Laura Madsen: Author, Freelance Writer, Model, Actress, Celebrity Publicist and Radio Personality
Laura Madsen is an author, freelance writer, model, actress, celebrity publicist, and radio personality. She’s a single mom, currently residing in New Mexico with her fifteen year old daughter, Manda. She’s done some print modeling and most recently completed a film, called That’s Life, was released in 2019, in which she plays the starring role of Roseanne.
Laura has been writing freelance for magazines, books, and newspapers for over twenty years. Writing is her first passion. Last year, she just published her first children’s book, that she co-wrote and illustrated, with her daughter, called Brisk’s New Home. The book is based on the true story of how she and her daughter adopted their dog, Brisk. Laura has another children’s book in the works slated to be published next year, and hopes to continue writing novels for adults, too, in the future.
Laura also has her own media outlet: TheLadyinRedBlog.com, which actually has a large celebrity following including: Sex and the City writer, Candace Bushnell; supermodel, Carol Alt; Claudia Wells of Back to the Future; Vincent Pastore of The Sopranos; Jennifer Runyon Corman of Ghostbusters; supermodel Nikki Taylor; Marilyn Ghigliotti of Clerks; Burt Young of Rocky and many more.
When she’s not writing, modeling, or filming movies, you can find her at comic-cons for autograph signings and to take photos with her throughout the USA, such as Chiller in New Jersey, and most recently, ComicCon in San Diego. (Courtesy of Laura M.)
TSM: Hi Laura, thanks so much for doing an interview for TSM. It’s great to have you here.
LM: Thank you for including me (and my daughter, Manda) in an interview as you launch your magazine!
TSM: Firstly, tell us how you became known as the Lady in Red? It really is a catchy and cool name for your blog.
LM: 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, and me, 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 into 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! I hope to convey this energy into books now and in the future, as well.
And, I am – a lady in red who writes! I use the color red as my moniker, and a lady in red who writes as a pen name, 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”?
TSM: What inspired you to get into writing? Besides the articles you write, do you write poetry, short stories, or other types of writing?
LM: 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, TV and books.
While I’ve never excelled at poetry, I have started to write two novels and have recently finished my first children’s book, Brisk’s New Home (co-authored and illustrated with my daughter). Our second children’s book is temporarily on hold. We were supposed to publish it this year, but if we did, it would be really hard to market it. If you don’t have the word “COVID” in your headline, sadly, no one really bothers to pay attention. Plus, it’s really difficult to have book signings and travel easily for a book tour in the current environment. I’m going to wait until the time is right / better to release my second book to the world.
My novel writing is a process to be continued. 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 spill the beans on what I’m writing about next! It keeps my competitors guessing and has worked to my advantage, thus far.
TSM: Tell us a bit about your background as a writer.
LM: 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, to printing just the unbiased facts without opinion (which is sadly lacking today in mainstream media). 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 to ignite the fire inside of me to give my true passion a go! Hence, TheLadyinRedBlog was born! Now, however, I’m going back to my roots – and turning my passion towards writing books for both children and adults. TheLadyinRedBlog will still live on, but it will no longer be my primary focus.
Back to the birth of the blog, in 2012, 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 also 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 was on the restaurant’s website for years; 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.
TSM: You write about everything and anything in your blog. How do you go about selecting your subjects?
LM: I know that I don’t like to read about one subject all of the time. On 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 who 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 who 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 tend to work two – three months in advance of publication, so timing can be an issue sometimes, too. If something needs immediate attention, and I have another topic slated for that time slot – well, it wasn’t meant to be.
TSM: Recently, you published your first children’s book that you co-wrote and illustrated with your daughter called, Brisk’s New Home. What inspired you to create this book? And tell us a bit about the creative process.
LM: In 2014, Manda (my daughter) and I adopted our Yorkshire Terrier, Brisk. We knew we wanted a dog, but the special way he came to us was kismet. We would like to think that his doggy mom escaped on purpose one day from her owner because SHE wanted to find the perfect owners for Brisk. I saw her walking on the side of the road, found her owner, and then discovered that out of her litter of puppies, Brisk was ready for adoption. So, it was fate that brought us together. This real-life chain of events inspired us to write our first children’s book, Brisk’s New Home. It’s a story told from a doggy mom’s point of view, about the adventure she goes on, and how she does find the perfect home for her puppy.
I am really good at writing a story and editing. Manda excels at writing dialogue. After I wrote the shell of the plot, she added dialogue, and we agreed on the final edit. Afterwards, I worked on illustrations. The illustrations look like a kid drew them; not a professional artist. It’s a kids’ book, and I thought kids might like to see drawings similar to the ones they might do.
TSM: How long have you been working in radio?
LM: 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, New York, 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; (almost) 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!
This experience allowed me to have guest spots and participate in interviews on many other radio stations all over the country. To replay shows, you can zip over to my website and listen to them on my
“on the radio” page.
TSM: How did you get your start as a celebrity publicist?
LM: Purely by accident. I fell into it. It was never a goal or passion of mine, but it’s a good way to pay the bills. Through my writing and interviews, I met many actors, models, authors, singers, bands… you name it. Since I was caught in the midst of the entertainment industry whirlwind, I had these people ask me to get them interviews on radio,TV and in print, manage their social media accounts and websites, design their press kits, etc…So, that’s what I started to do.
TSM: What do you love most about being a publicist?
LM: Nothing but the money and certain people that I have met along the way! That’s true! Working with people can be difficult and many cannot understand why a certain media outlet won’t want to interview them or publish an article about them sometimes. A publicist tries to book interviews for clients, but there is no guarantee of the final product in print, or even if it will be printed or aired at all! That’s in the hands of the media outlets.
A recent example of this is when in March 2020, the coronavirus made headlines and turned the world upside down. Unless you had something to say or do with the virus, there was no media outlet in the world that was willing to do a story on a famous person or a new movie coming out. That’s the truth! Add that to the stoppage of filming movies and TV shows,the cancellation of meet and greet events, the shutdown of Broadway and theaters, and removing all forms of enjoyment that you couldn’t view from your couch, it was the month the entertainment industry died. Zoom was/is there, but nothing will ever replace meeting or seeing a celebrity in person, experiencing a sporting event at the venue, watching a concert at an arena, or having the edits of a polished product in place as we are used to when watching a movie or television show.
Some clients understood that they were not a priority for media to talk about at that time, and it was nothing personal; some did not. After renegotiating contracts, refunding portions of fees paid in some cases, and trying to placate hurt feelings, my motto that played through my head earlier this year was “When you’re walking through hell, don’t stop, keep walking.” In retrospect, I learned a lot about myself, and this is causing me to work with very few select A-list clients going forward, not take on any new clients, and change my focus so that my train will eventually no longer be chugging along the publicist tracks. I’d rather write books, ghost write, or just write, period.
TSM: Tell us about your modeling and acting work. And what was it like playing the starring role of Roseanne in your recent film, That’s Life?
LM: I did a little modeling back in 2015 – 2016. I worked with a wonderful photographer, Michael Abrams, who works with many Maxim and Playboy models. I would do it again, if life takes me in that direction. Since then, I’ve relocated from New Jersey to New Mexico and appreciate a slower way of living, and I’m not missing the hustle and bustle of the North East one bit.
Playing Roseanne in the movie That’s Life was something I really enjoyed doing. It was my first lead role in a film. The director and writer of the movie, Sean Guess, incorporated many events from his own life into the storyline; including how much he misses his mother who passed away a few years ago. Since some of the story elements are very personal to him, I was honored that he chose me to play a part in the telling of it. My character, Roseanne, plays the girlfriend of one of the three men sharing a living space together – three generations of the same family. She dates the “dad” who is struggling coming to terms with his father being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and his son always getting into trouble.
TSM: You’re also an amateur figure skater. For how long have you been skating? And have you taken any part in any competitions?
LM: 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 endeavour 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.
TSM: If you had the power to do something in the world today, what would it be and why?
LM: 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 can continue to 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 lake house in Texas and I’ve already bought a permanent residence in the desert in New Mexico. I’m a warm-weather girl at heart.
TSM: What is one of your favorite quotes (or lines) that inspires you?
LM: 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.
TSM: Anything else you’d like to share? And where can readers find out more about you and your work?
LM: If you want to order a copy of Brisk’s New Home, you can find it on Amazon, or order it directly through my website, if you prefer to have it autographed by both me and Manda. Stay tuned in 2021 for a new children’s book from me!
You can follow me on Instagram @TheLauraMadsen
And Facebook @TheLadyinRedBlog
TSM: Thanks a lot for doing an interview for TSM. Great talking with you and all the best with everything in the future.
LM: Thank you! I can’t wait to see what the future brings!