This interview with Brynne Edelsten took place when I was writing a weekly Q & A feature for the Herald Sun, called ‘The Other Half’. So yes, it was more than a year ago, but the reason I’m running it on my Blog site today is because I was accused on Twitter of being ‘sour’ and critical of Brynne.
Five days ago I tweeted a comment questioning why the Herald Sun would run a photo of Brynne on the front page, promoting a story about what she might wear to the Brownlow Medal Awards the following week. My comment was not critical of Brynne – rather about the editorial judgement that this warranted being front page news. I still stand by that opinion and believe the criticism directed at me was an over-reaction. As entertainment commentator and showbiz expert Peter Ford said, ‘Let’s not lose sight (that) Twitter is a forum for discussion/pose questions. That doesn’t equate to being a troll’. If we can’t express views on Twitter in a rational manner, then what’s the point of the social media tool in the first place? I’ve never been a fan of reality TV shows and have never watched a second of The Shire, Hollywood Wives or The Lara Bingle Show. I wouldn’t waste my time. Hence I find it hard to comprehend Brynne being on the front page of a major metropolitan newspaper with little reason.
I do, however, understand why there is public interest in the Edelsten’s – hence why I conducted the interview with Brynne in the first place. But this was never going to be a front page story. The only reason it was not run in the paper at the time was because the TV Guide of the same newspaper ran a feature the previous week, which the Weekend magazine had been unaware of.
So in my defence, I am now posting – unedited – the version of the interview I did with Brynne so you can see that it’s highly unlikely I’d be taking a swipe. I enjoyed her company and found her to be warm-hearted and sweet. (There’s no mention here of her upcoming reality TV Show as that was not yet established. )
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The Edelsten Wedding, November 2009
Brynne Edelsten arrived on Melbourne’s social scene with a bang, not a whimper. In a whirl of sequins and plunging necklines, the young Texan blonde made her mark at the much-hyped wedding extravaganza to the much older, flamboyant entrepreneur Geoffrey Edelsten. Since then, her colourful red carpet and racing carnival appearances have left Melbourne with a permanent collectively raised eyebrow.
So meeting Brynne in the flesh is somewhat surprising. Rather than bold and brassy, she is softly spoken and sweet. Yes, she admits she likes flashy clothes, but is happy with her image and has the self-confidence to refuse to bow to public pressure and change.
Above all, she adores her husband. And despite a recent heated exchange during a television interview, declares he’s her best friend.
J: Tell me about your childhood, where you grew up?
B: I was born in Oklahoma but I grew up in Arizona. I was there till I was twenty-two. I was from a lower to middle-class family. We didn’t have a lot, but we didn’t go without things that we needed. My Mum stayed home and my Dad worked as a truck driver. I have an older and younger brother and two half-sisters. They feel like my nieces, because they’re only nine and eleven.
J: A happy childhood?
B: Yeah, I had a big family with lots of cousins. Very family-orientated. I played softball. I was actually very smart at school. I was taken out of my school as a child because I was very gifted – to go to another school that specialized in things that would challenge me more. I graduated early and went to college. I studied for a while but I didn’t enjoy it enough to finish.
J: What did you study?
B: I was studying Psychology, but I only finished the basic level. I was at the Mesa Community College. Our family could never have afforded for me to go to University and this was much cheaper. I did two years there, and then I decided I’d have more fun going out and being irresponsible.
J: Were you a party girl before that?
B: I was very shy up until I was about eighteen or nineteen. It was almost impossible to get two words out of me. I was so quiet and scared to go out in public.
J: What changed?
B: I think I lacked confidence when I was younger. I was very skinny when I was growing up. So when I finally put on a little weight naturally, I just became more confident and wanted to go out all the time. I was lucky because I never got caught up in drugs like a lot of people. But I would go out and have a drink here and there with friends. Then when I was twenty-two, I had a bad break-up with a boyfriend. I was with him for four years, and found out he was with my best friend. I met him when I was eighteen and he was forty-two. So I moved to Los Angeles because after the breakup. I was devastated. It was a good time to go and live somewhere else.
J: Were you working at the time?
B: In Arizona, I was working at a hair laser clinic as a receptionist. It was like a medical grade clinic. Then I moved to LA and got a job at music.com and also did some personal training.
J: How long were you in LA before you met Geoffrey?
B: Almost four years. I love LA. I think that’s the favourite place that I’ve lived. I love my life here more now, but I remember it being a really fun place to live, especially if you’re single. Although it’s hard to make friends there, but when you do, they’re just really cool people and you get to go out with a lot of celebrities. One of the first celebrities I met was Jack Nicholson.
J: Tell me about Jack.
B: He liked to smoke, that’s for sure. I met him at a friends’ house. He’s a very funny man! And I also met Tara Reid. Paris Hilton used to date one of my best friends, so I met her and she came out with us a lot. So it was very cool.
J: What’s Paris like?
B: Nice! I wasn’t close to her, but she’s not a bitch at all. She’s a nice girl. A lot of people give her harsh words that she doesn’t deserve.
J: Where did you meet Geoffrey?
B: I met him a hotel party in LA. We met briefly and he was friends with my boss and we ended up at the same functions and exchanged email addresses. We’d email back and forth and send funny jokes and that’s how we kept in touch. Then one day, out of the blue, he just called up from London and asked if I wanted to go on a date in Las Vegas. I thought, why not? I’m not working for the next three days, so why not? And we did, and it was the best date of my life. We went to the Beatles Love Show. And I remember this lady next to me had this huge drink and all of a sudden she spilt it all over me and I was soaking wet and miserable throughout the whole show but it was such a great date, because being with him was so much fun.
J: And it was a three-day date?
B: Well on the third day I had to leave. But we also went on a huge shopping spree and he spoiled me rotten. I had to buy more luggage just to take some of my shopping home because he bought me so many things. It was very surprising but it was very good.
J: When you first met Geoffrey, did you feel that spark or was it the date when it kicked in?
B: No, it was the date. When we first met, it wasn’t enough time to really get to talk to each other, to have a deep conversation, so it didn’t mean much. But the first date really was the best date I’d ever been on. No one had ever paid that much attention to me. When someone is actually genuinely listening to everything you’re saying and to have conversation come so easily was really nice.
J: What sort of things did you like about him?
B: He’s a very funny man. He has a dry sense of humour, but I like that. He makes me laugh a lot. And he’s very kind. A total gentleman. He would open every door for me, and anyone else who was walking by – not just me, for everyone. Even now, he’s always the last person out of the lift. Little things like that are important. It shows how someone is going to treat you if they treat everyone that way.
J: Where did things go from there?
B: I had to go back to work in Arizona. We were filming a concert. . Geoffrey was really disappointed but I said, hey, we’ll catch up in LA. But the show took longer than I thought and he kept calling and calling, and he couldn’t reach me because I couldn’t have my phone on when we were filming. He was disappointed, but couldn’t wait in LA any more so he went back to Australia. Then a few weeks later I went and visited him in there.
J: Your first time to Australia?
B: Yeah, it was. My first time really out of the country. I’d been to Mexico, but that doesn’t really count. That was the furthest I’d been from home. And I was supposed to be here for ten days but I was a little, well… not very thoughtful. He was out flying in his helicopter and came home to take me to lunch, and I’d gone. I got on a plane and went back to the States without telling him. And it wasn’t to be mean. But we were staying at the Docklands and I didn’t drive and he would work every day and I was in the apartment all day by myself and couldn’t do anything. I just got really homesick and restless. So after a couple of days I just left and went home. And he was really upset about that, which obviously you would be.
J: Didn’t you write a note – anything?
B: No. I texted him saying, I’m okay, I’ve left the apartment, I’ll call you later. But I didn’t realize till I was on the plane, that that would have to be the next day. So it wasn’t the nicest thing to do. It wasn’t the most thoughtful thing I’ve done – definitely, but I did it. So then he was really upset and really devastated. But he convinced me to come back a second time. So I did and that was for six weeks. Then he had me quit my job and I just ended up moving here.
J: What convinced you to come back if you weren’t happy here the first time?
B: It wasn’t that I wasn’t happy. It was just that it kind of scared me a bit because it was all moving very, very fast. I mean this was only a couple of months after our first date and I was half way across the world. It was very overwhelming. Not having friends or family, not having a job, not being able to drive… I think that’s why the first time I just left – I kind of panicked. He proposed on the second trip when I was here. It had only been a couple of months since our first date. It was a year since we met, but still it was very quick. And I only had one main relationship before that. And I wasn’t looking to settle down. But it was such a surprise. He’d hinted about it and we’d talk about it but it was definitely a surprise when he showed me the ring. It was the biggest diamond I’d ever seen. Then after six weeks we went back to the States together and he met my family for the first time. And then we flew to LA so I could finish packing up my stuff.
J: What did your parents think of the age difference?
B: It wasn’t that shocking to them, because my boyfriend I’d been with before that was twice my age. I had always enjoyed the company of older people.
J: What do you admire about Geoffrey?
B: Geoff’s accomplished so much. He’s such a smart, smart, brilliant man. I mean – his mind! He’s a doctor, he’s writing his own book, he learned to fly planes. Everything he’s done, all the experiences, all the stories he has to tell… I love hearing his stories and that’s why we never run out of conversation because he’s done so much. And I’m so proud of him for everything he’s done.
Brynne and Geoffrey Edelsten
J: He’s also had a lot of ups and downs… a bit of a roller-coaster ride.
B: He’s had a lot of ups and downs. But he always bounces back because he won’t give up. He’s so strong-willed and I think that’s impressive.
J: What do you think has been his biggest achievement?
B: I think his comeback after having to file for bankruptcy and all that. Having to start all over from nothing and create this empire of medical clinics. I think that’s incredible.
J: Do you have any interest in his business? Do you want to work in any capacity?
B: Not in his medical clinics. But we are looking at things. That’s why we’re opening the Nurielle stores here, which I will run. I definitely want to work. I want to feel accomplished myself in business. I have more of a creative side and I’m very smart, but I love fashion and I’d love to do something in the media. Even though I want to have children one day. I want a family. But I think I can work and have children.
J: Is Geoffrey keen to have children?
B: He is. Not right now though. Hopefully within the next year we’ll try.
J: So career aspirations for you include media, business and fashion?
B: Yes, well I’m already working on my Flash Gordon label. But it will take a bit of time to get that ready because I don’t want to go ahead with that until I feel I’m fully ready for it. I’m designing everything and I want it to be more affordable. Nurielle is very high-end, so it’s not as affordable for most people. And I think by working with them, it will give me the experience to learn what I need to know. And I’ll be the face of it (Nurielle) in the States and Dubai. Which is exciting.
J: How would you describe your dress sense?
B: Mine is definitely different to a lot of people’s. You saw me earlier today. I wasn’t flashy. But when I go to events, I love being sparkly with diamonds and crystal and bright colours, because you can’t wear that stuff very often, so if you have a chance, then why not? On an every day basis, I’m much more casual.
Brynne Edelsten, Fashion Aid Ball, September 2012
J: Have you been upset at all by some of the negative comments made by the media?
B: No. Although in the very beginning, it made me feel bad. It didn’t hurt my feelings, but I’d go, why are they saying these things because it didn’t make sense to me. Why does anyone care that much, to be mean? It doesn’t help anyone.
J: Do you think people are being kinder now?
B: I think so. Everyone has become so much warmer to me and I feel like things have become a lot more positive. I’m not going to lie. I do read the papers. I read what’s written about me. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t. One thing I don’t do anymore is to read the comments about me on-line, in blogs and stuff. They’re really mean. When it comes down to it, I’m happy with what I’m wearing. I’m happy with who I am.
J: Tell me about the wedding. That was a huge event.
B: It was. It was very exciting. On the day I started feeling pretty overwhelmed because it was larger than life.
J: Did you want a large wedding?
B: I didn’t mind if it was large or small, but he wanted to give me a big wedding. The people that mattered to me were at the wedding and that was the most important thing. He has a lot more people that matter to him than me, so there were a lot of people I didn’t know, but I was happy for them to be there to celebrate with us.
J: What’s your favourite memory of the day?
B: At the reception, the first person I saw when I walked into the room was my best friend, Sharni. And it I felt this sigh of relief, to see someone familiar among this sea of faces of people I didn’t know. So I ran up and gave her a hug. That was the best moment for me. Other than the actual wedding of course and exchanging vows.
J: How did that feel, the moment you exchanged vows?
B: It was really good. I couldn’t stop smiling, but I couldn’t stop crying either. I was a mess. I had tears running down my face.
J: How would you describe your relationship?
B: He’s my best friend. We value each other’s opinions. We talk about everything. We enjoy our time together. We do have other friends we do things with but he’s my best friend. If there was one person I could be with all the time, it would be him. And I’m lucky enough to have him.
J: He must work long hours to be as successful as he is. Is that difficult for you?
B: Well no, because he wakes up and goes to work at 3.30 every morning, so his day starts very early every day. He’s there at 3.30 every morning. He wakes up at 2.30.
J: What time does he go to bed?
B: Between eight and eleven.
J: He obviously doesn’t need as much sleep as the rest of us…
B; No, not as much as me! (laughs) So he gets home anytime between two o’clock and five o’clock so we still have the whole afternoon and evening together, even though he works a lot. Sometimes he has meetings on the weekend but mostly we have all the weekend together.
J: Does he have any annoying habits?
B: More than one! Geoff has to be not just one time, but early for everything. He’ll tell me a time to be ready and then fifteen minutes to thirty minutes before then, he’s standing over me saying, how much longer are you going to be? So we’re always the first people anywhere. Before the red carpet starts, we’re there. We can never be fashionably late, let alone late. We have to be there before the camera people get there for him to feel on time. He’s very extreme with punctuality.
J: Anything else?
B: Well, I have lots! I leave the lights on in every room and he has to turn them off. He could probably point out a lot more annoying habits about me than I can about him.