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Photo: © Brian McConkey Photography
Rachel Bertsche is the bestselling author of MWF Seeking BFF. She is also a journalist and editor whose work has appeared in O: The Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire, More, Teen Vogue, Seventeen, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Fitness, Women’s Health, New York, the Huffington Post, and more. Prior to leaving the office life for the comforts of working from home (and in her pajamas), Bertsche was a producer for Oprah.com and an editor at O: The Oprah Magazine.
PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE: Your writing is such a pleasing combination of humor, personal narrative, and research. You talk so much about celebrity lifestyles to emulate; are there any journalists whose work you admire and sort of model your own after?
RACHEL BERTSCHE: Thank you! I am a huge A. J. Jacobs fan, from even before his first book, The Know-It-All, was published. I love his pieces in Esquire, as well as his books, of course. I think he’s a great journalist who weaves the personal elements with the research elements so well – plus he’s funny! Every now and then people compare my books to his, which I take as a very high compliment.
PRH: Now that you’re through your roster of eight celebrity lifestyles to model your own after – including Tina Fey’s work ethic, Jennifer Aniston’s body, and Jennifer Garner’s marriage – which of your new habits have stuck?
RB: A lot of them! I definitely make a point to put on an outfit every morning that makes me feel cute and confident, a la Sarah Jessica Parker. It’s quite surprising what a difference it makes to my own personal outlook each day. I still run and do yoga like Jennifer Aniston – or, at least, I try. In fact, I’d say I keep up most of the habits I adopted. Though I’m not always as healthy an eater, and I don’t cook Gwyneth Paltrow-style meals nearly as much as I’d like!
PRH:Your first book, MWF Seeking BFF, tackled the topic of making new friends; your second book tackled the topic of self-improvement. What’s next? Do you think you’ll ever tackle fiction?
RB: That’s a great question! I’m still trying to figure that out myself. I do love writing about the issues that I think are on the minds of many women, but that they’re perhaps too embarrassed to say aloud. But at the same time, sometimes I think it would be fun to tackle fiction, or more journalistic nonfiction. I’m open to suggestions!
PRH:What’s the single most important lesson you learned from your celebrity lifestyle binge?
RB: To not beat myself up for not being as fabulous as Jennifer Aniston! Or any celebrity. I think we all need to remember that celebrities are the exception, not the rule. They have help and money and access that “regular” women usually don’t. So if we can use whatever we admire about them to be our best selves, that’s great. But it’s so important to remember: Even though celebrities may be just like us, we’re not just like them!
PRH:Let’s say you were to add a chapter on Lady Gaga. Which of her lifestyle attributes would you pick to adapt for your own life?
RB: Fun question …. If I had to do a Lady Gaga chapter, I’d have to say her sheer confidence! She’s certainly amazing at being bold and creative and not necessarily caring what others think, and I definitely spend too much time worrying about if something I’m saying/doing/wearing might seem crazy or weird or to unusual. It would be so fun to be Lady Gaga for a day!
Want more from Rachel Bertsche? Check out her piece on our sister site, Biographile, where she looks back to her last year at summer camp and recalls the lesson it taught her.
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