Laura Madsen: Blogger, Writer and Radio Personality
Jessica Gilbert: Laura, thanks so much for fitting this interview into your busy schedule. It’s really great to have you in TSM.
Laura Madsen: Thank you! It’s exciting to be on the other size of the pen – usually I’m the one writing the feature! I can get used to this change of pace! Now I know how many of the talented artists and entertainers I have written about feel when I am the one asking the questions. (she says while laughing)
Jessica Gilbert: Firstly, tell us how you became known as the Lady in Red? It really is a catchy and cool name for your blog.
Laura Madsen: Ah – the big question! It’s a rather simple story, really. It’s a small idea that led to a big inspiration! Several years ago a friend of mine, who is rather media-shy, said that I look good in the color red. For some reason it stuck in my head….and I’m glad it did! The color red works – it’s vibrant, full of energy, hot, spicy, passionate, sexy, vivacious, bold, and on fire. These are all of the characteristics that I want my media venture, TheLadyinRedBlog.com, to represent. No one likes to read something ordinary. Opinion gets people passionate. Featuring prominent people in the entertainment world gets people excited. Food, one of the topics I sometimes gravitate towards, is a universal commonality that people crave. Everything I enjoy – from a glass of wine with dinner, to designer shoes and bags is sexy and represents desire. When someone reads what I write, they are lured in to more than just an article; they are intrigued and want to find out more about the person behind the words. That – is the key. That is what makes what I do different from other major media outlets or bloggers. I bring an ambiance – a feeling – and an energy into what I publish. TheLadyinRedBlog.com is a lifestyle blog about everything and anything including food, fashion, entertainment, fun, and mainstream topics in the media. It’s a little something for everyone! And, I am – a lady in red who writes! I use the color red as my moniker because of what the color represents; and, well, I’m a lady – I’m the lady who wears red – sometimes – and writes! The irony is: my favorite color is actually purple! But, who ever heard of “a lady in purple”?
Jessica Gilbert: What inspired you to get into writing? Besides the articles you write, do you write poetry, short stories, or other types of writing?
Laura Madsen: Writing is one thing in my life that I feel I have control over. All of the thoughts and ideas in my head, all of the experiences I have, and many of the people I meet and interact with strike a chord inside of me. I want to share what I think, feel, know, and who I see with the rest of the world. When I am inspired by a topic or a person, I feel like I’m bursting at the seams; and I need to share that story. I’ve been blessed with the ability to be able to do that; and now I’m working on every possible venue to share what’s inside of me with the world – via my blog, radio, and TV. I try to publish either a recipe or feature blog once a week, am on radio at least once a month out of Atlantic City, NJ, (sometimes I broadcast out of other cities: Atlanta, Los Angeles…) and I made my television debut in early 2013 in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area.
While I’ve never excelled at poetry, I have started to write two novels. I’m not a poet; and I know it! Hah! My novel writing is a process to be continued. Right now my daughter is eight and requires sporadic attention throughout portions of my day, and I also blog for Patch Media, in addition to being the primary force behind TheLadyinRedBlog.com. It doesn’t leave me much time to finish up my books in the works. Well, I suppose if I gave up eating three meals a day or didn’t have to sleep, I could squeeze it in. (she laughs) My goal is: when my daughter is old enough to be a bit more independent, I will concentrate more of my efforts into finishing my books, and call me crazy – but I don’t think I’ll have a problem finding an independent publisher. Can I reveal what the books are about? No! One of the advantages I maintain in the writing industry is that I never, ever, under any circumstances lead on what I’m writing about next! It keeps my competitors guessing and has worked to my advantage, thus far.
Jessica Gilbert: Tell us a bit about your background as a writer.
Laura Madsen: Back in seventh grade, one of my teachers recognized that I enjoyed writing…and could do more than typically string two words together to form a sentence. He encouraged my abilities and had made me editor of the school paper. I learned how to take an editor’s (teacher’s) criticisms at a young age, and at the same time, enjoyed the freedom to publish what I saw fit and make selective edits myself. I have always appreciated others’ writing. Even if I didn’t agree with their opinions, or I wasn’t passionate about the subject matter, as a writer, I knew the work that was put into the final product and could respect that. I think most true writers can understand that perspective.
This initial experience fueled my passion for writing. In high school, I had an incredible Journalism teacher, Irene Hartmann, who knew her stuff. She taught us everything from journalistic ethics, to proper comma usage, to interviewing skills. She stressed the importance of maintaining journalistic integrity, even at the age of sixteen, and when someone says “off the record” – it means “off the record.” She made the most positive impression upon me from a journalist’s perspective, and also entrusted me as editor of the high school paper. My first big break came when what is now known as Teen Vogue, (it was YM or Young Miss magazine back in the day) published my first article on fashion at age seventeen. Boy, can you imagine my elation! Conde Nast picking up the work of a high school student!
My writing, is very personal to me, though. I listened to others who said to me that I’ll never succeed at writing for a newspaper or magazine when I was eighteen. The allure of an office job sucked me in, (I envisioned it to be like a day in the life of Melrose Place – silly me!) and I was also afraid that if I did actually get a job working for a publication that I’d wind up with an editor on an ego trip, who would take my work and churn it out into an article I would hardly recognize as my own. All of this, unfortunately, made me abandon my writing dreams temporarily, and I only contributed occasionally to magazines from time to time while I worked a 9-5 job in a corporate cubicle. After I had my daughter, and she started school, I finally had the confidence, inspiration, and calling ignite the fire inside of me to give my true passion a go! Hence, TheLadyinRedBlog was born!
I had already tested the waters by writing for Patch Media in the months leading up to my blog launch, and Jon Bon Jovi and his wife, Dorothea, gave me my big break. I had done the first follow-up story on the JBJ Soul Kitchen in Red Bank, NJ since it had opened in October 2011, focusing on more than just the cause, but the atmosphere, food, and functionality a few months into operation. My story on the Soul Kitchen, published via Patch Media in January 2012, was a new take on things – done my way. Everything changed from that day forward. As a bonus, my friend who was with me that day, Jennifer Eichenbaum, and I were featured in the JBJ Soul Kitchen promo video that is on the restaurant’s website; the camera crew was there that day along with Jon and Dorothea, at the same time I had conducted my interviews. I will forever be grateful to the Bon Jovi family for allowing me that opportunity to do what I do, for a good cause, and at the same time, ignite my writing career with an amazing fire.
Jessica Gilbert: You write about everything and anything in your blog. How do you go about selecting your subjects?
Laura Madsen: I know that I don’t like to read about one subject all of the time. In any given day you might find me browsing through a recipe, flipping through a hot topic in domestic or international news, drooling over the latest fashion trend, or just honing in on a random story or even Facebook post about someone’s kids online that holds my interest. People are multi-faceted. I didn’t want to be known as “just another food blogger” or “the book reviewer.” What if one of my readers didn’t want to read about food one day? I wanted to be able to offer more than that. I figured that if I was interested in multiple topics, there were other people out there that were just like me! Why not make my venture a one stop shop for everything light hearted, to topics that are more serious in nature?
I try to vary what I write about. If I just featured a book review, you can bet that the next story I do won’t be – a book review. Ironically enough, when someone approaches me that captures my attention, or when I stumble upon someone or something that makes me go “Wow!”, those serve as the subjects of my next blog(s). I go with my gut. If I find it interesting – chances are – someone else will, too. If a topic makes me bubble over with an opinion, I let it bubble over into a blog.
I also call my own shots. I do take into account suggestions submitted to me by readers – however, I evaluate those suggestions based upon topics I’ve written about before; like I said – I don’t want to be the musicians-only blog; or just a recipe blog – and, most importantly, I have to feel inspired about it. Additionally, there are some amazing suggestions and talented people that I come across whom I’d love to feature on my blog, but there’s only one of me, and I have to realistically have enough time to do an article justice. Doing something just to do it is not satisfying to me. I hold myself to a high standard when it comes to what I feel is worthy of publication. I also work two – three months in advance of publication, so timing can be an issue sometimes, too. If something needs immediate attention or press, and I have another topic slated for that time slot – well, it wasn’t meant to be.
Jessica Gilbert: In your opinion, what would you say makes an article stand out?
Laura Madsen: “…writing it like no one else would! I can’t give away all of my secrets – but I’ll give you an example: if I use a typical intro like many reporters do in press releases – that makes me well – a typical reporter. I always like to introduce people to new topics, in new ways.”
Jessica Gilbert: If you could interview anyone living or dead now, who would it be and why?
Laura Madsen: Well, my bucket list is long for those whom I would love to interview. But if I could go back in time, I would want an exclusive on Marilyn Monroe. I seem to have a lot in common with her. My two favorite Marilyn Monroe quotes are:
“If I’d observed all the rules, I’d never have got anywhere.” ~ Marilyn Monroe
“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world!” ~ Marilyn Monroe
That pretty much sums me up! Sometimes you need to take risks in life, and the right “shoes,” figuratively, or literally, boost a girl’s confidence and enable her to carry herself with poise, dignity, and power, all at the same time. If you know me, though, I would have written an expose on what she’s got in her closet from kitten heels to designer dresses, and afterwards we would have gone out for a drink and toasted to doing things our way!
I’ll leave my “living” list off the record now – can’t give out any advance hints of who I’ve got my sights on next!
Laura Madsen: I made my radio debut in June of 2012. I was a guest on WOND in Atlantic City and it was my first time in the interviewee seat. I was unsure if I wanted to do it at first, but I figured it would be great exposure for my blog, which was just burgeoning at the time. Stranger things have happened, but after that first broadcast, I fell in love with being on air! I had the opportunity to co-host a show on the same station shortly after that initial broadcast, and I guess everyone liked what they heard. The flood gates opened and I have had numerous air dates on New Jersey/Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Los Angeles radio since then. My persona – “The Lady in Red” or “a lady in red who writes” is very malleable into a radio personality and I play it up to give a fun feeling into whatever shows I do. For example, I am known for wearing some signature designer/killer shoes every time I hit the airwaves. My “power” shoes for radio….Sometimes I’m the one in the hot seat, other times I’m the one asking the questions as a host, and there have been many occasions where I have also participated in a sort of round table discussion on a serious topic like Mayor Bloomberg’s banning of sugary beverages over a certain size, or gun control, too. Just like in my blog, I cover all topics; nothing is off limits on radio either.
From 2012 – mid-2013 I broadcasted on WOND out of the Atlantic City area on a radio show called Gourmania. I absolutely loved the opportunity to share food fun on radio, since I dive into everything delicious on my blog. I have an entire section on TheLadyinRedBlog.com devoted to recipes – “recipes by popular demand” and have the habit of falling into food topics, so Gourmania was a good fit for me. It was all about making food fun!
Now with my media and promotional business expansion, I’m hoping to take my radio broadcasting and hosting career to the next level so I can permeate more venues throughout the United States and cover all kinds of topics on the way.
Jessica Gilbert: You’re also an amateur figure skater. For how long have you been skating? And have you taken any part in any competitions?
Laura Madsen: I started figure skating when I was about six years old. I have had professional training and took lessons until I was around fourteen or fifteen. At that point I had to make a decision – either to get up at five am every day and hit the ice, while my parents funded private instruction for this athletic endeavor and devote my “spare time” to practicing on the ice – or – to live a “normal” life as a teenager, sleep a little later, have time to hang out with my friends, and save that money for a college education instead. I chose the latter. However, ice skating is a great way to burn calories and it makes me feel like I’m flying! I’ve always skated when I had the time ever since my training days, but on my terms. I’m not competitive; I just do it for fun.
Laura Madsen: Do “something” – that is the key. I do something every day, and I think I’m doing what I dream of doing right now. I want to be a really good mother to my daughter so when she is an adult I have a close relationship with her, she knows she’s loved, and she is happy. I also want to pursue my dreams, and I’m on that path right now – I can feel it – it’s why I’m happy. I want to write and have people read what I write. I want my stories to be shared. I want to cause people to react in some way, or inspire them, or just make them smile with my words. Outside of that, I’d like to buy a beach house in Florida and permanent residence in the desert in Arizona. I’m a warm-weather girl at heart. Oh, and throw in a few more pairs of Jimmy Choos and some Louboutins….gotta look good in the sand.
Jessica Gilbert: What is one of your favorite quotes (or lines) that inspires you?
Laura Madsen: See above with my Marilyn Monroe answer and quotes….
Jessica Gilbert: Anything else you’d like to share? And where can our readers find out more about you and your work?
Laura Madsen: I’m looking forward to expanding my media venture in the coming future. Leveraging my worldwide readership audience, I’d love to get on radio outside of the USA, and broaden my television audience, too. I’m really excited to be expanding into a line of TheLadyinRed merchandise, also. I’ve always had signature items for giveaways like t-shirts and martini glasses, but now I’m in the process of working with some incredibly talented vendors who are developing branded limited edition merchandise that will also be offered for sale, globally, coming soon. Of course, my offerings won’t be typical…. I’m extremely excited about what’s to come! (Update: You can now purchase merchandise in the RED hot store at the ladyinredblog.com)
Visit me at: http://TheLadyinRedBlog.com
Find and like me on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/TheLadyinRedBlog
Tweet to me or follow me on Twitter at: @ladyinredblog
Jessica Gilbert: Thanks again for doing this interview for the magazine. Looking forward to your contributions for TSM in the near future. All the best with everything.
Laura Madsen: I can’t wait to start contributing to TSM as a writer! I have some amazing features lined up for the future! You know me – I’ll never tell, but that’s what makes it worth tuning in to when the time comes.