8 1/2 Questions With … Clinton Kelly

Earlier this year I cornered the cohost of TLC’s What Not to Wear, Clinton Kelly, at a cocktail party. The ever so humble, extremely handsome and candid Kelly had a good time telling me the following.

1. How much should the average person spend on their wardrobe?

Clinton Kelly: I’m going to skirt this question a little bit, only because it really depends on how much money you make. What I tell women during really strong economic times is that if you feel you are financially solid and you know you have a job, you have money in the bank and you want to spend some money on clothes, you need to come up with a wardrobe budget. Out of that budget, in good financial times, I recommend women spend 50 percent on classics and 50 percent on trends. If you’re on a serious budget or in financial uncertainty, spend 75 percent of your budget on classic pieces and 25 percent on trends.

2. You’re at a magazine rack and can pick three titles. What are they?

I’d probably pick — well I’d go for the cover, any cover that looks interesting. I don’t read a lot of entertainment magazines so I’d probably pick a home decorating magazine, maybe one men’s magazine. Men’s Health! I always want to learn how to lose my gut. And a food magazine, like Food & Wine. … You should ask me these questions before I have my cocktail.

3. If your TV only carried three TV shows, what would you want?

Real World/Road Rules Challenge, my all-time favorite show; Survivor — I still watch that after all these years; and Project Runway. None of those are on TLC. [laughing] I mean Cake Boss, BBQ Pitmasters and Say Yes to the Dress.

4. Favorite sports team?

[laughing even harder] Ah … the Yankees?

5. What’s been your oddest fan encounter to date?

I’ve had a lot of them, almost too many to count. Somebody wrote to me and said, “You, Clinton Kelly, should do a calendar and every month you could be wearing a variety of Daisy Duke shorts.” That’s my favorite.

6. What bores you?

These are the hardest questions! Besides boredom? I hate airports. I think airports are the worst places on earth. This culture of celebrity worship, tabloid television — like people talking about people like Heidi and Spencer. I could give a @#$% about Heidi and Spencer. That bores me. Heidi and Spencer bore me.

7. What’s your favorite condiment?

Does tonic count? Oh, Hellmann’s mayonnaise. Hellmann’s mayonnaise!! [light or fat-free?] Fully loaded.

8. What would someone be really surprised to know about you?

I feel like my life is an open book. What would people be surprised to know about me? That I have a tattoo … that says 10 ½. I’ve just given you a big scoop; I’ve never told anybody.

And where exactly is that tattoo?

Do you want to see it?

[Ah, yeah!!!] Slowly turning he shows me his tattoo, then his agent interrupts, asking, “What is going on?”