“DESIGNER LETTUCE…” STYLE GUY CARSON KRESSLEY
Former “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” star Carson Kressley takes his style advice on the road in the new OWN show, “Carson Nation,” premiering Saturday (June 25).
In-between visits to Asbury Park – he was here for Gay Pride Weekend and plans a return in July – Kressley called me last week. I finally got to ask him a question I have been waiting years to ask.
TBP: On “Queer Eye” you used the word “zhushing” when you just wanted to tweak what someone was wearing to make it a little more perfect. It is one of my favorite words and I have always wanted to ask you if you created that word, which is now part of the American lexicon.
Carson: I didn’t create that word but I did bring it to the apex of popularity.
I worked at Ralph Lauren for several years as creative director in the design and advertising department. Any time Ralph or his brother Jerry would come in and look at what we styled for the runway shows they would say “Oh, this jacket could use a little zhushing” and one of them would roll up the sleeves or pop the collar. So Ralph really created the word but I am glad people liked it. It is great to hear people saying it all over now.
TBP: Fantastic. Your new show Carson Nation puts a new twist on the makeover show.
Carson: It’s basically a road trip that me and my assistant take. I throw a dart at the United States and that’s how we choose where we go next.
And our producers are the same people that did “Extreme Makeover Home Edition.” I truly believe the show has a lot of heart. Instead of just making someone over because they are getting married, we are making people over because she is getting married and her husband is getting deployed to Afghanistan.
There is real information on how people can look better and feel better and “live their best life.”
And its been really fun because we get to go to towns that are similar to Asbury. There are so many shows where the producers are like “we are going to take you to LA and to Neiman Marcus”and we are going to have someone famous do your hair. We are not doing that. We are literally staying in the local community and saying “hey we found this great piece at the consignment store around the corner let’s try it on.”
And we are not going to take you to LA to do your hair we found a talented stylist and colorist in your neighborhood and we are going to do it at her home at her backyard beauty salon.
So everybody wins. And we have the whole community involved. Getting to see the real America has been really fun. You know sometimes we get caught in our little east or west coast bubble. People in the middle of the country have different ideas and opinions and its just been great to be exposed to that.
TBP: So now you get to relax, I hope. And for years, one of your favorite places to chill is Asbury Park.
Carson: Asbury is all about downtime with friends for me.
I love Asbury because it’s got great history and diversity. One of the cool things about going to the beach there is that you see every type of person and everyone feels comfortable – which is fantastic.
Asbury Lanes is fantastic. Everything in America has become so homogenized like a Panera Bread – sometimes it seems like everything is a chain store. So its nice to see something really old-school and authentic – a vintage gem like that bowling alley.
I also go to Sunset Gardens which has great plants for my terrace in New York and love all the antique stores on Cookman Avenue and in Allenhurst.
Those stores are a great resource for anyone who likes design and wants something affordable and stylish.
Sometimes we will go for a jog around Deal Lake which is fun. I can’t believe I am saying that jogging is fun but it kind of is around the lake.
We love to go to Wegman’s and buy tons of food and just barbecue and cook and grill which is fun. Do not go to Wegman’s when you are hungry because you will spend $9,000 on designer lettuce. Be very careful there.
Click here to read Part 2 of our interview with Kressley. He talks about his celebrity crush of the moment, guilty pleasures, summer style and more.
Watch the “Carson Nation” trailer here.