back, ‘Wow, I wrote that!'”

WHEN THE JOB SUCKS:
“First, I’m writing for someone else. And second, when all my energy goes into something that gets tossed around a hair salon for a month, and then into the garbage with the split ends.”

WHEN THE JOB ROCKS:
“Well, I like to write. But more than writing, I like to finish writing. I like to read my final product and think, ‘Damn, girl, that’s good!?’

“And if I didn’t have to write five days a week, I wouldn’t. I’d be watching head-to-head episodes of the Golden Girls.

“So, being forced to produce creatively on a daily basis is the thing I love the most, it’s not only good for my soul, but it also wrings the best out of me. The more often I write, the better my chances of producing something halfway decent. It’s basic math.

“Also, while writing is a squeeze-the-clever-juice-from-your-brain gig, editing adds the project-planning and problem-solving element to the job, which I also get off on. One minute I’m assigning a story about ‘Surprisingly Important Sex Moments’ to a male writer, the next minute I’m calling publicists to arrange an interview with Jaime Pressly and Simon Rex, and the next I’m taking a writer out for sushi to plan her piece on road-testing pick-up tricks.”

WHY GLAMOUR?
“It’s what I do best. Some people like writing investigative pieces, tracking down bouncers who witnessed a fight at the Limelight; I enjoy the creativity at the keyboard, turning those nauseatingly familiar stories on finding true love into something worth reading. I like that I can make references to Magnum PI’s moustache, Capezio shoes, and Ramen noodles because my audience is exactly like me. After dredging up Maxim jokes for men for four years, it’s a welcome break to take the first thing that comes to my mind and slap it into an article.”

WHAT IMEANS TBA SENIOR EDITOR AGLAMOUR:
“It means that everything that happens to my friends and I in our dating lives is fodder for a story. Every two or three weeks, we have an ideas meeting. All the editors come prepared with ideas, of course, but more often, rather than going over them, my editor turns to each of us and asks, ‘What happened on your last date?’

“During one meeting, I told her about a friend of mine who was mad for a jerk who didn’t invite her to his birthday bash, but invited her over the next day to help him clean up — and my friend almost went. After the ‘Oh, noooo!!?’s subsided, we spun it into a two-page story called ‘Temporary Love Insanity’ about other embarrassing things usually sane women have done in the name of lust.

“Where else do you get paid for having a decent social life and a keen ear for interesting stories?”

FUTURE PLANS:
“I’m getting a kick out of editing right now, and magazine life suits me well, so I’ll probably stay in the business for a few more years. My other plan is to find the energy to complete one of the two novels I’ve started, like every other twentysomething writer on the face of the earth.

“I want to be able to look at a stack of pages and know that the words are all by me and for me. Kind of like the sous chef who opens her own restaurant — I want to be able to say ‘If it was all left up to me, this is what I’m capable of.'”

STAT SHEET:

[BOY SINGER] I’m really into the voice of that guy from Coldplay. When he sings that line “Look at the stars?” in “Yellow,” I about lose my motor skills.

[GIRL SINGER] Shirley Bassey.

[BAND] Changes daily. Today it’s Massive Attack.

[AUTHOR] Anne Tyler absolutely KILLS me. She can create characters like nobody’s business, and after reading eight of her books, I’m still surprised that I pick up a new one and get so wrapped up in the story that I finish it in two days.

[LAST BOOK READ] I’m almost finished reading Prozac Nation. It’s a gas.

[CUISINE] I get cravings for Japanese hibachi food. Never mind that you really only get it in restaurants like Benihana, favored by 13-year-old birthday girls.

[LEISURE ACTIVITY] Rollercoasters. Pretty far from ‘leisurely’ but I once drove 13 straight hours just to ride the best one in the country.

[WORK ACTIVITY] Taking a break from work and going down to the Conde Nast cafeteria for rice crispie treats.

[ARTIST] Sante D’Orazio, the photographer. I flip through one of his celebrity photo books about once a month. Seriously shiny happy people.

[HEROINE] Michelle Yeoh. That woman kicks ass, among other things.

[GETTING READY MUSIC] A CD called Lazy Dog, based on club night in London by the same name. Second CD, mixed by DJ Jay Hannan, track 5, Cada Vez. Puts the boogie in your bootie.

[GUILTY PLEASURE] TV marathons. Real World/Road Rules challenge. Eco-challenge. Making the Band. You give me eleven episodes, I’ll give you my entire Saturday afternoon.

 

—Amy

Queen Latifah’s Dos & Don’ts

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

I got to interview Queen Latifah about five years ago for the cover of Glamour magazine, and now, every time someone asks me who my favorite interviews have been over the years, Latifah comes up in the top tier. I found her inspiring, wise and hilarious the first time, so when I got the chance to speak with her again recently, I jumped at it!

Here’s our chat for the October 2013 issue of Glamour magazine, Queen Latifah Shares Her Dos & Don’ts of Life, in which she shares her plans for her new talk show and gives her Do or Don’t take on some of the latest fall trends.

—Amy

True Blood’s Deborah Ann Woll Shares Her Moving Story

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Deborah Ann Woll, GLAMOUR

One of the most moving pieces I’ve worked on lately is this personal story of True Blood star Deborah Ann Woll and her boyfriend, comic E.J. Scott.

GLAMOUR July 2013

As the couple shares in the July 2013 issue of Glamour magazine, E.J. suffers from choroideremia, or CHM, a rare genetic disease that causes blindness. And I got to sit down with them both as they shared their story. They are both wonderful, warm and funny people who are dealing with this the best way they know how.

You can read the full piece here on Glamour.com: True Blood‘s Deborah Ann Woll’s Boyfriend’s Fight Against Blindness.

At the end of the piece, there is information on how to donate and support chm research to help cure those afflicted and stop this from happening to others in the future.

-Amy

My Glamour Interview with Minka Kelly

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

My most recent interview is out on stands now. It’s a chat I had with actress Minka Kelly—who is on NBC’s Parenthood and stars in the new film The Roommate—which appears in the March 2011 issue of Glamour magazine.

For the piece, Minka posed for some adorably cute and pretty shots in the mag, which you can see at Glamour.com in Minka Kelly Demonstrates 4 Sexiest Looks, along with my interview with the fun, sweet star.

—Amy

10 Couples We Can’t Help But Respect

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

You don’t have to like them. You don’t have to do love the way they do love. But you have to admit, you can’t help but respect them for it. Well, at least these are my votes for 10 Famous Couples We Respect, just published on Match.com’s Happen magazine.

—Amy

A Cool Chat with Christina Hendricks

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

The new July/August issue of Health magazine features my interview with the star of one of my favorite shows: Christina Hendricks of Mad Men. It was a fun, refreshing interview, because Christina is no Joan Holloway!

See the full interview at Health.com here: Christina Hendricks: Curvy, Confident, Gorgeous.

—Amy

How Do I Love “The Bachelor”? Let Me Count the Ways…

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

There’s something you should know about me: I’m a feverish fan of The Bachelor. I love everything about it. In fact, if I wasn’t already married, I’d want to marry the show after a couple of group dates and a really meaningful one-on-one. How many ways do I love it? Let me count them for you:

1. I love watching the women climb out of the limo and greet him for the first time in all their awkward, knee-shaking glory.

2. I love when the girls come up with clever ways to get his attention—knock-knock jokes, fake teeth, opera singing, palm-reading, hot dog-making, poem-reading—ah, but I’ve loved them all.

3. I love when the girls pinpoint their “biggest threat” and start to worry how to keep his eyes off of her and onto them. I’ve been in that stomach-dropping position in dating, too, and it stinks. I’m not sure I’d be bold enough to “steal him away,” but I’m glad they are.

4. I love how honest so many of them are about being ready (and sometimes nearly desperate for) a serious relationship.

5. I love how nervous the girls get trying to be themselves while camera lights hover over their shoulders at dinner in a huge, empty, pin-drop quiet room. Yeah…not the best atmosphere for being yourself.

6. I love how excited I get when I can tell a conversation is really flowing. Phew, that’s when I can breathe a sigh of relief that at least the bachelor has one normal girl to fall back on.

7. I also love when a conversation is clearly not flowing and they stare at each other for a few minutes before taking another drink. (This season’s Natalie talking about “I love bears. All bears!” wins the awful points.)

8. I love the dramatic build-up for “the most dramatic rose ceremony yet” week after week…after week. Some, eh, not so dramatic.

9. I love that after an over-the-top date of a helicopter ride, a picnic dinner, scattered rose petals, candlelight and a serenade by a semi-famous musician, the women turn to the bachelor and say things like, “Thank you so much, you’re so thoughtful, I can’t believe you did all this for me!” I’m sorry to tell you this, my dear: He didn’t.

The Bachelor 13: Jason

The Bachelor 13: Jason

10. I love watching the girls figure out how to make the bachelor kiss them for the first time. (Molly gets props this season by answering what she’s good at with, “I’m a good kisser. Wanna see?”)

11. I love trying to figure out myself how much of the interaction between a couple is real, and how much is the bachelor being forced to smile back and say on camera, “I can really see a future with her,” so they can edit segments of it together later. Uh oh, he’s not looking at her…but wait! His eyes are watering! Dang those editors are good at keeping us guessing.

12. I love that some women still haven’t figured out that the minute they start naming names about the other women they don’t like in the house, that’s when they move from a “contender” to his “confidante” and are no longer in the running for that final rose!

13. I love watching the two-on-one date go down. Man, it hurts.

14. I love the look of panic-slash-nausea that washes over the bachelor’s face at some point during one of the meet-the-family dates. (This year’s winning moment was watching Jason as Nicole’s father used their bonding opportunity to sell him Jesus.)

15. I love that the vacation getaway date seems to be the time when you have to tell the bachelor “I’m falling for you,” “I’m falling in love with you,” or in some brave cases, “I love you”—or else he supposedly won’t have seen enough of your “emotions” to keep you around.

16. I love that when the final three women made video messages for the bachelor this week, Chris Harrison called them “personal, private messages.” Last I checked, broadcasting to an audience of millions isn’t considered private. But who’s complaining?

17. I love how long they drag out the Rejection Ride home, prompting the woman who’s just been dumped to cry as much as possible. And I love that I can’t tear myself away when she does.

18. I love that sometimes when a woman is rejected, it makes me cry. This season, Stephanie and Jillian both got the waterworks going for me. There’s just something about a good woman owning her feelings that gives me such hope.

19. I love that out of 13 bachelors and 4 bachelorettes, only 3 final roses have led to marriage—and yet every season I really think, These two could be the ones!

20. I love that the bachelor has to call the women “ladies.”

21. And I love that, through it all, despite a painful format that pits grown women against each other and puts them in the demeaning position of watching the man they like blatantly date a harem of women…I’m rooting for him, I’m rooting for them, and I’m really, truly wholeheartedly rooting for real, true love to prevail.

Right now, though, I hate that I have to wait two more weeks to see what actually may be the most dramatic rose ceremony yet!