I had the honor of interviewing fashion icon Betsey Johnson. Betsey made a stop at Macys at Boca Town Center in Boca Raton, Florida, to promote the premiere of TLC’s Say Yes to the Prom hosted by Betsey and Monte Durham premiering on April 1. It’s a 90 minutes special, which is a TLC tradition where the network partners with Macy’s to help make prom dreams come true.
TOM: I just saw a tv show recently about you and your daughter, I can’t remember what it was, I think it was CBS Sunday morning. I’m a man who knows nothing about fashion, and I know you, what’s it like being an American icon?
BETSEY: Great, I guess! I don’t really consider myself that, but I can tell you that to become appreciated for what you do you need to work hard and create a following. The word icon just comes over time, the happiness comes from your fans. I love my fans, they keep me going!
TOM: They said your fashion shows are like a three ring circus but there has to be some part you don’t like. What’s your least favorite part of your own fashion shows?
BETSEY: I have no least favorite part. I used to be afraid of critics in the audience but now I feel they love and support me. The whole process of a fashion show is pure fun to me!
TOM: I know you do a lot of the hand-drawn art yourself at the shows and there are DJ’s. Do you choose the music yourself?
BETSEY: Not backstage, I’m too busy running around getting everything ready to make the playlist. Up front, I work with a very skilled musical talent to create the music for the runway. Backstage it is just fun and free to start the party!
TOM: Your signature move is a cartwheel. When was the last time you did a cartwheel?
BETSEY: Not that long ago, but these days I lean more towards the splits which are easy peasy. Cartwheels make me a little afraid because I never know what I’m cartwheeling on and what will happen on that surface.I do love doing them so I will every now and then.
TOM: What was Andy Warhol like?
BETSEY: Quiet. A man of few words. Sweet, gentle and private.
TOM: What’s the secret to your success?
BETSEY: Lots of hard work, but most of all luck! And being nice to everyone you meet.
TOM: Favorite decade? Why?
BETSEY: By far the 60s! And for so many reasons, The Beatles, The Stones, Dylan, the moon, pantyhose and all the geniuses that were around during that time.
TOM: At what point did you realize you were famous?
BETSEY: Today, actually! At the airport I’ve never had so many fans come up to meet me. I’ve never taken so many selfies! I’m always surprised when I remember I’m a little bit famous.
TOM: What song would be the theme of your life. I think I can guess.
BETSEY: “I did it my way.”
TOM: In my mind, it was “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!”
TOM: Please tell me about Say Yes to the Prom, is that similar to the tv show Say Yes to the Dress?
BETSEY: Similar, but so much better since it is so wonderfully charitable! It has been such an honor to work with all the kiddos picking out outfits (especially the ones that are super pink, puffy and sparkly) for their big day. It makes me happy making so many kids happy.
TOM: Thank you Betsey, good luck with the show!
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