Meeting fascinating people is one of the perks of blogging and have I got a fascinating author to welcome here today. Author Selena Coppock joins us to talk about her debut book, THE NEW RULES FOR BLONDES, HIGHLIGHTS FROM A FAIR-HAIRED LIFE, a collection of essays celebrating and subverting the blonde stereotype.
Being born a blonde, the title of this book instantly got my attention. I had to find out more and am I glad I did. I found a multi-talented author that tells it like it is in this book that will make blondes proud. Besides, look at that face. You know she would have you smiling within minutes of meeting her (and I’m not just talking about her fabulous golden locks).
The modern blonde is savvy, wise, confident, and capable – a la Hillary Clinton, Dolly Parton, Madonna, and Lady Gaga. THE NEW RULES FOR BLONDES is chock full of Selena’s misadventure, tongue in cheek advice about avoiding hair disasters, and the consequences of dating a man who cares a little too much about his own hair. From finding a blondentourage, to running in heels, to keeping it classy and avoiding the biggest hair disasters of all time, THE NEW RULES FOR BLONDES is part cautionary tale, part pop culture bonanza and part unadulterated fun. THE NEW RULES FOR BLONDES is a modern, laugh-out-loud guide for everyone whether their blonde hair comes from a bottle, a beloved colorist, a parent’s genes or is simply a state of mind.
Selena has graciously answered some questions for me about her book, blondes and writing.
Mason - The title of your book suggests there were old rules for blondes. Can you tell us some differences between the old and new?
Yes, in the book I talk about the proverbial “old rules” for blondes, which pigeonholed us using the reductive Madonna/whore dichotomy. That is, every blonde must be a stupid naïf or a materialistic slut—that was the gist of the blonde archetype. With these “new rules” I’m pushing for a more multi-faceted portrayal of blondes and I’m advocating for light haired ladies to be bold blondes. To that end, I include some useful information in the book (how to throw a punch or a drink, phrases in different languages, an interview with a colorist) in addition to the fun, true stories from my life as a blonde.
Mason - What compelled you to write this book?
The concept was actually cooked up by my brilliant literary agent (Elizabeth Evans at Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency) and the original editor (Stephanie Meyers) who are both bold blondes and saw a space in the marketplace for a fun book about blondeness. Elizabeth was familiar with my standup and storytelling and she got us all together to brainstorm the book.
I’ve always been quite “into” my hair and I write pop culture reference-filled essays on my blog, which Stephanie saw and liked. I love giving advice to friends about hair care and styling and THE NEW RULES FOR BLONDES was a great soapbox for me to share my opinions and thoughts about good hair (also, about life and assorted pop culture minutiae).
I’ve been performing standup and storytelling for years and a lot of those pieces were easily adapted to be essays and it was so nice to reformat things. The format of an essay enabled me to slow things down, have fun with asides and footnotes, and flesh out stories.
Mason - Why do you think blondes have always been the butt of so many jokes, yet so many women want to be blonde?
Isn’t that a crazy phenomenon? I think that so many women want to be blonde because light hair stands out—it catches the eye. But that eye catching quality can be good (when it makes you stand out among other gals at a bar) and bad (when it inspires jealousy or anger). I think that the negativity surrounding blondeness (for example, dumb blonde jokes) is a form of punishment for having such bold, awesome hair. It sort of balances everything out. Nothing can be a cake walk all the time. But having people assume you’re dumb is a small price to pay for having great hair.
Mason - With the book’s release, as you look back what was the biggest surprise that occurred in writing the story?
For the chapter “Know How to Work the Weave” I interviewed a brilliant colorist who is also my pal, Michael Robinson of the Anthony Prieto Salon in New York City. I learned so much from her—she’s a fantastic colorist and I thought I knew a lot about blondeness, but she schooled me.
Hair coloring involves so many variables—your underlying pigment, the color that you are seeking, porosity and condition of your hair, level of developer used, timing—and there are so many places where things can go so wrong. It’s really incredible! It also involves a fair amount of math (as far as what level of developer to use—all of those things have number codes and different numbers give different results depending on timing), and if there’s one thing I hate more than having bad roots, it’s math.
Mason - If you weren’t a blonde, what hair color would you want?
I think that red hair is gorgeous and perhaps even more eye-catching than blonde (I know! Am I a hypocrite or what?), so I think that if I ever strayed from blonde I’d explore life on the auburn side.
Mason - This is your first book, what can readers look forward to next from you?
I’m always performing standup and storytelling, so much more of that (all my gigs are listed here: http://www.selenacoppock.com/GIGS.html).
Plus, I write recaps of The Bachelor on my blog, so the next time ABC fires up that tired old franchise, you better believe I’ll be sharpening my tongue. My recaps are posted to my blog, http://selenacoppock.blogspot.com
Selena, thanks so much for joining us and giving an update on blondeness. I have to tell you, your book gave me a whole new appreciation for my hair color. So bring on the blonde jokes, I’m ready now.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Selena (and I wasn’t), here’s a bit of background. Selena is a standup comedian, writer, and storyteller based in New York City. Her writing has also been featured on TheFrisky, McSweeney's the Collared Sheep, and Rock Bottom Stories. Selena's storytelling abilities have been showcased at shows throughout New York and Boston, including RISK! (live and show and podcast), Stripped Stories, and, at The Moth Story Slam (where she tied for 1st place with her "After Hours" story in March 2011).
She has been seen telling jokes and doing characters on VH1, RooftopComedy.com, CollegeHumor.com, TheApiary.com, ComedySmack.com, PMSports.com, and elsewhere. She has also been featured on the Glamour Magazine blog, the Lucky magazine blog, the Examiner, the Boston Globe, LA Weekly, Boston Metro, and the Boston Phoenix.
She has trained at ImprovOlympic (Chicago), Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (NY), and ImprovAslyum (Boston) and has earned spots in a multitude of comedy festivals, including the Boston Comedy Festival, NY Comedy Contest, Detroit Comedy Festival, North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival, Out of Bounds Festival, Ladies Are Funny Festival, and the Women In Comedy Festival.
When not pushing her pro-blonde agenda, Selena can usually be found in a dive bar lamenting the breakup of Guns ‘n Roses and putting Bob Seger’s “Night Moves” on the juke box.
Thanks so much for dropping by today. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this fun book later this month. Are you a blonde or have you always wanted to be one?