7 Sep 2019

Celebrity profile writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner

From Saturday Morning, 9:06 am on 7 September 2019
Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Taffy Brodesser-Akner Photo: supplied / Erik Tanner

New York Times writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner has profiled an amazing range of celebrities – from Bradley Cooper to Tonya Harding – but is best known for her deep dive into the Goopy world of Gwyneth Paltrow.

Her new novel Fleishman Is In Trouble tells the story of Toby, a middle-aged doctor experiencing the wild and precarious life of the recently separated.

Brodesser-Akner talks to Kim Hill about celebrity, truth-telling and her fascination with divorce.


On celebrities:

They are more representative of us than any politician that we elect. I sometimes think celebrity is the only true democracy because we allow people to rise and fall at our whim and the reason we allow it is because they mean something to us.

Every person that becomes a celebrity is someone we elected to make into a celebrity and that person has some kind of meaning for us, which is why we needed them. Everybody I've interviewed represents some particular slice of the culture and that's how they stay famous.

On divorce:

When I turned 40 I had so many people coming up to me and telling me they were getting divorced … and when i asked them why they had all sorts of different reasons. The one thing they all had in common was that the woman was making more than the man in every situation.

On what makes a person interesting:

The people that I find likeable arent usually telling the truth and they're not that interesting. I find interesting and engaging many, many levels above likeable … If I want likeable I'll go hang out with the mums at my kids' school, theyre very likable.