Connect with us

POP Profiles

POP INTERVIEW: Mansion Fitness Owner Darren Misaresh Blends Stellar Decor and Exercise

Did you already forget about your get in shape New Year’s resolution? Darren Misaresh, the hip LA gym’s co-owner along with Derrick Inglut, will put you in your place back on your workout!



Did you already forget about your get in shape New Year’s resolution? Darren Misaresh, the hip LA gym’s co-owner along with Derrick Inglut, will put you in your place back on your workout! Working out is not only something you do, it ought to be fun. With that in mind, he and Inglut modeled their gym after Versailles, adding in glow in the dark lighting and an ornate but modern living room atmosphere. The top notch trainers are pretty awesome, too.

Mansion Fitness - Darren Misaresh and Derrick Inglut

Why did you want to create a grand, almost Guilded Age feel for the gym when so many gyms have other looks? They’ve done modern and the plain, old gym…and there’s the typical hipster gym. So why this style?
The concept of Mansion Fitness can be described in three words – glam, private and sexy. These days it seems as though if you can think of it, someone has already done it. So how does one overcome this obstacle? The way that we wanted to differentiate ourselves from the competition is to do something completely and utterly unique. The fitness industry is overwhelmingly focused on function over style and experience. Mansion Fitness brings function, style and experience together in a way that gets results with the added component of a luxury feel. When shaping the Mansion Fitness concept, the idea was to make the client feel as if they were training in a mansion in the Hollywood Hills rather than the traditional corporate gym environment. Most people spend their days working in an office, why would you want to go from one fluorescent lit, cookie cutter environment into another one to get your training in for the day? We feel as though training can be glamourous, private and sexy – it’s all in the experience.

You have a very strict trainer screening during hiring sessions. What do you do that makes you hire very few trainers out of all the eligible candidates? What criteria must they meet?
When it came down to hiring the training team for Mansion Fitness, it was a difficult task to say the least. We interviewed around 70 candidates to hire a staff of just 5 full-time trainers. The process consisted of initial interviews, follow-up interviews, speaking with previous clients of the trainers and actually having the candidate demonstrate their training style in action for the owners. The most important criterion for hiring our trainers is that training had to be their career, not simply a source of income while pursuing another career; additionally they needed to have not just one certification, but several. The major problem with the training industry in general is that there is a very small percentage of trainers that actually take the profession seriously and an even smaller percentage that really know what they are doing. Our top trainer, Lars has over 17 years experience and has trained in several different countries which gives him insight to many different training styles and techniques that most trainers have not even heard of or seen in action. At Mansion Fitness, we take training very seriously and have a passion always giving our clients the most individualized attention to get the best results.

mansion fitness decor

Your gym hasn’t been open for very long, just celebrating its one-year anniversary back in January. With that in mind, how do you plan to avoid the short shelf-life that so many businesses fall victim to when so-and-so determines, “This place is way cooler?” When you have a gym that looks spectacular, you have to worry about someone else copying your idea and doing it better.
Whenever you have an innovative idea or business concept, it is inevitable that people will want to copy that concept. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, in the business world however, it is a formidable threat. The way to prevent someone from “stealing” your idea is to always be two steps ahead, not simply one step ahead. Since we opened in January we have already done a remodel of our downstairs training space and upgraded several pieces of our equipment; we also have equipment that you will never find in the traditional corporate gym. The concept behind Mansion Fitness has a firm structure, however the higher concept is continually evolving and getting better. We will always be the original pioneers of the Mansion concept and we already have plans for the next phase of expanding the brand and further improving the West Hollywood location.

Let’s talk about the actual fitness, as that is the second half of your gym’s name! What can hardcore fitness fans find at Mansion that is unique to your gym? What is appealing about it for people who have never stepped foot in the gym or give up working out until the next New Year’s resolutions?
We are equally passionate about the design of Mansion Fitness as we are about the fitness component. The most unique aspect of our gym when it comes to training is that we exclusively cater to personal training clientele. Everyone in our gym is with a trainer – we do not sell day passes or memberships. When you come in for your training session we are dedicated to you for the hour. Say goodbye to fighting for machines and weights with people too busy having a cell phone conversation while they sit on a machine. Those 60 minutes from start to finish of your session are going to be used the most effectively as possible because your trainer will be able to use that time training you rather than seeking out the next available machine or area in the gym to do functional exercises. The fact that everyone is with a trainer gives even the most inexperienced client the ability to meet their full potential through instruction and dedication from our staff. For those hardcore fitness fans, we have the widest range of equipment available and the techniques to take each and every one of our clients to the next level The fact that we do not charge membership fees in addition to personal training fees means that even if you are training solo at another gym, you can still get your personal training here without any added membership costs to worry about. Let’s face it, times have changed and we all want the most bang for our buck. Here at Mansion Fitness we remove the obstacles to reaching your goals!

Speaking of resolutions, what can people do to completely change their entire bodies positively? The complaint I read online is too many people go nuts with the cardio and don’t build up enough muscle, which leads to eating away all the good muscle, which in turn leads to…ew, cankles. And I mean, for men AND women! Yikes. What can people do to instead look damn fit in the best means possible versus a flailing, sickly beanpole?
When it comes to resolutions, often people try to make too much change too quickly. Sustained change and improvement comes through realistic goals and the support and tools needed to reach those goals. Changing your body completely will not happen overnight and the expectation that it will is a recipe for failure. Over-expectation leads to disappointment and disappointment leads to a loss of motivation. Realistic goal setting is key! When it comes to weight loss and muscle building there is only so much that can be done safely and done in a way that it will last. When we meet with a potential client, we tell them the facts. Those facts are powerful in making challenging yet achievable goals. The common problem with fitness is that people often focus on the desired result without taking into consideration the roadmap to get there. We give each and every one of our clients a roadmap. This roadmap lets our clients know how to reach that desired result. We give our clients a diet plan as well as educate them on what are good foods and what foods should be consumed in moderation, note that we are not saying they should be avoided completely. It is most important to note that being on a diet does not mean you cannot live your life! Most diets tell you to avoid sweets and alcohol completely. How is that a realistic diet for any person with a social life or a sweet tooth? Fact is, that you can eat anything with our diet, the key is moderation. A common issue with people looking to make a life change is that they focus on the cardio component of fitness to burn calories. Cardio is excellent for heart health and to burn calories, but in order to burn calories you need to be doing the cardio work daily. At Mansion Fitness we focus on building lean muscle as the core and cardio as a supplement. When you build lean muscle mass, your body actually burns more calories throughout the day without any additional effort. The easiest way to understand the concept is to think about it as if your body were a car and muscle is the engine for that car. A sports car with a huge engine will burn more fuel than an economy car with a small engine. Now you might be thinking, of course a sports car burns more fuel because you drive it like a sports car however, let’s say you drive that sports car leisurely to the grocery store just the same as you would drive an economy car to the grocery store – would they burn the same amount of fuel? The answer is, no. The sports car would still burn more fuel because it has a larger engine. The same holds true for the human body. The more lean muscle mass on a person, the more calories they will burn on a regular basis and the more calories they are able to burn during a workout. It’s a win-win to have more lean muscle mass on your body and there is a difference between a skinny person and a fit person even though at the surface they may look identical. We strive to make our clients fit! At Mansion Fitness we believe in giving you the tools and improving your body for changes that will last for life.

I’m a big fan of women getting in shape, be it at home or the gym. Every woman of every age, color, background and financial means tells me they don’t want to look like men as much as I say, “This is not humanely possible for women unless they take male hormones.” What are you working on at the job to tell women that first, working out is great and second, how they can work out? What are you doing to get women in the gym to begin with when they seem terrified?
First off, it is a myth that women will become bulky and have a “guys” body from simply working out. It would take very high protein consumption combined with a workout routine of low repetitions and high weight to become even remotely bulky considering that women have far less testosterone in their system than men. This is something that women should not be concerned with. A way to ensure that someone will only build lean, toned muscle mass is to simply increase the repetitions and reduce the amount of weight used. At Mansion Fitness we use a variety of techniques that not only use weights, they include resistance bands and medicine balls as well as other pieces of functional equipment to get your body the way you want it to be – fit, sexy and healthy.

Are there any myths you want to shut down regarding stupid workout sayings like that? What about anything regarding men’s workouts?
There are so many workout and diet myths out there. When it comes down to it, you just have to take them all with a grain of salt. At Mansion Fitness we focus on what is tried and true and most importantly what works for one person’s body type and personality does not mean it will work for someone else. We take the time to get to know our clients so we can make their program tailored to what works best for them. People are all unique and our training programs are as unique as you!

What are the challenges of running your gym, and why do they help you make it a better place?
The main challenge of running Mansion Fitness has been that we as the owners (Darren Misaresh and Derrick Inglut), just two guys with a dream, are trying to compete with larger gyms with large investor pools and deep pockets. While this is a challenge, it also makes us that much more dedicated to doing the absolute best job we can at making this brand unique and one that will last. When it’s your own money and reputation on the line, that is when passion and drive enable a company to go far.

Mansion Fitness is located at 7912 Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood. Their website is for more info!


POP INTERVIEW: Jackie Collins Hits Up Chicago for “Confessions of a Wild Child,” Her Riveting New Novel

The Jackie Collins phenomenon circles around all that glitters.



The Jackie Collins phenomenon circles around all that glitters. Two icebound Chicago days shy of Valentine’s Day, the Hollywood living legend and icon to the gay community and straight women alike is, in true luminary fashion, at my favorite downtown haunt. It’s a place I called a part time childhood home away from home and wish I could reveal, overlooking Michigan Avenue’s grandeur.

jackie collins

She can’t wait to talk about how good the local fare is. She is Jackie Collins, the effervescent megastar…and a foodie inside her soul. “We arrived yesterday. We immediately went out, and I had the most fantastic pizza I’ve ever had!” she raves in her English rose intonation on partaking in authentic deep dish pizza, the first time in her 76 years on this earth. And dinner. “Last night, I went to Michael Jordan’s steakhouse.”

Since rolling into town, Collins visited with television actress Sydney T. Poitier. “I call her ‘Little Sidney Poitier.’ She’s his daughter,” she tells me. “She’s currently filming Chicago PD here, so yeah. I’m going to be on The Steve Harvey Show tomorrow. I love Chicago.”

Aside from good cuisine and friendships, the bestselling novelist says she loves good, or at the very least, “good” guilty pleasure television. “I’m a TV junkie too,” she divulges. “I like The Following, The Blacklist, Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Scandal, Veep. I like documentaries too. I’d love to have six more hours everyday. Wouldn’t you?”

Collins fans will crave six extra hours daily to read her newest selection, Confessions of a Wild Child. The book is so sure to be a wildfire hit in sales numbers, it procured a movie rights contract with Romeo and Juliet production company Amber Entertainment.

“I think we are going to make it as a theatrical movie,” Collins says, not a made for TV film, “and I would love to do a nationwide search for Lucky. Once the script is done, I’ll have a space on my website. I want to have girls send in audition tapes for ages 15 to 19.”

Differing from her previous books, the novel is marketed to young women, aka. the Snooki & JWOWW generation. “I wrote Confessions of a Wild Child as a young adult book,” she says. “When I took it to my publisher, they said, ‘Oh, no. This is your most popular character. You’ve written seven books about her. We have to put this out for everyone.’ I’ve found that adults are loving it too.”

For her new batch of teen and college age readers, she says, “I think they should be prepared for a trip. I think they should take away the fact that they can be strong. Lucky is street smart at a very young age. She is an old soul. Also, she kind of sees life in a way that women see life. She wants to do something. She wants to have a career. Her father wants her to do ‘X,’ and she says, ‘No, I want to take over the family business.’ Women should aspire to something else, even if it’s making cupcakes, recording music or a yoga class. They should have something else they want to achieve.”

In 1968, before haters, Instagram and modern day nuisances, Collins’ first book was banned in Australia. 46 years into the future, she hasn’t bypassed the Debbie Downer brigade. “The biggest critics are people who’ve never read my books,” she confesses.

One read converts the critics into fans. “Journalists will come to interview me, and they’ll plop down, say, ‘I’ve never read any of them, but my editor had me talk to you, and I loved it.’”

Whereas with regular people, “The only negative comments I’ve had on Twitter was when I said, ‘Jay-Z was fully dressed, and Beyoncé not so much.’” She adds, “But I love them!”

I weigh her parallels against those of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer scribe Mark Twain, a gentleman panned by the literary elite yet more famous today than any of his conspicuous contemporaries. “My books are like water; those of the great geniuses are wine. Fortunately, everybody drinks water,” Twain is allegedly quoted.

“The literary elite are never going to embrace commercial fiction,” Collins answers. “You don’t need the literary elite when you have so many readers, and I appreciate my readers’ opinions, not what some critic is going to say about my books. If I give people pleasure, that gives me pleasure. I get wonderful notes from people. ‘I broke up with my boyfriend. I was lying on the floor crying. I thought about Lucky. What would she do? And I faced life.’ My books help people too.”

She links her success with the Lucky character to how fans “like to get away to a different place. I think they like the Santangelo family because it’s a family saga that goes on and on and on, with brothers, sisters and the love. The fact that I’ve created this very strong character. Most young women say, ‘I want to be famous,’ which is pretty sad.”

Confessions of a Wild Child “was a step back in time a little bit, but I tried not to say what time period it was. I didn’t do any popular culture references. I wanted girls to feel it wasn’t now because we didn’t have cell phones and selfies. It’s just growing up. Questions. Do you go all the way? Do you not go all the way? Is it right? I wanted them to think about it.”

Sex, drama and materialism will always be in style because people “see it on television. I don’t think they [young people] watch Real Housewives or Shahs of Sunset or Rich Kids of Beverly Hills for the characters. They see the swimming pools, the handbags, the table settings, and that’s what they aspire to have, and then, they think to themselves the only way to get that is to be famous. Because the people are famous, in fact, for nothing. When you look at the Housewives, there are 50 of them, and they all aspire to be famous.”

“When I was still in school, she”—Collins remembers, the “she” being her famous Dynasty sister Joan Collins—“was off making movies with Paul Newman. Our teen years were very different. After she was 19, she was off in Hollywood, and I was being expelled from school. I think we had those experiences at different times.”

I compare her novel, which I read last night in one sitting, my first foray into a Jackie Collins storyline, to my favorite young adult tales: Pretty Little Liars, practically anything on The CW, The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants and, yes, my beloved television adaptation of The Carries Diaries. Breaking away from my serious professionalism, I declare it “awesome!” for its accuracy with coming of age. I was a bit of her “wild child” myself. She agrees. “Most teen girls will go through this horror of your first kiss and first sexual awakening.”

As it turns out, there is a lot of teenage Jackie in Lucky. “I had an older friend who was kind of like Olympia,” she says. “It’s not my story. It’s Lucky’s story. But there are certain aspects of this story that are mine because I did spend a lot of time as a teen in the south of France.”

Next, I bring up her recent interview with The Advocate and her masses of gay fans. Will she ever have a main character who happens to be gay: the lesbian Hollywood femme fatale or an openly gay Bradley Cooper type? “I would definitely do that in the future. I have so many ideas of books I want to write,” she assures me (and her astonishingly large gay fan base). “I’m thinking about bringing back Flynn from The Power Trip, who’s a very dynamic male character. I never know what I want to do until I sit down and write it. I never say, ‘I might write a lesbian main character.’ My pen takes me on the trip. I’ve had several lesbian characters in my books.”

In the new book, Lucky makes a momentous decision at the end. Collins wants fans to understand it was representative of the character’s clout. “The reason she did it was because she is a strong person, and she had a choice. The whole pattern would happen again, or she would have more power. It was about giving herself power. It was a stepping stone for her. She thought about it carefully: ‘Am I going to be a kid forever?’”

Before she leaves, off to another interview, I ask her what her fans would be surprised to learn if only they chatted her up. “I think they know more or less everything about me,” she replies. “That I’m a TV junkie and chocaholic. Combine the two. There’s nothing like watching TV on your bed eating chocolate.”

To me, and to every person wanting a dosage of her sass and career gold, she warns, “It’s not so glamorous when you’re writing. You’re shut up for hours on end.”

“But,” she says, “if you want to be a writer, my advice to everybody out there is don’t talk about it. Do it. If you wrote a page a day, every day for a year, you’d have a book. Write. Do it. Follow your dreams.”


Want to buy Jackie Collins’ new book, Confessions of a Wild Child? It’s available in the USA, UK and Australia at retailers like Amazon and your local bookstore.

Continue Reading


POP INTERVIEW: Jim Beard On Winning a Grammy, Performing with John Mayer and Producing Incredible Jazz

A lot of music world hoopla was made this week when Britney Spears left her standby producers, Dr. Luke and Max Martin. Metallica. The Beatles. When any artist leaves behind an old sound onto a new one, the stakes are costly. But what people don’t know is this is an artist is only as good as his or her producer. The same is true of jazz.



A lot of music world hoopla was made this week when Britney Spears left her standby producers, Dr. Luke and Max Martin. Metallica. The Beatles. When any artist leaves behind an old sound onto a new one, the stakes are costly. But what people don’t know is this is an artist is only as good as his or her producer. The same is true of jazz.

Jim’s newly recorded solo piano CD, “Show Of Hands”, is available on ITunes and

 Grammy winning producer and musician Jim Beard has been lucky enough to tour with his early musical influence, Steely Dan. On stage, he has worked with John Mayer, Larry Carlton, Victor Bailey and many other legendary performers.

jim beard 2

When people learn that you toured with Steely Dan, is it intimidating that you might need to live up to those expectations? Not that you are any worse or better, but that you would sound different and leave Steely Dan fans confused?

I would guess that most, if not all of my current fans have been following my music since before I joined Steely Dan. And I think those same fans wouldn’t expect a Jim Beard concert to sound like a Steely Dan concert simply because I’ve toured with them. I also think it’s probably pretty difficult to confuse a Steely Dan fan. So there is no intimidation going on in that regard. I also didn’t discover high expectations or standards after joining Steely Dan. I’d like to think that they called me because I had high standards in place already.

What is your favorite thing about traveling the world?
Food. I love all things food. I love to cook and find great restaurants. And I love experiencing what is indigenous about cuisines around the world. Also, getting back to New York at the end of a tour is one of my favorite things about traveling.

jim beard

Are you finding more younger fans at your concerts now that jazz is widely available on iTunes?
No. But I do think younger audiences are becoming more aware of all types of music and art through the internet in general. I think Youtube is playing a greater role in that than iTunes is.

“Those who can’t do teach.” True or false? When you teach classes, is that because you are taking a break from creating new material…and you may need to be inspired?
False. There are many great teachers who are fantastic performers, just as there are many commercially successful performers who have no business being on a stage or at the front of a classroom. I’ve always known that saying to go: “If you’re not good enough to be a performer, become a teacher. If you’re not good enough to be a teacher, become a critic”. As a rule, I take up teaching on the breaks between tours. Quite often, months of touring are followed by months at home. Teaching at a reputable music institution is something I enjoy. If I need to get into the creative mode to write, that happens at home on my own time.

Are you harder on students than you would be critiquing other musicians?
First of all, I’m hardest on myself. Next would be musicians. But ‘critiquing’ might be the wrong word. As a producer, it falls within my job responsibilities to guide, encourage, correct or reject performances by the musicians in the studio. And I can find myself being ‘hard’ on musicians who I feel have misplaced priorities such as appearance, attitude or antics. Poser is the word that comes to mind here. I always try to be encouraging with students. I also try to teach them to be self critical because that is how they really improve. I am asked on occasion to be on juries for students who are transitioning from undergraduate to graduate or graduate to doctoral level and it is a job requirement to be ‘critical’ in those situations.

Show Of Hands

Another thought is someone has made it once he or she wins a Grammy. You have won a Grammy. Do you feel like you still have work left to do in your career?
Well, since there is no huge (or any) cash prize that comes with a Grammy, I most certainly have a lot more work left to do in my career. I view having a Grammy as a feather in my cap, not as something that defines me.

What is the most surprising thing that has ever happened in your professional career?
jim beard3I remember the first big high profile world tour of my career in 1986 with John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra. It was our first concert somewhere in Italy. When we arrived at the venue, there were swarms of people lined up at the artist’s entrance waving and pushing and screaming. It was quite a shock for the kid just out of college. I guess you could say it felt like a rock star moment. That tour had a few surprises. At another concert in Italy, the power went out and there was nearly a riot. The police had to be called in to get us out safely. 

Continue Reading


POP INTERVIEW: Lydia McLaughlin as She Exits “Real Housewives of Orange County”

Yesterday, Lydia McLaughlin announced she was leaving The Real Housewives of Orange County…by choice. According to Us Weekly, she wanted to grow her brand, consisting of a jewelry line at the present, and possibly pursue a reality show about her entrepreneurial spirit. During our interview last weekend, she gave no obvious clues about leaving the show but the reason for the chat–branding herself with her beautiful, yet affordable jewelry pieces–could have been the first sign.



Yesterday, Lydia McLaughlin announced she was leaving The Real Housewives of Orange County…by choice. According to Us Weekly, she wanted to grow her brand, consisting of a jewelry line at the present, and possibly pursue a reality show about her entrepreneurial spirit. During our interview last weekend, she gave no obvious clues about leaving the show but the reason for the chat–branding herself with her beautiful, yet affordable jewelry pieces–could have been the first sign. Bethenny Frankel broke away from the catty Housewives storylines similarly to now become a popular daytime talk show host, diet cocktail inventor and an estimated $100 million net worth.


People love talking for the sake of gossip, and rumors are bound to conflict with McLaughlin’s statement that producers asked her back though she declined. In April, Star reported that Gretchen Rossi and Alexis Bellino were kicked off the series. Of course, all talk about Lydia being forced away will be false. Her answer, when I couldn’t resist asking about the king of Real Housewives, Cohen himself, was genuinely sweet. “He’s exactly what he seems like when he’s not on TV. If you were to have a conversation with him, it’s just like you see.”

Is he cute in person? “He’s actually better looking!” she confirms. “He’s a big sweetheart. If I called him right now, he would answer the phone. He’s really accessible. He’s a good producer. He’s a good person. He’s handsome. I only have nice things to say about Mr. Cohen.”

Presented with an opportunity to join a reality show on a major network where catfights are the ratings selling point, many would say no. Anyone could argue how reality TV producers pull you in every direction, chop and edit unfairly, make you act out artificial storylines as The Hills did and stick words in your mouth to provoke drama. McLaughlin took the risk, which couldn’t have been a better advertisement for her jewelry collection she was about to launch. She didn’t want to be famous, nor did she desire to be infamous. She wanted to move Lydia M. Jewelry product sales.


“If you watch the show, pretty much in any scene, I’m wearing one of my own pieces. It’s a commercial for my stuff. A lot of times, I post it on my Instagram. I do it a couple times a month. On my website, they can ask me different questions. I wear it on a daily basis, anyway. If you saw me at the park, I’d be wearing my bracelet. In particular with my jewelry, I wanted to be doing pieces I knew I would wear,” the OC Housewife says.

“My husband has gotten me Chanel necklaces and said, ‘Wait! These aren’t even real pearls? Oh my gosh.’ You can see that for me, it was like I know that I am not Chanel, and I don’t have that name brand recognition. You are buying those types of jewelry for the name brand and logo on it. If it’s a lipstick, people are buying Tom Ford, whereas M.A.C. makes beautiful lipsticks. Branding is not a new concept. I knew I wanted to focus on the materials. At the end of the day, if I’m wearing earrings, if it doesn’t have a Chanel logo on it, you can’t tell where it came from.”

She says her pieces are for people like her with high sensitivity to typical cheaper wares. “I have sensitive skin, so you need to have good quality of things. It is costume jewelry; it’s not real diamonds or anything like that. But it’s the finest, and you’ll see that reflected in the cost a little bit. I’m particular about the materials. I use the gold, not gold plated. It’s gold filled. So there is gold throughout the braided bracelets I use. That was a big deal for me.”

Going through the checkboxes of Housewives cast member stereotypes, McLaughlin already stands out from the pack by working on her public image and brand and also, in one area Frankel did not: her Christian faith is a big percentage of who she is. “I’m a role model through the way I live my life, having integrity and being authentic to who I am, being confident in who I am and who God made me to be, and giving back,” she says.

McLaughlin surprised herself, saying this fact or how she saved herself for marriage wasn’t something she would “normally admit” to strangers, but it felt right tearing down the misconception that all reality TV starlets must act promiscuous on television. “That was one reason why I decided to do the show. I wanted to give a different voice. I wanted to project a light and positivity. I think the Housewives franchise gives me a power. It’s flattering that girls watch you and see themselves in you. You can use that power for good or bad,” McLaughlin says. “To us, my husband and I, it was cool that we were both virgins when we got married. I thought that would be a cool thing to share. Other people could say, ‘I’m not a freak because I don’t sleep around.’”


Projecting yourself as a Christian or otherwise is definitely hard when anything you might say with humor or a slip of the tongue gets taken apart in the editing room, and later, by TV critics and viewers, she tells us. “Filming, just that you film your real life, that adds a little bit of stress to you, and the crew of people following you around, you’re being nervous. I said, ‘I can’t believe that I said that.’ Instead of embarrassing yourself, you embarrassed yourself in front of all of America, who loves to judge you.”

And her gratitude extends to who she is off camera. “The coolest moment for me was one of my fans at the mall saw me and came up, and she was wearing my earrings. She wanted a picture, but I wanted a picture with her as well. Of course, you want to see it on the red carpet. You want to see it on the movie stars. I want to see my fans wearing it. It was an everyday person, and we were both wearing my earrings.”

“I design my stuff for me,” she says, meaning normal women doing all kinds of things in their weekly schedules. “I’ll go on a play date, and then, I’ll go out to dinner. I wanted to be able to design bracelets and necklaces for my daily life, but at the same time, my mother and all of her friends in their 60s love my jewelry, and we’ve sold it to some people who are 16. It depends on your taste. You can wear it with a ball gown at night or to a PTA meeting in the morning. It’s beautiful, timeless and for all occasions. It’s for a woman who wants a little bit of sparkle, which is everybody out there. It is all handmade in Orange County.”


As she seeks to end up on the list of designers sold at Bloomingdale’s, Lydia’s surprise decision leaves a hole in the OC Housewives lineup. I nominated Brian, the owner you see photographed up top, as a new castmate. He may have a shot now!

“First of all, he’d have to become a woman. We have never had a man! That would be his first step. I think there isn’t really a mold. I was nervous when they asked me to be on the show.” So far, so good. All Brian needs is a sex change. Continuing…

“I don’t think I am a typical Housewife,” McLaughlin, who is not native to Orange County but Canadian-born, says. “I like being with joyful people. This show was a lot of drama. The producers were big on me saying they wanted me to be myself. You don’t have to pretend to be something you aren’t. As long as he’s a strong, opinionated woman, has his views and isn’t afraid to say what they are, he’d be a perfect Housewife.”

The last step is Brian needs to move within the filming vicinity. “You’re recommended by a friend or someone you know. I knew Alexis. I think for me, particularly, the casting directors and our company are the same producers for The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Lisa from Beverly Hills has worked with our magazine. They just heard from the beginning that I was at Beverly Hills Lifestyle Magazine, and I moved across the street from Alexis, so it was two worlds colliding.”

While Brian works on getting cast in the lineup, women who want to start a new business can work on building a brand. “I think that you need to have a good business model. It depends on the business you want to start. My whole family is entrepreneurial, so I have a lot of good mentors. I have people in my life I can ask questions to if I need it. We always had that mind frame. Google ‘business models!’” she advises. McLaughlin’s father founded Canada’s first 24-hour network, NTV. With her husband, Lydia created the magazine and SKYLAB Media, a digital marketing/design company. All of this existed before the show ever made her known to the rest of the country.

On what fans love most about her, she replies, “You’d have to ask my fans. I know just from experience, I’ve gotten to go back to my old youth group. I’ve gotten to give my testimony there. Some girls broke into tears just from seeing me. That was a really crazy experience. The fans are really great, even on Instagram. I know on my account, if I post something, and someone say something mean, my fans defend me.”


Plenty of fans are dealing with bullying in high school or college. Others face adult world bullying at the workplace or elsewhere. McLaughlin understands what it is like to be mocked for invalid reasons and says the only solution is to ignore haters and focus on positivity. “You get a lot more love than you do get hate. You have to take everything with a grain of salt, and you have to be a strong person. To step into a role like this, you can choose to focus on giving them that power or focus on the great things you want to do. I think I’m really a great mom, and I do my best. It doesn’t mean you’re immune to that if you’re famous, but I have really good roots, and your head’s on straight…”

“When you watch Sex and the City, you say, ‘Are you a Charlotte or a Carrie?’ It’s the same type of thing like Housewives,” she explained the series’ phenomenon. “I’m young. I’m a Christian. I’m quirky. I beat to my own drum. Maybe, there’s something about me they see in themselves. They’ll gravitate towards me. I was on this show for one season, and I have over 250,000 social media fans. To me, that is so humbling and flattering.”


Continue Reading