Newsmakers

  • Who Joan Rivers Most Likes to Ridicule

    Sara Haines and Mary-Rose Abraham at Newsmakers 2 yrs ago

    It's not every book which opens with a disclaimer that readers take nothing in it seriously. Diary of a Mad Diva is trademark Joan Rivers -- skewering celebrities, public figures and most especially, the comedian herself. Yet Rivers says the caution didn't stop actress Kristen Stewart from wanting the book pulled for a crude reference to Stewart's affair with a married movie director.

    "Did anyone read to her that it's a joke?" Rivers wondered. "I am looking forward to going to court with Kristen Stewart."

    If that actually happens, Rivers is likely to be the only party gleefully anticipating her day in court. But it's all in a day's work for the longtime actress, comedian and author – this is her 12 th book – who at 81 has a full schedule which includes hosting Fashion Police and her Web series In Bed With Joan , comedy tours, and designing and selling her own jewelry line and accessories on QVC. So what would happen if she eased up a bit?

    "I would kill myself," Rivers said. "All I wanted ever was this business. Ever."

    ABC News' Brian Fudge contributed to this episode.

  • Why Tinder CEO Believes His App Is Better than Real-Life First Impressions

    Rebecca Jarvis and Mary-Rose Abraham at Newsmakers 2 yrs ago

    Despite 12 million matches a day, A-list celeb users like Katy Perry, and starting his own year-long relationship through the app, Sean Rad doesn’t believe Tinder is yet a success.

    For the founder & CEO of the popular dating app, success is not only that “everyone who can use Tinder is on Tinder” but also “getting recurring life-altering value out of it.”

    Seemingly impossible goals, but for now Rad does seem satisfied that his app has facilitated 2 billion matches since its founding about a year and a half ago. And in a given day, Tinder racks up 950 million swipes per day, when users go on their smartphones and swipe right in hopes of making a connection or swipe left to pass.

    “If you look through Tinder, part of the reason that it’s fun is because it’s not just headshots,” he explained. “These are fun photos that people are using to express who they are. It’s sort of like that first impression but even better. I mean, if I see somebody walking down the street, all I really have is their body language, their look. But on Tinder, I have a photo that they choose to really tell me about themselves. And that’s, I think, a first impression but a little better.”

  • What Susan Boyle Would Change in Her Famous ‘Got Talent’ Audition

    Dan Kloeffler at Newsmakers 2 yrs ago

    Five albums (a sixth due in October), millions in the bank, two Grammy nominations and international fame have done very little to change the woman who sent jaws to the floor with her version of “I Dreamed a Dream,” on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009.

    Susan Boyle, about to kick-off a U.S. tour, remains as humble, honest and appreciative as that night she determinedly walked on stage, contestant name sticker on her chest, and sang to the world a lesson about first impressions.

    “I would have a new dress,” Boyle said, given a re-do of her audition. “I would have ditched that frock. It was just so terrible. It looked like I was wearing a doily.”

    But once Boyle opened her mouth, few were taking note of what she was wearing. Her performance melted even the most hardened of judges, Simon Cowell, whom she still chats with on occasion. Even in her wildest dreams, Boyle could not have imagined the success that would follow.

    Granted, Boyle’s life hasn’t been totally stagnant since tens of millions of viewers have watched her YouTube clip to stardom. Gone is the muted wardrobe and unwieldy hair, replaced with a polished look, for a woman whose albums have broken record sales and topped the charts.

  • Selena Gomez: ‘I’m Living in a Bubble’

    Dan Kloeffler and Mary-Rose Abraham at Newsmakers 2 yrs ago

    Selena Gomez needs to chill.

    The 21-year-old singer/actress is getting heat to cut back on a frenetic schedule. But for someone that’s been in front of the cameras, rehearsing lines since she was 7 years old, taking a break from the pressure to perform requires a friendly nudge.

    “I have people saying ‘Have fun!’ You know, like be able to just enjoy where I am,” Gomez said. “But I want to do a lot, though. I love what I do. I’m obsessed with what I do.”

    Right now, her obsession is with her career, not swatting rumors about an on-again/off-again relationship with Justin Bieber, or reports that she was diagnosed with lupus. Gomez is very much calling the shots when it comes to guarding her name and reputation.

    Which is why she was quick to point out that her recent trip to Nepal, as a UNICEF Ambassador, highlighted the disconnect her career has created with the outside world.

    “It was beautiful. It was spiritual,” she said of the journey. “I never showered, ever, because I was in the field every day and it just felt like I was removed, completely, from my bubble that I live in,” she said. “And it was incredible.”

    And yet, Gomez is not without her own needs.

  • What Makes an Award-Winning Chef Nervous

    Dan Kloeffler and Mary-Rose Abraham at Newsmakers 2 yrs ago

    During an annual summer trip to Italy, longtime chef Nancy Silverton invited a neighbor over for lunch. And then she got nervous. Little wonder since that neighbor was Jeremiah Tower, credited as one of the developers of California cuisine. So Silverton went to her local cheese market for fresh mozzarella and prepared several sides to go with it, such as basil pesto and salted nuts. She recalled her guest told her it was one of the greatest lunches he’d ever had. And that simple meal launched a culinary empire with several restaurants in California and Singapore, appropriately called Mozza.

    It’s for her simple, fresh and inventive cooking that the James Beard Foundation awarded Los Angeles-based Silverton this year’s Outstanding Chef in the United States. Not only is it the first time that a West Coast chef has been named since 1998, but Silverton is only the fourth woman.

    Silverton said she loves to cook for “anybody that’s an enthusiastic eater” but “for any chef, they’re far more nervous when a fellow chef comes in.”

    ABC News' Brian Fudge contributed to this episode.

  • Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Promises Oprah Chai Follow-up

    Rebecca Jarvis and Mary-Rose Abraham at Newsmakers 2 yrs ago

    Even as he was making a major announcement about a new benefit for his employees, Starbucks chairman and CEO Howard Schultz promised another product rollout just a few months after debuting Oprah Chai Tea.

    “This is just the beginning of the partnership between Starbucks and Oprah,” Schultz said. “Stay tuned for the next one.”

    The drink is just one of the offerings that Starbucks’ 135,000 employees in the United States prepare. More than 70 percent of those employees are students or those who want a college education.

    So Starbucks hopes it can help make that happen. Calling it “the most historic thing we’ve ever done,” Schultz announced college tuition reimbursement for its employees. The “Starbucks College Achievement Plan” is a partnership with Arizona State University through which Starbucks employees – full and part-time -- can sign up for online undergraduate courses.

    “It’s no doubt that in the last three years it’s been a fracturing of the American dream,” Schultz said. “So many people are being left behind. And specifically, when you look at debt of college students, over a trillion dollars, and the rising cost of college tuition.”

  • Lionel Richie: ‘Love Is the Only Thing That Doesn’t Go Out of Style’

    Dan Kloeffler and Mary-Rose Abraham at Newsmakers 2 yrs ago

    When Lionel Richie released his second solo album “Can’t Slow Down” more than 30 years ago, it not only reached No. 1 on the Billboard chart and won a Grammy for album of the year. More remarkably, each of the eight tracks was a Top 10 hit. Every single song.

    Now, it is those standards -- “Hello,” “All Night Long” -- with which audiences are so familiar that going to his concert is, according to Richie, like going to “karaoke on steroids.”

    “You think you’re coming to hear me,” he explained. “I hope you like the people sitting around you because who you’re going to hear for most of the night is them singing. The show is in the audience.”

    After wrapping international engagements, Richie is currently on tour for “All The Hits All Night Long” in the U.S. and Canada singing “every possible imaginable song I ever recorded.” Songs that he wrote or co-wrote over the decades despite not knowing how to read or write music. In fact, one of his most famous collaborations was with another musician who could not either: Michael Jackson.

    Richie’s own playlist contains a fair amount of country music, along with standards of the R&B and pop world, including The Weeknd and Bruno Mars.

  • A Surprise Engagement for La Toya Jackson

    Dan Kloeffler at Newsmakers 2 yrs ago

    When you’re the middle child of a large family, it can be a battle to get attention. But if your last name is “Jackson,” and you have a reality show on Oprah’s television network OWN, getting recognition comes without much effort. Just ask La Toya Jackson.

    At 58, the middle Jackson sister is the master of her image, like surprising the world with an orchestrated announcement that she’s engaged to longtime business partner and best friend Jeffre Phillips. Humbly sporting a 17.5-carat diamond ring, Jackson said she was completely surprised by Phillips’ proposal: an engagement “had never crossed my mind.”

    “I’m loving every minute of it,” she said. “He’s the most caring, loving individual. I wish every girl had a Jeffre in her life.”

    It’s not the first time Jackson will say “I do,” having been married to businessman Jack Gordon in the 1990s. Physical and emotional abuse in that marriage tainted Jackson’s views on relationships and men, which she describes in the first season of “Life With La Toya.”

    “Life with La Toya” returns for its summer premiere Saturday, June 7 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

  • Felicity Huffman Admits Sometimes She ‘Hated Being a Mother’

    Dan Kloeffler and Mary-Rose Abraham at Newsmakers 2 yrs ago

    Felicity Huffman is a versatile actress of stage, screen and television with an Emmy, Golden Globe and Oscar nomination to her name. She’s married since 1997 to the equally successful actor William H. Macy, with whom she has two daughters, ages 12 and 13. So it’s rather surprising to hear her say that not only did she find mothering “bewildering, lonely, impossible and infuriating,” but that, at times, she hated being a mother.

    “And there were times that I hated my children,” Huffman admitted. “And even saying that, I want to follow that up by saying but of course I love my children. There’s such a thin band of acceptable behavior in terms of what you experience as motherhood and it made me feel like a monster.”

    Finding no conversation for her experience, Huffman launched the Web site “What The Flicka” to capture all the very real and raw emotions surrounding parenthood. Calling it a “virtual kitchen counter,” Huffman said the site is a place where parents would be accepted and not be judged, all done with humor and irony and empathy.

    ABC News' Brian Fudge contributed to this episode.

  • Sebastian Junger on Why Soldiers Miss War

    Brian Ross, Megan Chuchmach and Mary-Rose Abraham at Newsmakers 2 yrs ago

    “The soldier’s experience in war is inherently powerful.”

    It was to capture that experience that journalist Sebastian Junger embedded for a year with a platoon of U.S. soldiers in one of the most remote and dangerous outposts in Afghanistan. Together with the late photojournalist Tim Hetherington, Junger directed the Oscar-nominated 2010 documentary Restrepo with the intention of giving viewers a firsthand look at the war. The follow-up is Korengal , releasing on May 30, a film which goes even deeper into the war experience, capturing the psychology of the soldiers, especially why they would miss war.

    “They come home, and of course they don't miss getting shot at, they don't miss having to shoot at people,” Junger explained. “But what they do miss is that brotherhood of combat. It's not replaceable back home and I think that's the sort of secret to understanding why soldiers can miss something as terrible as war is.”

    Junger felt loss especially hard when Hetherington was killed in 2011 while covering the fighting in Libya. Junger was 5,000 miles away but said he somehow believed it was his fault that his friend died.