Monday, February 2, 2004

Star Jones stops long enough to chat


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Star Jones isn't shy. But she is in a hurry.

The outspoken former assistant district attorney-turned-talk-show-host of ABC's The View - with collections of shoes, jewelry, wigs and makeup carrying her name - had just five minutes for a quick chat. Tuesday, she'll be in Cincinnati for the Fifth Third Smart Talk Women's Lecture Series at the Aronoff Center for the Arts, downtown.

You've interviewed so many famous people. Who is left on your list?

I would still like to interview President Clinton. I've been lucky to be really good friends with Hillary. She is the smartest, most wonderful woman I've ever met. I think he's one of the purest politicians I've ever met. He understands the political world. I understand there are judgment questions there, but there is something I find fascinating and stimulating about him. He makes me think.

How about celebrities?

Jack Nicholson. But I'd probably sit there in awe. I love him.

If you had to be interviewed by one of your co-hosts, who would you choose?

Meredith (Vieira). I think because she's a trained journalist and she cares about the things I care about. Her sensibilities and sensitivities mirror my own.

Apologies here, but everyone I asked about you wants to know who you are dating.

I'm certainly dating someone seriously, a banker.

They also want to know how many pairs of shoes you have?

I'm definitely just over 550.

Star Jones
What will you discuss at Smart Talk?

It's about bringing something to the table other than your appetite. We must leave our mark on society. I say "this is my experience" and encourage people to find their own way.

Are you aware of yourself as a role model for young women, especially African-American women?

I'm very conscious of the fact that everything I say and do impacts young people. Because, like it or not, they try to emulate me and I do my best not to disappoint. I feel strongly we should get our role models from our local communities, parents, teachers. That's how I found my role models.

Who are your role models?

My mom (Shirley Byard) is No. 1 and always has been. And my father (James Byard) has served as an example of the way a man should behave toward a woman, and I haven't settled for anything less. That's probably why I haven't gotten married yet. He raised the bar so high.

And Barbara Walters (creator and frequent panelist on The View) because of what she's accomplished in broadcast TV. She is one of these people who is not intimidated by a strong woman. She likes to surround herself by strong women. She could have surrounded herself with mealy-mouth broads. Instead, she chose smart, accomplished women we learn from.

If you go

What: Fifth Third Bank Smart Talk Women's Lecture Series with Star Jones, co-host of ABC's The View.

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (doors open at 6:30 p.m.).

Where: Aronoff Center for the Arts, downtown.

Tickets: $32-$61, at Aronoff Center box office or 241-7469.



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