Interview: Zoey Dean on “Hollywood Is Like High School with Money”
The author dishes on chick lit, real-life Hollywood horror stories, and mean girls
-April Daniels Hussar
Equal parts Gossip Girl, Devil Wears Prada, and Jane Austen, set in the wonderful, bizarre-o world known as Hollywood — Hollywood Is Like High School with Money is hands down the summer’s most fun beach read. The plot is simple: Taylor Henning moves from Iowa to LaLaLand to launch her film career as a high powered creative exec’s assistant’s assistant – but, as this little fish in big pond soon learns, it’s a world of sink or swim. Just like in high school, the mean girls rule, and the only way to survive is to sharpen your perfectly whitened teeth. Who better to give Taylor survival lessons (not to mention a to-die-for wardrobe – we all know the clothes make the girl in high school and beyond) than Quinn, the 16-year-old uber-Mean Girl daughter of Taylor’s boss? Taylor takes Quinn’s lessons to heart — from “fake it ‘till you make it” to “lunch is a battleground” — and it soon seems Taylor will indeed claw her way to the top of the Hollywood food chain.
But … at what price? Ah yes – the age old question. In life, as in high school, is selling your soul worth that Homecoming Queen crown?
Betty got the scoop on chick lit, Hollywood, and Hollywood Is Like High School with Money from the books’s author Zoey Dean … read on!
Betty: First and foremost (of course!) – what kind of kid were you in high school?
Zoey Dean: I was friendly with almost everyone, or at least I tried to be. I was popular, sure – but I don’t think I was ever mean. (Except for that time I told my friend that her Paper & Denim jeans made her butt look big. But I was just trying to be helpful.)
Betty: If you could go back in time and teach your high school self one lesson, what would it be?
Zoey Dean: Besides “don’t talk in algebra or you’ll get a D”? I guess I’d want to tell the high school me that being yourself is the best person you could ever be. If I’d known that then, I might not have gone on the whole dress-like-a-movie star kick. Because it was great when I was Audrey Hepburn, but Joan Crawford? I got a lot of flack for my shoulder pads.
Betty: What’s the deal with mean girls? Will we never escape from them? Do you have to be one to get ahead in life?
Zoey Dean: Maybe not mean, exactly, but you have to have the guts to go for what you want. You have to be confident. When Taylor is too nice, Kylie [the resident Mean Girl] walks all over her. But when Taylor gets too mean, everything blows up in her face. So she has to learn to balance her good-girl niceness with her sharky ambition, which is probably an important thing for everyone to learn.
Being mean can make you feel powerful. But I don’t think that’s a good kind of power. I prefer to rule benevolently, myself.