Blog: John Norris and Kim Stolz at Strand Books
Kim Stolz certainly has lived a life in her 31 short years. The former America’s Next Top Model contestant, turned mtvU VJ and MTV News correspondent, turned New York City restaurateur (of currently shuttered but slated to re-open The Dalloway), can also now add published author to her list of credentials. Tuesday not only marked the release of Stolz’ first non-fiction work- “Unfriending My Ex: And Other Things I’ll Never Do”- but also a subsequent appearance at the legendary Strand Bookstore’s Rare Book Room, where she would participate in a book-related chat with a recognizable friend.
For the better part of two decades, John Norris was one of the most familiar faces during MTV’s golden years as the network continued its ascension toward pop culture prevalence and although their careers only dovetailed briefly toward the end of his tenure with the network, Norris was a fitting choice to moderate the forty plus minute chat with Stolz. Guests filed into the third floor Rare Book Room at Strand where they were greeted with some light eats and drinks prior to the informal chat. Though as we arrived there were only more than a handful of people on hand, by the time the pair finally sat down for their introductions, the space had become a standing room only affair.
Stolz began by reading a particularly funny passage from her book regarding her mother joining Facebook, which led to a particularly introspective dialog revolving around how we process friends and balance that with the increase in technology and certainly social media. In the relaxed setting, Stolz and Norris essentially participated in a high level back and forth between two friends, allowing the audience to sit in on their conversation- a metaphor perhaps that relates to two friends chatting on their respective ‘Comments’ or ‘News Feeds’ sections, with the rest of us able to observe.
Much of the banter revolved around Stolz’ own personal perspective on social media experiences gone horribly wrong and despite recognizing the need for these tools in our lives, she recognizes how vulnerable this adherence to technology can make us- and also, how their use signals our need for recognition. In anticipation of preparing to pen “Unfriending My Ex,” Stolz performed a self-imposed hiatus where she would eschew the use of her phone for a full week. Once she noticed actual withdrawal symptoms (reaching for a phone that wasn’t there, imagining a flashing phone light in her periphery), she seemed to succumb to the realization that this self-involved nature of our culture was a real problem. Not that she’s ceased her reliance on her smartphone since then, but she certainly learned a great deal from the hiatus.
Following the thirty minute banter with Norris, Stolz took some questions from the audience and then stuck around to sign copies of the book for all in attendance. Despite her young age, Stolz was poised, often funny and came off as wise beyond her years and in researching the basis for her book, she somehow put things into a fairly relatable perspective, especially when explaining the many facets of her own travails. Scoff as you might at a former model and television personality being an advocate for provoking thought, but Kim Stolz seems like a grounded, down to earth person that often wonders the same things as the rest of us: Will this picture get enough likes on Facebook?
“Unfriending My Ex: And Other Things I’ll Never Do” written by Kim Stolz and published by Scribner is available now in bookstores everywhere. For a list of some of the other great upcoming events at Strand Books, click here.
- Dave Gendelson