Marilu Henner talks about life, work and her husband’s battle with bladder cancer

Marilu Henner

Did you know that May is May is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month?

Well, not enough people do. Bladder cancer is the sixth most common type of cancer in the U.S. and there are 79,000 new cases to be diagnosed just this year.  Actress, author, radio host, memory expert and bladder cancer care taker Marilu Henner has a lot to say on this matter.

Henner is from the Chicago area has been a staple of screen, film and stage since the 1970s. Originally trained as a dancer, she got her start in musical theater. She became known by her portrayal of Elaine O’Connor Nardo on the sitcom Taxi from 1978 to 1983.  Henner has a special gift called hyperthymesia or highly superior autobiographical memory.  She remembers nearly everything that has happened to her in her life.  In 2013, she was a contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice and in 2016 she was on Dancing with the Stars.  She has written ten books on her life, memory, health, diet and wellness.  Her most recent book Changing Normal – How I Helped My Husband Beat Cancer is available on Amazon and is also out on paperback.

Marilu Henner spoke with about her career, keeping up with old castmates, her favorite thing about being on The Celebrity Apprentice, explained her gift of memory, and then she spoke candidly about her personal experience with her husband’s successful battle with bladder cancer and Dr. Arjun Balar from NYU Langone Medical Center joins her to offer tips to early detection, treatment options, how Tecentriq via Genentech is helping patients with this and more.

You can learn more about Marilu Henner here and get additional information about bladder cancer and treatments via Genentech here.

Getting to know ‘Twin Peaks,’ ‘Everything, Everything’ star Ana de la Reguera

Ana de la Reguera

Over the past few years the stunning Ana de la Reguera has played a nun, a powerful drug dealer, a secretary to a mean girl and much much more.  Not a bad start from someone now considered to be one of the most influential Latinas along with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotamayor.

Originally from Veracruz, Mexico, performing has always been in her blood.  She got her start in telenovelas and was first seen by most American audiences in Nacho Libre. She was in HBO’s Eastbound & Down, Netflix’s hit crime-drama and Golden Globe-nominated series Narcos, Cowboys & Aliens and more.

Her beauty and elegance has been noted by audiences and the media.  She was dubbed one of Vogue’s “33 Most Elegant Women in the World” and by People Magazine as one of the “50 Most Beautiful.” She has been featured on the covers of many international magazines including Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Marie Claire, Mujer, Esquire, and Elle.

Ana de la Reguera has three projects out now or coming soon:  Everything, Everything, based on the New York Times’ Bestselling YA novel by Nicola Yoon of the same name, a role on 50 Cent executive produced Starz series Power and the much anticipated Twin Peaks return on Showtime.

The lovely, socially conscious, elegant and hard-working Ana de la Reguera spoke with TheCelebrityCafé.com about her early work, what is her must-have item in her makeup bag, who are her celebrity crushes, how she prepares for roles, how she defies stereotypes, what she knows about the new Twin Peaks, her charity work, what she does for fun and more.

Ana de la Reguera  Can you please tell me a little bit about yourself? Where are you from?

Ana de la Reguera:  I’m from Veracruz, Mexico. It’s in the southeast part of Mexico. It’s a port. It’s by the water. That’s where I’m from.

TCC:  And can you tell me a little bit about your family?

AR:  Well, my mom actually was a beauty queen and a carnival queen and Miss Veracruz.

We have carnival in Veracruz, so she was carnival queen, and then she also was Miss Veracruz and was fourth place in Miss Mexico or something like that. Yeah, I think it was fourth place. And her whole life, she has a charm school and she’s been doing that for 30 years. And she had also a segment. She had her own show, all these, locally, in my hometown. And she writes in the newspaper. And she also wrote a book. So she’s very active. And my dad is an accountant. He was an accountant and then he worked for different in companies and she’s retired now. And they are divorced. But, yeah, my dad was more like a normal guy [laughter].

TCC:  How did your family influence you to become a performer?

AR:  They were fine. Like fortunately for me and my sister, because my sister is also like she is in the music and she also studied to be a film director, so they were very supportive with us since we were very young. Like my mom really, you know, really could tell what we were good at. And she just put us in classes and she was always supportive of what we wanted to do. So it wasn’t like a big deal. Like when I said I wanted to be an actress, my mom was okay. She was like, “This is going to pass,” like every girl wanted to be an actress at some point or they say that. But it didn’t happen. So, but she was fine with it.

TCC:  Now, which languages do you speak?

AR:  Just Spanish and English.

TCC:  Well, that’s better than most people.

AR:  That’s better. Yeah. I want to learn other languages. I want to go, at some point. I have this dream of going to Europe for a year and then go to Italy because Spanish and Italian is very, very similar, so I think I’ll be okay with like four months living there. And then I want to go and speak French, so I want to go to France for like eight months because it’s a little harder. And yeah, at some point I’ll do that, but for now, I just speak two languages.

TCC:  It sounds like fun that you have the travel plans. I think that’s a great goal.

AR:  Yeah, I want to do that once in my life. I am going to do that.

TCC:  And have you always been interested in fashion?

AR:  I have, actually, because of my mom, because I grew up in a house where she taught me— oh, she teaches still how to— she changes your image, and she tells you what colors will look best for you, and what type of clothes, and gives you your type of body. So I grew up around magazines. And that was my whole house. So yeah, I was into fashion since I was very little. Even though it was my personality, because I remember that it was like— you know how kids are. I would not want to be dressed in something I didn’t like or for example, I would go on vacations and they would want me to dress with my cousin’s clothes because I would run out of clothes. Or there was something that I had to borrow some clothes. I didn’t like that. I was like, “No, I don’t like her clothes.” I wanted to do my thing since I was very, very young. So my whole life was very— I remember when I was a kid and I remember not having what I wanted to wear and feeling uncomfortable, and I remember also at one of my birthdays, the first thing I would always think was what was I going to wear? So it was very— it’s been very present in my life.

TCC:  And how would you describe your style now?

AR:  I don’t know. I think I don’t know if my style—it’s difficult to describe. It’s always feminine with a touch of something a little masculine in it.

TCC:  What do you like to wear when you’re not on a red carpet?

AR:  Depends. To be honest, I’m always what looks good on me. I love fashion, but at the same time, I kind of always go with the same lines, and with the same style because I know what works for me. So it depends on the occasion, but let’s see. Yeah, it’s strong feminine style. I don’t know.

TCC:  Well, you were named one of Vogue’s most elegant women so it’s working for you [laughter].

AR:  Thank you. Yeah. Well, it’s also classic. I like to have things that are on trend, but I don’t want to be wearing the whole thing or everything that everyone’s wearing. I always want to do— it’s not wearing my own stuff, I just know what works for me and with that, I just add something that I like right now. But I do shop, and I keep track with what’s new and what the new designers are and when I want to wear wear and— yeah.

TCC:  Now, do you still model?

AR:  I’ve never modeled in my life.

TCC:  Oh, really?

AR:  Yeah, no. I have always been an actress.

TCC:  Okay. But you have so many covers of magazines. I think that’s good because they all come from your acting career.

AR:  Yes, yes. Exactly.


Image result for ana dela reguera

TCC:  Okay. Who are some of your favorite designers?

AR:  My favorite designers, right now I’m obsessed with Jacquemus. I really like their stuff right now. But Dolce always works for me. Carolina Herrera, because she’s amazing and she’s very classic. Who else? I love Balenciaga. And who else do I like? Celine. Yeah.

TCC:  Now, what is your one must-have item for your beauty bag? So if you couldn’t have any other kind of makeup, what’s something you would need to have with you?

AR:  I pretty much use a bar that is for your cheeks and your lips. So sometimes, if I really don’t have time for anything, I just put it in my bag and leave, and then I just put it in the car a little bit so I have some color in my face. So a lot of the times I just have that with me.  I have at least one lipstick does the same thing. So I would say lipstick, for sure.

TCC:  That would be mine, too [laughter].

AR:  Yeah, yeah. A red lipstick. I always have some red lipstick because whatever happens, you can make big changes just with glasses and red lipstick and– some shades and red lipstick, and you’re okay.

TCC:  I always feel a little bit better with a little red lipstick on. I agree with you.

AR:  Yeah, definitely.

TCC:  And what was your first professional role?

AR:  Well, more like in– I did little things, but my first first one was soap opera where I had a very beautiful role. I had one in a soap opera that I was like 15 episodes, because soap operas in Mexico are like 200 episodes. So 15 episodes is very little. So I was a secretary for the mean girl, the mean woman. She was an older woman. And I was just passing messages, but that was very, very little. And then after that, I got a big break with a very– it was a period show. And it was kind of like a Romeo and Juliet story, where I was in love with my cousin, and they didn’t let us get married, and I would kill myself, and blah-blah. That role, it was important for me because it was with big stars in that moment. It was one of the biggest soap opera starts starting and it was big for me. So, yeah.

TCC:  Well, telenovelas are a lot of fun. I think they’re great. And what was the name of the one that was your star-making role?

AR:  It was called Pueblo Chico Infierno Grande, which means small town, big hell. Something like that [laughter].

TCC:  Telenovelas are a lot of fun. And they always have either a Cinderella, or Romeo and Juliet, or some sort of princessy kind of theme. I love them. One thing I just— I think there’s something different about telenovelas is that they seem to have a beginning, middle, and an end. You kind of know it’s going to be short, usually just one season. Is that correct or has that changed?

AR:  Well, novelas in Mexico, they only last for six or seven months, and that’s it. It’s not like in the US that it is the same soap opera forever. I did 10 telenovelas in my career.

TCC:  Oh, wow.

AR:  Yeah. So they last six or seven months. If they become a hit here, they can be for a year, but that’s the most, I know. I think the record of one novela in Mexico was two years, but generally, even if they do it really, really good, it’s six, seven months. And now they’re shorter because of the new trend with the shows and the series. Now they’re three, four months. So it has changed. But when I was doing them, it was between six and seven months.

TCC:  What have you learned the most by being in them?

AR:  Well, I was surrounded by great actors, so I was just learning from them and regularly you do 30 scenes, but you really have to— it gives you a lot of technique, because you have to learn the lines, you have to learn the stage directions, and it’s 30 scenes a day. So it’s a lot of work. It’s too much. But it gives you— it’s a great school, at the same time. You should not be there too much, because it’s difficult to walk away from that, so that’s why I stopped. And it was like mixing novella with theater and with movies at the same time. But that’s why I stopped because I just didn’t want to be very comfortable in that world.

TCC:  And what was your first role in an American movie or TV show?

AR:  My first role was Nacho Libre in an American film, so that was my big break.

TCC:  Who did you play?

AR:  I played Sister Encarnación, who’s Jack Black’s love interest [laughter]. Yeah, I was playing a nun. So it was a beautiful role and that was my first role.

TCC:  Now, how did you hear about the role in Eastbound & Down?

AR:  I just went to the audition, and I got it. It was good because I thought it was only for one episode, so I didn’t thought it was such a big deal, and I saw one episode, and I loved it. And I was like, “Oh, that’d be great.” And then they told me I was going to go an entire season, so I was really, really excited. But it was good because I went to the audition with no—sometimes when you know something’s big or something’s important you’re more nervous about it. So that was the way it was.

TCC:  What was the process of the audition like?

AR:  I actually just went once. Just did one thing and—I got it.

TCC:  Oh, only one?  That’s great and unusual.

AR:  Yeah. Yeah. With Nacho Libre I did come in three times, and I was living in Mexico and then they flew me to LA to be with Jack, but for this one it was quick.

TCC:  How do you celebrate when you get a role?

AR:  How I do celebrate. It depends. Sometimes it’s weird how you get the role. Sometimes you get the offer fast, like that. And sometimes you’re waiting and waiting and you get it, and that’s the best part. Every time you get a role, it’s weird. For example, I remember when I got Nacho Libre, I went to the audition, and I thought I was going to get another movie that I really wanted to get and I remember the day that I got Nacho Libre, the director of this other movie called me saying that I didn’t get that. So it was like a mixed feeling. So it was really weird because I wasn’t expecting it, and then what I was expecting I didn’t get.

And sometimes the same just happened with me with everything that is about to come out in May, that I was I never thought I was going to get it because they already told me I wasn’t going to get it. And I started to do a film a couple of weeks later and when they told me I got it, I was like, “Oh, shit. Now I have to deal with this other movie that I was going to do.”

And sometimes you stress, but sometimes you are just waiting for that news to — you’re just waiting for the phone to ring and when that happens, it’s the most amazing feeling, and you scream, but most of the time I just go for lunch with my friends and just celebrate.

TCC:  A lot of the performers I’ve asked that question to say that alcohol is usually involved [laughter].

AR:  I don’t drink, so for me, it’s mostly food. I really treat myself and go to an amazing restaurant and get all the desserts and all the pasta, whatever. That’s what I do.

TCC:  Now, how do you prepare for your roles?

AR:  Depends on the role, but most of the time it’s I guess what every actor does. I just read the script, break down the script and scenes and do the analysis of the character, and after that, obviously, it depends on what the character does. I do the research too. And it depends if we had to have some physicality. Or some of the characters, sometimes, starts from the inside of the character. Sometimes, it starts from the outside. It’s just really weird and depends on how the character speaks to you. Sometimes, just the first thing I think about is how she’s going to be dressed. Or sometimes I feel like, “What happened to her when she was little?” It depends on the role, so it changes. But I try to do as much homework as possible, so I just read about whatever profession she is or whatever, if it’s in a period of time, about what’s happening there, or the whole thing.

TCC:  And what was your favorite thing about being in Cowboys & Aliens?

AR:  Well, it was a lot of things. And first of all, getting to meet— first of all, one of my few, few crushes in life was Daniel Craig, so [laughter] I couldn’t believe I was going to work with him. So I was blown away and I still—I was never over being next to him. I was really nervous all the time. But at the same time, most of my films were with Sam Rockwell, who he’s an amazing actor, so I was really, really happy and blessed to be next to him. And Jon Favreau is amazing. He still there was producing the movie. So the whole thing with the aliens— and I love New Mexico, so we shot in Santa Fe. So the whole thing— Olivia Wilde, she’s been a great girl, too. So just me and the whole cast and being in such a big budget film, it was a lot of fun.

TCC:  Now, how do you try to defy stereotypes of Latina women?

AR:  Well, I don’t know. I’ve been kind of lucky to have different roles. But at the same time, that’s what I am. That’s who I am. I’m a Latina, so it’s tricky when you are like, “Yeah, I’m going for the Latina role because why would I go for the Irish role [laughter]?” It’s strange, why would I ask for that? But what I do ask sometimes is, when I read a script or something, and something’s written for a girl who’s not Latina but a Latina could play that role, I always ask, “Oh, yeah. This could also be played by a Latina.”

But I’m not trying to be American or I’m not trying to get rid of my accent and become someone else. I’m just trying to be different Latina. I’m trying to be unpredictable. I play a nun. I play a singer or a girl who was caught in the immigration line. I just played a nurse. So I’ve been playing different stuff. I’ve played the hot Latina, too. So it’s just different cases. I’ve played a revolutionary. So I’ve been playing different things. But I just don’t want to play the same role that’s also the same. Sometimes we complain a lot. Like the drug dealers, I’m playing one right now in power, but it’s the first time I’m doing it. And it’s a very powerful woman. So if I get another role that is similar, then I won’t do it. But I’m just doing different roles. I’m happy about it. I don’t complain about that.

TCC:  Can you please tell me about your role in Narcos?

AR:  Yeah, she’s a girl from— the M-19 was a movement in the late 1970s and 1980s. And she’s a communist guerilla girl. And she has all these—what is it? How do you call it in English? Well, she’s an idealist. And she wants the best for her country. And that’s what my character is in Narcos. And she was part of this movement that, it was important because they wanted to fight the government, who was being really corrupt. And, at the same time, they got with the guerilla and involved with the Narcos. It was a very tricky moment for them. But it was interesting to know their stories about these women who, they left everything. They left even their family, their child, to fight for their country.

TCC:  I haven’t got around to seeing Narcos yet, but it seems like a good one. I look forward to seeing that one sometime soon.

AR: Yeah. Yeah, it was.

TCC:  Now what is Everything, Everything?

AR:  Everything, Everything is, it’s a movie and my latest film that I did. It’s a young adult movie. It’s based on a novel, a New York Times best-selling novel called Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon. And it’s about a girl called Maddie who’s allergic to everything, so this girl has never left the house in 18 years. So the movie starts when she turns 18. And pretty much her world, it’s me, her nurse, who’s me, and her mom. And everything changes when a very cute guy who is played by Nick Robinson moved next door, and they fall in love and pretty much she will risk everything for love. It’s a very beautiful story.

TCC:  Now, here what we get to talk about what I’m most excited about. You’re in the remake of Twin Peaks?

Twin Peaks official trailer

AR:  Yes [laughter].

TCC:  Are you allowed to talk about that at all?

AR: I am allowed, but to be really, really honest, I don’t know much about it because what I know – what I can tell you – is that when I did it, even Showtime who’s producing the show had no idea— David Lynch never showed anyone the episodes or anything. I have no idea which episode am I in. I have no idea what’s the story about. I just know my scenes, and that’s all I know. Even when I went to the audition, I just stayed there on a couch and they just filmed me. I had no material. Nothing and I just went in, sat down, and then, a couple weeks later, they told me that I got the part. I didn’t have to do anything. It was really strange, but I got to work with David Lynch. He wrote, directed and did the whole thing. So that was really, really exciting. But even when I went for wardrobe, wardrobe wasn’t allowed to read my scenes, so [laughter]. Yeah, so they just told me, “What is it about?” And, “We can’t read it.” And I’m like, well, it goes like this and that. And they were like, “Okay.” So they put me in the wardrobe, but that’s the way it worked. So I don’t know. That’s all I know. I’m just being really honest. That’s all I know.

TCC:  So you’ll be watching along with everyone else, “When am I in? What’s going to happen next?”

AR:  I know. I guess. I’m going to be like, “Oh,” waiting for me to appear at some point. I have no idea so, yeah. But it’s a great— it was an amazing experience.

TCC:  Now, who are some performers that you want to work with?

AR:  Annette Bening is one of my favorites. Who else? Louis CK, that would be my dream. And who else would I be super excited to be with? Cate Blanchett and Jeff Bridges. I don’t know, I’m just naming a few.

TCC:  Yeah, there are a lot to choose from.

AR:  There’s so many good actors.

TCC:  Would you care to say who are your celebrity crushes?

AR:  Well, it’s still Daniel Craig. Also Oscar Isaac. And who else is my celebrity crush? I have a lot. I don’t have that many. I have one, but I don’t want to say it. He’s a singer, but I’m shy to say because he’s very young.  I feel bad. I’m like, “I shouldn’t.” I look bad saying that I have a crush. He could be my son.

TCC:  I felt that way when I saw a Harry Potter movie once. I felt a little bit like a dirty old lady.

AR:  Exactly. That’s why I won’t say it.

TCC:  So is there a type of character that you haven’t played yet but you wish to play?

AR:  Well, there is a couple of characters that I would like– there’s a biopic that I’ve been trying to produce but I haven’t been able to because it’s a period film. And it’s about the first Latina actress who made it in Hollywood. And in the 1920s, she went from silent movies to talkies. So that’s a character that I would love to play. And there’s another character that I’m actually kind of attached to this movie called— it’s like a biggest role model in Mexico. She was a nun in the 1300s, and she was the first feminist that we had. So those characters are the ones that I really want to play at some point, and I also would like to do more comedy too.

TCC:  Now, do you live in Los Angeles right now or do you still live in Mexico?

AR:  I live in LA, yeah.

TCC:  And when you’re not working, what do you like to do for fun?

AR:  I’m very simple. I pretty much like to stay home. I love my house. I love my place. I just stay home, invite friends. We watch movies or we can play cards. I just bought a karaoke, and so we do that. Sometimes I go out and dance, but I don’t really do that. I love to dance, but I just don’t like clubs, but very normal stuff.

TCC:  Now, what are some charities that you support?

AR:  I have my own charity back in Mexico. I’ve been doing this for seven years and it’s called VeracruzANA. I am from Veracruz, I am from that place, and because my name is Ana, that’s why it’s called VeracruzAna. And I support a lot of communities, and everything started after a big hurricane that hit my hometown and destroyed many small communities, especially one that is very important historically. So that community lives out of the tourism. So after the hurricane passed, no one was visiting. So I kind of rebuild the whole town. And I’ve been very focused on that. And then after that, I did a museum and book, and I have residence for artists. So it’s a charity that– I did a  lot for kids. So it’s a really big charity that I’m proud of.

TCC:  What is something in life that you really want to do but haven’t gotten around to doing yet?

AR:  I love to, at some point, get a year off and have the luxury of— go to Europe and live there at least six, seven months in— say like seven, eight months in France. I would like to learn French and then go to Italy and learn how to speak Italian and have that experience.

TCC:  Now, how do you like your fans to connect with you?

AR:  I do it a lot on social media. I do it a lot through Instagram, and mostly I use Instagram, and from there reply to my Twitter account and my Facebook account. And I do see the comments and reply to them.  I like it. Also, for example, my charity, how I started it, everything I started through social media and it’s a great tool for public figures to be close to your fans or close to— and also be able to share whatever your interests are because you have a voice. So I think it’s, for me, I respect very much also the people who don’t have it, because I love that, too. But I like it, and at the same time, it’s very helpful.

TCC:  So your next projects that people can see you in are Everything, Everything and Twin Peaks, both seem exciting.

AR:  Yes. Yes, and Power, which I just finished the fourth season. And we’re in talks to see if I do some more with them for the next season, too.

TCC:  Now where is Power? Where is that shown?

AR:  Power is on Starz. And, yeah, it’s on Starz. It’s a show which is by 50 Cent.

TCC:  Is there something you’d like to add?

AR:  No, just thank you so much for the interview. And, yeah, everyone can follow me on Instagram which is @adelareguera, which is my first initial and de la Reguera. And it’s the same one for Twitter and Instagram. And they can check it out, the charity and everything we do. And I hope people like it and like the projects that I’m involved.

TCC:  So they are. And I think the cult following of Twin Peaks is going to get you even more fans, too.

AR:  I hope so. I hope so.

TCC:  Thank you again for everything. And I wish you luck in all your endeavors. And I’ll look forward to not only seeing you in more movies and TV shows but also on the covers of more magazines.

AR:  I hope so, too [laughter].

Follow Ana de la Reguera on Instagram at @adelareguera and catch her in Power on Starz, Everything Everything and Twin Peaks on Showime.

Twin Peaks Trailer

Celebrity chef and nutritionist Ellie Krieger enlightens us on olive oil

ellie krieger

Olive oil is one of the favorite ingredients for chefs and home cooks.  The varieties are as vast as are the recipe uses.  Chef and registered dietitian Ellie Krieger has a lot to say about olive oil and healthy eating.

The New York native was a fashion model and that helped her discover that food and healthy living were her passions.  She earned her BA in clinical nutrition from Cornell University and got her masters in nutrition from Columbia University.  She contributes to many publications and has a weekly column in The Washington Post.  She is actively involved in the “Let’s Move” campaign.

Krieger is also the host of the Food Network’s Healthy Appetite and PBS’s Ellie’s Real Good Food and has written five books including So Easy: Luscious Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week.

Krieger spoke with about what the difference is between olive oil, light-tasting olive oil and extra virgin olive oil, how to properly store it, what The North American Olive Oil Association is, how olive oil can be used as a healthy substitute for butter and more, all while demonstrating a few recipes.

You can find out more about Ellie Krieger here and learn about the North American Olive Oil Association here.

‘Celebrity Apprentice’ winner Leeza Gibbons talks about her partnership with Senior Helpers

Leeza Gibbons

When one speaks to a talk show host who is known for being friendly and engaging, what was supposed to be an interview quickly turns into a delightful conversation. That is exactly what happened with the lovely, compassionate and accomplished Leeza Gibbons.

Gibbons comes from Hartsville, South Carolina and graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of South Carolina’s school of journalism and mass communication.  She began working as a journalist and joined the team of Entertainment Tonight in 1984 and she remained correspondent and co-host until 2000.  At about the same time from 1993 to 2000, she hosted her own talk show Leeza on NBC.  Her 2013 book Take 2 was a New York Times bestseller and she earned an Emmy for My Generation.  In February 2015, she was the winner of Celebrity Apprentice and raised $714,000 for her charity Leeza’s Care Connection.

She continues to work in television, radio, entrepreneurial actions and other areas of interest.  Charitable pursuits are important to Gibbons.  In fact, the mom of three has received the Congressional Horizon Award for her work on children’s issues.

While she is involved in many charitable endeavors, she has a soft spot for topics related to seniors, especially memory issues. In 2009 she published Take Your Oxygen First: Protecting Your Health and Happiness While Caring for a Loved One with Memory Loss, her personal story of her family’s personal struggle with Alzheimer’s disease after her mother’s diagnosis and eventual passing from the disease in 2008.  Her dad, Carlos had some recent health issues and she and her siblings took turns helping with his care taking needs.  She has partnered with Senior Helpers to help and educate people on new ways to care for aged parents.

Leeza Gibbons
Leeza Gibbons with volunteers from Leeza’s Care Connection

Leeza Gibbons spoke with about her life, work, her thoughts on current entertainment journalism, the must-have item in her makeup bag, offers tips on how people can take care of themselves while taking care of loved ones, why Senior Helpers is important, what she likes to do for fun, how she succeeded on The Celebrity Apprentice, what’s next for her and more.  Thank you so much. How are you doing today?

Leeza Gibbons:  I’m fantastic. How are you?

TCC:  Very well. Thank you. I’m so happy to be talking to you. What are you up to these days?

LG:  Oh, my goodness. I’m up to my real passion project, which is one of those unexpected turns. You know they always say, it’s not the end of the road; it’s the bend in the road that kind of takes you down the most interesting, gives you the most interesting vistas. That’s really been true for me. When my mother had Alzheimer’s disease I took a look at the things that were no longer working in my life because it just didn’t make sense, it brought me to some really unexpected and very fulfilling places that I would have never imagined. That’s been, I think the most surprising part of my life’s journey so far.

TCC:  Where did this journey begin? Where did you grow up?

LG:  I grew up in South Carolina in a small town called Irmo. It was really one of those idyllic upbringings. You know, the kind of place where you rode your bike, hung out with your friends and your mom would holler out the back door when it was time to come in for dinner. That kind of place. So, that’s where all my dreams were hatched and where I really first became interested in storytelling.

We had a talent show at school, I was very upset because I had no talent — I can’t whistle, I can’t jump rope. I have no talent. And my mother said, you know, “Don’t worry about it honey.” I was crying over this and she goes, “You do have a talent,” — She completely made it up, she goes “you’re a storyteller.” I’m like “what?” She goes “you’re a storyteller. Go back to school and stand up in front of the class and say I’m using my talents to tell stories.”

And I totally bought it. I was like 11 or 12 years old at the time. And that’s really when I first became a journalist. That’s why I went to broadcast journalism school and that’s why I became a reporter. And it’s been such a magnificent journey. I just never expected that the most important story I would tell is the story of my family’s journey with her disease, my grandmother’s disease and with my dad’s heart attack and our journey with caregiving with him. And that I would ultimately run a non-profit dedicated to help and tell other people’s stories of thriving and surviving through caregiving.

TCC:  Can you tell me a little bit about your journey, please?

Leeza Gibbons
Leeza Gibbons with her parents

LG:  We created what we wished we had in the world when my mom got sick. Even though we watched my mother take care of her mother, my granny, we still felt frustrated and alone and isolated and misunderstood and depleted and depressed and all those things that people feel. So we created an organization really to care for the family caregiver.And along the way, I’ve learned so much about how to really help family caregivers cope and how to provide resources.

Recently I’ve formed a partnership with Senior Helpers. They’re one of the largest providers of in-home care and I realize that the one thing I’ve learned from our communities is the way that we become strong is really when we learn to ask for help. And when my dad had a heart attack, we asked for help and hired someone from Senior Helpers to become part of our care team and help my dad recover. So we have my brother, my sister, and me. They live nearby. I live in LA, they’re in South Carolina, and then we hired a care companion from Senior Helpers to come in and help daddy with his rehabilitation, help him stay on his medications properly, help him communicate with the doctors and run errands, help him communicate with us and make sure that he was getting his healthy meals, and just that everything was going well.

It was such an advantage for him ultimately becoming strong. And, now, almost a year later, he is still in a great friendship with her, but also still working with her for his rehabilitation and running errands. So I’m always telling families to explore the resources that are out there for you.

There are a lot of people that just need a peace of mind visit. They may live a distance away from mom or dad and maybe they just need somebody to check in once or twice a week or maybe once a month to say, “Is there food in the refrigerator. Are mom or dad do they seem like the mail is piling up?”

Or maybe they need somebody 24/7 to take care of what they believe is someone with a cognitive issue. The thing that really attracted me with Senior Helpers is they’re the experts with cognitive issues, with Alzheimer’s and dementia. And we know that so many seniors, it’s like one in three, are dealing with memory loss, Alzheimer’s, mild cognitive impairment, so if you’re bringing someone in to help you and really help educate the family and care for your loved one, you want somebody that actually speaks that language, that has that expertise, that’s a very important differentiator.

TCC:  It sounds great. My mom is recovering from brain surgery and I’m in California right now to kind of tend to things, make sure her people are taking care of her. And she’s doing magnificently. No one would believe she’s the same person from last year to now. But the caregiving team is really important. It’s made my dad’s job a lot easier other than financially. It’s hard for him to pay for it but he’s very lucky to have these three caregivers who love and take care of my mom.

LG:  Wow. You know it’s a very unique relationship. And I always tell people to begin to explore those conversations, because it’s such a customizable option. If you’re bringing someone into your home, that has to be the right kind of relationship. You have to have those discussions and that’s part of what you need to be looking for when you’re exploring whether this is right for you or not. And that’s part of what I think makes a decision the right one. It’s when you know that you’re ready to make that choice if you’re doing it. If you’ve got the right company or not, if they’re really listening to what’s important to you and what’s meaningful to you, then you know okay great, “Here’s who we need to go with because they care about that.”

TCC:  True. How often do you get back to South Carolina?

LG:  I’m so lucky I get to go back often. I’m back about five times a year. And my family is also there, I have really close friends there. We have Leeza’s Care Connection there, and so I have lots of reasons to stay extremely involved with my community. And a big part of my heart will always be there. I haven’t lived there since I left college I haven’t lived there, but I still feel like I belong.

TCC:  It sounds like you had such a great upbringing, I’d want to be there too.

LG:  Yeah, it’s a pretty cool place to be from and it’s a welcoming place where the doors are open, the coffee’s on, everybody’s got outstretched arms to just take you in.  There’s a lot to be said for it, there really is.

TCC:  I miss you on Entertainment Tonight. How is entertainment journalism different now than when you were on the show?

LG:  I think it’s a lot harder to compete now. I’m glad I don’t have to be in the day to day world because I think it’s tough. I think that we as a culture, not just in entertainment journalism, but in general the boundaries have become extreme. You know, all bets are off and it seems that there’s not much that we consider off limits. I’m just glad that I was in it at the time when I was, which just seemed like—maybe everybody feels that way then they do a look back on their life and career. And I always think for me, my motto is ‘ever forward’ and I think that’s the best way to live your life.

The people working in it now, I really give them credit. They have to be self-promoters, they have to really understand marketing, they have to compete on a much different level, and I’m sure it’s still such a great industry. I think it’s still a really exciting arena in which to express your professional chops.  But I think that it has become exceedingly more difficult to do it, to keep a taste level and compete.

TCC:  Then what do you miss the most about hosting your own show?

LG:  You know what I miss? The energy of live audiences, because there’s no substitute for that exchange that you get in real time when you’re sharing a moment, a same with people who are in that same time and space with you. I really just love that. I enjoy it when I get to travel and make speeches now. I like that a lot too. But that’s probably the thing that I miss the most.

TCC:  Well you’ve been incredibly personable. You seem to like people. And hearing about that, it is a perfect balance between being storyteller and a listener.

LG:  Thank you for that. Well, that’s a very lovely compliment. I really have been honored, and I feel that it has been an honor and a position of great trust and value when someone allows you to tell their story. When you get to be the vessel that holds that information. And then, you get to be the way that it makes its way to the marketplace. That’s really amazing. That’s extraordinary. And I’ve always been very indiscriminate about the kinds of stories. I love all kinds of stories and love to just be wide open to receive them and spit them back out. That’s just always to me, the greatest thrill.

TCC:  Well, you won 2015 Celebrity Apprentice. What would you say was the secret to your success on that show?

LG:  I had a burning desire. I think in life we get what we focus on and I knew what I wanted. I was passionate about having an opportunity to get to the finish line and bring attention to family caregivers, to my family’s journey, and the other millions of people who battle chronic illness and disease and their caregivers. So I really wanted that opportunity, and it gave me an awful lot of stamina.

I believe that optimism is a real driver of success because it allows us to be so resilient. If you’re optimistic, it really just means that you have the ability to bounce back and fight back and rebound from anything. So, on the show, just as in life, when things go wrong and when things distract you and when things disappoint you or you disappoint yourself, the successful person will get that lesson, receive that information, and get back on track quickly. And it’s your ability to reset I think that moves us forward. What I was able to do on Celebrity Apprentice was stay focused on my end game and not get sucked into and distracted by the drama. And I think people who get where they want to go in life are able to stay in their lane and not get distracted by the other races that are going on in the lanes on either side of them.

TCC: What do you like best about working with Dr. Denese?

LG:  I have great respect for women who have charted their own destiny and Dr. Denese has certainly done that. I think she is so smart, and so passionate, and such a good communicator, and she has a great product. So again for me it’s another great story to tell. It’s another way to empower women to be the best that they can be. So those are really wonderful things.

TCC:  I also think their concealer’s one of the best things on the market. My sister’s a huge fan of it.

LG:  There you go. Right.

TCC:  Now here’s a little lighter question and then we’ll go on to a couple more questions about Senior Helpers. What do you like to do for fun?

LG:  I love to hike. We live in California which offers some of the greatest hiking of all time, I think. And I live near one of the canyons that offers some really beautiful vistas. It’s something that I like to do actually alone often, but I drag my husband occasionally and he reluctantly goes with me because he considers a hike like a walk around the block. He’s like, “Okay, that’s fine. We’re done.” So I like to do that. I like to write, I like to express things with old school things like paper and use crafty things. It’s not that I’m incredibly crafty, but I love to relax by pulling out that box of ribbons, and buttons, and embellishments, and lace, and making cards and personal messages. I like to make people a box of hope or a box of wisdom and silly little things like that because I’m into quotes and aspirations.

TCC:  Your kids must like getting those.

LG:  Oh my gosh they roll their eyes. They can’t stand it. Some day they may appreciate it but now they just say, “Oh, it’s a mom-ism. Not another mom-ism.”

TCC:  If you were only allowed one makeup product, what would it be? Or item, not necessarily a brand, but just a…

LG:  Sunscreen.

TCC:  Sunscreen? Wow. That’s interesting, I wasn’t expecting that, but that’s a good one.

LG:  Yeah, it’s a basic and, you know, I grew up just brutalizing my skin with the cocoa butter and all of those awful things that we used to do, and I used to be really, really bronzed every summer and I look back on that now and it’s so gorgeous, but I think I would’ve backed away from the sun and worn some more sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat more often.

TCC:  So why are you so committed to helping other people working with older people?

LG:  I think that, in our culture, we find older people to be almost invisible, and it’s such a shame. The one thing, the one condition that we all suffer from, and that we all benefit from, is ageing. It starts at zero and we’re all going in the same direction, and I always try to see the young person underneath the older person and that’s all of us. We all feel the same way inside, and I think that there are so many ways for us to age well and to help our senior population get to the golden years with more dignity more independent and more enjoyment.

And it doesn’t need to be as burdensome and have as much dread factor as we assign to it. I think that we are strongest when we can see our limits and we can open up and ask for help. So that’s why I really value my partnership with Senior Helpers. I really appreciate the education that they offer families. I appreciate the fact that many families feel that they can exhale and feel some support for the first time, look at options in their care plans, look at ways to be more present with their seniors. Ways to just value day to day living. Besides they can manage it more.

Now we have three times more adult children than ever in our history looking for ways to find care for their senior parents. It used to be that the child care is the big issue in the ’80s. But now it’s family care. And there are options, there are things that we can do, there are ways that we could be more present in the workforce because we know we’ve got things taken care of with mum or dad. And it’s worth the time to investigate and explore. The kinds of services that places like Senior Helpers can offer. So is where you can begin to take a look and see if this is right for you, view up kinds of things they offer, and start exploring that conversation for your family.

Leeza Gibbons
Leeza Gibbons and dad Carlos

TCC:  But how do you deal with guilt if you live faraway and don’t think you can give your loved ones enough time?

LG:  Guilt is kind of that constant companion that most caregivers judge themselves by job performance and not by attendance. But here’s the deal. You’re showing up, and mom always said, “Show up, do your best, let go of the rest.” All you can do every day is try. And when we try, and when we make an effort, that’s your best. Some days you’re not going to do as well as maybe you thought you could’ve, or as well as you wanted to, that means you get to try again tomorrow. So, release that try again and move forward. The reality is, if you are telling your loved one your intention and showing your intention of wanting to do the best you can, then that’s it. We miss opportunities to show the people in our lives how much we care, and that’s all there is. All we can do is try.

TCC:  That’s all any of us can do.

LG:  Exactly, amen.

TCC:  What’s next for you?

LG:  Oh, gosh, I’m just so happy. Things that fall into my life have always been so wonderfully surprising, I think that the things always show up for our greater good, whether we recognize it or not. But I, like everybody, have those secret things that I’d love to do. I’d love to be a voice in an animated movie, I think that’d be super cool, and I’d love to get my contractor’s license and get an all-girl team together and remodel houses. I’ve got lots of things on the horizon that I’d like to explore, but right now I’m happy being an advocate for healthcare and running my non-profit and keeping my toe in the TV business, it’s sure been good to me.

TCC:  What is the name of your not-for-profit?

LG:  Leeza’s Care Connection.

TCC:  Now, how do you like your fans to connect with you?

LG:  I am on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook and love to have conversations with fans and followers, so I’m @leezagibbons, and

TCC:  And is there anything else you’d like to add?

LG:  I’m so glad we got a chance to connect, it’s really lovely to talk to you, Michelle, thank you.

TCC:  I am, too, thank you very much. I hope you have a wonderful day, and I wish you success in everything you do, Leeza, you sound like a wonderful person.

LG:  Same to you, and I’m glad your mom’s doing well.

TCC:  She is, thank you. And I hope your dad continues to do well, too.

Learn more about Leeza Gibbons at her website here and check out for help with your loved ones.

‘Survivor’ winner Adam Klein talks winning strategies and lung cancer treatment

Adam Klein

In 2016, Adam Klein was crowned the winner of CBS Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X.  Within an hour of his homecoming from Fiji, his beloved mother Susie passed away from a short, but hard-fought battle with lung cancer.  As he promised, he donated $100,000 to lung cancer research and has raised an additional $300,000 to further the cause.  With this being National Women’s Lung Health Week, he had a lot to say on this matter.

Klein had always been a fan of Survivor.  In fact, he planned to compete in an earlier season of the show with his mother, but sadly she received her diagnosis despite never having been a smoker and being a person who lived a healthy lifestyle.  Klein grew up in Burlingame, California and graduated from Stanford University with a degree in International Relations.  He resides in San Francisco and is the manager of a homeless shelter.

Here are a few facts about lung cancer:

  • Every eight minutes a woman loses her battle with lung cancer.
  • Only 18 percent of lung cancer cases among women are diagnosed early, when the disease is most treatable. Survival rates are five times higher when lung cancer is detected early.
  • While anyone can get lung cancer, smoking is the leading risk factor of the disease, along with radon, air pollution and secondhand smoke exposure.

Adam Klein spoke with about his interest in Survivor, dished on his relationships with other contestants, discussed challenges, what he likes to do for fun and he was joined by Addison Meth, NP, Senior Practice Manager, CVS Minute Clinic to talk about his role with American Lung Association’s “Lung Force,” what it means to #LiveLikeSusie, what are some tips to early detection of Lung Cancer, what CVS is doing to help and more.

Tech expert Katie Linendoll talks tips about Amazon smart home options

Katie Linendoll

Many of us love our smart home devices so much so that we cannot stop talking about them, like me and my Amazon Alexa Dot. Some people may gripe that their smart home device is a little too chatty, but many are curious as to how to make the most of these tools. Katie Linendoll knows the ways you can make the best use of your device and smarten up your space.

Smart devices are revolutionizing the way we interact with technology.  These voice controlled virtual assistants are bringing artificial intelligence into our lives and homes.  A recent report projects the smart home market to grow to a nearly $122 billion dollar business by 2022.

Linendoll is an Emmy Award-winning tech expert & TV personality who has been seen on the Today show, Fox News, Popular Science and more. She spoke with about ways to make your home smarter, dispelled some rumors about surveillance, how Amazon can help make the transition easier, what are some of the new skills to enable, offered easy set up tips and more.

Learn more about Katie Linendoll here and check out Amazon for more information.

Ageism experts discuss damage to seniors with inaccurate portrayals on television and in film


Ageism in Hollywood

When you watch TV, do you ever wonder if people are portrayed accurately?  Many moms are a little too perfect.  Some kids are a little too precocious. Elderly people are not shown as often as the younger counterparts and when they are they are often depicted as being slow, weak, reclusive or despondent. Finding a vibrant, active senior who is actually acknowledged as a senior, is rare unless you count Diane Keaton chick flicks. Ageism flows in TV and movies and many people don’t care, or even worse, don’t notice it.

However, the way older people are shown on screen may impact how seniors are regarded in society.  This could lead to disparate treatment of a large part of the population.

Dr. Stacy Smith, Associate Professor, University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communications and Dr. Yolangel Hernandez Suarez, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for the Care Delivery Organization at Humana, Inc. spoke with about key research on age in Hollywood, how damaging it can be when older people are disregarded, how Humana aids in this research, what are the consequences of inaccurate portrayals of seniors on screen and more.

FTD’s Andrea Ancel offers a bouquet of gift options for Mother’s Day

FTD, Mother's Day, flowers

While some moms may prefer electronics, wine or cookies, one constant gift staple for Mother’s Day will always be flowers.  The folks at FTD know what blooms will delight moms, sisters, aunts, grandmas and favorite mother figures.

RELATED: Kid-free wish list for Mother’s Day 

Andrea Ancel, Lead Floral Designer at FTD spoke with about trends in floral designs this spring, fun facts about flowers, how to extend the life of flowers, what are some of the best arrangements for Mother’s Day and more.

Check out what she has to say, then go to and look for the “Secret Deal” at the top of the page. It has a special deal that will change throughout the Mother’s Day holiday.

Cathy Carlson reveals what went into her first film ‘Everybody Has an Andy Dick Story’

Andy Dick
Photo credit: Robert Sebree

Most people have to deliver a eulogy at one time or another in their lives, however, why do we wait until someone is gone to tell them why they matter so much to us?  Comedian and first-time filmmaker Cathy Carlson started thinking about her longtime friend, actor, comedian and provocateur Andy Dick and realized that everyone seems to have an opinion on this often polarizing figure and began to film Everybody Has an Andy Dick Story.

What started as a small passion project for Carlson—that was actually intended to be a surprise for Andy Dick—grew bigger and better than she had imagined:  more than 120 people volunteered to participate.  Celebrities such as Ben Stiller, Kathy Griffin, Moby, Margaret Cho, Matt Sorum, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Steve-O, Dana Gould and more turned out to share their stories.

Everybody Has an Andy Dick Story premieres this week at the 21st Los Angeles Comedy Festival and Harlem International Film Festival. This film will also be shown on June 3 and 5 at the 16th San Francisco Documentary Festival.

Cathy Carlson spoke with about her background, her personal memories of Andy Dick, how the project grew, lessons learned from filming, what are her hopes for the film, how she chose which festivals to showcase her work and more.

Cathy Carlson   Where are you from?

Cathy Carlson:  The Chicago area.

TCC:  Where do you live now?

CC:  I live in LA right now.

TCC:  What kind of jobs have you had?

CC:  I’ve had 63 jobs in my lifetime, for the last 16 years I have worked as a personal assistant to a Hollywood screenwriter.

TCC:  Which films have you been in?

CC:  The only film I have ever had a speaking role in is a Russian movie that got turned into a mini-series. My neighbor was a casting director, and I fought with her because she kept leaving the security door propped open in the building that we lived in, and there were some shady things happening in the neighborhood at the time. She was close to getting evicted over it. We made up later, but one day she knocked on my door with a camera and said that I was perfect for this part as a crazy stalker.

She passed me in the hallway two weeks later and casually said, “Oh, by the way, you got the part.   And I hope that you have a passport because you’re going to Russia.”  She’s a great casting director and she made that happen for me. It’s the only time that I ever auditioned for her. But let’s be honest, there was every chance in the world that I would get to Russia and this was just payback, not an actual movie set.

TCC:  Do you still do stand up?

CC:  Yes, but I typically do one type of project at a time.  I have more creative ideas when I focus.

TCC:  Have you made any other films?

CC:  I’m currently filming the same style of documentary about a few other people.  I think it has a lot of potential to be a series, so I started filming them as soon as my edit was finished with this one.

TCC:  You went to college with Andy?

CC:  Yes, University of Illinois.

TCC:  What was he like then?

CC:  Andy never drank or did drugs at U of I.   He was just the funniest person that any of us had ever met.  He had a heart of gold and the artistic tenacity of the Tasmanian Devil.

Andy Dick and director Cathy Carlson

TCC:  What is something that is surprising and positive about Andy?

CC:  He’s the most honest person that I think I have ever met.

TCC:  What makes Andy likable despite being a provocateur?

CC:  He lives in the moment more than anybody I have ever met. And it’s contagious. I always have fun around him.

TCC:  How did you get the idea to do a film about Andy Dick?

CC:  We both live in Los Angeles, and I would constantly hear these hilarious stories from a wide range of people. A friend of mine was a rookie cop on LAPD and he told me that Andy pick pocketed him and used the money to buy everybody drinks at the bar that night.  I realized that he was the Keith Moon of my generation that day. And I knew. If people love talking about him that much, that the rest of the world deserved to be in on the fun.

TCC:  Why is Keith Moon important to you?

CC:  I am a huge Keith Moon fan and I know very little about him. He seemed so incredibly fun and alive, and I was bummed out that I would probably never know anybody that knew him well.  And I started thinking that Andy was really kind of similar in some ways. Andy may be a comic actor, but he lives his life like a rock star. I didn’t want people to miss out on Andy the way that I feel like I missed out on Keith Moon. So I decided to dig in and share what I could. Keith Moon was kind of the inspiration for it all in one way. And funnily enough, other people mentioned Keith Moon in interviews about Andy as well.

TCC:  What is a story you personally have with/about him?

CC:  I picked him up in LA one day when he was hitchhiking in the Hollywood Hills area. He was a little tipsy, but he is incredibly self-aware.

He got in and said, “How did you find me?  Do you have time to hang out?  Good, because we are going to have a great time tonight.  We’re going to go to a bar and hang out all night.  And the good news is that we’re going to have FUN!!  The bad news is, that I’m going to get progressively drunker and drunker, get kind of aggressive and out of control and you’re going to have to pay for the whole thing, because I don’t have any money!  Let’s go!”

I didn’t see any reason to say no.  So that’s exactly what happened, and we had a blast.

TCC:  Some of his behavior verges on sociopathic or possibly criminal, why celebrate it?

CC:  I understand why you are asking this question…I read the same things in the paper as everybody else does, and believe me, Andy orchestrates those stories brilliantly. He has the ability to make a publicist feel like a storm chaser. But it’s a mistake to write him off as a sociopath.  People can think whatever they want to think about others, and it is easier and less time consuming to dismiss people that don’t interest us.  But it doesn’t mean that what they are saying is an absolute truth.  If you are doing your homework and want to have an opinion about Andy Dick, you will get a passing grade if you just read the gossip.  But you’ve got to do the extra credit questions and hang out with him to get the A.  He is a world class provocateur, he has addiction issues, but he will make you feel more alive by hanging out with him than you can imagine.  Dana Gould says in the documentary, “The same machine that makes the good stuff, makes the bad stuff.”

TCC:  What is something that people would be surprised to know about Andy?

CC:  Ha ha…. That depends on who is asking.

TCC:  Is this your first film?

CC:  Yes.  I bought a camera and started shooting. And it shows in many ways.  But I like that aspect of it.  I didn’t try to do more than I knew how to do, and all the wires show.  Literally…. in one shot with Grant Show, there’s a wire in the corner of the frame.  You can see all of my mistakes everywhere.  Even when I hired a professional crew to film Ben Stiller, a moth makes his way through the shot.  There were so many f##k ups on my part, but the story is solid.

TCC:  Who are some of the people in the movie?

CC:  Deon Cole from Blackish, Matt Sorum (The Cult, Velvet Revolver, Guns N’ Roses), Kathy Griffin, Ben Stiller,  Nick Swardson, Joel Gallen, Dr. Drew Pinsky,  Steve – O, Margaret Cho, Moby, Sherri Shepherd, Dan Mathews (PETA), Pauly Shore, Bobby Lee, Maz Jobrani, Greg Fitzsimmons, Benjy Bronk, Jimmy Pardo, Kate Flannery, (The Office), Byron Bowers, Dana Gould, (The Simpsons), Vicki Lewis, (NewsRadio), Kira Soltanovich (Girls Behaving Badly)

TCC:  How did you solicit people to be in your film?

CC:  There’s a lot of goodwill out there for Andy.  I tried to get seasoned producers to do this project, but nobody wanted to take it on.  So once I decided to do everything myself, things fell into place easily.  It was meant to be my project.  I had a very clear vision from the beginning, and I’m happy that nobody else took me up on my requests for them to produce or direct it.
Eventually, I teamed with IMWP, a production company in England, who had never even heard of Andy Dick.

TCC:  Did your current boss (the screenwriter) help you with the project at all?

CC:  I definitely kept this separate from my job for the most part.  However, I did ask her to put me in touch with a Joel Gallen, as I wanted him to direct it.  She did it right away, and he took my call because of her. He also was incredibly instrumental in guiding me in this project. He told me that I needed to direct it and that I had to have Ben Stiller in it.  Ben gave Andy his start in Hollywood.  I have so much respect for Joel, that I didn’t want to look like an idiot in front of him.  So I casually said, okay, I can do that. And then proceeded to freak out a little bit every day trying to figure out how to get Ben in this.  For the most part, agents and managers blew me off for requests for their clients.  So I really did get everybody through friends. Joel also had several films that he made with Andy and he just gave them to me to use. I had to clear them, but I never had to wait around to get the footage because Joel gave it to me right away. There’s a lot of people that were crucial in this project, and Joel was one of them. And if it weren’t for my boss, I don’t think that he would have been easy to reach.

TCC:  Who else helped you make the film?

CC:  There are so many people that I want to mention, but mostly, I couldn’t have done it without the editor and consulting producer, Randy Redroad and the other consulting producers: Rob Cohen, Kira Soltanovich, Ralph Garman and Joel Gallen. They were all consulting producers on the project and each one of them gave me advice that I couldn’t have lived without. I had a vision, and their input pushed me to make the most of that vision.

TCC:  How did Andy react to the film?

CC:  At first, he was in shock. And I both understood that, and knew that would happen. I gave him a lot of breathing room to get used to the idea. Ultimately, I’ve honored him, but without his approval, this could be seen as an invasion of his life. I wanted him to receive it the way that I intended it and as all of the artists intended it. We saw each other a lot after I showed it to him and I just didn’t bring it up. I kept filming people waiting for Andy to sign off. Finally, a year and a half later, in a sober living house in Malibu, he sat on the couch and watched the first 15 minutes on my phone and signed off on it. I took the paper and ran like hell to my editor’s place.

Andy Dick and son watching the film

This was the missing link.  Editing in his reactions to the documentary.  Randy Redroad edited it, but he’s an artist.  He’s a genius. He completely understood what I wanted to do and he raised it to the next level for me.

TCC:  What was the process of applying for film festivals?

CC:  I went on Film Freeway and Without A Box and picked the ones that appealed to me.

TCC:  Will you be at both Harlem Film Festival and LA comedy Festival?

CC:  Yes.

TCC:  Where can people see your film?

CC:  For now, at film festivals.  I will post the screenings on the website:

TCC:  What are your hopes for the film?

CC:  I see this as a series that goes international. It is a different take on documentaries. It involves a lot of raw truth and humanity.  There are people in this world who are extraordinary, and have the courage to live out loud. And I plan on celebrating them, mistakes and all. I’ve already started filming three others because I learned along the way that it could be beneficial to film multiple projects at the same time.

TCC:  How would you like people to connect with you?

CC:  There is a link on the website where people can email me.

TCC:  Where can people learn more about the film?

CC:  I will post updates on the website and on social media.

TCC:  What’s next for you?

CC:  I’m interested in doing more comedy directing.

Learn more about Cathy Carlson and Everybody Has an Andy Dick Story here and follow on social media:


Twitter: @AndyDickStory

Instagram: @AndyDickStory

Facebook: @EverybodyHasAnAndyDickStory


Talking transcontinental food fusion with ‘Ladies of London’ star Marissa Hermer

Marissa Hermer, Ladies of London, Bravo

Spring is a great time to explore some new recipes and Marissa Hermer, restaurateur and star of Bravo’s Ladies of London just launched a new cookbook that will help us Yanks serve up some delicious homestyle British food, with a California twist.

Food has always been important to Hermer who grew up in Southern California. She graduated from Vermont’s Middlebury College and moved to New York to work in PR.  In 2008, she followed her now husband Matt Hermer to London. Matt is a successful club owner and restaurateur and his restaurant Bumpkin is a huge hit.  Soon after the move, they were married and now have three children.

In 2014, she was drafted to appear on the Bravo hit reality series Ladies of London.  She opened her first solo restaurant Top Dog in 2015, which has since closed.  The family recently moved back to California, but will continue to bounce between the continents.

Matt’s simple tastes intrigued her and she embraced making more traditional fare, however, she didn’t fully stray from healthy California cuisine.  Some of her favorite recipes featured in the book include Corn Fritters, Patricia’s Lamb and Barley Irish Stew, Sourdough Bread and Butter Pudding and Eclipse’s Watermelon Martini.

Marissa Hermer dished to about being on Ladies of London,  her culinary background, what makes British food so good, how cookbook An American Girl in London has something for everyone, what she likes to do for fun and more.  What’s new with you?

Marissa Hermer:  This has been a busy few months – we came to Los Angeles after Christmas and have spent the last few months getting the children settled, moving into our Pacific Palisades house, and adjusting to LA life (and soaking up as much sunshine as possible, as we missed it for years living in London!)

TCC:  Where are you from?

MH:  I grew up in Laguna Beach and the moved to Newport Beach when I was 10. I went to boarding school in Monterey, California and then college at Middlebury in Vermont.

TCC:  How did you first get interested in cooking?

MH:  I’ve always loved food, but I really only got interested in cooking when I met and married Matt and then started growing a family with him (and needing to feed everyone!)

TCC:  What is your culinary point of view?

MH:  We are big Farmers Market people – I love cooking with local seasonal ingredients to make nourishing meals.

TCC:  British food seems to have a bad rep; what do you like best about British food?

MH:  When I first moved to London a decade ago, British food did have a bad rap, but I really think this has changed over the last several years. There is such a mix of flavorful ethnic foods and high quality local produce and casual and fine dining… The Brits do homey, cozy, comfort food best. ​

TCC:  Tell me about Bumpkin?

MH:   My husband Matt started Bumpkin over a decade ago and it now has 4 locations in South Kensington, Chelsea, Notting Hill and Stratford. Our seasonal menus at Bumpkin use all local ingredients – it really is the Best of British.

TCC:  Who are some chefs or home cooks whom you really admire?

MH:   I love Ina Garten.

TCC:  How did you get involved with Ladies of London?

MH:  My friend Noelle Reno was talking to the Bravo producers when they were developing the show and they asked her to recommend a few other American girls in London – and my name was put forward. Initially I wasn’t interested in being on television, but then my husband convinced me to try it – saying that if it didn’t work out then it was just something crazy I did and if it did work out, then who knows what would happen!

TCC:  What was your favorite thing about being on the show?

MH:  Of course there were fights and tears, but on the whole we had a good time with each other.

TCC:  What do you miss most about America when you are in London? Or vice versa as you seemed to have moved.

MH:  We’ve actually kept our house in London and still own and operate Bumpkin restaurants and Eclipse bars – so just a bit more bicontinental. In London, of course I miss the California sunshine, sunsets over the Pacific Ocean and fleshy ripe Avocados. And while in California, I miss Sunday walks in Hyde Park to feed the swans, the fun nightlife and lazy Sunday Roasts with dear friends and family.

TCC:  Please tell me about your book.

MH:  When I moved to London to be with my then boyfriend (now husband), a British restaurateur who prefers meat and potatoes to guacamole, my California BBQ took a backseat to the classic Sunday roast and sticky toffee pudding elbowed out the s’mores. As I made my home in England and started a family of my own, I didn’t want to loose my roots and so I began incorporating a bit of California into my recipes, creating homey British favorites with a brighter twist.

Drawing inspiration from my American upbringing and British cuisine, the 120 recipes in An American Girl in London show how to cook delicious, nourishing, family-friendly fare that earns raves on both sides of the pond. From a flavorful sourdough bread and butter pudding to a rich mushroom and tarragon pie, I show you how to amp up the flavors of home to keep you, your family and friends feeling fit, loved and completely nourished.

TCC:  What makes it unique?

MH:   My home kitchen might not be the most traditional, it’s a match made in transatlantic heaven.

TCC:  What do you like to do for fun?

MH:  We love nothing more than inviting friends and their families over to our house for afternoon BBQs in the sun with too much rosé.

TCC:  What are some charities that you support?
MH:  I’m on the board of the NSPCC in the UK.

TCC:  How do you like fans to connect with you?

MH:   I love hearing from fans on Instagram and Twitter – is such a great way to connect with fans of the show and of my book.

TCC:  What’s next for you?

MH:  Matt and I are looking for sites in LA to open some of our favorite British restaurants in Los Angeles.

You can buy her book An American Girl in London, on Amazon and other book sellers.