Why are people so fascinated with your personal life?
Jennifer Rubell, 36, writer, renowned hostess, hotelier, Harvard grad and member of the illustrious Rubell clan, is poised to become the country’s newest entertaining guru. Jennifer is currently Food and Entertaining Editor of the Miami Herald’s Home & Design magazine, Former Contributing Food Editor of, the recently folded (March 2009), Condé Nast shelter magazine Domino, and her first book, Real Life Entertaining, was released in May 2006 by HarperCollins. She writes regularly for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, and has appeared in, among others, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W, Better Homes and Gardens, Elle, The New York Times, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Travel + Leisure, Ocean Drive and Food & Wine. In 2007, Paper Magazine named Jennifer one of its 30 most beautiful people.
Entertaining is in Jennifer Rubell’s blood. Her uncle, the late Studio 54 owner Steve Rubell, treated Jennifer as his own child, taking her along to parties with Halston, Calvin Klein, Liza Minelli and Bianca Jagger, and inviting her to every major event at Studio 54, starting at the age of 7. Her parents, world-renowned contemporary art collectors Donald and Mera Rubell, became famous in the ‘80s for the Whitney Biennial after-party they hosted at their Upper East Side townhouse. With artists like Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat, Julian Schnabel and Andy Warhol roaming around the house, Mera turned out bowl after bowl of spaghetti with homemade marinara sauce, with Jennifer at her side learning the Rubell family style: personal, unconventional and decidedly hands-on.
Jennifer Rubell: Well one thing that really blows my mind is how almost anytime you know something about a person when you read about them in a gossip context, it’s totally untrue. So sometimes there’s a kernel of truth. Sometimes there’s no truth. But it’s . . . it’s pretty weird. And then even I, knowing that, when I read about Britney Spears I think, “Well maybe it’s not all true, but there’s gotta be a kernel of truth in there somewhere.” People wanna believe it. I don’t know. I mean I . . . I think . . . I don’t know. I respect people’s interest in gossip, and I feel the same way. I’m totally guilty of (01:02:07) it. I think it’s a way of . . . It’s a way of feeling like you have a human connection to someone that you don’t actually really have. And I think that gossip has been going on forever. I think it’s like if you lived in some little town, then you would . . . you might be gossiping about the . . . Well it’s very . . . it’s all very tricky, you know? People do live in little towns today, and it doesn’t necessarily have the same gossip environment about the other people; but it’s . . . they are also gossiping about Britney Spears. And I don’t know. On the other hand I don’t think it’s all bad, because I think that you see examples of other people’s lives and things that might have gone wrong. And maybe . . . I don’t know. Maybe people can be a decent example. It’s so easy for me to talk about food and so hard for me to talk about anything related to, you know, sort of . . . I . . . I have a very deep respect for journalists, and I think what journalists do is amazing. Gossip columnists don’t live up to those standards.
And I mean for instance there was an article in the New York Post about a custody litigation that I was involved in. And the article was talking about a litigation that had already been settled, and they simply didn’t do the research to know that that was the case. So aside from whatever junk they said which was false . . . aside from all of that, this was a case that was already settled. So you’re not dealing with the truth. You’re dealing with something that’s a half-truth, which is what gossip sort of is. So I don’t know. You know and obviously when it comes to my daughter, I would like her to be completely out of the public eye and make some decision when and if she is in that position to be public or not. You know I mean the only real reason why people subject themselves to the public eye is to sell stuff. That’s why people are in magazines. When you read about an actor, they have a movie coming out. When you read about an author, they’re selling a book. That’s why it’s a form . . . Media is a form of advertising even in the content. And . . . and the interesting thing about gossip is it isn’t that. It isn’t people using the media to sell stuff. So I don’t know. It’s fine. We live in America. It’s free. It’s fine that it exists, and you know I have definitely not been caused any harm by that.
Recorded on: 12/13/07
It's a way of feeling like you have a human connection to someone that you really don't even know.
NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller is coming back to Big Think to answer YOUR questions! Here's all you need to know to submit your science-related inquiries.
Big Think's amazing audience has responded so well to our videos from NASA astronomer and Assistant Director for Science Communication Michelle Thaller that we couldn't wait to bring her back for more!
And this time, she's ready to tackle any questions you're willing to throw at her, like, "How big is the Universe?", "Am I really made of stars?" or, "How long until Elon Musk starts a colony on Mars?"
All you have to do is submit your questions to the form below, and we'll use them for an upcoming Q+A session with Michelle. You know what to do, Big Thinkers!
Or how I learned to stop worrying and love my tsundoku.
- Many readers buy books with every intention of reading them only to let them linger on the shelf.
- Statistician Nassim Nicholas Taleb believes surrounding ourselves with unread books enriches our lives as they remind us of all we don't know.
- The Japanese call this practice tsundoku, and it may provide lasting benefits.
Calling all big thinkers!
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.