First of all, let me clarify that all of this is completely fucking true. Like, word-for-word. Secondly, this might not be funny to anyone else but me but honestly this is my favorite marketer that I’ve ever dealt with in the history of the universe. Remember Blair from Facts of Life? Well her publicist contacted me and asked if I wanted to interview her. Fucking, for real y’all. This is that story. But kinda paraphrased because the publicist is kinda long winded and uses too many caps.
To: jenny @thebloggess.com
Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 2009 12:00 PM
Subject: Re: TV STAR MOM WHO REVEALS HOW SHE DOWN-SIZED & RAISED FAMILY ON A BUDGET
STAR OF NATIONAL HIT SHOW “FACTS OF LIFE” LISA WHELCHEL WHO WALKED AWAY FROM HOLLYWOOD, FAME & FORTUNE & DOWN-SIZED HER LIFE TO BECOME A MOM & A PASTOR’S WIFE SHARES HER TOOLS & TIPS FOR MOMS FOR RAISING A FAMILY ON A TIGHT BUDGET IN THESE TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES
Lisa Whelchel’s story started out like a Hollywood fairytale but reality hit when she lost her lavish home and had to come up with creative solutions to stretch a tight household budget to raise her family on a pastor’s salary: She left home bound for Hollywood at just 12 years old, landed a coveted spot as a Disney Mouseketeer for “The New Mickey Mouse Club,” and then catapulted to national fame at just 16 years old as the star of the hit National Television Show “The Facts of Life” and became America’s sweetheart – but found herself suddenly thrust into the spotlight facing harsh criticism for her weight at a young and vulnerable age. She now reveals that producers brought scales out onto the set to weigh her and threatened that they would not film the show and would fire her if she didn’t lose weight. She and co-star Nancy McKeon responded by going out to lunch for hamburgers!
With her trademark sense of humor, optimism, and confidence, Lisa Whelchel stood up for herself and proved that she could overcome anything. She thrived and came out on top earning her place as America’s darling, successfully maintaining her role as Blair Warner for 9 years on “The Facts of Life” from 1979 to 1988.
Then, in a startling move, she walked away from it all and from Hollywood to become a pastor’s wife. She filmed the last episode of “The Facts of Life” in March 1988 and just 5 months later, she got married – to a young man she had met at church 2 years earlier, Steve. 10 months later she was expecting her 1st child – and would go on to have 3 children, 3 years in a row. Lisa has found being mother and a wife the most fulfilling role of her life – and has written more than 10 books jam-packed with tools and tips for busy moms to help them make the most of their lives and to make every dollar count.
Lisa Whelchel is currently on tour with the Nation’s Largest Women’s Conference – “Women of Faith” which has attracted nearly 4 Million women since it launched in 1996.
Lisa Whelchel is so committed to living a downsized life as a mom that she even passed on JENNIFER ANISTON’s Role on “FRIENDS” which was offered to her. That role made Jennifer Aniston’s career and she earned $25 Million in 2008 and was ranked the #8 highest earning celebrity in Hollywood on FORBES 2009 Celebrity 100 List. It’s difficult to imagine a more dramatic contrast to living on a pastor’s salary!
I hope you will consider an interview with LISA WHELCHEL for any Parenting Stories you may be working on or Trend Stories on how Women & Moms Are Helping Each Other Cope in this Recession. I look forward to hearing from you and to working together.
From: Jenny @thebloggess.com
Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 2009 1:22 PM
Hi Holly. So are you offering me a personal interview with Lisa or is this one of those mass interviews with a ton of bloggers and press?
Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 2009 3:23 PM
Please let me assure you this is not a mass interview by any means. I can arrange an Email Interview for you with Lisa Whelchel — If you can share your Questions with me, I can secure direct, personal Answers from her. If you would prefer a phone interview, please let me know and I can explore that as well. I look forward to working with you.
From: jenny @thebloggess.com
Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 2009 3:38 PM
Email works great for me. Here are my questions for Lisa. Depending on how things turn out these might be on my Houston Chronicle blog or one of my other columns.
1. Lisa, I adore you and you were my favorite girl on the Facts of Life (except when Molly Ringwald was on there that first season) because you always seemed more aware of your personal flaws even when they were most flagrant. So my question is, do you have Molly’s number and can I have it?
2. My four year old has a special name for her “private area” and somehow she decided it was called a “Tootie”. Being an avid watcher of Facts of Life, this disturbs me. Should I just let it go or insist she rename it? I want her to call it “vagina” because I think kids should use the proper terms for their body parts but my friend says it’s technically a “vulva” and that by calling it a “vagina” I am perpetrating a common misnomer. I just have a problem with a four-year-old saying “vulva”. Who’s right?
3. My sister is an avid homeschooler and I know you are a strong proponent of homeschooling but just between you and me, my sister is not really that bright. I mean, she’s street-smart, but I don’t think her kids really need to know the best way to buy dope and also my sister hasn’t done dope in years and so she probably wouldn’t even know the best way to buy dope now anyway. I don’t even think it’s *called* dope anymore. This is how little we now know about dope. My question is, don’t you have to be super smart to homeschool, and also what’s the new word for dope?
4. What’s the square root of 81? Just checking to make sure you’re qualified to answer question 3. If you have to look it up please note that in your answer.
5. What would you say is your biggest attribute besides your hair?
6. Your song, “Cover Me, Lord“, is very pretty but I think it would be more mainstream if it was something about getting shot at by radical non-Christians and you’re all “Cover me, Lord!” and he picks up a bazooka but in the end all the people he killed would be up in heaven with him because it’s a “Bazooka Of Salvation”. And then they’d all be like “Ah! You got me, Lord!” and point at him like those Mentos commercials. That would be awesome. This is less of a question than a suggestion, I guess.
7. Who do you like better…Jesus or God?
8. Trick question. The only acceptable answer is “both”. Although technically I have a soft spot for Jesus because you never see God’s hair in the pictures…just his hands sticking out of clouds. It’s weird. What are the hands attached to? Am I not supposed to wonder if there’s something wrong with his face? Like maybe he has a bad scar or two noses. It’s unsettling. But I’d still love God even if he did have two noses. Or maybe that’s a test to see if you really love God even if he has two noses. In fact, I think I’d probably love him even more because I would feel so bad for him because you know when people get to heaven and they’re all excited about seeing God and then he looks down with his two noses they’re all “Um…what…?” and he’s all *sad sigh*. That sucks for everybody. Except me because I don’t care how many noses God has. That’s how I roll.
9. But if Jesus and God were both trapped in a burning building and you could only save one, which one would you choose? I think I’d choose Jesus because he hasn’t lived as long. Except he’d probably feel guilty about his dad but technically he’s already died once and I think that’s probably enough for anyone except for Lazarus who had to die twice. I always wonder if Lazarus was ticked off the second time he died because he was all “Crap. Again?“
10. Do you think Lazarus was ticked off he had to die again?
11. We have a lot in common. We’re both Texas girls. You’ve written a lot of books. I’ve sat next to a lot of books. We both wore sweaters in the 80’s. I think we should be friends. But you have to be cool with my sense of humor. And with my sister who may or may not be able to buy us dope. Also, I don’t really do dope now that I’m a mom so if you do you have to do it outside because I don’t really need a contact high because I’m already on a lot of xanax and I have to be able to drive.
12. Your husband is a pastor. Whenever people talk about pastoral paintings I always think they’re talking about a painting with a bunch of pastors in it but usually they’re referring to pastures. Why don’t they say “pastural”?
Thanks so much for taking the time to read and answer my questions, Lisa. You really were an inspiration to me growing up and I wish you success in all you do. Now I’m going to go sing The Facts of Life theme song in my head for the rest of the night because it is completely stuck there now. Seriously, it is the most addictive theme song ever. Except maybe the WKRP song. That’s one’s worse.
Crap. Now I have the WKRP song stuck in my head.
Good Mom/Bad Mom on the Houston Chronicle & The Bloggess.com
Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 2009 7:09 PM
Thank you — I will forward your Questions to Lisa Whelchel and be back in touch with her Responses —
FYI — Lisa has called Dallas home for a number of years so she is based in Texas as well — and she will actually be appearing at the “Women of Faith” conference in Dallas on Aug 21-22 to share her story, Although I realize that Dallas is nearly a 4 hr drive from Houston we actually generally do see ladies drive in from hours away for the conferences and stay at local hotels overnight — so that could be a local angle for the Houston market.
Either way, we would sincerely appreciate it if you would include a mention of Lisa’s involvement in “Women of Faith” in your article — and if possible, a link to our website www.womenoffaith.com
Thank you — I will be back in touch soon!
This is when I thought that surely this chick must be shitting me but I waited patiently for a response.
Then, many, many days later I got this:
Sent: Monday, July 13, 2009 5:32 PM
I hope you’re well —
I would like to thank you for your interest in Lisa Whelchel —
Unfortunately, after reviewing the questions, we regret that we will not be able to provide responses from her. We had offered an email interview with her on the subjects of how moms can down-size in this tight economy and her involvement in “Women of Faith” inspiring women across the country with her story. I hope you can appreciate that as the questions don’t focus on either of these topics, we will not be able to provide responses.
Thank you for your understanding.
From: jenny @thebloggess.com
Sent: Monday, July 13, 2009 7:15 PM
Is this because I wouldn’t let her smoke dope in my house? Because I’m flexible on that.
She has to bring her own dope though.
So far there has been no response from the Whelchel camp. I can only assume that means she’s thinking about it.
PS. Just wanted to clarify that I think Lisa Whelchel and Holly are both extremely nice people, and that my sister is actually really smart and is more than capable of buying dope. Also, I feel a little of bad about this whole post but I’d feel worse if they didn’t make it so fucking easy.
Comment of the day: Square roots are entirely over-rated. Also, I can start an IV on you full of horse tranquilizers. Who’s the smart one now? ~ my sister