Q: What do you usually do in your free time?
A: What “free time”?! Seriously, I am usually so busy between my public appearances, writing (my latest book was just released in August, 2009), traveling, acting – you name it, I seem to be doing it! – that I barely have time to breathe. That being the case, I spend as much time as I can with my family. Fortunately, my mother and sisters all live fairly close by, which makes it a little easier. And sometimes they join me on a trip, like, for example, when I was in Italy doing “Dancing With The Stars”; they all came over and kept me company in Rome, which was just wonderful.
Q: Do you ever get to spend time with your friends?
A: Not often enough, but it’s usually a “spa day”: Lots of relaxation, lots of laughter. My best friend is an aesthetician, so sometimes she’ll come over here and combine a visit with a spa treatment, or we go out to lunch.
Q: What type of entertainment do you enjoy?
A: I’m a film nut, partly because that’s the business I’m in and I need to stay current, but mostly because I just love movies. Sometimes, on a Saturday, for example, I’ll do a video run. I get a bunch of films I haven’t seen and spend hours watching them. I’m also a member of the Cinema Society here in New York, so I get to see everything. Although I’m still a kid at heart and really adore romantic comedies, I’ve probably seen every military movie, every sports movie, political thrillers – you name it, I’ve undoubtedly seen it. The only thing I really don’t like and won’t watch is gory horror movies. I have no interest in those whatsoever. I even like Disney’s kids’ movies, which are pure escapism. You know – the kind where the girl is a caterpillar who turns into a butterfly and the guy who always ignored her is suddenly madly in love with her? I love those and believe it or not, so does Alexei. He doesn’t consider them “chick flicks”; he considers them a chance to nap!
Q: How often do you go to Russia to watch Alexei play hockey?
A: Every chance I get. You know the old saying about absence making the heart grow fonder? I tend to agree with that, but I also think it makes you lonely, so I try to be with the man I love as much as I possibly can. Doesn’t everyone?
Q: Do you find it difficult to maintain your privacy when you’re out in public? Are you approached by strangers a lot?
A: At 5’10″, I know I tend to stand out, but I do my best to blend in when I’m out in public doing everyday things. I try to perhaps wear my hair a little differently, or not wear any makeup, or walk less like a model and more like a “regular” person. However, it seems as if most of the times I am noticed, I’m doing something silly, or – and this seems to happen more often than not – I’m in a public restroom somewhere, which is the last place you want to be noticed. For the most part, though, I’d say people are pretty respectful. Actually, I find a lot of people who see me whizzing past them on the sidewalk or in a market (I’m a fast walker!) tend to get that “Gee – that woman looks an awful lot like that model, Carol Alt” look on their faces. They’re really doubting their own senses, but I get the benefit of that doubt!
I’m usually a pretty friendly person, so as long as whoever approaches me seems to be a nice, normal person, I’ll kid around with them for a little while. But I’m also a bit on the defensive side, too. Don’t forget – I’ve had to deal with verifiable stalkers throughout my career and that’s really scary.
Q: What about the times you’re on the red carpet?
A: Of course, that’s an entirely different situation. If I’m at a fashion show, or a film premiere, or going out to dinner in an upscale or trendy restaurant, I know I’m going to be on display, so to speak. I dress and behave to suit the occasion.
Q: What does Alexei think about your celebrity?
A: He understands it and doesn’t mind at all. One thing he does tell me, though: Sometimes, if we’re walking down a street together, he’ll drop back behind me and watch the faces of the strangers who are passing by. “You aren’t as anonymous as you think you are, Carol”, he loves to tell me.
Q: Would you ever approach a celebrity you didn’t know?
A: Ha! Now that’s a funny question! I totally respect other people’s privacy and leave them alone if I happen to recognize them somewhere outside of a social situation. But I’ll share a little experience I once had back in the mid-90s: I was in my “anonymous” mode, standing in the check-out line at Whole Foods (in L.A.) one day, when I thought I recognized the man in line ahead of me. I was pretty sure he had been a stunt man on a film I’d done a couple of years before, but I just couldn’t be sure, nor could I come up with his name. Now, mind you, I was holding my purchases in my hands and there wasn’t even a shopping cart between us. I figured he’d think I was a stuck-up jerk if I didn’t acknowledge him, so I said, “Excuse me, but do you work in the film industry?”. Well, this guy was completely rude to me. He didn’t look up, or look at me at all. All he said, out of the side of his mouth, was, “Yeah. Now leave me alone”! He packed up his stuff and walked away, just like that. The lady behind the register said, “Didn’t you know who that was?” and I said, “Was I supposed to? What an idiot!” She told me who he was – a soap star, whose name I won’t bore you with – but I told her in no uncertain terms that no matter who he was, nobody has a right to treat other people that way. I never have and never would be deliberately rude to anyone!
Q: Can you share a fun celebrity sighting?
A: Oh, yes. One night, I was having dinner at a very “in” restaurant with a friend. Opposite us sat George Clooney with a couple of his friends. When I got up to leave and had to pass by his table, George said very quietly, “Carol”. And I very quietly replied, “George”. I kept right on moving and that was it, but…when I got outside, it was like, ‘I didn’t even know George Clooney would know who in the world I was!’ To me, that was a very cool incident.
Q: OK, so how does all of this affect your attitude toward others?
A: I was raised to treat all people politely and with a certain degree of kindness. That’s just basic (or should be) human behavior. I see no reason to be mean to someone, provided he isn’t being mean to me. I once had a p.r. person who treated people very badly whenever we were out together. I finally had to tell her not to stand near me if she was going to do that, because a.) I didn’t like it and b.) it reflected back on me. Nobody was going to remember that this unknown woman was nasty to him or her, but they were going to remember that she represented Carol Alt who, by extension, must have approved of her actions. I did not and ultimately had to fire her because of it.
Q: Did “celebrity apprentice” teach you anything?
A: Of course it did! I learn something new from every endeavor I undertake. Going as far as I did on the show, I found out how entrepreneurial I really am and how much I like to win! On the other hand, I also learned that certain people can be unexpectedly cruel and cutthroat, for no apparent reason. We were supposed to be a team, but ultimately, it was every man (woman) for himself. That left kind of a bitter taste in my mouth, mostly because I hadn’t been expecting it.
Q: How did you deal with that during the production?
A: I realized almost from the beginning that the women on my team were out to get each other, which simply wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. We were supposed to get the people on the OTHER team eliminated, not on our own team! When I became the team leader, I knew I had to find a different way to handle this, so before we began our task, I went to each of the remaining team members and spent some time building up their individual egos. I focused on each of their strengths and told them how great they were at such-and-such, and that I wanted to utilize those abilities. It worked and it made them want to help! There’s a lot of truth to the old adage about getting more with honey than with vinegar.
Q: Since you spend quite a bit of time with a sports figure, do you see any parallels between his world and “celebrity apprentice”?
A: Absolutely! It’s ALL about teamwork in sports, as everyone knows. Oh, sure, you have the sports “stars” who outshine their teammates and who earn much more money, but there’s a logical reason for that: They score more points for the team! If the others, who earn less, want to increase their salaries, what do they have to do? WORK HARDER. SCORE MORE POINTS. And by so doing, take the entire team to a higher standing. That, to me, is just common sense.
Q: You mention the honey vs vinegar approach…
A: You know, it was my sister, Karen, who brought that home to me. She was working as my assistant and one day she complained to me that I was always criticizing her, but never telling her if she was doing a good job. I thought long and hard about that, because I hadn’t realized how it must have seemed to her. The fact was, she was doing an excellent job all along. I’d been thinking that there was no need to keep telling her about the good things she did – that she’d just know; plus, if something did go awry (which was rare), it was generally because I had told her to do something that perhaps just couldn’t be done, or I hadn’t explained what was needed clearly enough! Meaning it was my responsibility, really, as her boss for perhaps not being clear, or expecting the impossible. From then on, I changed my m.o. and began giving her appropriate and truthful compliments for a job well done, instead of just pointing out some minor failures that really were my fault to begin with.
Q: What is Carol’s next project?
A: Since that changes on a constant basis, check this website every month or so and you’ll find out.
Q: Where was Carol born?
A: A native New Yorker, Carol was born in Flushing, Queens, New York.
Q: How many siblings does Carol have and where does she fall in the birth order?
A: Carol had one brother – the late Tony Alt (the inspiration for TAMFI.com). She also has two sisters: Christine, fashion’s premiere large-size model, and Karen, who is a nurse. Carol is third in the birth order- her brother was first, her sister Karen, Carol and then younger sister Christine.
Q: Where does Carol live?
A: Carol divides her time between Ontario, Canada and Long Island, New York where her boyfriend, Alexei Yashin has a home he has kept since he played hockey for the New York Islanders.
Q: Raw eating aside, is Carol an avid exerciser?
A: Carol says she likes to eat raw because it keeps her healthy and in shape without having to exercise! She does, however, like to walk as much as possible and she works out when her schedule permits, to “ease the mind”, as she puts it. “I like to exercise to make my physical body as tired as my brain gets at night! Since I am constantly working in my mind, sometimes you need to have the body be just as tired, so that you can sleep! And because I eat raw, my physical body is rarely tired these days!!!”
Q: Did Carol do any exercise videos?
A: Contrary to Cindy Crawford’s claim that she did the first model exercise videos, history tells the truth. Carol shot two exercise videos for Cosmopolitan magazine on an exclusive basis (selling 400,000 copies EACH!) – before Cindy did hers!
Q: What other “firsts” did Carol have?
A: Being born on the first of December, Carol has a penchant for being “the first”: She was the first model dubbed with the title “supermodel”; the first model with a poster line (4 successful posters to date) and a calendar line (5 years in a row).
She was the first model with her own website on the internet – her ‘page’ debuted in the summer of 1990; the first with exercise videos; the first to write nutrition books; the first to have a series of novels based on her career; the first in a long line of celebrities to make a deal with QVC; and she’ll be announcing another first in mid-November, ’08.
Q: Other interesting facts?
A: Besides being on over 700 mag/book/catalogue covers, Carol was the youngest model to ever have a cosmetic contract:
She was barely 18 when Lancome scooped her up! After taking Lancome to Number 1, world-wide, CoverGirl immediately took Carol as the face of Noxema AND CoverGirl. QVC then hired Carol to be the face of the cosmetics line called LeMirador.
Q: Carol travels the world much of the time. Did she travel at all while growing up?
A: She never really traveled a lot as a kid. She grew up on Long Island- it has great beaches! – but she always wondered, “Where else would I want to go?” and now she knows. Just about everywhere!
Q: Does Carol speak any other languages?
A: Yes, Carol speaks, Italian fluently and can “get along” (as she puts) it in Spanish and French.
Q: How did Carol learn to speak Italian?
A: Right on the streets and sets that she worked on in Italy. Remember, she started out as a model there, too, getting her first big cover and 92 pages of editorial! She has always had a soft spot for the Italians. (Of course, these days, Carol also has a soft spot for Russians – or rather, one particular Russian: Her beau! (LOL)
Q: Does Carol dance? If so, what is her favorite style?
A: “Aahhh! I love to slow dance! Especially with my boyfriend, as he is such a good slow dancer….!”