Kelly Cutrone: Behind the fashion PR maven

Rebecca Minkoff After Party Hosted By POM Wonderful
Nikki Hilton and Kelly Cutrone attend Rebecca Minkoff After Party Hosted by POM Wonderful at Rose Bar at Gramercy Park Hotel. Photo credit: Photo by Donald Bowers/Getty Images for POM Wonderful.

By Meredith Corning

The fashion industry’s fascination with Kelly Cutrone has increased dramatically in the past several years due to her public persona on hit television reality shows such as The Hills, The City, and Kell On Earth. But who is the woman behind this no-nonsense celebrity creature we get brief glimpses of and how did she build an empire based on her fashion PR company, People’s Revolution?

A few fun facts about Cutrone’s history give signs that she was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but rather worked her way up in the PR industry from the bottom. According to her book, If You Have to Cry Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You, Cutrone gained her college degree in nursing of all things, moved to the big city, endured hardships including a drug addiction and a failed marriage. The book reveals an honest portrayal of a much different, more humble side of the edgy image seen by her fans.

Kelly Cutrone began her PR career as Susan Blond’s assistant, a New York publicist who took Cutrone under her wing. She soon became director of PR at Spin magazine and left there to form a company with her then partner, Jason Weinberg, a former intern for Susan Blond. Selling her share of the company, she ventured out on her own to eventually create her powerhouse PR firm, People’s Revolution.

MTV's "The Hills Live: A Hollywood Ending" Finale Event
Whitney Port (L) and Kelly Cutrone attend MTV’s ‘The Hills Live: A Hollywood Ending’ Finale event. Credit: Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for

One message Cutrone has for aspiring fashion PR agents, according to an interview with is, “Do I think it’s good to go to school to get a communications degree? If you want me to answer honestly, not really.”

Lindsey Green, Director of Communications for Jill Stuart agreed in an interview with PR Couture, ” I didn’t go to fashion school or have aspirations to be in the fashion world. I have a very business-oriented mind and I came here after working in restaurants and hotels and doing a little film. I was always very interested in style and fashion personally and decided to take the leap and I took an internship at Jill Stuart during fashion week a few years ago. It was one of the toughest weeks of my life coming in three days before a show knowing zero about the industry, but it was the best thing I’ve ever done. It was like getting a four year degree in four and a half days. I think the only way to train for this kind of position or to find out if it’s for you is to just jump in and fearlessly do it. You can’t be taught any of this in a classroom.”

The most unique part of People’s Revolution is the fact that Cutrone does not take on every client that walks through the door. She admits it is a strange business model, but has worked for her even during the recession. She does what she wants to do.

Cutrone elaborates on this notion in her interview with, “I’m not sitting there every year going I’ve got to grow this business. I mean, we have a very strong work ethic, but we’re also picky about who we work with. If I were to allow for an acquisition, the first things that would happen is they would get rid of me—because everybody knows nobody needs a wacky entrepreneur around.”

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