Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Portia De Rossi's Got Something to Say

When I heard about Portia De Rossi's memoir coming out this fall, I was surprised to say the least. All I knew about her is that she's married to Ellen DeGeneres and she's freakin' gorgeous, despite her rail thin figure. I honestly never thought of her as having much to say with her quiet and seemingly shy demeanor--especially in contrast to her outgoing, comedian wife. But now I shall eat my words.

Mmm words, yum.

De Rossi seems to have a lot to say. She has strong beliefs, morals, and a personality I knew nothing of (not to say I would ever claim to actually know her personality, never having met her). And I've gotta admit, I'm stoked for her memoir after reading this cover story in Advocate Magazine on the mag's website:
The lady has something to say.

Maybe she always did, but she didn’t always know it. For a very long time she swallowed words instead of food. When she did speak she answered as if in character, imitating the kind of woman her publicists and costars told her young actresses should be.

That was the deal Hollywood offered: Forget being smart. Forget being a feminist. Forget that year of law school. And definitely forget being gay. Be “Portia de Rossi,” an Australian ingenue. Rolling Stone’s “hot bombshell” cover girl. A modern Rapunzel with silky blond hair bewitching an audience simply by unpinning a tightly knit bun.

Be miserable and self-destructive.

“It was a very difficult dichotomy to live in,” she says now. “Oh, I’m Portia. I’m fresh and new to Hollywood. I just found myself in Ally McBeal. Now I’m in my underwear and sleeping with my boss even though I don’t want to portray women in the workplace that way. All of these things were tearing me apart. Plus—” Her mouth quirks up. “I was gay, did I mention?”

A self-described “staunch feminist,” she was stuck on a show that famously led Time magazine to ask “Is Feminism Dead?” Its leading ladies seemed to shrink in size with every episode, and the only on-set rumor that came close to challenging the popularity of “Does everyone on Ally have an eating disorder?” was “Is that hot blond gay?”

Today, De Rossi is a walking, talking advertisement for happiness. “I talk about everything more now than I used to,” she says. She writes about it too, in a book that she discusses for the first time publicly with The Advocate.


The book that has emerged is “definitely not self-help” and not quite a memoir—“I hate that term”—though it is absolutely autobiographical and, given her built-in platform—DeGeneres has shamelessly promoted Better Off Ted on-air—poised to be a best seller.

The story starts in 1997 (when her acting career took off) and goes through 2004 (when she began dating DeGeneres), with flashbacks to her childhood. “I abused my body. I had bulimia. I would use fen-phen. I wanted to talk about all that. But obviously I can’t do that without talking about my sexuality. And although you can’t really talk about one without the other, it still felt like two stories. The only thing that linked the two of them was me.”

And it’s not always easy going. “It’s been a difficult but revealing process,” she says. Losses she thought she’d fully grieved, such as her father’s death when she was 9, have been confusing, if cathartic, to write through. “You go back and you experience these emotions that you thought weren’t there any more.”

So now the woman who once was terrified to speak about her life is a writer. The book leaves convenient room for a sequel spanning her life with DeGeneres. And, she says, “I would like to try my hand at a novel at one point.” One thing she’s not interested in trying is screenwriting. “I’m just not drawn to it,” she says. “I still love acting. It’s the easiest of all of it for me.”

Read the rest of the fantastic article
(trust me, it's worth it!)
De Rossi's book was sold by William Morris Endeavor co-head Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, but I can't for the life of me track down who she sold it to. Even Publishers Marketplace isn't listing the mysterious publisher. I wonder why...


  1. I know who's got it........ :) :) :) :)

  2. Ahh yes, the insider information ;)

    Must. Keep. It. In. Until. Public.

  3. I almost applied to Rudolph Walsh's assistant. But then was told she's so incredibly heinous, and I decided at the last minute not to. haha Man, I could have met Portia de Rossi! Dammit :p