Celebrity Fashion Publicist Kelly Cutrone Comes to Marist
The lecture was scheduled to begin at 9:30 and it is now almost quarter to as PR guru, Kelly Cutrone, strolls into the Nelly Goletti. If it had been anyone else the audience might have been annoyed at the tardiness, but the fact that she arrived fashionably late seems fitting. As she walks down the aisle and makes her way up to the podium there are whispers of excitement from the hundred of girls (and a few boys) who woke up early just to see the celebrity publicist speak.
“Oh my God I can’t believe it’s really her,” whispers a girl sitting behind me to her equally as star-struck friend.
Cutrone approaches the podium in her signature all black outfit, apologizing for her tardiness blaming it on traffic on Route 9, and then jumps right into the lecture. She starts off asking what grade members of the audience are in and then tells seniors to apply for assistant jobs at her firm because she fired her two previous ones this past weekend.
Cutrone has gained celebrity status for being the founder of the highly successful public relations and marketing firm People’s Revolution, as well as writing a New York Times bestselling memoir titled If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You. She also starred in her own reality show Kell on Earth, made appearances on The Hills and The City, and most recently was selected as a judge on the 18th season of America’s Next Top Model.
According to Danielle DeZao, a senior and the Director of Communications for this year’s Silver Needle Fashion Show, Marist first connected with Cutrone when DeZao reached out to her via Twitter in February inviting her to an event hosted by the fashion department called Creating Courage.
“Myself and my other co-directors Madeline Bergeron and Amanda DeTurris knew we wanted to develop our relationship with [Kelly] and keep her involved in the Fashion Program at Marist,” said DeZao. “At the end of Creating Courage she was so impressed with the execution and segments of the event that she offered to come and speak at Marist for free.”
After a few jokes and a small introduction on why she was there Kelly began to tell the audience her story of how she got to be where she is today.
“My story is generational,” said Cutrone as she spoke about growing up in Syracuse New York, her brief stint in nursing school, and finally how she broke into the PR business.
The lecture did not come without its fair share of profanity and sarcasm.
“Am I allowed to say fuck here,” asked Cutrone with a laugh. “I said it 77 times in my New York Times best seller. The kids love it.”
However, despite the witty comments and humor, there was a more serious overlying theme to the lecture that was based around gaining success and what it takes to get there. Cutrone was honest with the crowd in saying that her success did not come over night and took a lot of hard work and consistency.
“I figured out who I was and what I wanted to be by figuring out who I wasn’t and what I didn’t want first,” said Cutrone. ” I’m unapologetic for the things that i have manifested in my life.”
Kelly’s advice leaned more towards the tough love side but seemed to resonate with the students.
“I really appreciated how straight forward she was with her advice,” said Nicole Foshino, a sophomore fashion merchandising major who attended the lecture. “What she said was honest but also motivating and inspiring.”
Cutrone stressed following your own dreams and not letting anyone decide your future.
“Doing things for your parents is the wrong things to do after 18,” said Cutrone. “And if your parents try to tell you that your dreams aren’t real tell them fuck you.”
The big question on everyone’s mind in the audience was how to get a job working for a company as successful as Kelly’s . Cutrone’s best advice was to have a willingness to do what it takes, stick it out when things get rough, and don’t think that having a college degree is enough to get you the job. And when you do finally secure that position be prepared to hate yourself, your job, and everyone you work with at least once a month.
Despite some of the brutal honesty Cutrone ended the lecture on a very positive and inspirational note.
“There is nothing standing in the way of your success,” she said. “Take risks and you can have anything you want.”
After the lecture Cutrone offered to sign copies of her memoir that people brought but asked that no pictures be taken with her due to her lack of make-up. According to Foshino, who did not have a book to be signed, Cutrone offered to send her a free signed copy in the mail.
Cutrone even surprised the fashion department by showing up there after the event.
“Following her speaking engagement we went back to the Fashion Department where she spontaneously taught our whole Fashion Show Production Class, giving us priceless tips on how to produce the Silver Needle Fashion Show,” said DeZao. “We could not have asked for a more thorough and inspiring day with Kelly.”