New York Magazine

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

You Too Can Be a Celebrity Journalist!

Jancee Dunn, grand wizard of the celebrity profile and all-around nice Jersey girl, reveals the secrets to making any star open up in her new memoir, But Enough About Me. How simple is it? Just follow these tips.


1.Step one: Do your research. Surf eBay “for kooky merchandise that relates to your celebrity. At the very least, you can breeze in and open with ‘Did you know that the bidding for one of your cigarette butts is up to $12.50?’ A normal person might recoil at your stalkerlike tendencies but most famous people will…light up like Times Square.”

2. Step two: Tell the celebrity you don’t believe him, and you’re likely to get evidence to the contrary, as Dunn did with Dolly Parton. “ ‘I heard you still like Velveeta,’ I said, raising a skeptical eyebrow. She was indignant. ‘I do!’ she hollered. ‘You want me to show you my apartment next door? I fried up some Spam yesterday morning!’ ”

3. Step three: Tell the celebrity you do believe him, at least when it comes to God. “ ‘God is in control of everything,’ said Beyoncé. ‘Yes he is,’ said I. At that particular point, the Creator had every right to strike me down right on that tour bus, because I had not been to church in years.”

4. Step four: If you are nervous, take something. When Dunn heard she was going to interview Madonna, “you can best believe that I hotfooted to the health food store and bought two bottles of Calms, particularly after one of the people at her record company advised me not to act afraid, because she smells fear, like a dog.”

5. Step five: But don’t take heroin, even if Scott Weiland’s offering. “ ‘I’ve got two clean needles. If you don’t want to shoot up, you can snort it,’ ” he told Dunn. “For a moment, I thought about it. If heroin happened to be on your to-do list, there would certainly be worse ways to try it than with a slinky rock star as your limo glided through the gardenia-scented canyons of the Hills.”

6. Advanced maneuver, for use in digging for dirt on film sets: “Forget the hair and makeup people . . . Ditto the crew. Production assistants and interns will flee from you in terror…You need someone nonunion. You need someone who is completely mercenary. You’ll be needing the van driver.”

7. Bonus super-duper advanced maneuver: “Pay attention only to the drummer…[H]is other bandmates, particularly the heretofore-mute sunglasses-wearing lead singer, will at first be confused, then annoyed. Finally, their competitive spirit will take over, and they will enthusiastically jockey for attention, offering amusing anecdotes about groupies and telling off-color jokes. Do not use any quotes from the drummer.”


Current Issue
Subscribe to New York

Give a Gift