Anne Kreamer is a funny and brilliant woman who came over for Lunch At In The Groove the last time she was in Los Angeles. We laughed and talked over bowls of chickpea stew about everything from Clairol to her passion project. We all loved her, and know you will too. Enjoy!
Name, Age, where do you live?
Anne Kreamer, 63, Carroll Gardens Brooklyn New York.
Give us an overview of your career.
I was part of a team that produced and distributed Sesame Street, but the travel was so terrible that I had to quit. Then I went to work at Nickelodeon, because the culture was so creative and interesting. After years of being an executive, I quit and started writing. I’ve written three books.
You helped launch Spy Magazine in 1986, along with your husband Kurt Andersen and Graydon Carter. What it as fun as I imagine?
Oh, totally. It was fantastic. My husband and Graydon started the magazine and at the time, there wasn’t anything else out there that was satirical and smart and political. Now it’s such a part of the culture. But because it was such an unknown, they couldn’t sell ads. So I said, “Well I’ll do it.” I went door to door to small businesses and sold every single ad for the first issue. It was such a fun, wild time in our lives.
What was the moment that made you decide to go gray?
I was with my daughter, and a friend who had gray hair. We took a picture and when I saw it, I was horrified. I thought my dyed brown hair looked terrible. It made me appear so much older! I decided right then to embrace the gray.
What should every woman who’s thinking about going gray know?
It’s going to take you 18 months from start to finish. I know that’s a long time, but be prepared. Unless you’re going to chop all your hair off, which I wasn’t willing to do. Going gray felt traumatic enough at the time!
What was it like writing Going Gray, your book about this whole process?
I really wanted to approach it from a cultural studies angle. I didn’t want to just write a book about how I felt about going gray. You know, socially there’s so much tied to the color of our hair. There’s this conception that you’re instantly viewed as older or out of touch. But that’s not always true!
When we launched the book, I set up a dating profile online with my dark brown hair and my gray hair. Men were more interested in me with gray hair, across all the major cities. Even LA! I took it one step farther and ventured out with a friend into some New York bars. More men approached me with the gray hair.
Although we’re constantly told gray hair ages you and is unattractive, that’s not necessarily true. Of course, I understand it’s different when it comes to a workplace environment. A headhunter told me I would be crazy to try and get a job with my gray hair. It’s like the kiss of death.
So it was a very fun process, doing all this research, all these little experiments.
Do you have any hero products that helped you through the transition?
Any shampoo or conditioner that’s specific for gray. That’ll do it.
In your book Risk/Reward you take a deep look into professional risk-taking. What would you say to a woman who’s considering going back to work, or changing fields completely?
Well, the book was about how the people who made the most money were willing to take the risks. So if you’re thinking about doing it, you have to at least go out and try.
Culturally, aging is viewed as this sad thing. In reality, I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t feel bad or sad. I feel better than ever. What’s the key to changing the conversation about aging?
I think it’s really about reframing. Aging means something so different than it used to. I used to think of a little old lady with blue hair but that’s just not the case anymore. I’m active, I’m constantly learning still. I’m writing my first novel right now, so I’m not done yet!
In the spirit of continuing to do new things, I’ve also started a new company with my daughter. It’s called Wild & Rare. We design and make accessories that highlight the beauty of nature. The goal is to raise awareness about how important our planet’s biodiversity is, and also how we’re at such a critical juncture in protecting it. 100% of the proceeds go to organizations that help protect it.
If you could have one superpower what would it be?
If you had a warning label what would it say?
Swears like a guttersnipe.