The following output was transcribed from our audio recording.
Although the transcription is largely accurate, it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
It is posted to aid in understanding the interview but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
Mindy Cohn 00:02
Hi, everybody and welcome back to another episode of Mondays with Mindy. Hi Christian.
Christian Brescia 00:07
I'm in the Hi everybody. Welcome back.
Mindy Cohn 00:09
This is season three and this episode specifically is being sponsored by the cocktail party love Mary. More information on our website.
Christian Brescia 00:17
Exactly. Yeah, amazing amazing.
Mindy Cohn 00:19
I agree with those sentiments On today's episode features a conversation with television personality host actor, fashion and style commentator and designer and my friend Carson Kressley. Carson was born and raised in Allentown, Pennsylvania, always interested in horses owned his first pony when he was five years old. Carson still loves horses and has his own farm in Pennsylvania, which he'll be joining us from on this episode and is a world champion equestrian after graduating with degrees in finance and Fine Arts from Gettysburg College. Carson worked as a stylist and in the advertising division for Ralph Lauren in New York City for many years before he auditioned in 2003 for a little show new on Bravo called Queer Eye for the straight guy Exactly. didn't have much success or anything like that. Oh, hardly. Yeah, in its first year, the groundbreaking show on Bravo won an Emmy and after the show's run, Carson hosted the motivational show for lifetime how to look good naked and Carson nation for own. He was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars is a regular judge for RuPaul drag race new season actually on right now. Yeah, yeah, and teamed up with his dear designer friend Tom Volusia for a series called get a room back on Bravo. He frequently is asked to critique red carpet fashions judge and or be a commentator for the Miss Universe pageant and has had a few acting gigs here and there and movies like the perfect man and a year without Santa Claus Carson had clothing lines on QVC debuted a woman's collection for shop NBC called love Carson. He's also authored a few books. What else does this man do? Including the titles off the cuff and my favorite? Does this book make my butt look big? Personally, I think the best is yet to come for Carson. I have encouraged his ambition to be a stand up. I think he needs to do it and he needs to do it now or create some kind of cabaret show truly just more of Carson. Yeah, he is incredibly smart and funny and I love his take on everything. So I don't know. Let's have a conversation. Christian. What do you say?
Christian Brescia 02:20
I say let's let's bring him on. Ladies and gentlemen. It's our pleasure to welcome to the show. Carson Kressley. Hello Carson.
Carson Kressley 02:28
Oh, hi. Hello, hello. Salutations. Oh, gosh, now I'm full of horse hair. And who knows what I just came in from the barn. You know, I'm like a farmer. What? I'm on quarantine lockdown. So yeah, so I look a little bedraggled, so don't look too closely.
Mindy Cohn 02:48
If that's bedraggled? Yeah. Mama's in trouble. Um,
Carson Kressley 02:53
no, you look gorgeous. I love your glasses. They're so great.
Mindy Cohn 02:58
Thanks so much. Um, okay, so we start each episode, going into my little Johnny Adler secret canister with some questions. I just pull them at random.
Carson Kressley 03:07
Christian Brescia 03:08
Just a little get to know you. Okay,
Mindy Cohn 03:10
Carson. Yes. What assumption do people make about you that they get wrong?
Carson Kressley 03:15
Oh, everyone seems to think that I'm gay. No, oh, that's true. Actually. That's true. That's why they think that I think that a lot of people and if you follow my Instagram, and so my social media, you'll learn more about me, but if you just see me on TV, I always try to dress up when I'm on TV. I think it's a really big deal. And it's an important occasion. So sometimes I'll see people on talk shows and they're like literally wearing a tracksuit and I'm just like did you just come from the airport like this is Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel like put on a coat and tie for God's sake. So I usually look kind of dressed up and fancy, but I am actually just a an Amish lady at heart. And when I'm not working, I sometimes you know, I'm working. I live in New York or I live in LA and I'm fortunate to live there and I have homes there and I love it. But on my downtime. I'm at my farm in Pennsylvania so people don't know that I'm so rugged and so much
Mindy Cohn 04:12
Well, I can attest to that. How did where you grew up or where you were raised in Allentown develop your creative and doesn't get it or did it not? It did.
Carson Kressley 04:23
I think it was more about the era than the maybe the geographical location okay, because I grew up in the 70s and in Allentown, Pennsylvania, actually outside of Allentown, Pennsylvania between like Allentown and like where Amish people live. So I was Amish adjacent growing up so it was not so stimulating, perhaps, but it was also the 70s and we had amazing television like heart to heart and The Love Boat and all of the Aaron Spelling shows your show in the 80s and all of that influenced me. I loved the design like I would stare at like The Golden Girls had a baker's rack with ginger jars. I was like What are those? Where do I get one? I was like nine. And also the clothes of the day like when your mom and dad went to a cocktail party. I think Tory Burch has the same like viewpoint like growing up in Pennsylvania in the 70s like people wore like really rad clothes like my mom wore like long hostess skirt with like a crocheted sweater with like Holly hobbie printed like crazy jet on it and but really chic and tasteful. It's what people wore,
Mindy Cohn 05:32
yes, my mom had this amazing black jumpsuit with silver studs along the collar and up and down the zipper. I mean it was ridiculous. Amazing
Christian Brescia 05:41
they dressed up then yeah, it's not like it is now
Carson Kressley 05:43
Yeah, people dressed up for the occasion. And also there was just so much richness in design like now it's like you either go to like Target and buy like t shirts and sweats or you go to like if St Laurent and buy like the studded jumpsuit but my mom was not shopping at Yves Saint Laurent my mom was shopping at Alice k in Allentown and but that was available like there was chic amazing clothing everywhere. We were like Christmas picture from like 1977 were like extras from Austin Powers were all in like oh my god polyester leisure suits or rust with like printed satin shirts and it was just cuckoo bananas, but there was a lot of flair back then. So I think my flair comes from the era and not necessarily where I grew up. Got
Christian Brescia 06:25
it as somebody who I grew up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, so not too far from Allentown. In fact, my brother in law is from Allentown
Carson Kressley 06:32
Oh my god.
Christian Brescia 06:33
So I can speak to that, that it's probably related.
Carson Kressley 06:37
Yeah, we're probably related. Goodness gracious. I have a cousin and lemoyne it could be you.
Christian Brescia 06:42
I guess I've spent time in the morning. I know it. Yeah,
Mindy Cohn 06:46
I'm dying to see that picture, by the way. jumps it.
Carson Kressley 06:50
Oh, I have to try and find that for you.
Mindy Cohn 06:52
Yes. Okay. So what is your favorite place to travel and why? Okay, gosh,
Carson Kressley 06:57
I love to travel. I love a road trip. It could be as close as like bopping up to Hudson, New York to look at antiques and things that I don't need but want and oftentimes can't afford and or it could be far flung and exotic. Like I went to Thailand. Was it Thailand? Yeah, it was Thailand, Bangkok for the Miss Universe pageant. I think it was like two years ago. And that was really fun. I stopped in Japan and some other places and it's just so stimulating. Like the art scene, the design scene, the food scene, like I guess its culture is what I'm talking about. And when you go to such a different place, when I want to go Just have fun. I love going to Australia. It is such a big giant trip. But the people there are so fun and open and like oh yeah, cuz I welcome down on that we love hitting you here. And I'm just like, God, I love being here. It's like, I when I go there. I feel like I was born there another life and they're like, Oh, yeah. Good on. Yeah.
Mindy Cohn 07:55
Well, and your best friend is Australian. I mean, Kim is Australian. Yes.
Yeah. My best friend is Australian. And so yeah, and I loved Australia before I even knew her. But oh, maybe that's why I love her so much. I don't know. But yeah, I adore Australia and all things Australian.
Mindy Cohn 08:13
Besides your mobile phone, what is something you never leave home without?
Oh, gosh. Well, nowadays, I mean, it's you know, it's like phone keys, wallet mask. But I also have to have Kiehl's lip balm in the blue tube and like any other this is not an endorsement they don't even know I'm alive. But any other lip balm is just like no, no, this is like a wax candle. No, this is like a menthol like why do they put menthol and lip balm it I feel like it dries your lips out more. It's terrible. So I just I have to have my particular lip balm
Mindy Cohn 08:46
100%. Alright, last question. Before we go into more other things. Let's Okay, so among your friends, what are you best known for? Hmm,
it depends which friends so it'd be like he's a bar. Others would say he has a shopping addiction. depends which group you ask. But I would say among my friends, I'm known as being a good entertainer. And I don't mean that in a showbiz way. I mean, like, hey, come to my house, like I'm going to take really good care of
Mindy Cohn 09:17
you. Well, I was gonna say as being the periphery friend that I am. I would say that you are one of the most generous people that generous friends. Yeah, I've seen it in action in a lot of different ways.
Christian Brescia 09:29
It's kind of go hand in hand to
thank you so much.
Mindy Cohn 09:32
I caught like I said, so I will write probably. So on Mondays with Monday, we basically talk to all kinds of different creatives and talk about the creative process, whatever that means to you. So tell me about some and tell our listeners some of the things that inspire you or your trajectory because Jesus person could you have one more job, I mean, between the fashion stuff and the commentating and the acting and I think you should be doing stand up for some kind of cabaret act. I mean, I'm really pushing for that the writing and judging and the writing. So, you know, basically what's your process and what inspires you
a panic and terror and inspires me, I'm just like, Oh my God, I've got to pay my mortgage. But other than that I love creating and I feel like actually creating inspires me to create more like today, for example, I was at my farm outside of Allentown and we had a large snowfall last night mega, mega, and my niece and I said, let's do an impromptu photo shoot. And we literally like just saddled up horses and she was like racing them across the field, I was on the ground being safe. And but we just, you know, I was like, I'll bring a Navajo blanket. And then we'll do this. And I just love like bringing all the pieces together. And then like creating something with like the iPhone, and like microphones, like we're so able to create things now on our own, that I love that I loved when I worked for Ralph Lauren, and we would do photo shoots, and we would create ad campaigns. And you know, I love traveling with very attractive male models to the far reaches of the globe, and then like, putting them in tight cashmere sweaters and say, here hold this puppy that was really fun, creative, like I love creating beautiful things, whether it's beautiful rooms, or beautiful photos or beautiful parties, or commentating on drag race about you know, presentation, I think I'm very presentational and I just love that and I get inspired by coffee table books and traveling. I get inspired by going to stores and seeing the displays I get inspired by Pinterest, Instagram. I'm just constantly looking.
Mindy Cohn 11:45
Yeah. What have you been bingeing on during this time
on? Okay, so I mean, it seems like we were watching The Lion King seven years ago, does it not dislike I don't remember. So that was you know, early quarantine. Now, current quarantine I binged all of the crown I've seen every season. I actually put it in my phone when it's coming out. And I think this year, it was like November 15. And of course, like, at midnight, I was like, gotta watch the crown. That Olivia Coleman. My goodness is so talented. He's like, Yeah, I just said that. Like I was from Schenectady talent, talent and so talented. So I love the crown. I loved that. It was the Princess Diana era. It's stuff that I remember. You know, the other stuff was just like, I don't remember like a lot of I love the woman who plays Margaret Thatcher. A voice is so extraordinary. She's amazing. That's Gillian Anderson Anderson
Christian Brescia 12:43
Mindy Cohn 12:44
She's Yeah, she's so so good. so gorgeous. It helps me her boyfriend show runs the show. Not that she doesn't deserve the part but I think it was a little helpful. Oh,
yeah, maybe. sanctions. I just dropped her voice into the way her lips mouth shredded like this. Anyway, so I've been I've finished the Queen's gambit.
It's a favorite. Yeah, because I love Lexington, Kentucky and it's a very horsey town. I've been there a lot. I heard through the grapevine through friends that Oh, it's set in Lexington. It's a very little Lexington in the actual show. But the set design and the costumes it's so outstanding on such a rich era. Yeah, it was department they would like create whole department stores. Like the Ben Snyder department store not real but somehow in the you know, suburban reaches of Greater Toronto. They created like the 1960s. Kentucky Department Store to a tee. Yeah, the acting phenomenal the storylines super interesting. So I saw that and now I'm on to Outlander. I feel like I'm a late adopter. But I've started back
Mindy Cohn 13:54
very, very late to the program kind Sara.
Yes. Yeah. I think it popped up because I watched the crown Make sense? And then I was just like, you know, you're laying in bed and you're just like, Oh, God, should I stay up till one? No, I should really go to bed and then it just starts automatically. And then you're just like, oh, there are men and killed. I have to watch
Mindy Cohn 14:13
this. And Sam. I mean, just watching Sam is enough.
He's delicious. Totally. Yeah. I'm a gray.
Mindy Cohn 14:22
What made you after query and leaving Ralph Lauren. Was there ever a moment where you thought okay, that was kind of a fantastic, you know, blip and hippie. Was there a poll to take you back? Not necessarily to Ralph Lauren, but back into that world? Or were you just like, Oh, no, oh, no, Rose here. I am,
right, Mama's gotta sing. Fortunately, and I know how lucky I am that I was able to keep working in showbiz in some way or another. And people have said, Well, how did you know when you're on a really, really popular show and queer I was really, really popular. You get all these offer to do a million things, but usually they're horrible or you're not allowed to do them because the fun ones are on competing networks. Like No, you can't do this while you're doing the show. So that tempered things, but I was lucky that I had some offers after and I was able to keep working. I loved working at Ralph Lauren. It was a fantastic experience. It was like The Devil Wears Prada. But people were nice and preppy and, and I learned so much there and i i love that world. But I was just like, God, I don't want to go back to like having a boss and like sitting at a desk and like filling out expense reports. Yes, like let's I mean, how shallow but oh, I was like, let's see if we can keep working in this design space, if you will. And I always just really kept it like, open like if someone wants me to be in a movie. Great. And they did a bunch of like holiday movies. Yeah, Mark movies, and I did a movie with Hilary Duff. Yeah, there was Oscar buzz about that. There was an Oscar in it. And he was buzzing around. And he was buzzing. And I've just been lucky to have opportunities. And I say yes to almost everything, and some are terrible, and some are great. And I've just been blessed tonight. I love entertaining people I love designing and creating so it's worked out and I'm just so fortunate
Mindy Cohn 16:19
know it and it will continue to work out because you're Uber talented. And as I said in your intro, the best is yet to come because I don't think we've seen Oh, we should see no it's the truth
Christian Brescia 16:29
we've talked about skim the surface Yeah, there's just skimming of surface we have we have we have
Have you ever land Oh, I would like to be you know who I think is so phenomenon is my role model is Macy Nash, because she was like, on, like a TLC like design and house clean house kind of show. Yeah, she has so much depth in so many shops. So she's my hero. Well,
Mindy Cohn 16:51
there's no reason that you cannot mirror parallel universe Niecy Nash and her career and you should have your own show, period. Full stop.
Mindy Cohn 17:00
You're welcome. Um, have you ever failed at anything? Cuz it sort of seems like the trajectory is that you just keep going? Well, when did you if you don't mind asking, and what did you learn from it?
Oh, gosh. I mean, I failed at many things. I mean, you know, sometimes you write a book and you think it's the greatest thing in the world, you do all the press and promo and you put your whole heart and soul into it. And then like, nobody buys it, I've had some of those where it's just like, literally have books of like, does this book make my butt look big, which was the last one, like I have millions of these, like in Swedish, or something in my basement. And I'm just like, I guess it was not a hit in Sweden. Like, we're just gonna send these back to you. And I was like, Oh my god, they don't want to pay for storage. So sometimes it happens. But you have to, you know, I throw so many blobs of like clay at the wall, and then some of it sticks. And then some of it doesn't and everybody, I think what I learned is that everybody who's successful is also a failure at some point, and it ebbs and flows. And people that you think are the greatest, like do a project, you're like, this is gonna be the best ever. And then you watch it, you're like, oh, that didn't work. So it's just the universe at work?
Mindy Cohn 18:13
Yes. Agreed. Agreed. So I mean, you basically are pretty fearless in regard to trying anything new. Right? Like you said, you kind of say yes to everything. Whether that's good or not. I find your hustle. And I mean that as a compliment. Yeah, I have adopted many of my friends hustle based on seeing their results. Mm hmm. Where did you find that have that? Or is that just part of your personality? Oh,
I think it's genetic or something. Because my parents are both such hard workers. And my grandparents were all like, both of my grandparents were really hard working farmers in Pennsylvania, and Nobody works harder than a farmer. It's like, you never go on vacation. Because you have like livestock. Yeah, you have to get up every day and like feed them. And then like Mother Nature throws like a fun ice storm or something. It's like, Oh, now I get to like scrape ice off of every building and plowed my driveway and feed animals and do that. So I kind of never stopped. Like, even when I'm at home or I have people over, I'll be futzing around and doing laundry. They're like, do you ever sit down and just watch TV? I'm like, No, I mean, occasionally, I just, you know, fold laundry and watch TV. So I I've always had a strong work ethic. And I think it's familial. And I'm also a big opportunity take advantage of so if there's an opportunity, I'm going to try to like, you know, be a squirrel and get that nut. Yeah. And just look for every opportunity because I know how fleeting are businesses and you've got to just constantly just, you know, be looking and hustling so I have an internal hustle.
Mindy Cohn 19:46
I love that about you. So besides the horses I mean, should there be a beside the horses already? I don't like what's happening out that's coming out. But are you obsessed with anything currently? Or what do you like your big obsessions? I really don't know this. about you.
Oh, my big obsessions? Well, I mean, the biggest obsession Yes. Are horses. And they are a passion that Yeah, I would say it's an obsession and probably requires some sort of psychiatric care because what we do is ridiculous. Just like, oh, let's put this livestock on a truck and take it to Florida for three weeks. Like who does that? It's really insane. And I get like, bills for horse shoes. And I'm just like, wait, I could have bought Gucci loafers? Like whichever kind I wanted. But no, every five weeks, I have to put these shoes on this horse, which they're wonderful. And they're great. But it's we're a crazy breed of horse people.
Mindy Cohn 20:41
So I'm obsessed with that. I'm obsessed with interior design. And it's never really I did a show with Tom Felicia on Bravo about interior design. I'd love to do more putting it out there.
Mindy Cohn 20:53
don't really know what I'm doing. But I love everything about it. I love furniture. I love textiles. I love paint. I love architecture. Like if one world kind of encapsulates everything that I love. I think its interior design. And interior designers are so interesting. I'm sure you know, like, we have the same friends like Martin Lawrence Bellard and,
Mindy Cohn 21:15
And Nate Turner from California, I mean, they're all just, they're such interesting people too. So I'm obsessed with designers. Yeah, designers. And then the normal obsessions, you know, Miley and Cher and Madonna and drag race and good stuff, guys on the Instagram from, you know, exotic countries. It's the only people I talked to now I'm just I'm dating several men right now and Bolivia, only on Instagram.
Mindy Cohn 21:47
Well else, you're gonna find gorgeous men on Bolivia. from Bolivia. It makes perfect sense to me.
I'm sure they're all robots. I mean, every time I click on I want to be like, Can you just let me know if you see a traffic meter or a crosswalk by clicking these boxes? And done? It'll verify you Okay, I'll wait. I really seriously. Yes,
Mindy Cohn 22:07
I understand. So what I know new season of drag race, and what else is coming up for you? Oh, oh, wait, I
just have to take a pie out of the oven.
Mindy Cohn 22:19
I was just gonna say right back up.
I'll show it to you. Do it one second. Okay. talk amongst yourself.
Mindy Cohn 22:26
I know we will. And I love that.
Christian Brescia 22:29
This is amazing. I love it. Oh my gosh. Taking a pie out of the oven.
Mindy Cohn 22:32
Well, and I have chicken in the oven and I was just like, boy, I wonder if that's gonna go off during this. This is even better. Me if we talk long enough. We'll show you my chicken. Oh my gosh.
Here it is.
what do you think?
It's on. Ah, I'm just gonna put it right there is a Pennsylvania judge specialty called what kind lemon sponge pie and you can whip it up so easily lemon sponge and you basically take eggs and sugar and butter and lemon juice and lemon rind and then you make the egg white fluffy and then you fold it into the egg God. And it's this airy, delicious winter time make with what you have in the pantry kind of pie and sounds really boring and terrible. It's so delicious.
Mindy Cohn 23:25
I am absolutely not floored that anything that you just said. No. That is fantastic.
I mean Christian knows we know how to do baked goods here in the Amish regions.
Christian Brescia 23:36
That's right. I just love that you add You're like a
Christian you've got to Oh yeah, no, I'm a busy Amish woman today. Christian you must water that plant over your shoulder. I keep forgetting about the fig tree the brown one it says no leaves aren't so worried.
Christian Brescia 23:58
That's my buddy I nicknamed a big stick many. First Got him. He's got a whole personality. The Home Automation you want to light him up you say turn on big stick like oh my gosh, what euphemism I
say that something else turns on.
Mindy Cohn 24:13
See? Ya see. I knew it was going there. Did I know? Yeah, I got
Christian Brescia 24:20
man, a podcast. Here you go.
Mindy Cohn 24:21
I love it.
I'll take a Christian you're gay.
Christian Brescia 24:25
As a $3. Bill.
Are you serious? Okay.
Mindy Cohn 24:29
It's First of all, I mean, he
has a teal accent wall. I know. I know. I know. And he does have a teal accent wall. So I'm always pretty sure but you know, just being
Christian Brescia 24:40
polite. Yeah, manners. Yes.
And it is you Mindy Cohn
Mindy Cohn 24:44
exactly like come on st of all the days.
Mindy Cohn 24:53
Carson, I adore you. Thank you for coming in from the cold and the stables and sitting down and With us
Christian Brescia 25:01
yeah, somebody's saying it was a nice chance to chat with you get to know you.
Mindy Cohn 25:05
I adore you and I would like loved it and I would like to dinner in LA when you come back here to do real.
Exactly I would we have to go and we'll go have sushi again and I adore you and let me know when you're in New York because I just pop in and out of there all the time.
Mindy Cohn 25:23
My fourth trip that I had to cancel hopefully I will be there sometime in February. Yeah.
Okay, let me know. You're too Christian. I'll make you a pie.
Christian Brescia 25:33
I would love that very much. Ladies and gentlemen, it is our pleasure to have spoken with and enjoyed Carson Kressley.