Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Courtney Kerr Loves Dallas. And Fashion. And Other Local Fare. (Part 1)

I first met Courtney Kerr when she was in the midst of filming Most Eligible Dallas for Bravo TV in early 2011. Drew Ginsburg, a fellow cast mate, had reached out to me early on in the show’s development and we had established a friendly text banter. It was Ginsburg who took it upon himself to make sure the rest of the cast knew who I was and thus friendships developed between myself and most members of the cast that lasted throughout filming and into the show’s run. I took an instant liking to Kerr, who from the very beginning was the standout personality on that cast. Even though I am 15 years older than Kerr, we quickly bonded over our love of fashion, food and a good glass of wine. Mainly food. I love a girl who loves to eat and our outings always include a delicious meal and a cocktail.

You’ve heard people talk about how you have to have the “it factor” to make it in Hollywood. Well, Kerr has “it” in spades. From her big hair to her big mouth to her larger than life personality, you either love her or hate her. And she is just fine with that. Apparently Bravo executives also saw something special in Kerr and it wasn’t too long after MED had wrapped that they began to talk to her about a spinoff. Kerr was both excited and terrified. In an earlier interview dated August 12, 2012, she told me, “I am so humbled that Bravo would choose to develop a show around me. It's thrilling, but frightening at the same time. In an ensemble cast, if something isn't working you can say 'Oh, maybe they didn't like the chemistry between this person and that person. Or maybe a certain storyline wasn't working'. But for my new show, there is nowhere to hide. It's all eyes on me and that is extremely intimidating!"

The show was initially slated to be called Courtney Does Dallas, but Courtney's Mother (affectionately known as Mama Kerr) didn't like the connotation that the name gave and thus it was ultimately reworked into a more suitable title and Courtney Loves Dallas (CLD) was born. The show filmed in the Fall of 2012 and was initially set to air in Spring 2013. Then it got pushed to Summer. Then it got pushed to Fall.

Locals began to whisper that perhaps this show would never see the light of day. Kerr has remained calm, cool and collected in the face of indecision. Shrugging her shoulders she has told me on several occasions, “Bravo does this sort of thing all the time. Who am I to question their decision. I just have to trust that they want to show to succeed and are making decisions accordingly.”

FINALLY, Bravo settled on a date and have placed CLD in the Fall schedule to follow its monster hit Millionaire Matchmaker starring Patti Stanger.  As the launch of her spinoff looms ever closer (December 5 at 9pm CST to be exact), I sat down with Kerr at Bread Winners in her Uptown Dallas neighborhood to dish about what’s happened to her life these past two years, how it’s changed her and what lies ahead:

OSC: Your new show is called Courtney Loves Dallas but I know from talking to you that you filmed in New York City, you filmed a road trip to Marfa and you spent time in Fort Worth (which is where her Mother lives). Where the hell is Dallas is all of this?

CK: (laughing) Well, New York City is obviously a big part of my life right now. I’m there twice a year for Fashion Week and I have a lot of projects there, so it’s a part of my work life. Fort Worth ended up in the show because of my Mom’s cancer battle and Marfa was just a girls trip. In this show, Dallas is the backdrop and kind of like a fifth character between me and my girlfriends. Similar to how New York City was for Sex in the City. I love NYC so freaking hard, but our city sleeps (laughs) and we have to because we have so many big personalities that take a lot of energy. NYC doesn’t sleep. I couldn’t live there – it’s just go go go all the time. And I love that Dallas knows how to shut down. We play hard and we rest hard too.

The new love of her life: Fancy
OSC: You and Matt (Nordgren) left things unresolved in the final episode of MED. I know that one of your first episodes on CLD has you meeting up with him to put some closure on your relationship. Where are you now with Matt?

Note: For those who didn’t watch MED, Kerr & Nordgren were BFF’s until their flirtation led to a hot tub make-out session at the end of the season. What viewers didn’t see was the subsequent demise of the friendship when Nordgren couldn’t/wouldn’t commit to a relationship. They both appeared on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen in October 2012 to address the split. It did not end well. 

CK: In the first episode (of CLD), we both end up at the same event. Which, I didn’t know he was going to be there until about 20 minutes before it happened, so you can imagine the panic that went through my head. We hadn’t talked at that point in a year and so, and it was kind of that moment where I had the opportunity to put a bow on it. My friends were saying, “It’s been a year. Don’t dig it up again.’ But as women, we sometimes need to hear ‘why didn’t you want to be with me?’ or ‘what did I do?’. So, you’ll see that story play out in the first four episodes and then finally you see how it all shakes down and how it is now.

OSC: What did that relationship teach you?

CK: To listen to your friends. If they are telling you that someone is a womanizer, then he probably is. I always felt like I was defending Matt saying. ‘Oh, he’s not like that behind closed doors.’ But why would I want someone to (act like my boyfriend) behind closed doors? Or in a hot tub? Why wouldn’t you want to be with a man who is like that when you’re in public.? Your friends see things you don’t want to see. Listen to them.

“Give me bacon and a pair of high heels 
and I can conquer the world”

OSC: Your new show centers around you and your relationships with several of your girl friends. Out of all the friends you have, how did you end up with the three we meet on CLD?

CK: Those three (Katie James, Thais Moses and Tori Gonzales) girls I have all known at least seven years and they have stood next to me through MED, break ups, relationship woes, job changes and we all really support each other. We all stand in really different shoes, but we all kind of walk the same path as far as what we want for our lives. They are just my girls. Tori and I have a unique relationship and you’ll see that on the show. We can really be blunt with each other and yell and fight with each other. And then it’s over. But we listen to each other.

Tori Gonzales, Thais Moses and Katie James will appear in Courtney Loves Dallas

OSC: Were there other girls you pitched to Bravo who didn’t make the cut?

CK: No… it wasn’t really a pitch. When they (Bravo) came to me about the show, they said ‘We want to meet all your friends’. And those were the three girls I brought to dinner. I think women will watch the show and see the dynamic between us and relate to the friendships they have in their own lives.

OSC: So, are you saying that there is actually some reality in this reality show?

CK: This show is as real as it gets and I was very adamant about that. There were days that they were just filming me working at my computer and I was like, ‘There is no way this I gripping television for y’all.’ But it all panned out in a way that I am very happy with. And I think that’s the difference between a show that’s about one person and a show that’s about six people. With MED, there were 6 different characters and they had to figure out a way for those lives to crisscross. Where as this – is just me. It’s as real as it gets… outside of my spray tan and gel nails and eye lashes. And if you have skeletons in your closet… do not do a reality tv show because that stuff will come out!

OSC: So are you saying that we will see some skeletons revealed on CLD?

CK: No.

OSC: Nothing?

CK: Well, maybe a leg bone.

OSC: With a show title called Courtney Loves Dallas, do you feel an obligation to represent the city in a certain way or show it in a certain light?

CK: This city has embraced me and made me feel welcome – even before all the reality tv started – so I would never want to do the city any injustice because it’s been so good to me. I show the city how I see it through my eyes and I think a lot of young professionals who live here will see it that same way.

OSC: So, on that topic, let’s discuss a few things you love about Dallas. What is your favorite festival or event that happens in this city.

Kerr in NYC
CK:  I really, really love the State Fair of Texas. It’s just an experience. I also love the Chi Omega Christmas Market and even though TX/OU is annoying, it’s something that I love to do. And I love Highland Park Village at Christmastime.

OSC: What’s your favorite brunch spot?

CK:  Oddfellows is a great greasy spoon. I also love La Duni – I would eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And I love to cook breakfast. For me, brunch is more about the experience and going over the stories from the night before.

OSC: What are your favorite local stores to shop?

CK:  I love Milk & Honey on Henderson – the price point is fantastic. I love Forty Five Ten – I can’t afford anything in there, but I love it. L. Bartlett in West Village is a favorite because it’s quick and easy. If I need a dress, I know I’ll always find something there.

OSC: Where do you go when you are craving a big, juicy hamburger?

CK:   In and Out or Jake’s because I love those fried jalapeƱos (bottle caps) they put on their burger.

OSC: What restaurant could a guy take you on a date that would impress you?

CK:  Nonna or Suze is really romantic. I don’t want to go to like an Uptown douchebag place. Like, don’t take me to Nick & Sam’s. That’s not where you take a girl on a date. That’s where you go with your friends before a Mavs game. I want to go somewhere romantic and quiet and like you’re not trying too hard. If you had a hole-in-the-wall Mexican food place, that would really win my heart.

Click HERE to read part two of my interview with Courtney Kerr. We talk about her social media addiction, how she ended up on The Broadcast, her Mom's cancer scare and her dreams for the future. 

Follow Courtney on Twitter @TheCourtneyKerr and Instagram @TheCourtneyKerr
Get style inspiration at What Courtney Wore.

To read more about Courtney Kerr and Courtney Loves Dallasclick here for exclusive interviews and all kinds of insider info!