How did fashion PR ‘Kell-raiser’ Kelly Cutrone get her start?

Kelly Cutrone was well known in the fashion industry before he made her television debut as a b!tchy boss on MTV’s The Hills and The City (as well as a True Life cameo), but now she’s got her very own reality show on Bravo, Kell on Earth, and nothing’s really stopping her from riding her fame to books (check), talk shows (still a possibility) and right on out of the fashion industry. You see, Kelly’s not necessarily a fashionista (though she is good at that), she just knows golden opportunities when she sees them. Kelly may be proving that the best publicists actually publicize themselves out of the publicity business. As evidence to her attention to detail and opportunity taking initiative, her book came out a day after her Bravo series premiered.

Kelly is a no-nonsense ball-buster who works in fashion industry but refuses to do her hair or makeup, even on TV. She’s known for her shockingly honest pitches and gutsy attitude. With offices in NY, Paris, and L.A. her influence is large, and she lives in the building where she works so she can run upstairs to pass out and/or see her daughter every so often. But where did Kelly come from?

Kelly lays out her unlikely path from sheltered upstate New York girl (she’s from a small town near Syracuse) to world conquering PR president in her book If You Have to Cry, Go Outside, and it’s almost like an outlandish plot from the original Melrose Place. It’s that good. It also involves lots of feminine inspiration, and chronicling of Kelly’s spiritual awakening, but here’s the gist of what happened:

Kelly Cutron visited the Big City with her sister when she was 16, and knew she was gonna come live there. She didn’t really do anything to prepare besides date an alternative boy with safety pins on his clothing who was from New York City. She majored in nursing and her parents thought she was preparing for a regular life just like the one they were living: she’d get married, have kids, and tuck her dreams safely away with the good china never to be seen again. But they were wrong, and Kelly didn’t have one of those specific dreams (she actually advises against that) she just wanted to live in NYC. So she went and got a miserable job driving all over the city educating nursing in the Jenny Craig program. She lived in a dangerous neighborhood, partied hard, and got evicted when she quit her job and couldn’t pay rent. Since she’d made friends partying (and was even starting to informally organize events), she couch-surfed for a while, and then shacked up with Anthony Haden-Guest, Vanity Fair art critic and a womanizer so notorious and integral to NY nightlife that he inspired the Peter fallow character in Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities.

After crashing at his place for a while, Anthony encouraged Kelly to get a job and set her up with her first ever PR job, with music publicist Susan Blond (who represented Michael Jackson, and Fine Young Cannibals to name a few). That was just the start, there are many, many plot twists (and two marriages) until Cutrone helped start the fashion PR firm she’s with now, People’s Revolution.

CLICK HERE to read about Kelly Cutrone standing up for her friend, Spitzer call-girl Ashely Dupre.

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