There are few people in the fashion PR business that you can say are household names, and Kelly Cutrone is one of them. The People’s Revolution boss is one of the most familiar faces in the industry, thanks in part to her numerous TV appearances, first on MTV’s The Hills, which also led to gigs on The City, her Bravo reality show Kell on Earth and on The CW’s America’s Next Top Model. In her years on TV, Kelly has garnered a reputation as a lovable, tough cookie, stern and direct, but still disarmingly hilarious and caring.
Wednesday, Kelly was in high spirits at her Fashion Group International-sponsored #GetWithTheProgram chat at Space 530 in Manhattan, where she imparted some wise words and insight on a group of knowledge-hungry fashion newbies looking for guidance on how to make their mark in the business. And if there’s anyone to ask, it would be Kelly, who has over 20 years of experience in the industry. After listening to her share anecdotes about her career, dropping serious knowledge and even extending invitations to anyone who had never been to Fashion Week to contact her assistant for invites this season, it was clear to us that the “power bitch” stereotype she’s been pegged with isn’t really 100 percent accurate.
“Busy” might be a better modifier. In addition to managing People’s Revolution, Kelly has the next season of America’s Next Top Model premiering later this month, plus she’s also got her own talk show, The Kelly Cutrone Project, debuting on the CW Seed in September. We caught up with her to get the details on her newest venture, mentoring and how TV transformed her career.
theFashionSpot: Earlier, you used the word power bitch…
Kelly Cutrone: I said that somebody told me that if you google [power bitch] my picture comes up more than other people’s. [Ed. note: This is true.]
tFS: But I feel like you’ve got this very strong nurturing side with all the mentoring you do for people trying to get into the fashion industry. Why is it so important for you to help young people?
KC: Young people have it really hard today. I think they’re told horrible things by society and their families. I think that most people don’t believe in them and their dreams. So, I’m in a position where I can believe in them and their dreams, and I want to. It’s kind of a giveback on my part.
tFS: What do you think is the number one mistake newbies make starting out in this industry?
KC: I think they overestimate their capabilities in the beginning. I think that whole thing of like shut up, suit up, be the first one there and the last one to leave…give a little faith to your boss, that they know how to mentor people, that they know what they’re doing. Taking you along in a way for them and their agency in the way they think is right. I think that’s most important. Sometimes, [kids] get a little kind of a “Kardashian Kickstart,” like, maybe they should be on reality TV, not in a fashion job if you’re all that.
tFS: Is there a mistake you made when you were first starting out that you’ll never forget?
KC: The truth?