To close her runway shows, Betsey Johnson always cartwheels, which seems to suggest her personality matches the tulle cocktail dresses and fuchsia stilettos she designs. She’s fun, the kind of designer who’s more a bubbly creative type than a brooding one. That spirited nature is why we’re so excited for her new reality show on the Style Network, XOX Betsey Johnson, and why we were so, so thrilled when she stopped by our FABB conference yesterday to share it with us. Here’s what Betsey had to say when we caught up with her after the screening.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
You know when you’re with a guy for a year and it takes you three years to say goodbye? That’s how I am. It takes me so long to leave. I want to do so well and get my A+. And I never want to leave. And that was the best advice anyone ever gave me: when to get out. And it took me having two bloody marys to just say, “I need this, and this, or I’m out!"
What deal with the devil did you make to look as good as you do?
I think it’s the Swedish side of my family. I gave myself a birthday present of [gestures to a facelift] when I turned 50. And now I have to get my chin fixed when I find the time.
What is your favorite project you’ve worked on in your career?
I tell you, I had a lousy year, between the bankruptcy and the stores closing. But because of the bankruptcy and the failure that I thought I was, I realized I had a little treasure chest. I had the reality show! I have to say I love it. I love the attention and I love being able to relive things. But my biggest success is that I’m a grandma. And I get to live in the same building as my daughter and my granddaughter!
How do you stay true to your voice?
It’s so simple. You just love it. You just have to love it. There’s no secret, there’s no schooling, there’s no money. You just love it and it comes through and it works.
How do you find the energy?
I’m a nervous wreck! It’s excitement, it’s adrenaline. It’s nervousness that makes everything new. It’s a healthy dose of fear.
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