Geri Jewell interview with ChicagoPride.com
Wed. April 27, 2011 by Windy City Times
WCT: (Windy City Times) Hi, Geri. I have been reading your new book.
GJ: (Geri Jewell) How far are you into it?
WCT: I am currently towards the very end.
GJ: Wow! You read fast.
WCT: Are you excited for the book to come out?
GJ: Yes, I am very. I have put my heart and soul into that book.
WCT: When did you start writing?
GJ: You know what? I have been a writer for as long as I can remember. Even when I was in college and wanted to do stand-up comedy my mom said, "You are an excellent writer. Why don't you write instead?" [Laughs] I have always had a flare for writing. This was such an accomplishment for me. It was a dream come true.
WCT: What do you hope to accomplish with the book?
GJ: My intent was to present myself in a full scope, humanistic vision. Because I have been so misunderstood over the years. I have carried so much over the years inside of me. I wanted to share my life as it really was instead of being this inspirational icon. I am a human being with weaknesses and strengths. This is what I have been through and was hoping that by telling my story that I would inspire others and make them keep going no matter what. Are you enjoying reading it?
WCT: I am. I like the behind the scenes of it. Also, I relate to the part where you were bullied because I was picked on for being gay.
GJ: Well, I understand that. It still happens today.
WCT: Do you still talk to any of the girls from Facts of Life?
GJ: I just got back in touch with Mindy Cohn but not have spoken with the others in years. I think that will come about though. Like I said in the book, I have total respect for each and every one of them.
WCT: Did you see Mindy's movie, [the gay-themed film] Violet Tendencies?
GJ: Yes, I did. I thought she did a wonderful job.
WCT: So you haven't gotten Lisa Whelchel's thoughts on your coming out?
GJ: No, I have not. I have that feeling that I will run into her soon.
WCT: You mention in the book that you don't agree with her religious views.
GJ: Yeah, but that has nothing to do with not loving her or respecting her beliefs. I believe differently. That is her choice and I respect that choice a hundred percent.
WCT: How do you feel about Heather McDonald from Chelsea Handler's show doing impersonations of you?
GJ: I have no problem with it. Being mimicked is a form of flattery and she does so many people so it is not malicious. It is her. That is what she does. I have to say that she does me very well. She does cerebral palsy better than I do and I have it!
WCT: You love celebrities. Was there a special one that you met? You mention Carol Burnett throughout the book.
GJ: She was a big one for me. I have met many celebrities over the years. There are some that I am not impressed with. I would have to say good ones were Carol Burnett, Liza Minelli and Steve Allen. David Cassidy was especially kind to me. Yes, there are many celebrities that I am fans of and respect as human beings.
WCT: Are you currently single?
GJ: Yes, I am.
WCT: How was your family with you coming out of the closet?
GJ: My parents are no longer living but I am sure they would have supported me. My siblings support me. They love me regardless. I have always had a supportive family. If people read my book then they understand that.
WCT: Definitely. You mention your very survival depended on them. You performed in HBO's Deadwood not too long ago. Are there other shows you want to do?
GJ: Well, of course but I have been getting ready for the book tour so that is where my primary focus has been for quite a while. I am looking forward to it and seeing how the book does. I want feedback to see if people enjoy the read and as much as I enjoyed writing it.
WCT: Are you coming to Chicago with the book tour?
GJ: I am hoping to but I don't know positively that will be one of the stops right now.
WCT: Your bright smile has always shown bright and I have been a fan since I was learning the Facts of Life.
GJ: Thank you, Jerry. That means a lot to me! Have a beautiful day!
For more information about Geri and the book, visit www.gerijewell.com
Interview by Jerry Nunn for the Windy City Times
Interviewed by Windy City Times
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