Clinton Kelly is a busy man.
Just hours before our phone interview, he and What Not To Wear co-host Stacy London were delivered by helicopter to a spot in San Diego to ambush someone likely wearing tapered jeans and an ill-fitting bra. After shooting in San Diego, Kelly heads to Houston for Macy’s Make Over America event Saturday at Memorial City Mall starting at 2 p.m. May, he says, is his hardest month all year.
“I’ll get a half a Sunday to relax and then do it all over again, but that’s OK,” Clinton says. “Life is great, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Kelly is dashing and relatable, two qualities that landed him on WNTW in the first place. His career started in publishing where he became the executive editor of DNR, a men's wear trade magazine, so he still finds his celebrity surprising.
“I got a call to audition and never thought it would last beyond 10 episodes and here we are in the eighth season,” Kelly said. “I battle with the idea of celebrity.” Kelly regularly posts on his Twitter account and while many of his pictures are black-bar worthy fashion no-no’s, he also uses it as a therapy tool.
He posted this tweet in March, “Just told a guy at a restaurant he was rude for taking my picture w/out asking first and he told ME to get some class! What??”
Most people are nice he says, but he is still bewildered by some. “People can just be rude. They have that attitude that because you are a “celebrity” you owe them something.” Navigating the reality television road isn’t without challenges, but Kelly loves his chance to make a difference for women who either out of ignorance or apathy, lost themselves along the way.
“My job is to make women feel pretty, so I ask myself, what do they need? I told Macy's I want to work with real women of all kinds of body shapes, ages and ethnicities, so when women come to the shows, they can see something on the runway for themselves.”
He is seriously committed to a job well done too. A few years ago, Kelly was in town for a Macy’s makeover event and I tagged along (even channeling my inner Stacy London, once or twice) and he plucked one petite, plus-size woman from the audience for a makeover. She was beyond thrilled and unbeknownst to anyone else, he was sick. It was almost 11 p.m. before he and the makeover model felt confident with her new look and as she gleefully left Macy’s, Kelly went in search of a doctor.
“It really does bring joy to women who feel good about themselves and what they are wearing,” Kelly said.
Not surprisingly, jeans top the makeover must list, but Kelly is also keen on dresses, especially for hot, humid climates like Houston.
And when he’s not in Houston, New York and points in between, Kelly retreats to his Connecticut home, where he admits to something shocking.
“When I go up to the house, I don’t shave or shower, my clothes don’t match. You wouldn’t even recognize me,” Kelly said.
For some inexplicable reason, I find that comforting. See, celebrities really are just like the rest of us.