If you know Joanne Spataro, you already know she's an established writer (CL, Huffington Post), a celebrated MC and an unofficial backup dancer for Leanne Rimes (Pride 2014). You may even know she likes nachos a bit more than the average person.
But did you know that the 29-year-old business development associate, who typically prefers the company of women, would rather have Javier Bardem among her pillows — synthetic ("they are filled with fluff, like me") — than Penelope Cruz? "I may be gay, but I'm not dead," she explains with a smile. But she would "let Penelope stay on my living room couch and wave."
In 2014, Spataro unveiled her YouTube-hosted Web series Pillow Talk, where she invites strangers into her bed and uses her feminine wiles to coax out details of their current projects. Guests are as varied as politician Jennifer Roberts and drag queen Roxy C. Moorecox. Spataro even did a spoof for HERS, the "feminine hygiene product" lauded by former Mayor Patrick Cannon.
This year, Spataro is taking Charlotte by storm with a third season of Pillow Talk; the completion of her first book (of which she will be unveiling chapters every first and third Tuesday at Broken Mic Night at Petra's Piano Bar); and a live Pillow Talk performance at an upcoming Second Chance Soup event that funds a grant for Project Art Aid.
She's also focused on being a "Human Woman" in 2015, which is her version of living a balanced life. Her Facebook is filled with statuses such as "Day 14 of being a human woman: Ate lentils and rice for lunch. Celebrated good health by eating Nutella out of the jar for dessert."
With the clock ticking in the background, we sat down with Spataro for an interview. The most important lesson we learned? Fifteen minutes is not nearly enough time to spend with this multi-faceted woman.
4 minutes, 23 seconds
Spataro tells us what she wears to sleep in: a onesie she describes as "somewhat hideous, but I love it. It's got cartoon pizzas and fries. I wear that to bed almost every night." Does wearing pajamas with food on it make her hungry? "You know what? I'm always hungry; it just goes with my current mood."
7 minutes, 54 seconds
Spataro says 2014 was a good year for her, but it was also a time of emotional growth and change. In March, she started a new day job, which "keeps me in the gorilla fur I've become accustomed to." Losing a grant was also a tough moment for her, and additionally, she had a relationship that she thought would be something turn into nothing. "I'm sort of the George Clooney of my life. I have not had very long relationships and that one I thought was going to go [somewhere]."
To reflect, Spataro says, "I cried a lot. I cried at the beach a lot. Which I think, if you're going to cry, cry at the beach.
"The writing saved my life, as it always does. I've been writing since I was 13, so there it was again."
10 minutes, 55 seconds
Spataro's vice, which she refuses to give up: "Sitting in my own filth. Onesie on, eating nachos, watching The L Word for the billionth time ..."
11 minutes, 32 seconds
"My greatest fear in life is being ordinary. Lady Gaga said she always felt like she was somebody, even when she was working the clubs. She just needed somebody to find her ... so that's how I live. Someone told me that I live my life like I'm some celebrity. And I do, because if you can't believe in yourself, it's just not going to happen for you."
13 minutes, 18 seconds
Spataro tells us about the book she's planning to finish in 2015, a coming-of-age tale titled I'm the Worst: How I Became a Human Woman. "Sometimes when you're a terrible person, that's when you most discover yourself. I was never into drugs or having lots of sex or whatever. I just ate a lot and made some bad decisions and maybe got into some semi-sexual situations, whatever that means." What does that mean? "You'll find out. I don't know what that means, that's why I'm writing about it!"
14 minutes, 35 seconds
In 2015, Spataro declares, "I'm just hoping to get better and better, and keep my kitchen clean while I'm doing it."