THE DIVA OF DISH, WENDY WILLIAMS
Frank, funny, and honest Wendy Williams has a personality larger than Manhattan with an uncanny wit that's as sharp as a samurai's sword. Known for her opinionated advice given to celebrities making tabloid headlines, Wendy's appeal is not only her celebrity dish but her self-deprecating honesty proving she's a real person with flaws, and not just a celebrity talk show host on a pedestal. A testament to her popularity around the country, The Wendy Williams show is already in its 8th season and renewed through 2020. Here Resident Magazine sat down with the dynamic and energetic Diva of Dish as she spoke about her latest projects, family life, successful dieting and her personal style. And if you can't get enough of Wendy, tune in on weekdays at 10 am on Fox Network.
RM: Tell me a bit about the businesses you're involved in- wigs, jewelry, clothing- you do it all!
WW: Ok, the wig thing didn't turn out the way I wanted it to although I thought would be my best outside business. The problem is that people want the wigs to look like my wigs. I'm wild and messy, but mine are not wigs straight from the book, people don't understand that. Though my wig started from the books, I put three pounds of hair in, dyed it and put the highlights in it, and cut baby hair. And my Wendy wigs didn't quite reflect the wigs I wear. But my clothing line has worked out very, very well especially with having a TV show where I can wear the pieces that appeal to women of a wide age gap. I started with the pencil dress, wrap skirts, and wrapped dresses and the next thing was outerwear. And now, I'm tipping my foot into home decor, which I'm very excited about because there is nothing better than great throws and sheets and cute things to put on your sink to hold your stuff. You could go anywhere with home decor and it is very, very true to me. I'm a nester and nesting all the time. So that is one of my big outside successes, as well as my production company. We've done a few really good things. Aailyah was Lifetime's 2014 most watched movie. Whether you liked it or you hated it, you know that was one of our movies. I had a successful series on the Investigation Discovery channel.
RM: Tell me a bit about the novels you've written.
WW: I have three novels, it's a trilogy, and my heroine's name was Red Harper and she's a radio personality in New York and she's just really something else. The bitch you love to hate. I would love to make that a movie for TV. Or maybe a series. Also I have another novel, my main heroine is Kim Kind and she is a high power attorney who went to New York, ran into a pill problem, and falls in love with a bad boy. I would love to turn that into a movie or a series, but I don't want to act in any of them. You have to nail the right deals and you just can't jump on anything. And that is where I'm glad that the show has come on into my life. Though it came a little bit later on in life, I have an appreciation for family and I would say I know exactly who I am. I don't need to twerk at two o'clock in the morning anymore. Well, once a month I do that. But you know in my 20s that was the 7 day a week thing. I've done it… I've lived. Going back to money, I respect this game, but I also respect good business partnerships. And I have no respect for a fast bug that is going to come back and bite me in the neck behind. We all stand to make more money. Well, except for the billionaires. Fortunately my husband and I we're on the same page regarding yes, no, yes, no. Even our son gets that, he's not easily impressed.
RM: How do your novels resonate with your fans?
WW: I think that in describing sex scenes and things like that people don't necessarily look at me as that way, which I don't know why. How does it resonate? They resonate well. I had a couple on the NYT's best seller list which is always nice, a little feather in the cap. I've done seven books and I'd like to do more. I always work with a writing partner. I only have a few hours in a day to pull together the thoughts, and you get on the phone with your partner and talk it out and we make the deadline with the publisher.
RM: How closely do your characters reflect your own life?
WW: Each book has a piece of me in it. My first book was an autobiography which came out in 2001, Wendy's Got the Heat. I've got more to write about though. Before I got my talk show, I remember my own mother, read my own book behind a cover of a fake book while laying on the beach because she was embarrassed. I talked about drugs, infidelity, and everything I wanted to talk about. But if the book isn't necessarily for her, then don't read it.
And then, Kim Kind comes from a low background but was a highly educated woman, who falls for this guy and everybody is like "Why?" and that would be my husband. And then regarding the radio DJ character, she was at the top of her game, and there are a lot of similarities with us, except for the parts that I don't choose to play out loud, cursing people out, getting shot in front of the dry cleaners, getting a talk show, and each character has a little bit of me.
RM: How has motherhood and family life changed you?
WW: Well, first of all, I realized his junior prom is coming up in one week. Yet my 16 year old son has no interest in junior prom. He's very, very college-minded which I know that I was at his age, too. He drove himself to his job this past weekend with his driving instructor. He has a bit of a social life and he runs track. You know what, it sounds cliché but in family you cannot think about yourself all the time. This is a business that can make you think about yourself all the time. Anybody treats it special. It's such a stupid lie in a forest. In terms if you drink the coolaid It's not good. So, living in Jersey and going back to my family is very grounding. I feel sorry for people who don't have that especially at my particular point in life. Now, if you're twenty years old, twerk. Have fun. If you're in your thirties still kinda have fun, but at some particular point you have to turn the music down and turn up a real life for yourself. Whatever that real life is, I'm not judging. It doesn't mean getting married or even having a significant other. It's a great group of friends, I mean, that's not my path, because I find it's not the celebrity that changes, everybody around is what changes. Which sucks.
RM: Tell me a bit about your diet, you've slimmed down quite a bit. What's the secret?
WW: I lost 50 pounds that was no secret. My hair is thin, too thin for what I needed to be for a showgirl. I'm a big woman, a big personality and we can't have what we want, unless we buy it. The first step was getting on the scale which read 195 pounds. I had no idea. That's not the most I've weighed in my life, I hit 297 pounds when I delivered my son, but I'm tall and I carried it like a champ. But, I did not want to go into 50, weighing 195 pounds because from what I hear when you turn 50, and I was 48 at the time, everything changes. In my mind, I though "Oh my god!" on my 51st birthday my vagina is gonna dry up, I will no longer be able to lose weight, my breasts will drop to the floor and all this horrible stuff. So I took two years to lose the weight, slow and steady is the name of the game. I don't break a sweat, a little Pilates here and there. Take the top bun off, and since I'm not allergic to anything, there was nothing that I cut out of my diet. Instead of eating the whole bag I only have two or three twizzlers for now and then eat the rest later. Just moderation. And know I weigh a healthy 145. I'm 52 now, so I kept it for 2 years. Now, our family has been vegetarian for almost 2 years. And that has helped to keep it off I would imagine. Don't have high blood pressure. I feel very healthy. I keep a fruitful, intimate life. And I also have a pretty youthful spirit. It starts with the mind. I love to laugh and I love to have a good time. I have a healthy balance of both. I know how to get my work done otherwise this wouldn't have happened. I have an app coming out too by the way. It's being beta tested right now. And so far, so good. People are loving it. The app will show me outside doing things that I normally do in my regular life, like taking pottery lessons.
RM: How would you describe your style?
WW: My personal style for the most part is very uniformed. Monday through Friday. I wear the same thing, but I have multiple colors. I love this particular long sleeve t-shirt, it displays my breasts very well. And I also have it in a turtle neck. This pair of leggings I happen to like very much because there's no seam up the front. And these are my sneakers and my pompom from Wendy & HSN. What I do believe in is I believe in the best bags, the best coats, the best JEWELRY. This is what I also love about the partnership with HSN, if you go out and you spend $800 on a dress you have to think about proper wear. I didn't grow up rich. So, that mentality stays in your mind. And I think it's healthy. = If I pay $800 for this dress, and by the way it's pink and red zebra striped, everybody is going to remember this damn dress. I can't afford to buy a dress and then only wear it one time. So I buy a uniform. This is easy in the morning. Just throw on a wig and jump out into the car and then I'm here and they beautify me. When the day is over, I can't wait to take it all off, hit the streets and head to the grocery store and other things that I have to do. That is my basic style for going to work on weekdays. There is something about circulation. Jeans aren't my favorite thing but when the time is right I love jeans, a t-shirt and heels with good make-up and a good bag. My style is simple, but if you squint there's a lot of luxury. But you don't see it. Because all you see is black leggings and a black t-shirt. And I have multiples of these. If you love something, I have 25 of them. I don't like color. Black and black. The color is in my personality. Red leggings show dimples in your behind. I don't want to have to think. It's so easy. And with all the stuff here in the wardrobe, all the stuff at home I joke with my husband every time "Why do I stand in my closet trying to decide what to wear? We just go to what I like." I like negligees. Neither my son nor my husbandare not embarrassed by it. I would never do anything to embarrass them but I certainly do have fun with fashion and I don't take myself that seriously. When I have to go out in the evening sometimes I get something from wardrobe here and sometimes I get something at home. Look, I have a talk show. Even if I look like a mess, I will see you again tomorrow at 10am, and you always have the chance to come back with something else. I don't feel the pressure to look my best all the time. I mean, it is what it is. But the other thing, losing that 50 pounds has really made it nice to jump into anything. I no longer have to say does this make my butt look big or how does this look or I'm not wearing this, "Oh my god the wardrobe"-discussions in the morning used to be horrendous. And I don't have a perfect body or anything, I know I still have my flaws, but it's as good as it's going to get and I like it. Even when I was a bigger girl though, in my 20s, when I met my husband I weighed 225, I always had dates. It's all about the personality. You know, for whatever it's with, it starts with the personality and a brighter look on life, making eye contact. Girls think it's all about weight and you have to lose weight or even it's all about education. You have to graduate with a four-year degree and then get your masters. No. I never had a problem with any boyfriends. Even when I was bigger. Never. That's how I met my husband. I was a big girl. And I was having fun. I was popular on the radio. I always knew that I was going to work my way to the person I am inside. And we don't use a home decorator. I would never have somebody decorate our home. It's a very personal space. We have a dog that I love. A Cane Corso. He is a house dog. He is big. He was also my model for a day.
By Hillary Latos | Transcribed by Nina Kullmann
Photography by Udo Spreitzenbarth udophotography.com
photography assistants Mac Holt, Clarisse Dumas, & Sebastian Blume
Imaging Lorraine Baker
Shot on location at Lovage Rooftop | 350 West 40 St, NYC lovagenyc.com Imaging – Lorraine Baker
Photography By Sebastian Blume