Shark Tank‘s Barbara Corcoran sums up situations quickly, trusts her gut and speaks her mind. This approach serves her well. A self-made, most assured businesswoman, Corcoran is one of the originals on ABC’s Shark Tank, which returns for a new season Friday, Sept. 26 at 8/7c with a two-hour premiere. An author and investor in an array of business interests outside of the New York real estate company that bears her name, Corcoran admits she’s made plenty of mistakes (Cactus Jack Body Jac is one example), but she’s learned from all of them. Here she shares some of her life lessons and answers Channel Guide‘s 7 Questions …
1. You’re at a magazine rack and can only pick three titles. Which ones do you choose?
Barbara Corcoran: I always pick the same ones: Entrepreneur Magazine, Success and as many decorating magazines as I can get my hands on. If they got a pretty room on the cover, I am grabbing it. I love to redecorate and get ideas.
2. If your TV carried just three shows or networks, what would they be?
I don’t watch TV. I don’t know what channel House of Cards is on. And the only other show I ever watch is BBC’s Sherlock. Oh, and Downton Abbey.
3. What are three things you have to have in your fridge or pantry?
Cold white wine, some kind of cheese — I like all hard cheese — apricot juice.
4. What has been your strangest fan encounter?
Last March 4, at an Italian restaurant in my neighborhood. I had a very small family dinner. My son was turning 20, and we were singing “Happy Birthday.” And a woman comes up to me and says, “Miss Corcoran, Miss Corcoran, do you have a minute? I have a business idea.” We were literally singing. I said, “Not now” and I was smiling. I thought my brother Tommy put her up to it, but not now. I told her, “Just a minute.” What did I do? I stepped away from the table and I said, “Why don’t you just email me?” Of course she follows up.
5. Tell us about a time when you were starstruck.
Only once. I was walking down 57th Street between Sixth and Fifth Avenues, and it was 20 years ago, maybe. And I am walking and there is a tall, good-looking, blond guy and next to him is Mel Gibson. And he was going to pass me — I could not believe myself. I could not remember his name. He’s a little guy. I like tall men, and he is a little guy. And as I got to him I put both arms out and groped him! I said, “You, you, you.” I grabbed him around the shoulders and he casually pushed my arm and kept talking. And I stood there and felt mortified.
6. What have been a couple of your favorite ideas?
Cousins Maine Lobster because 1) They are making me money, 2) They are drop-dead gorgeous 20-something-year-olds, 3) Whenever they send me photos of us together they have the decency to airbrush my face. It took me two seasons to realize they were airbrushing my face. Who has won my heart more than anyone else and not in a sexual way? Kim Nelson from Daisy Cakes is a walking, talking example of having nothing, becoming a big hit, losing it all and rising up from the ashes.
7. What’s a common mistake people make when presenting their ideas?
They do not cut to the chase, and they make the terrible mistake of allowing the sharks to sit there and figure out what their business is. It is tiring and you’re not looking at a good salesman. The No. 2 thing is fancy talk. People, particularly young people, who went to good, fancy, expensive schools and talk the lingo and start shooting out these fancy words. We all know that if someone is talking fancy, you are going to lose your money.