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Hello Tello! December 22, 2010

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So it’s been a while since my last post, and I thought it was time to get ya up-to-date on all things Real Girls

The latest cool happening is that now our entire 1st season is officially downloadable! TelloFilms, “a venue for films made by for/by/or about lesbians,” just launched the “premium content” section of their site, which means that now you can download Real Girls (and other awesome shows like Brunch With Bridget and 3-Way) directly on to your hard drive! (Check us out in the Tello Store HERE)

BUT WHY (you may ask… in a cheesy announcer voice…)WOULD YOU WANT TO DOWNLOAD SOMETHING YOU CAN GET FOR FREE?

A.) Way better quality! You don’t have worry about things like “buffering” or random attacks of pixilation…which will make your next network board meeting presentation about how smart, sassy feminist web shows are all the rage (and why shows like Real Girls need to be on TV) go MUCH more smoothly.

B) Even if corporate greed destroys our digital our way of life, YOU will have your own copy of Real Girls to pass along to your grandkids as you reminisce about the glory days of the Internet! (Not that we will EVER let that happen, right?)

C) It’s super cheap ($.99 an episode)! Plus, 80% of that will go back to US and will allow us to make more Real Girls (imagine a whole shit-kicking army of fierce, fun-lovin’ feminists)! And the other 20% goes back to Tellofilms, an awesome girl-powered startup, that’s helping to make Lesbian-centric content not only visible, but also viable.

ALSO, Tellofilms has introduced a monthly subscription option for “exclusive content” you can’t see anywhere else and will be launching their original series Cow Girl Up in January.  Lots of cool stuff on there that’s free too, so be sure to check’m out at http://tellofilms.com/.

BUT BACK TO US…and the question of what the hell we’ve been up to…

VIRTUAL LESBIAN LOOKS. Back in October Real Girl Reena Dutt (“Sydney”) spoke at the University of Arizona on a panel featuring Real Girls (alongside Anyone But Me and Girl Trash) about the exciting trend of independent lesbian-centric shows online.

ALHLIVE. In November, the cast of Real Girls was featured on a LIVE video podcast. In this 40 minute interview lead by Seattle-based journalist Lawrence Haskins (which included live Q &A with viewers) we covered everything from the feminist revolution in new media…to farts…. to “junior cougars” (huh? what? Just WATCH IT ALREADY!=)).

MORE INTERVIEWS!  In the “other-web-series-we-love-department,” we have interviews coming up with web pioneer, Yuri Baranovsky (Break a Leg), “Office” writer and web-creator Anthony Farrell (Dwelling), as well as our own Nikki Brown (producer and star of Sheroes) and Kai Soremekun (creator of Chick) about why Female Superheroes are taking over the web! So stay tuned…

OFF-CHANCE PRODUCTIONS. And finally, as to what the hell have we been doing for the last month while you have been blogless?  Our mama company Off-Chance Productions has been busy, busy…

Our critically acclaimed stage play, The Limitations of Genetic Technology, just closed to sold out audiences! And we just wrapped 2 shorts….SAT I (written by and starring Real Girl, Reena Dutt) and Eat, Dream, Play, Shit, Die (written by Luis Arturo Reyes and directed by ME).

Also, we just found out that our play, Shaheed: The Dream and Death of Benazir Bhutto (written by and starring Real Girl Anna Khaja), has been nominated for TWO Ovation awards!

And you thought we were just sitting here braiding our toe hair.

So, have some kickass holidays! And thanks for all your love and support throughout the year!

We seriously could not have done any of this with out you!



Carmen slutting it up with Santa...some time in the '90s.

An Update on Real Girls Season 2… November 2, 2010

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The Real Girls Guide to Everything Else – Season 2 is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions in behalf of The Real Girls Guide to Everything Else – Season 2 are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Click HERE to contribute to Season 2!

You make Real Girls a reality. xo-The Real Girls

Real Girls Season 2 brought to you…BY YOU! October 20, 2010

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Give us a TEN! September 23, 2010

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So, at last we’re gearing up for Season 2! We have a kickass script, a rockin crew and our irrepressible gang of Real Girls is all booted up and ready to go…

There’s only one thing that we’re missing: THE CASH!

So if you love Real Girls and want MORE irreverent, girl-powered comedy that will take us BEYOND the familiar realm of shoe-shopping and boy-stalking, please consider making your TAX-DEDUCTIBLE donation today!

TEN BUCKS. That’s all we’re asking for (although more is always appreciated, and encouraged=)). That’s less than $1 per episode for the show hailed by critics from NPR to BITCH Magazine as the smarter, sassier more REAL alternative to the wealthy white world of the primetime fashionista.

We have until November 4th to reach our goal! And we are going to do it – but only with your help!

And to those of you who have already contributed – a HUGE thanks!

To make your TAX-DEDUCTIBLE donation on-line please go to:

or Mail a check made out to FRACTURE ATLAS (our fiscal sponsor) to Off-Chance Productions . P.O. Box 1582 . Los Angeles , CA 90078-1582

You make Real Girl’s a reality.
xo-The Real Girls

The Real Girls Guide to Everything Else – Season 2 is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions in behalf of The Real Girls Guide to Everything Else – Season 2 are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Bitchin’ review in BITCH! September 3, 2010

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So today was a BIG day for the Girls! We found out that not only is our NPR interview “Move Over Sex and the City, Hello Real Girls” going to be re-broadcast on Labor Day, but that one of our favorite print magazines, BITCH, had published an awesome review of Real Girl’s in their latest issue.

If you don’t know BITCH, get thee to an independent magazine stand now (yes, they still have them…)! Launched in 1996 by a couple of former Sassy Magazine interns, who “decided that if they wanted to see some smart analysis of feminist pop culture, they could start by writing it themselves,” BITCH has, twelve years later, become something of a phenomenon, with a substantial subscriber base and regular interviews with some of the leading feminist scholars (it’s also EXTREMELY well written, fun, irreverent, delightfully obnoxious and awesome…and I love them and want to be them when I grow up, sigh.)

Here’s Sara Kantner’s review of Real Girl’s (click 2x to make BIG=))


To find out how YOU can help the support the cause of creating more awesome girl-powered comedy, please check out our Real Girl’s Season 2 Fundraising site (All donations are tax deductable!)

Crashing the Carpet: Real Girls at Hollyshorts August 24, 2010

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So, the HollyShorts Film Festival was a blast! In addition to Real Girl’s winning an Audience Choice Award (YAY!!), the place was practically crawling with celebrities (David Arquette, James Caan, name drop, name drop, name drop), none of whom we actually spoke to, in part because we’re THAT cool and in part because we thought it might interfere with our plans to pass ourselves off as celebrities ourselves.

Real Girls… Jen Weaver, Carmen Elena Mitchell, Nikki Brown and Reena Dutt looking suspiciously fashionable and celebraic…

Heather de Michele, Reena Dutt (again!) and Robin Daléa

Actually, we were not totally positive we were supposed to be ON the Red Carpet…(an email had gone out earlier that week that this was a privilege reserved for “celebrities only”), but as you can see rules meant to be broken and carpets… are meant to be muddied (or as Heather said… “munched”). Either that or we actually ARE celebrities but just haven’t received our official gold-plated membership cards yet (or our first paycheck for opening a theme park).

The day of the screening I ran into two friends that I’d met at OTHER festivals.

I met Robert Factor at the Vine Shorts Festival three years ago when I premiered my short, Evidence. Robert Factor is an awesome filmmaker whose award winning shorts Pleasures and Stuck will be screening at the upcoming San Gabriel International Film Festival.

Kevin Deen and I met at Screamfest last year after a screening of the short film Rations (directed by Real Girl’s intro DP Craig Ouelette and… starring me!). Kevin is an actor and a regular at HollyShorts. He’s a super cool, supportive dude and he even shared his chocolate pudding with me (no, that is not a metaphor for anything, grow up, Reena!).

And here’s some amazing ladies I met at our screening block: Cindy Baer star of the short Scream Queen (written/directed by Elisabeth Fies) and Tracey Birdsall-Smith writer/producer and star of “Tick Tock”.

Finally, here’s a random picture David Arquette (he had a 3-D short which premiered on opening night).

I did not take this picture. I grabbed it off the HollyShorts website in hopes that you would come looking for someone slightly more famous and find Real Girl’s instead.  Tricked ya!

Okay, gotta run. Have a theme park to open up.


Web Series Crush-o-the-Week: Self-Storage August 20, 2010

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Is it just me…or does everybody go through a period in their life where they seriously contemplate moving in to a storage unit? I mean they’re clean, sometimes even air-conditioned…and start at $50 a month! Of course there’s no amenities (like toilets or showers) but hey… it’s a step up from camping/or card-board-boxing-it, right?

So, you can imagine how excited I was when I stumbled across a new series on Strike.Tv called “Self-Storage.” Created by (and starring) Kimberly Trew and Julie Mann, the series follows the lives of roommates “Dana” and “Shoshanna” after they are evicted and move into a storage unit.

After watching all five episodes back to back (and laughing my ass off), I decided…hey why not give back some of the love that Real Girls has been getting and interview another awesome girl-powered series?

Introducing Real Girl’s “Web Series Crush o the Week”: Self-Storage (with Kimberly Trew and Julie Mann)…

RG: Where did the idea of Self-Storage come from?

KT: Julie and I met working as spokespeople for a luxury automobile company-crazy, right? Anyway, a big part of our job involved picking up the cars from a storage facility in Azusa and then driving them to golf tournaments or whatever. So we started spending a LOT of time in this random storage facility, meeting super wacky people, hoarders and whatnot and then one day we were like….”Hey-what if…?” And the rest is history. Also, I’m kind of obsessed with alternative living spaces. I live on a 43′ mini yacht in the Marina right now. Not joking!

JM: What Kim said. Also, at the same time I had another part-time job covertly helping a celebrity leave her husband. We kept carting her stuff to a storage unit. One late night in the storage facility, the household’s eccentric maintenance guy made me keep quiet and listen for the noises of “people living in there.” Naturally, “Self Storage” was on a collision course with creation.

RG: Why did you choose to do this as a web-series (as opposed to a short or a pilot)?

KT: I think we wanted to do something that people could see. A lot of times, you do a short or a pilot, and it ends up only being seen by a few people. This was something we made to entertain our families, our friends, and ourselves, and I think a webseries is the best format for that…

JM: And we had all kinds of goofy ideas that would have made great sketches so I think the web series format just translated better.

RG: What’s your writing/acting/producing background?

KT: I’ve been acting for years…started out in musicals when I was little and then got my Theatre degree from Loyola Marymount. Since then, I’ve done a lot of shall we say, varied projects…Everything from serious plays to a National Lampoon movie to a German Febreze commercial in which I played a supporting role opposite a beagle. As far as writing and producing goes, this was my first time! And it’s been one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life.

JM: Oh man, I never wanted to be a producer. I still don’t want to be one, so I’m thankful that Kim enjoys it! I wrote for a season on “The Dish” for the Style Network. That built joke-writing confidence, as I’d never considered myself a writer. Acting, however, is what I’ve spent most of my life doing, and luckily I’ve been able to support myself over the last few years with commercials.

RG: You two have such great rapport on camera. Have you worked together previously?

KT: No, we’ve only known each other for ten months. I’m seriously convinced that we knew each other in a past life. It’s just too weird…

JM: I think it was at some point during the shoot that Kim turned to me and said “Can you believe we only met 6 months ago, and we’ve already written a web series and now we’re actually shooting it?!” Pretty fantastic.

RG: Any wacky on-set anecdotes?

KT: There were tons of anecdotes, but I’ll stick to the legal ones for now 😉 We were on a tight schedule and our wonderful director, Scott Keiner, was trying to make sure we stayed on task. I was fussing over our canine actress, Ouzo, and Scott got annoyed with me and told me to buckle down and focus. But throughout the day, people had been noticing that there was a dog on set and thought, “Cool! I’ll bring my dog.” Then THREE other dogs randomly showed up that afternoon, it became like Dog Central-I thought Scott was going to go through the storage unit roof; it was both AWESOME and terrifying! Haha. We still talk about it, but I don’t know if we’ll ever resolve this dog incident.

JM: There was also the missing sombrero incident. We needed it for the last day of shooting, but it had already been returned to wardrobe. Scott (sorry Scott!) thought that the scene wouldn’t be funny without the sombrero. I ran off to make up and had Ashley give me a uni-brow. I got back to set and proudly pointed at my forehead, but Scott was inconsolable. And we had another “creative differences moment.” I think the scene still came out funny.

RG: What was the most challenging part of the process?

KT: This project has been such a labor of love…I’d have to say that for me producing has been such an interesting ride. I’m used to showing up on set and then being finished. But when you’re producing and writing something, you have to be there every step of the way. At the risk of sounding corny, it’s a wonderful, crazy, time-consuming, beautiful adventure…

JM: Ditto all dat. Each step has been scary, new and exciting. Every time we’ve accomplished another feat, there seems to be another order of business to tackle. Like at the moment, I’m trying to figure out how best to market the series and broaden our viewership.

RG: How did you finance it?

KT: With our money, ingenuity, and awesome friends. 😉 And money was not the most valuable resource in this equation.

JM: Street walking.

RG: Have you encountered any challenges in producing, marketing or pitching the series that you think may be unique to female creators?

KT: I think that being a female creator has inherent advantages and disadvantages. There are certain groups, companies,and festivals who are apt to take your project less seriously and turn you down because they think dudes are funnier; that’s just the way it is. But I don’t believe complaining is going to do us any good in these situations. We must create our own avenues of opportunity and truly support one another. But on the other hand, comediennes can take some liberties that men can’t take. Will I describe what those liberties are? No. 😉 But trust me on this one….

JM: Yeah, unfortunately a lot of times people are skeptical of a female comedy series, but also, there are great benefits to being funny chicks. For instance, we might never have met you guys if we weren’t a dynamic, female duo :). And as Kim touched on about “liberties”: as women, we can make potentially offensive jokes, push the envelope in ways that people may be more willing to forgive simply because we can’t be labeled as ‘misogynous white dudes.’

RG: Any advice you have for other female web creators?

KT: Yes! Know that your voice is unique and people want to hear your perspective. Don’t be afraid to ask for favors; for example, my rockstar friend Heather D’Angelo (of the band Au Revoir Simone) wrote and performed the theme song. I didn’t think she’d have time because she’s always globe-trotting, but I asked anyway, she was able to do it, and now all of my friends can’t get the jingle out their head! 😉 Also, if you find or have the opportunity to create a great project with awesome people-do not make any excuses. Just go for it!!! You will be glad you did.

JM: I’d add: keep it simple. The simpler the premise and locations, the more doable it is on a low budget. We had only two main characters and one location. Not only did that keep our costs down, but it was far easier for the crew and we were able to schedule around our actors needs as well. RG: What’s next for Self-Storage? KT: We’ve been having some interesting business chats, but we’re still focused on the art right now. We’re writing Season 2 and we can’t wait to get back on set again!

JM: We’re also planning to put up some little shorts/ confessionals in between seasons.

RG: Any other projects on the horizon?

KT: No. I’m boring-this is all I do right now. Aside from dealing with sea lions who try to get onto my boat-but I feel like that’s a whole different webseries…

JM: I’m building a time traveling robot.


To find out how YOU can help the support the cause of creating more awesome girl-powered comedy, please check out our Real Girl’s Season 2 Fundraising site (All donations are tax deductable!)

People We Love: Real Boy of the Week! August 10, 2010

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So, as part of the grass roots endeavor that IS funding a web series…I’m going to start doing regular shout-outs to our awesome contributors as we head towards our fundraising goal.

This week I’d like to give a special mention to Arthur Jolly.

In addition to being totally adorable (and having this darling British accent which he does NOT take advantage of nearly enough), Arthur is also an award winning screenwriter and playwright. You can check out his many accomplishments at:


He’s also totally modest and specifically told me that I needn’t mention any of his upcoming performances…like his play The Four Senses of Love that will be at the Edinburgh Festival August 5-29…but doesn’t that just make you like him and want to promote him MORE? So clever, those Brits.

To find out how YOU can help the support the cause of creating more awesome girl-powered comedy, please check out our Real Girl’s Season 2 Fundraising site (All donations are tax deductable!)

Also, if you are a Los Angeles area actor we have a special fundraising event coming up on  8/15 that’s just for you! Details here!

Hope you’re having a great week!


Why We Wuv Da WEB! July 27, 2010

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We love it for SO many reasons. We love it because it’s helped get REAL GIRL’S out to viewers all over the world. We love it because it’s connected us to so many incredible artists, writers, filmmakers, activists and collaborators. We love it because it’s one of the best (and cheapest) ways to encourage conversation and community building with folks across the geographic, political and economic spectrum. But this week we love it particularly because it’s connected us to a group of talented Canadian filmmakers whom we’ve never met, but who, like us, are exploring ways to take their creative work and make it self-sustaining.

Last Wednesday Marc Whitehead and Brett Heard of Fresh Baked Branded Entertainment interviewed me for their weekly podcast. We talked about everything from how Real Girls got off the ground to creative ways of fund-raising and financing that are unique to the web.

CLICK HERE to listen in!

Also, while you’re at it… check out their interview with Rich Mbariket, creator of the site www.WebSeriesNetwork.com, a social networking site for web series creators and fans.

These podcasts are full of great information both for first time web producers as well as folks who’ve already been at it for a while. Most of this is uncharted territory and it’s thrilling to have the opportunity to learn from each other.


Want to help create MORE Real Girl’s? CLICK HERE to find out how you can get involved in making Real Girl’s Season 2 come to life!

THANK GOD FOR RED LIGHTS! February 20, 2010

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So, here we are! It’s been approximately a year and a half since Reena Dutt, Jen Weaver, myself and our band of unruly theatre folk began this journey together to do something none of us had done before: produce a relatively high-production-value web series with no cash in the bank …and I thought it was time to start documenting the process (because an experience doesn’t really happen unless one blogs, tweets and facebook-friends the hell out of it. Right? Right.)

So, it was about a year and half ago that I woke up with a chick-flick hangover (or maybe it was the overpriced cocktails I’d drunk to get me through the flick-in-question the night before) and started writing the script.  I was supposed to meet with my “Actors Support Group” for breakfast (yes, it’s like AA only everyone shows up with hangovers and talks too loud). As I drove to meet them, an idea started percolating. I started jotting down notes at red lights. And then when I got to the diner where we met every Sunday I found that EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM BOOZE-LOVIN ACTORS HAD BAILED. And I was pissed… but then secretly glad. And I started driving back home, again jotting down notes along the way. Thank God for red lights.

About a month later I showed the script to my fellow Off-Chance producers (Reena Dutt, Jen Weaver and Luis Reyes) to see if this would be something they’d be interested in taking on. The four of us had started Off-Chance the previous year and produced an original collaborative play together, Anatomy of a Slap, and we all really liked working together. Luckily, they not only said “yes,” they proceeded to throw themselves into pre-production mode with zeal. Pushing me to make the script the best it could be, always challenging me to think on a grander scale then I would have left to my own devices, and to not just settle for the first opportunity that came along.

The production meetings started. We started work-shopping the script with actors. We began our fundraising efforts with the help of Luis’ band Jacaranda and an insanely fun “Live Karaoke Fundraiser”… and we started hitting up everybody we knew for contributions. And in $10-$20 increments we started getting closer to our goal.

And then it was about a year ago that we found our awesome director, Heather de Michele (a seasoned NY theatre director and the queen of physical comedy… who we instantly fell madly in love with)…our brilliant DP Rob Webb (who has a collection of gold statuettes on his mantel but was still willing to work with us for peanuts because he dug the story) …and started on the audition process where we found the fabulous Nikki Brown (Vanna) as well as many other talented folks from LA’s Theatre of Note…and the unbelievably awesome Robin Daléa (Rasha) who randomly responded to a casting notice…walking straight out of my imagination and into the audition room.

Then last June  – we shot it. Thirteen actors, seven days, seven locations, six pairs of hooker heels, five burqas and one part not cast until the night before – later… and we had ourselves a webseries. Or rather lots of raw footage to hand over to our excellent post team, Geeta Malik (editor), Bill Coy (sound editor) and composers Jason Olsen and Ronobir Lahiri. And our co-producer Steven Calcote who joined us last fall, cutting our trailer and helping with a myriad of details from promotions to arranging our screening.

I like to mark my life by looking back and seeing where I was one year ago from the day. Last year today I was totally freaked out.  I didn’t know where the money was going to come from to pull this off, I didn’t know where I was going to find half of these locations (yeah, some delusional writer girl who had spent most of her life writing fiction had set several scenes in Afghanistan), and where on earth would we find a crew that could pull this off with no real budget to speak of? Oh, and all of whom work for a living, which always makes things a bit more tricky.

And now I know…it takes a team. It takes a Reena and Jen and a Luis and Steven, a Heather and a Rob, and about 25 other people who were willing to work for free or cheap because they believed in the story we wanted to tell, because it was THEIR story on some level.  It takes actors who are more than actors…who are also location scouts and PR writers; it takes producers who are also caterers and graphic designers and costume designers and art directors. It takes a director who is willing to a have a film crew in her bedroom and to make tamales with the ingredients that the actors were cutting up in the scene prior that she serves to the crew when we’re done. It takes a male DP who loves feminist theory and a production coordinator that who has already taken care of that totally crucial detail that you totally spaced – that could bring the whole thing down.

And where are we now? Today we launched Episode 2 of The Real Girl’s Guide to Everything Else on Strike.TV. This has been a magical journey for all of us…and we hope that it brings you the same delight and feeling of empowerment… that by changing the kind of stories we tell, maybe just maybe we can also change the world we live in.


February 5, 2010

From the Writer/Excutive producer…

The Real Girl’s Guide to Everything Else was born of a classic “Girls Night” out, complete with overpriced cocktails and a chick flick. My friends Reena Dutt (Sydney) and Vivian Nickerson (the inspiration for the character of Vanna) and I had finally succumbed to the hype and ventured out to see the movie version of Sex and the City. Afterwards we got into a discussion about “chick flicks” and “chick-literature” and whether or not this genre really represented us. Where were the women of color? Where were the women who read books (besides self-help and romances)? Where were the women who had better things to do than max out their credit card, trying to find Mr. Right in a mad-quest to procreate before menopause? Where were the women who didn’t fantasize about their wedding day, but rather their first Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross? (Okay, maybe that’s just me…) The common thread in “Chick lit” is the character of “the Modern Day Career Girl.” She’s smart, independent (usually white), and yet ultimately too clever for her own good. A sucker for Mr. Wrong and ridiculously expensive footwear, we see her again and again as she longs for only mildly contemporized Cinderella-Happy-Endings. Reena, Vivian and I were discussing all of this …and I said “well, somebody should write a series for everybody else.” We began brainstorming. It could be a series for women of color, and lesbians, and lesbians of color and lesbians of color who shop at Ross and who don’t shave their armpits! Reena and Vivian turned to me and said, “Well, why don’t YOU write it, Carmen?” I thought about it and replied…”yeah – and maybe I could play the token white girl!” The next morning I got to work.

-Carmen Elena Mitchell

From the Director…

I was drawn to this project because I feel there is a dearth of unapologetic feminist writing and intelligent female characters on TV. I wanted to be involved in directing stories that challenge perceptions of the way women talk, act and feel. Real Girl’s takes the lesbian protagonist, Rasha, on a hilarious journey in a straight girl’s shoes in order to placate an agent who refuses to publish her politically charged feminist writings. However, Rasha is a woman with a mission and she soon finds a way to use her undercover experiences to their fullest advantage. The Real Girl’s Guide to Everything Else is written for the person who wants see stories about women who succeed with their brains not their butts, but who don’t mind making an ass of themselves in the meantime!
– Heather de Michele