Kelly Cutrone: My $1 million salary is ‘not a lot of money anymore’

Kelly Cutrone

Does anyone still remember Kelly Cutrone? She was one of The Hills cast members (she appeared as Lauren Conrad’s boss), but she’s not a mere reality television star. Kelly went onto the program to publicize her own fashion PR company, People’s Revolution. Kelly is successful in her own right and produces fashion shows for heavyweights like Vivienne Westwood, Valentino, Bvulgari, and Longchamp. Kelly also still dresses in all black and never wears makeup.

Kelly has given a new interview to HuffPo to talk about why she’s tried to diversify her professional life with reality tv, a short-lived talk show, and her memoir, If You Have to Cry, Go Outside. Kelly spins a sob story during her career talk. She admits to making $1 million per year, but she says it’s not enough in NYC. She lists her various expenses and sounds like the ultimate first-world problem:

Her life in fashion PR: “When I look back on my life, I’m sorry that I didn’t train myself earlier to to take better care of myself, Kelly the soul, Kelly the person. I think I spent way too many nights on the floor doing seating charts when you know, I could have been meditating or at a soup kitchen or something. If you’re looking for a nine-to-five job, fashion is not the industry to be in. It just isn’t. And even if you do get a nine-to-five job, you’re probably not going to have a great career. Anybody who is really, really successful in their career has not followed a normal work [schedule].”

Her longevity in the fashion industry: “First of all, there are no old people in fashion. Let’s just talk about ageism. We have Grace Coddington and Bill Cunningham. Who else is there? I’m 48. I’ve had a great level of success, more than most people in my industry, and I still have to work every day. The people who I know who have owned PR firms either end up in rehab, they go swim with dolphins, they join Greenpeace, they join a lesbian commune in Vermont or they quietly go away and you don’t see them anymore. For me, I went on the The Hills for free. I thought this is a great way to get my clients’ messages out. By the time I left I was making a sh-t load of money — like $50,000 an episode. So you do 12 episodes and you make $600,000 dollars — that to me is a good game.”

It’s hard to be a millionaire: “I have a multi-million dollar company, but I personally have made a million dollars a year — that’s not a lot of money anymore, just do the math. The taxes alone are at $300,000-$400,000. Then you have agents and managers and business managers that take another 5 percent, throw in private school in New York City, that’s like $44,000. A nanny is like $60,000 to $70,000. I support my mom. A New York apartment, $8,000. A mortgage on my house, another $5,000 and $24,000 in taxes there. It’s $650 a month to park my car. It goes pretty quickly.”

Her fashion friends have the same problem: “Forget about breaking through the ceiling. There is no ceiling, it’s like a coffin. You know my friends who are editors are the most famous fashion people in the world. They are making $200,000-$300,000 a year. That might seem like a lot of money, but not for their lifestyle. When you are spending $1,500 on shoes because you need a pair of Azzedine shoes for the front row [of a fashion show] and you don’t want to take the editor bag because you don’t want to have to write about it, it adds up.”

[From HuffPo]

Guuuurl, please. Does Kelly really think that complaining about her million-dollar salary is going to win her any fans? If you can’t afford your lifestyle, no matter the salary, then downsize. Sell the home in upstate New York and start taking the subway. Katie Holmes and several other “celebrities” take the subway every day. There’s absolutely no reason, even in NYC, to pay $650 per month for a parking spot. Kelly is a single mom and works some pretty outrageous hours, so the nanny expense is reasonable. Her friends seem like they have the same sort of complaints. They must wear expensive shoes for fashion shows, but they don’t want to take $1,500 freebies because that means they’ll have to write a paragraph or two of text. Huh.

Kelly Cutrone

Photos courtesy of WENN

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108 Responses to “Kelly Cutrone: My $1 million salary is ‘not a lot of money anymore’”

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  1. Erinn says:

    She doesn’t seem like the kind of person who cares about winning fans over.
    I loved seeing her yelling at the girls on Top Model – generally warranted yelling, though not always.

    • Babalon says:

      I watched one episode years ago wherein some girl gave her constructive criticism that was unsolicited. Unsolicited, but SPOT-ON.

      Her response was not…gracious. She showed a disturbing level of passive-aggressive behavior in retaliation. Not impressed. She’s an angry troll.

      • Nancy says:

        I am in shock that she’s even a person. Like, how did this happen that she’s famous? Im flabbergasted!

  2. Snazzy says:

    Today is just a ” bitch please” kinda day, it would seem …

  3. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    Wow. Talk about having your head up your behind.

  4. G says:

    I think it’s tefreshing she’s spelling it out like this… so much consumerism in fashion puts everything out of touch- makes you realize most people are just getting by or racking up debt.

    • Annaloo. says:

      I think what she is saying is true across a lot of entertainment/media/commercial art fields… the glam factor is high, but the money rarely meets the true pricetags of the lifestyle. I think someone like Cutrone regularly puts in 14-16 hour days, she would NEED that $650 a month parking spot bc in NYC, reliable transportation is needed when you’re at that level. A lot of people tend to take the “cry me a river” position when people who work in these fields complain, but I don’t think she is complaining so much as laying out the truth of her finances and showing the receipts. That she knows the numbers says more for validating what she’s talking about than anything.

      I worked on a film crew for a film with Jennifer Connelly, Paul Bettany and Anthony Mackie– pretty glam and amazing, right? At the end of the shoot I had realized that an AMC theater worker was making more and I cannot tell you how much I did with out being paid for. ( I don’t blame the actors, I blame the production department) THese are grueling fields, with demanding situations and -worse – positions where you’re always replaceable bc no one wants to hear “no”. I have been maneuvering out of it, but that Cutrone said that her colleagues disappear into futures where they are trying to find spirituality and purpose is completely understandable.

      • Mixtape says:

        +1000. I won’t go into my own experience, but it is hard working in the fashion/entertainment/music industry when you are not one of the top-paid players. I’m not a big fan of KC, but I recognize she works tooth and nail for her money. The only thing that, to me, looks excessive on her list is the second home–however, she probably considers it her “first home”–i.e., the place she works to pay the bills on, the haven she has created for her daughter, the purpose of everything, with the apartment more of a job necessity. I make a fraction of a fraction of what she does, and it’s easy to think of everything I would do with her money if I had it–but that’s taking her salary and applying it to my middle-class suburban lifestyle. She can’t have such a lifestyle and continue to make money in her industry.

      • MMRMB says:

        You know what ? I call BS on the “reliable parking spot”
        I lived in NYC and yes, it is expensive, but you can CHOOSE to live somewhere cheaper and just as safe and still on the Island of Manhattan within walking distance to Midtown]
        She can choose to take the subway which, is quite efficient (more than driving) or a cab (decently priced)
        If she’s taking a salary , she can choose to write off some of those expenses to the business.
        Its called living within your means. Something that, living in this economy she might want to consider more.
        Before you complain about what you don’t have, think about what you do have, living in your means, saving for the future and caring less about keeping up with the Jones’ .
        If you want to live like that fine.
        I find it really offensive if you do, and you have the cojones to complain about your self induced money problems out loud when many people [like probably a lot of her employee’s] are living in the same city making minimum wage, or trying to find a job.

        Reality check on Aisle 3 please.

    • supposedtobeworking says:

      I appreciate the insight. It has no effect on my life, but its still cool to know the cost of living in cities that also have high or low wages.

      Nannies are a reality for people who work odd hours. I have 2 dentist/business owner friends, and they have a nanny so that they can take their kids to their activities, do homework with them after school/work, etc. They don’t want to do supper prep and all that.

      I get parking costs too. I live in a large Canadian city. Parking is 450$. And up here you do need a vehicle if you are a professional or in sales. We are so spread out, our outlying communities are wheat fields away from the city, our transit infrastructure is still really young, and it’s fricken cold. I think that is an issue for West coast, traditionally younger cities, though. New York has had a few more centuries to develop.

      As a teacher, I know that I need to spend money on professional clothes and supplies, so I can also understand the need to pay to participate in the profession that you are in. But yes, First World problems, for sure.

      • Jarredsgirl says:

        “First world problems” is such an invalidating thing to say. I know it’s TERRIBLE and HORRIBLE that people in third world countries are suffering. If I thought I could do something about it, I would, without a blink of an eye. But I didn’t choose to live in a western country, I was born here, had zero choice in the matter. And Western countries have their own set of problems. Different problems, but still problems. My problems don’t matter because somebody else has it worse? I don’t agree with that.

        I think that what Kelly is saying is interesting. What I got from the article, she says that her industry LOOKS glam but it isn’t. It’s smoke & mirrors and it won’t fulfill you. She is basically saying it is a TRAP… that’s a great thing to be telling people, instead of upholding the status quo.

      • supposedtobeworking says:

        @Jerredsgirl; the comment about first world problem carries no connotation about the superiority or guilt of any culture. Having to worry about parking, nannies and expensive shoes to stay relevant and ‘on par’ for her work in an expensive city is a first world problem, but not less significant. I read from her statements that those are her very real stresses and challenges, and I do not dismiss them. they aren’t more or less than another culture in how impactful the personal challenges are. I would not presume to undertake real life, relevant and meaningful challenges in a 3rd world country just to feel like a better person. There are challenges, wealth, poverty, crime, injustice, corruption everywhere. Every person has had their own walk, and we don’t see the scars, so no, I am not presuming that your problems do not matter because you were born and raised in the west.

  5. doofus says:

    she IS wearing make up, albeit not so much of it. but it’s there.

    oh, and, b*tch, PLEASE…

    • Snazzy says:

      +1 bazillion

    • Bob Loblaw says:

      She’s not wearing any make-up that I can see in the photo with the blue background, otherwise it’s clear she’s using eye liner at least in all the other shots.

  6. cr says:

    I understand that it’s expensive living in NYC. But I’m pretty sure it also wouldn’t be that hard to cut out the unnecessary expenses. Even if you don’t want to.

  7. HappyMom says:

    She’s right: for the lifestyle she currently leads, 1M is not a lot of money. That said-no one wants to hear you whining about such “problems.” Save that for griping with your girlfriends over cocktails. Don’t complain to the rest of us.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Agree. She’s probably not rolling in extra money because she has an expensive lifestyle, but probably 99% of people living in New York make a lot less, and complaining about it just seems so callous and insensitive.

      • Algernon says:

        I have a friend who lives in NYC and she literally moves every 6 months or so because escalating rents keep driving her out. She’s full-time employed, single and lives modestly, and she can’t hack it, but she never complains. When her rent inevitably goes up, she just shrugs, finds a new, cheaper place, and moves.

      • Annaloo. says:

        Algernon– your friend is a saint for patience, but maybe having her rights trampled upon as a tenant. moving is an expensive thing to do in NYC, and I don’t think she should have to lay down and take what is happening to her. It’s just not sane to be expected to move every 6 months, you know? I think your friend should friend should have everything checked out the next time a landlord raises her rent. A lot of them have accepted tax subsidies (the 421a for example) from the city that obligates them to stabilize rents, or provide units for low income…and many of them are hiding this from their tenants.


      • Algernon says:

        Oh that’s interesting. I’ve never lived in NYC, so I have no clue what the tenant rights boil down to (I got seriously screwed in LA, though, so I can believe in a system where renters regularly get shafted). I’ll ask her if she’s ever looked into that.

    • layla says:

      Agree – I don’t think she’s complaining, just stating the facts and breaking down here costs.

      Are the facts/costs ridiculous – ABSOLUTELY – but that is HER reality and it IS interesting to see how a million dollars can break down to not much these days.

  8. AG-UK says:

    I have friends in that business and say she is awful but she is right if you live in NYC and have all the trappings, private school $40K + and the extras, apt maintenance etc it probably isn’t but if you are the majority it is a lot. She just never seemed like a nice person and I use to watch the City when she was on it but sometimes she had good advice that she yelled to someone 🙂

    • Brittney B says:

      the thing is… “all the trappings” is what makes them so much more comfortable and privileged and safe than the majority of the country. complaining that you don’t have enough extra spending money left over? so out-of-touch it’s asinine.

      • Annaloo. says:

        You don’t want to send your kids to public school in NYC…not unless you live ina tony neighborhood. It’s not the politically correct thing to say, but I wouldn’t dare put my kid’s education at risk like that. Plus the East Coast is a game of networks, so if your child in is the right school…you know the song.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        …and I think that’s pretty common in a lot of urban environments.
        I work with a woman who never had a money but found a way to send all of her kids to private school, mainly so they would be safe and get a decent education. Also, as annaloo said, because the right high school gives your child an edge in a pretty competitive playing field.

    • maybeiamcrazy says:

      Your friends remind me of my parents and their friends. They wouldn’t find a million dollars enough for their “fairly modest” lifestyle. Thinking back about it, thankfully, I stuck to my guns and went abroad for university. I could have been like Kelly Cutrone.

  9. mimif says:

    The only thing I’m taking away from this, is that I see makeup. Kind of like Kate Middleton in the Funhouse Mirrors eyeliner kind of makeup.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      I know right?
      Eyeliner for sure.

      I sort of get where she’s coming from. I make decent money but I’m practically poor because of the obscene cost of living in Boston.
      I complain about it a lot because it’s outrageous compared to other cities and the salaries aren’t really commensurate.
      Eh. I guess that does qualify as #firstworldproblems but bitches like me and Kelly are gonna bitch.

      • mimif says:

        Yeah, I had to pause there for a second myself. It’s all relative and I’m of the mindset “count your blessings, not your burdens”. However, my partner and I make an obscene amount of money (with no children), but after the Taxman cometh & with the cost of living & doin biz in Cali, there is not a whole lot left over. However, I *generally* try to keep my mouth shut about it because, you know, the homeless shelter just got shut down and 40 men, women & children are on the street in my town. #champagneproblems

      • Brittney B says:

        @mimif … kudos to you for having some perspective.

        it’s all about scale, for sure, but “leftover money” isn’t even a THING for the majority of the country… and yet, neither is a nice home or car or clothes. that’s the disconnect that makes me so angry when it comes to people like her.

      • mimif says:

        Totally. I’m fortunate enough to have a choice to live the way I do, something far too many people around the world do not.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        Eh. I think you can be both. I think you can have a lot of gratitude and appreciation for living a relatively comfortable lifestyle but also critique a real estate market that f*cks the renter and entirely benefits agents and landlords.

        I think it’s entirely acceptable to complain about systemic things that as consumers we’re pretty much powerless against, while still acknowledging that we have it better than many people.

      • mercy says:

        I’ve long been a proponent of rent control as well as some kind of subsidies or tax breaks for people who’s work requires them to live in expensive cities. Not the Kelly Cutrone’s of the world, but teacher’s and other underpaid professions, people working in service industries, etc. We can’t have only wealthy people living in these places, or middle class with their credit maxed out or budget stretched so far by keeping a roof over their head that they can only afford the most basic essentials. It’s not good for the economy or our way of life. Middle classes need to be strengthened, and affordable housing (along with child care, health care, and education) is a way to do that.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        @Mercy-that’s exactly it. We’re losing all the diversity in Boston’s neighborhoods because only the lucky few can afford to live here.

      • Kori says:

        I was just in London and was reading an article in a paper about rent. Apparently it’s now huge to rent out every room you can not just a spare bedroom because space is so at a premium. The city council occasionally intervenes ( or maybe you have to clear them) because they shot down someone trying to rent a room so small you could reach out from a bed and touch the opposing wall but charging GBP 700 (about $1300-1400) a month! And it’s so hard to find a spot that they probably could’ve found someone to pay it.

  10. harpreet says:

    I disagree, I mean, to me it seems she is explaining how her life can be costly. She never says, “Oh I am so poor being a millionaire”.

    It seems that she doesn’t want people to believe she lives a super luxurious life.

    • Arock says:

      I agree. It costs what it costs, which by any standard, is a lot to live in NYC. She has expenses just as any business owner plus the inflated services costs due to the city. I didn’t get the feeling she was complaining, but was simply stating in her situation, due to her choices, her income level alludes to her directly making a much higher income than her take home actually is. We all make our choices how to live. Comparing an average income of a admin level job in Ohio is apples and oranges. That being said, I don’t pity her and I don’t believe her response had the tone of syphathy searching.

    • Algernon says:

      But she does live a super luxurious life. She has a full-time nanny, private school for her daughter, home in one of the most expensive/prestigious neighborhoods in the country, plus two other properties she’s maintaining, a car in a city where driving is not a necessity. None of that NECESSARY. That is all LUXURY. She works hard, she earns her dollars, and she can spend them however she likes. But don’t think for one minute she has to live like that. She doesn’t. She CHOOSES to. Nothing about it is HAS TO or NEED.

      • mercy says:

        I think what she does for her mother is great, so I won’t knock that. The nanny is probably a necessity given her long hours, and if anyone deserves a good salary…I know I wouldn’t want to skimp on the person responsible for my child when I wasn’t available. The car – she may have to travel to meet clients at their homes, take her mother to appointments, and she probably works a lot of late nights. Most of her business seems to be in NYC, so she probably needs to live there. I don’t know how lavishly she lives, but this is the city where a tiny box of studio can set you back a couple mil, and she may use her residence as an extension of her business (but I think there are tax breaks for that.) I’d cut out the private school since she probably lives in a nice neighbourhood with good schools. I don’t feel sorry for her, and there are certainly much bigger problems in the world, but that old saying ‘You need to spend money to make money’ comes to mind.

      • Algernon says:

        I won’t knock taking care of a parent, either, but here’s where I see excess:

        Multiple bonus homes
        Car in a commuter city
        Private school
        Living in Soho

        Cut any one of those things and see an immediate reduction in overall expenses. I also argue you need to spend money to make money. You need to spend money SMARTLY, not just throw it around willy-nilly to impress people. Increasingly I’ve had to dress nicer and nicer at work, but quality clothes are expensive and because I do sometimes work around fashion people, there’s pressure to be trendy. Solution: I hired a stylist for a one-off closet consult (a lot of cities have companies that specialize in this), and remade my wardrobe with fewer, but more flexible pieces. I wear a lot of black/grey/white, but everything goes a lot further because basically my whole closet is mix and match. I go for classic over cutting edge, so that pieces last longer through different trends, and as a result I get a lot of compliments on my style, even though it’s pretty basic. It’s all in the choices you make on how to spend your money. She could be doing a lot better with everything she has (which is a LOT), but she’s choosing to live this way and is admitting she can’t really hack it.

      • Pix says:

        Yes, exactly!!! We all make our choices.

  11. Tapioca says:

    She must be incredibly good at her job, knowing how much the fashion industry HATES women with a few extra pounds and a disregard for hair and make-up. Seriously, kudos for making it work.

    As for her money woes, erm…

  12. joy says:

    So she’s living paycheck to paycheck, just a larger paycheck.

  13. Birdix says:

    When you look at how hard it is to get a kid into a private school in nyc, you realize how many people are living this lifestyle (admittedly fewer since 08). To them it feels normal, because this is how the people around them all live . You set up a whole lifestyle based on the income (and it’s a pretty great lifestyle) and then have to keep chasing the income to maintain it. But to them it feels so necessary–no one wants to uproot and move to a different borough or yank the kids out of school.

  14. blue marie says:

    Sounds like she needs to adopt a cheaper lifestyle or shut up. Actually, just shut up.

  15. Victoria1 says:

    OMG I can’t.
    1. NYers who live in NY then bitch about having to pay obscene amounts of money for private school… does your kid really need to go to an expensive school? HOME SCHOOL OR PUBLIC SCHOOL SINCE YOU PROBABLY LIVE IN THE BEST DISTRICTS IN THE CITY. I complain as a former classroom teacher to a low income nyc private catholic school – everyone thinks private is better (no, it’s not).
    2. the eyeliner. ENOUGH to everyone – Princess Kate, etc. I don’t who else is a common offender but throw it out!
    3. I wish I had her money problems, $650 for me would pay for my car, insurance, gas and some lunches for the rest of the month.
    ok rant over, apologies to all.

  16. Syko says:

    For sure, her salary is larger than my $1400 a month Social Security benefit (out of which I have to pay $160 for medical insurance). I don’t even want to hear about how expensive it is for her to live. A lot of us live a lot cheaper.

  17. swack says:

    Didn’t even read the article, the headline says it all! I would like an extra $10,000 a year (which would not even remotely come close to $1million). Sit down and shut the mouth.

  18. wow says:

    It may not win her any fans, but she is telling the truth. Honestly, you really have to love fashion to work in this industry. Kelly is just giving it straight with no chaser! And newbies who come into this industry need to hear the real deal instead of the BS.

  19. InvaderTak says:

    I watched the first (possibly only?) Season of kell on earth and I was really surprised she has lasted as long as she has, and managed some of the biggest names in fashion. She and her staff seemed disorganized to say the least. It struck me that her hard a$$ attitude is a cover up for lack of skills. And the people directly under her seemed inept. Was not impressed at all.

    • WTF says:

      I don’t think this means that you have to love the fashion industry to work in it. She makes MORE than enough money to live. I own a small business and I know that people often think that you have more than you do. The problem I have with what she is saying is that when you lay out her expenses, there are A LOT of areas where she could make cuts.
      Public School
      Public Transportation
      Nanny – I work insane hours and child care is a struggle, but spending 60-70k/ year on a nanny is not the ONLY option
      Mother – while most people don’t WANT to live with their parents, renting an 8k/month apt for your mom is not REQUIRED

      I hear what she saying as “I don’t make enough money to ball out of control” and my response to that is “Bitch please”

  20. Mzizkrizten says:

    She needs to hush. She’s counting all her expenses like they’re this burden BUT she enjoys the benefits of those expense, such as a parking space and a very nice home and someone to help care for her child. She is lucky she has the means to fund a lavish lifestyle. I sometimes get sad when the paycheck is gone a day after getting it but I remind myself that money got me one more month of electricity, cable and internet, use of my home, my car, fridge full food, etc. I wish I had more $ leftover but I know the way to get it is to cut expenses.

    • mercy says:

      “She’s counting all her expenses like they’re this burden BUT she enjoys the benefits of those expense, such as a parking space and a very nice home and someone to help care for her child.”

      True, true. In some countries the government would help pick up the tab for childcare, but she wouldn’t like those taxes, either (and she’d probably still want a nanny.)

  21. Savanna says:

    I get where she’s coming from, but to us it will always come off as whining. I think she should save it for her books where she can better explain herself and her point of view. Knowing her, I’m sure she was making the point that the people we think of as “rich and famous” certainly aren’t rich.

    But I have read both of her books and enjoyed them immensely. There are parts I rolled my eyes at (“find your guru”), but they are motivating and inspiring. The last book, Normal Gets You Nowhere, has a great chapter about Eleanor Roosevelt and Kelly connecting with her as a feminist icon. Honestly, If You Have To Cry Go Outside had so many lessons for modern girls and women. I like her no-bs style of writing and speaking, plus her feminist values.

  22. Mandy says:

    Oh my…….cry me a RIVER, why don’t you?!?!

  23. Jackie Jormp Jomp says:

    No makeup? Because that looks like melted black crayon around her eyes…

  24. mercy says:

    She has an unconventional job, works long hours, and has a child and an elderly mother. If she’s working late at night she might not want to take the subway, and if she needs to meet with clients or take her family outside of the city, she will need a car and a place to park it. I would cut out the private school. Those can run upwards of 40k a year and she probably lives in an area that has good public schools. I’d also stop looking at how everyone else lives. She’s established herself and probably doesn’t really need to impress with expensive shoes, etc. I do feel for her a bit (but just a bit) on the tax situation because the IRS doesn’t account for the fact that there is probably a limited time in her career where she will be earning that much, she is probably paying for her own health insurance, etc., or that her career requires her to live in an expensive city. But as others have said, these are decidedly first world problems.

  25. claire says:

    It’s weird to hear someone with a $1million salary be in the same paycheck-to-paycheck boat as those of us making a heck of a lot more money. If that was me, I’d seriously want to re-evaluate some of my spending choices. Maybe ditch one of the houses, the car, etc.?

  26. Algernon says:

    To me the biggest issue with income disparity is how people are indoctrinated to believe that they NEED all this crap. If you make a million dollars a year and find it hard to maintain your lifestyle, CHECK YOURSELF. A million a year is more than enough to live well in a nice house, in a nice neighborhood, sending your kids to a nice school while banking for a comfortable, nice future. If living in Soho with a full-time nanny, a car, two bonus properties and private school is too much, MOVE. Move to Connecticut or New Jersey or Long Island, or wherever the other affluent NY’ers who can’t hack it in Manhattan either, live. Or jettison the bonus properties, the car, maybe switch the nanny to part-time. Your kid is 12, does she need someone around the clock or just to cover while you’re working late? So much of this is about maintaining her status and none of it is necessary. She’s making a choice to live a life she can barely afford, and I won’t be surprised at all if she ends up broke in a few years.

    After a decade of post-college poverty struggle, I’ve finally started making real bank in the last couple years, and I can see how easy it is to fall into the trap of more. Suddenly I have all this money, and yes, as I get more visible in my industry I feel some pressure to “keep up” with the cool kids. But then I remember the years and years of choosing between paying utilities and buying groceries, of scraping around on unreliable public transport because I couldn’t afford a car, and I check myself. I don’t NEED that crap. What I need is a roof over my head, rainy day savings, and reliable transport. And ironically, I just landed a huge account over more senior account execs because the client was impressed with my responsibility and lack of “frou frou”. I’m using the signing bonus to go to island-hopping in Greece next month, but other than that, it’s business as usual.

    People with a lot of money think they need a lot of money and they don’t. If you’re fortunate enough to have it, great good for you, but keep in mind that you are living a wildly privileged life and that you can live without most everything you have.

    • maybeiamcrazy says:

      ^This My parents considers the luxury things they have as necessities. I shared the same thoughts ( I didn’t know better at the time) until I left for university and met people from different backgrounds. It may sound stupid since we are at the age of social media but until I actually met people who struggled, I never really *got* it. That is why whenever I read a celebrity making an out of touch remark, I just assume they don’t know any better because they probably really don’t.

      • Algernon says:

        What’s weird though is that a lot of celebrities come from normal, if not impoverished, backgrounds. Of course Gwyneth is out of touch, she was born and raised in the most upper-class, exclusive circles. But most of them come from middle or working class families, and then they end up completely out of touch. That’s what baffles me. It’s like, didn’t you learn anything? Don’t you know better?

      • maybeiamcrazy says:

        All i will say is that: nouveau riche. They forget everything once they become famous and rich.And don’t think I am one of those old money snubs. The only difference is old money is more subtle about their expensive lifestyle ( not always).

      • Algernon says:

        The difference between old money and new money:

        New Money: Brand new Mercedes

        Old Money: 1976 Mercedes

      • Jenny says:

        I would beg to differ. I believe the main difference between old money and new money is that old money lives off of capital gains, interest and dividends, whereas new money has little/nothing to invest because they spend it on the lifestyle. I honestly cannot see more than a handful of truly wealthy people driving a car from the 70s.

        Just speaking from experience, it is VERY, VERY difficult to afford to live in Manhattan. I have seen 2 bedroom apartments in horrible neighborhoods listed at a half million dollars and the parking garage on my block used to cost $700 a month (more than twice my car payments, needless to say I parked on the street). When I got pregnant with my daughter I decided to move up to Connecticut, but I also did not have the kind of money this lady has and so raising kids in Manhattan would just never have been sustainable for me.

      • maybeiamcrazy says:

        I come from a family that may be considered as old money. The snubbery against new money is just f-cking hilarious. My father is not thankfully a snub but the whole f-cking environment is ridiculous. So according to my observations:
        -Old money snubs the new money.
        -New money flaunts their money to be accepted in old money environment.
        -Old money belittles them for being “nouveau riche”.
        This cycle is thousands eyeroll worthy and so f-cking pretentious and new money can never win.

      • bella says:

        Seems that they are delighted by the fame and money and simply forget everything else.
        We have a lot of examples in Hollywood: actors who came from nowhere and suddenly start living a “jet life” with many people ( fans, executives, PR …) increasing their egos every day. If they don’t have a strong character or a faith in “something greater”, will be easy to fall into this trap and to forget that we are here not only to live a luxury life but also to help who needs help.
        And as the saying goes: to whom much is given, much will be charged.

      • Algernon says:


        I was being facetious, but yes, I’d agree with the principal vs. capital gains/dividends thing as being the key difference.

        I’m sure it is expensive to live in NYC. I’ve lived in LA, Seattle, Washington, DC and Chicago, all expensive cities, so I have a lot of sympathy for people trying to hack it in an expensive metropolis. My problem is, she’s making a *million dollars a year*. Even in NYC, that should be liveable. Maybe it wouldn’t be as luxe as she’d like (which is what this comes down to, really), but she should be able to live comfortably, even in NYC, for that much.

    • Candy Love says:

      She can’t move because she lives and works in the same place. She live on the third floor and her business is on the first and second floors and 75% of her work is in NYC.

  27. eliza says:

    What she says doesn’t bother me as much as the fact she always looks unwashed.

  28. Melymori says:

    To be honest I didn’t find her interview as an “ultimate first-world problem”, she’s just being honest. I had a friend that had her “dream job” working for a super famous fashion designer, and she quit after 5 years, and returned to our home country, when I asked why she had given up on her dream (I remember her at 8 telling us how princess Diana would wear her designs) and her response was that she wanted to live, she worked 7 days a week and the day she realized she couldn’t remember the last time she saw the sun go down was the day she decided to quit. And she explained that even though comparing her salary to anyone her age in other industry she was making a shit load of money, it was just enough to live by… the requirement for her wardrobe alone were ridiculous and she HAD to more than WANTED to.

    • mercy says:

      I’ve heard similar stories… the business they’re in, the kind of hours they work, and the appearances their expected to maintain can make some of those ‘luxuries’ almost seem like a necessity. It’s not merely a ‘keeping up with the neighbours’ thing. It’s about keeping their jobs and advancing their careers in a highly competitive industry that doesn’t leave time for much else.

  29. Neelyo says:

    Even if she made the $1m remark innocently, I was too busy side-eyeing her for this bullshit:

    ‘When I look back on my life, I’m sorry that I didn’t train myself earlier to to take better care of myself, Kelly the soul, Kelly the person. I think I spent way too many nights on the floor doing seating charts when you know, I could have been meditating or at a soup kitchen or something.’

  30. Famished says:

    +1 Kelly does not seem to be complaining, she’s just giving insight on how her pay is delegated in her industry. I appreciate her honesty. A lot of others would pretend to be living “high off the hog” because they have a $1million dollar salary. Everyone knows the value of the American buck has gone down. If anything I consider Kelly more likable for “keeping it real”. I also understand why she has a car because of her weird hours, her kids, and maybe she has a lot of paperwork and other stuff.
    By the way, whose the sexy piece of chocolate on Tyra’s, lol. 😉

    • claire says:

      Yeah, this weirdly didn’t annoy me. I normally hate hearing celebs bitch about their salary and living expenses!

  31. Hayley says:

    Calling bullshit on her claims that ageism is a problem in fashion. It is when you’re a model, for sure. It’s not when you’re behind the scenes. She says there’s only 2 older people in fashion. How about Anna Wintour, age 64? Andre Leon Talley, 64? Hamish Bowles, 51? Plum Sykes, 44? And that’s just a few from Vogue’s regular roster. Look at any fashion magazine and the people in charge are old and experienced. It’s not like fashion design is even a young person’s game either. Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, all over 50 and there’s many more.

  32. Wallamalooo says:

    I actually like her because she talks a lot of sense – just not here. her book is good but her whole thing is cutting out the bullshit so she needs to listen to herself and cut out the extra expenses – the private school? Take some time to check out good public schools in NY -there must be some! Ditch the car and rent one only when needed; downsize the home maybe,, the designer duds – barter! It’s your business, you’re in PR! BARTER!!!

    And FYI – I make around $7500 a year and I have a degree. So think on before you moan.

  33. sauvage says:

    I saw her on several episodes of America’s Next Top Model and – oh, boy. Talk about evil, talk about deeply envious, talk about mean, talk about feeling entitled. I hated her, plain and simple. There’s tough and there’s rude. She was just plain rude.

  34. Rusty Machine says:

    Purely based on looks, but couldn’t she be the long lost sister of Sara Gilbert?

  35. Black orchid, says:

    bitch plz!! all i wanna say is ROB EVANS is a total dreamboat !I

  36. Haolebunny says:

    Take.A.Seat.Kelly. NOW.

  37. Diana says:

    First of all, Kelly is a passive-aggressive bitch who is just not that talented. She works really long hours and that’s why she, as a fashion girl, works.

    This statement about her salary says more about society than it does about her. She’s just part of the crowd that needs to follow along and “has to have” a, b and c. Too much consumerism and not enough actual thinking. That’s why one million dollars is nothing– because you have to have 3 nannies at $60,000 a pop; you have to have a parking spot at $650 dollars a month; you have to have the huge house with the inflated mortgage, the house that you and your children are never at because you’re too busy sorting pants and they’re off at some $44000 a year boarding school. It’s ridiculous and blowing through one million dollars like it’s water says a lot more about the person and society, then the actual value of a buck.

    And, I don’t give a rip who you are or where you’re sitting, no one NEEDS $1500 shoes. Get over yourself. A.S.A.P.

    • Jenny says:

      I think that it speaks more to Ameicans infatuation with living above their means. Really since the 80s we have been a “buy it on credit” society (obviously not all people, but as a broad generalization).

  38. Lynn says:

    She most certainly IS wearing make-up. It’s just not heavy and not particularly well-applied.

  39. Stephanie says:

    I am playing the world’s smallest fiddle for her right now. Lol.

    Gurl, please!!!

  40. yas says:

    After all of those expenses she mentioned (including taxes), that still leaves her slightly over $200K to allocate for food, utilities, vacations, savings, entertainment, and other living expenses. I think she’ll be fine. Yes, I did all of that math.

  41. Andee says:

    BOO fucking HOO! I have a masters degree and I live on 985.00 a month & live in Seattle. Give me a break.

  42. LAK says:

    She speaks the truth!!

  43. Godwina says:

    I’m a writer. If I couldn’t be arsed to write 500 words for $1,500, I’d be no writer at all. Da fck.

  44. snowflake says:

    I don’t have a problem with her comments. I make under 40k a year and live in a house I bought for 110K. my cousin’s husband is an government interpreter in D.C. and they can’t find a townhouse in Maryland for less than 350k. I think it’s all relative. Cost of living is higher in NY and that is the fashion mecca. So moving isn’t an option. I’m sure most of the well-off people there have nannies and kids go to private school. It’s the only life she’s known for a long time so she’s out of touch with “the common people.” also i was amazed when i was making good money how quickly I got accustomed to blowing money like it was nothing. i can see how you can get caught up in the lifestyle. not saying she’s doesn’t have it better than most, but costs vary wildly depending on where you live. at least she works hard for her money, unlike KK.

  45. Shandy says:

    She’s right. My husband and I make millions per year and the city are it up. We left, but we aren’t in fashion. She’s not asking for you to contribute to her kick starter, she’s just stating real facts. Take it for what it is and move along.

  46. mazomazohyst says:

    Your luxus lifestyle is too expensive for you? Aw, poor baby. It’s obviously time to size down. Maybe you need to re-examine your priorities.

    If I see one more rich person complaining about their salary and/or “totally” stressing life style, I’m gonna hurl.

    And complaining about taxes? Where do they think the government gets the money for public roads and hospitals, etc. from? Do they think the government just prints all the money they need?

  47. Josefa says:

    This woman is insufferable. Watch ANTM if you want to see a woman almost in her 50s displaying far less maturity than a bunch of wannabe models less than half her age. She tries to be the sassy bitch judge like Janice and Paulina were, but she’s just a boring and bitter bitch.

  48. snoopy says:

    Lawyers call this the golden handcuffs. Work at a big firm, make loads of cash, but have no life and then have to spend to keep up with everyone around you. Its like a hamster wheel and it’s very difficult to get out.