Friday, November 21, 2014

Anderson Cooper in Italian Vogue, November 2014

And the translated article from Uomo Vogue (please click on link to visit original site) ~

Anderson Cooper. Cover of the November 2014 issue of L'Uomo Vogue

You might, after a quick psychological analysis, come to the conclusion that if Anderson Cooper is one of the most famous and respected investigative correspondents on American TV today, it’s due to his extreme shyness – a shyness he readily admits. "You know those people who refer to themselves in the third person? I’m the farthest from them. I look at them and think, “Wow, they must really spend a lot of time thinking about themselves”. I’m painfully shy. I’m the person at the party who hides in the kitchen, holding a beer and leaning against the refrigerator while talking to one or two people max – that is, if I even decide to go to a party".

When he isn’t working in war zones and natural catastrophe sites (the coverages that most defined him as a correspondent were the ones of «Hurricane Katrina, the Sri Lanka tsunami and the earthquake in Haiti».), he’s in the TV studio, where he has an incredible talent for co-hosting programs, especially if the colleague in the chair next to him has an exuberant personality. "I enjoy people who don’t take themselves too seriously, and since I’m shy, I like people with bigger personalities than mine". And so, “Psychology for Dummies” manual in hand, we could say that Anderson Cooper has chosen a profession that lets him “bear witness” (a recurring expression in his answers) to the major news events of our day as a means of focusing on someone or something else – the victim, the back story – and shifting the attention away from himself.

Naturally, reality is much more complex than that. First, because it’s almost impossible to not pay attention to him. In a category notorious for its overabundance of anonymous and strong-jawed types, Anderson Cooper stands out. He’s objectively handsome, with an expression that hovers between fearless and vulnerable. He resembles his father when he was young. Cooper is the son of actor, screenwriter and journalist Wyatt Cooper and of Gloria Vanderbilt, actress, designer, painter, socialite, heiress. His father died at just 50 years of age due to complications from open-heart surgery. For Anderson, he remains an important point of reference and moral guide (last year Cooper had the chance to listen to his father’s voice again, thanks to a restored archival recording posted online by a New York art association. He tweeted afterwards, "Extraordinary. This is the first time I am hearing my father’s voice since I was ten years old”). The relationship with his mother is even stronger. The legendary style icon is often a guest on his shows and in one episode she confessed to having a life-sized cardboard cutout of him at home ("I never see you! You never call me!", she teased). Anderson also had a brother named Carter who committed suicide in 1988 at age 23, the circumstances of which Anderson has spoken about on several occasions.His family could have been an impediment, but instead it seems to be the source of his inner strength, and has certainly made him what he is today, even from a professional perspective.

When he was young, Anderson would have dinner with his family while watching “60 Minutes”, the award-winning CBS program that revolutionized investigative reporting on TV, and today counts Anderson as one of its contributors. "I grew up being fascinated by news and world events, and my family encouraged that interest". Cooper thus grew up idolizing the “trade” while some of the key figures of the cultural scene at the time were family friends. He doesn’t hesitate to mention that Diana Vreeland gave him his first job in the public relations office at the Met ("She was a remarkable woman. I loved reading her memos to the Vogue staff that Visionaire published. She was a complete original".), and that he considers Gordon Parks a model and source of inspiration. "Parks was the first African-American photographer at Life magazine, he was the first African-American director of a Hollywood picture, ‘Shaft’. He was also the coolest guy on the planet, and the first journalist I knew personally because he was a great friend of my parents". For Cooper, who graduated from Yale with a major in Political Science, there could be no other career than the news. He has been with 60 Minutes since 2006, and since 2003 he has anchored Anderson Cooper 360° on CNN (the network for which he has an exclusive): as a result, he can already boast a fairly good collection of Emmy and Peabody awards.

It was difficult interviewing him, what with the Ebola emergency and the Ottawa shooting: he’s often traveling and ready to leave at a moment’s notice. «I couldn’t live without it. I’ve been doing it for more than 22 years, and I don’t think I have any other skills. I’ve thought about it, trying to cultivate interests outside of reporting, but it’s useless: if I open a newspaper – yes, I still read newspapers – and see something on Burma or Afghanistan, I want to go there. Most of the times a journalist finds himself talking about something that has already happened, but I’ve had the privilege of reporting things that were still happening. I don’t focus on the ratings and the business side of news, I just care about being in the right place at the right time".

As a correspondent, Anderson Cooper has a signature style: total dedication and rigor and a deeply empathetic instinct that allows him to connect with the people he interviews on location and with viewers at home (and sometimes offers powerful spontaneous moments, such as when he was reporting on Hurricane Katrina and lashed out at Louisiana Governor Mary Landrieu, "I’ve been seeing dead bodies in the streets for days. I’m tired of listening to politicians complimenting each other. Do you get the anger that is out here?").

But Cooper is not just an excellent special correspondent. He’s incredibly effective in studio interviews, especially when he’s faced with evasive subjects. "I used to find contentious interviews difficult, especially when the person is not telling the truth or doesn’t want to talk. Now I like those interviews. I naturally want to walk in someone else’s shoes and I try to be polite, but I think we have a duty to hold people accountable and I enjoy the verbal crossfire that lets you put them on the spot and catch them not telling the truth".

Is he too serious? Not at all. Few possess his range and his ability to cover everything from an emergency to more light-hearted moments, from current events to show business. From 2011 to 2013 he presented Anderson Live, a talk show in the best tradition of U.S. daytime television, like “Ellen” and “Oprah”. Recently, 60 Minutes broadcast his special on the return of the Foo Fighters, and his interviews with Adele and Lady Gaga are among his most popular on YouTube. Cooper has covered the homelessness crisis and talked about canine intelligence, he was on David Letterman to discuss the ISIS threat, and he appeared in a Saturday Night Live sketch as the groom of one of the most absurd characters on the show.

He may be shy, but he also knows how to have fun. Then there’s the “denim-gate” that blew up a few years ago when he described the “uniform” he wears outside of the studio as "a gray or white T-shirt and a pair of APC jeans, literally the same pair. You know, they have these jeans you don’t have to wash now, or so they say». Classic Cooperian candor, whereby he sometimes doesn’t realize what he’s just revealed until a second after he utters it. The media made a big deal out of it. "Fortunately, I was vindicated! Tommy Hilfiger said you’re not supposed to wash high quality denim. Anyway, I haven’t changed my habits: I now have 5 pairs of APC jeans. I still don’t wash them: I rotate them. On TV, I wear formal clothes but never focus on labels. If I could, I’d do what Obama does: he said he owns the same suit style in 2 or 3 colors. Or I’d only wear black and white. Minimizing the number of decisions about clothes is liberating".

He does the same with food. "For a long time I ate a Thanksgiving dinner – turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes – from Boston Market, everyday for lunch. When I go to Rome, which is one of my favorite cities, I only eat spaghetti with marinara sauce. My partner begs me to try pasta cacio e pepe once in a while, but nothing doing». His diet, while still repetitive, is currently more balanced: açai berries, bananas and granola for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and a Swiss cheese and turkey crêpe for dinner. "I look at my Mom and she’s in great shape and healthy. I look at myself in the mirror and see my hair, which was once silver, now almost completely white. I just had shoulder surgery and couldn’t work out, so I feel out of shape. I always thought I’d die at 50, like my Dad, and that’s why I’ve always rushed everything. Now, with 50 right around the corner, you know what I think? I have to learn how to age".

Fashion assistant Dwight Reeves

Groomer Vaughn@Mizu NYC for V76 by Vaughn

Fashion Editor Rushka Bergman

Photo by Mark Seliger

L'Uomo Vogue, November 2014 (n. 455)

di Laura Lazzaroni

PUBLISHED: 11/11/2014


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1 comment:

aries moon said...

Thanks for finding and posting this article. AC has always seemed reserved, private and low-key but it's surprising that he thinks of himself as extremely shy--he seems to have a full life and has a successful career, so fortunately for him, it hasn't held him back. I like that the article mentions how good AC can be (when he chooses to be) in studio interviews where he challenges a guest--he really IS good at that and doesn't get enough credit for it, but he's also somewhat selective in who he chooses to confront and who he doesn't (McCain for example)--I'd like to see more of AC speaking up when someone is clearly being dishonest but he also needs to be more balanced in doing it.

AC's food habits are still kind of odd--why go all the way to Italy and relegate yourself to only one type of pasta dish?

Anderson is aging just fine and he does have his mother's genes on his side and he's healthy and wealthy.

The pics are great.