In next weeks Steppin' Out magazine, New York Daily News "Gossip Girl" Shallon Lester (Rush and Molloy) sits down for a revealing photo shoot and interview with Chaunce Hayden! The stunning blonde dirt disher tells Hayden how she really feels about the New York Post, Page Six, Perez Hilton and other gossipers. Shallon also admits she was a virgin in college, how her looks help her career, trashes Maxim magazine and vents about bribes, celebs, why she's still single and about her upcoming VH1 reality show!The issue hits the streets on August 13.
ON PAGE SIX AND THE NY POST:
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: What separates the New York Post's Page Six from the New York Daily News' Rush and Molloy?
SHALLON LESTER: We just write better. We're really clever. I think it comes down to really good writing. A lot of times when I read Page Six I don't know who half of those people are. I feel like if I don't know who they are, Maria Gonzalaz riding the A train to work isn't going to know who they are. Socialites are not celebrities to me. They're not important and they're not newsworthy. They're rich. But they're a gillizlion rich people around the world. We don't talk about people in Dubai. Nobody cares.I really wanted to work for a newspaper and I love the Daily News and the Rush and Molloy column. It's not like [New York Post's] Page Six where we're out to smear people and ruin people's lives. They have a definite tone that is different from ours. Page Six has a much more biting, undercutting tone. I hope our column doesn't come across that way.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: Is it awkward when you bump into somebody from Page Six at an event?
SHALLON LESTER: I actually don't even know who anyone from Page Six is. I think I met Richard Johnson once.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: The New York Post puts Page Six within the first 10 pages of the paper. But the Daily News puts Rush and Molloy much further back. Gossip sells, so why not move it up to the front of the paper like Page Six?
SHALLON LESTER: I think the Post does that because everything in the Post is pretty boring and irrelevant. They have nothing else to promote except the gossip column. I think the rest of our articles are really good. We have a kick-ass fashion section and a great sports section!
ON BEING A VIRGIN IN COLLEGE:
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: How does a girl from Orange County, California become a gossip reporter for the New York Daily News via a college sex advice column?
SHALLON LESTER: I was a virgin when I wrote that column. In fact, my first article for that column was about being a virgin. There was no column in our college paper that dealt with dating or sex and obviously that's what every college kid is talking about, so I filled the void.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: So you still hadn't slept with a guy, yet you were advising people on sex?It was a really conservative school. There was a huge Christian coalition there. I would walk across campus and kids would yell out, “You're a f-king whore! You're a slut!”. Meanwhile I was writing about bikini waxing.
ON HER GOOD LOOKS:
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: Would you agree your striking good looks helps get you the inside celebrity information you're seeking?
SHALLON LESTER: (Laugh) Of course it does! My co-worker Sean Evans is much more aggressive. He'll go out and hammer people. I'm a little bit more subtle. He's a battering ram and I'm the lock picker. But to answer you're question, yes, I can charm people when I have to. My mom always says to me, use your currency, meaning beauty, while you have it. Because you won't have it forever and once it's gone, it's gone. So play it to the max and get as far as you can with it.
ON PEREZ HILTON/TMZ:
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: It seems anyone can be a gossip reporter today. All you have to do is create a website and you have a gossip column. Not to mention the hugely popular websites like TMZ and Perez Hilton. How does a daily newspaper gossip column compete with websites that update gossip every minute?
SHALLON LESTER: It's hard. It definitely is. But that's why we have to rely on our reporting skills to give us an edge. You have people like Perez Hilton who aren't reporters. They don't know how to draw somebody out. They don't know how to interview somebody. That's where we have to be better. We're better writers and better interviews. We also try to focus on things that mean something to New Yorkers. Whereas TMZ can write about Brody Jenner because people in California will be interested. New Yorkers don't care about people like that. We have better things to do.
ON ACCEPTING BRIBES:
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: Ever get offered a bribe to give someone good press?
SHALLON LESTER: Sure. But my neckless does not say revenge for nothing. If people want to f-k with me they're in for a long hard road. I don't respond well to threats or bribery. A lot of journalists do it and you can totally tell when it's happened just by reading the article. Personally, I never take anything in exchange for a story. I hate being indebted to someone, plus we have a very strict policy about that. I've seen a lot of people take, take, take. They're in this job just because they like to get free shit. But they can't write their way out of a paper bag. I see it a lot.
ON LAUREN CONRAD/PARIS HILTON/LINDSEY LOHAN/THE OLSON TWINS:
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: Why do we care about Lauren Conrad?
SHALLON LESTER: She's a celebrity in the loosest possible sense. Why does she get paid money to make appearances and get all this free stuff and I work my ass off and I'm just as cute and well educated and more interesting! Why am I not the celebrity? I think a lot of people think that way.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: Is Brad and Angelina's baby photos worth 14 million dollars?
SHALLON LESTER: No. Here's the thing, the media and those magazine's greatly over estimate the public's desire to see things like that. I mean, they're new born babies. They're not God damn unicorns!
CHAUNCE LESTER: Is Paris Hilton old news?
SHALLON LESTER: She was never news. She's old in every possible sense. We don't even get items about her anymore. I think she's dating some fat rocker just to spite her best friend.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: Is Lindsey Lohan a lesbian?
SHALLON LESTER: I think she is like a puppy who will follow anyone home who pets her. If she's happy more power to her. I think every girl whose gotten out of bad relationships says, “F-k this I'm going to be a lesbian.” Good for her for going for it. But yes, it's a real lesbian relationship.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: Why are the Olsen twins so freaking creepy?
SHALLON LESTER: I don't know. I credit them for keeping their businesses alive. But every time I see them they look terrified. They look like something I would find under the bar-b-q cover. They look like creators that have been exposed. I feel sorry for them.
ON OTHER JOURNALIST BEING JEALOUS:
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: Are many of your peers jealous of you?
SHALLON LESTER: Probably. If I'm in a room and other girls are glaring at me it doesn't even register. They could be a columnist or a reporter. It's all part of being a woman. Men think you're stupid and women are going to jealous of you. That's the way it is.
ON OTHER GOSSIP REPORTERS:
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: Tell me the first thing that comes to mind. Perez Hilton.
SHALLON LESTER: He's a gangster. He's a bully. He's a bitter, bitter person who was picked on when he was younger. In fact, he was probably picked on most of his life. Now he's out for revenge. He's very self-destructive. He wants to be a celebrity so badly but he destroys the people he wants to be.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: Richard Johnson.
SHALLON LESTER: I only met him one time. He's a viper. (Laughs) You don't want to mess with Richard! He seems not to be f-ked with.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: Liz Smith.
SHALLON LESTER: I don't think gossip should be written in paragraph form. I think it's time to phase that out.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: Cindy Adams.
SHALLON LESTER: Her time is up. Retire and enjoy your life. I don't want to be in this game that long. I didn't know they still had columns.
ON BEING SINGLE:
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: Let's get back to you. Why are you single?
SHALLON LESTER: (Laughs) I don't know! I guess you should ask my many ex boyfriends. I think I intimidate guys. Although, I hate to say that because so many girls say that and the truth is they're not intimidating. They're just incredibly annoying. I hope I don't fall into that category. I have very high standards. I usually date people who are very ambitious like myself. So I end up dating, actors, rock stars and athletes and it's always hard to make those relationships last.
ON HER VH1 REALITY SHOW:
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: Rumor has it you just signed a deal with VH1 for a reality show. What can you tell me about it?
SHALLON LESTER: It's going to be the about the life and adventures of Shallon in New York. I guess you could describe as The Hills meets Sex and the City minus the desperation.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: What about your day job?
SHALLON LESTER: My job at the Daily News won't factor into the show. They're much more interested in my personal life. I think it will be fun and will open up doors for me as a screen writer and help promote my book. I really think it will be fun.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: Be careful what you wish for.
SHALLON LESTER: That might be true. However, I might meet a higher caliber of boys who will soon become my ex boyfriends. I'll have a higher class of ex boyfriends in my wake.