Exclusive Interviews with Lori Levine and Rosie Noesi from AOL’s Connected

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There I was half awake in class, when the news came through that I would have the opportunity to interview two inspiring females from the new show Connected. I couldn’t stop beaming, as I realized just how important Rosie Noesi and Lori Levine had become since I started watching the show. These two women live different lives, but in different ways inspire me to push myself to reach the heights.

On one side we travel with Lori Levine as she planed her wedding, steps into the role of step-mom, and runs her own business. She is a type A personality with a huge heart. It amazes me how she juggles everything and still looks flawless.

Flip the coin and you have Rosie Noesi. The bubbly, charming, and life loving girl who is just trying to find her way in the world. We started with her losing her job and as the show continued, we saw her take step after step towards a beautiful future. No matter what the world threw at her, she brushed it off and kept on her path.

These beautifully spirited women, breathed life into Connected and gave a new sense to the phrase Women Power. It was an honor to have the chance to interview them and I will always keep the lessons I learned from them close to my heart; as I continue to forge my own way in life.

Talking with Lori Levine

Kimmie Haueter What do you feel was the hardest part about doing the show?

Lori Levine Showing the raw parts of myself was hard for me. Crying on camera sucks. I don’t like to show that vulnerability generally. Some of my closest friends have never seen me cry, so that was difficult for me. Just being open to showing that I’m not as strong as I pretend to be. Plus, I’m not a pretty cryer. I turn red and blotchy and immediately need to blow my nose. It’s just a hot mess.

KH Is there anything looking back on the episodes that caused you to change something about yourself?

LL For sure! When I watch the show back I realized I did a lot of eye-rolling at some of the jokes my husband told. I realize now that his motivation was to always make me smile and laugh. I shouldn’t have taken that for granted. I need to embrace his “silly” and appreciate what a lovely quality that is. The show was a gift in that way. I definitely appreciate his sense of humor a lot more!

KH Was there a moment or something that was caught on camera, that you were sad to see it not make the final cut?

LL So much! Just this morning Executive Producer Ram Landes, reminded me that participants in Connected film on average 2,000 hours of footage, out of which only 6 hours make it into the show. So a lot gets left on the cutting room floor. But I was especially disappointed that the speech I gave at Facebook NY Headquarters on Celebrity Marketing was cut. I worked so hard on that presentation and it was exciting to speak to a packed room of over 100 people, including my husband Jan and my step-children. I really wished the viewers could have seen it.

You also missed our crazy family road trip to New Orleans! We piled all the kids into an SUV and drove to visit Jan’s big extended family down south. It was such a blast.

KH What were your first thoughts when you were asked to do this show?

LL At first I said no. I was afraid it was going to be too much with the transition from single to married to step mom. I didn’t want to strain my new relationship with Jan’s four teenagers. But in the end the kids were the ones that convinced us to do it. They said we have nothing to be ashamed of. We are proud of our family, so let’s do it! In the end we got to document our first year of love and the melding together of our modern family. Very few people have the opportunity to do that and we didn’t want to pass up that chance. Plus I so respect the work of Morgan Spurlock that I felt very comfortable in his hands.

KH Now that the final episodes are airing, where do you see yourself going from here?

LL Jan and I are still on our journey with family. Plus there is so much going on with the kids between college visits and proms and sports and camp, we have a busy summer ahead. Jan and I just started taking French Lessons (he asked what was on my bucket list, I said learning French, and now we take two lessons a week! Voila!!) And I’ve applied to the Harvard Executive Program so we aren’t letting any grass grow under our feet!

KH Throughout the episodes we get to see the struggle between yourself and Jan’s children. It is no secret that blending families in the beginning is always a little tricky. Do you have any advice to new step-parents or to anyone who is just stepping into the role of dating a divorcee with children?

LL I never tried to be anyone other that who I am. The kids know this. I let them take the lead with regard to my role in their lives. I don’t push. I’m here if they need me and want me involved. But I also took it very slow and let the relationships each grow organically. I love them so much, but I also understand how close they are to both their Father and their Mom. I’m a bonus peron in their lives. I’m happy to be that to them. The only thing I will add is that kids are not baggage. You will miss out on some amazing people if you choose not to date a person who has a child.

KH You put so much detail and time into your wedding, if you had to pick your favorite moment, besides marrying he man you love, what would it be?

LL I could never pick one favorite. Jan’s Kids lighting the candles, Clare Bowen singing our first dance, the hilarious speech Fran Drescher gave, but I would say that having Brahmani and Ace walk me down the aisle made the day complete. They may not have birthed me out physically, but they re-birthed me emotionally and are the only true parents I have ever known.

Talking with Rosie Noesi

Kimmie Haueter What do you feel was the hardest part about doing the show?

Rosie Noesi The hardest part about doing the show was having to turn on the camera when I was going through my job rejections! I was so upset and I knew that even though I was going through that emotional pain I also made a commitment to film myself. So imagine being fired from a job you love and having to document that! I just wanted to curl up in my bed and cry my eyes out but Instead of grieving I had to pick up a camera and capture the moment.

KHIs there anything looking back on the episodes that caused you to change something about yourself?

RN Absolutely! When I viewed the episode in which my boyfriend Josh gave me a promise ring I saw myself full of fear. I was in my own head living in the past instead of being present and enjoying the moment. It made me realize that my own fears were preventing me from experiencing special moments in my life. It was a wake up call for me. I want to be a woman who is fully there! It was an AHA moment for me.

KH Was there a moment or something that was caught on camera, that you were sad to see it not make the final cut?

RN Yes. There was a moment when Josh (my boyfriend) and I went to a clinic to get his stitches removed from his hair transplant surgery. He had gotten the procedure done in California and we were back on the east coast so we just picked a nearby urgent care place to go to. Upon arriving we paid for the service that was to be performed. We then waited for two hours to see the doctor. When we finally see the doctor he looked at the incision and the stitch with a puzzled look on his face and says “Hmm hold on.” He then proceeds to take out his phone and call another doctor in front of us asking what to do. We both looked at each other like “Is this really happening right in front of us?” And then he says “Yea I’m not really comfortable doing this, sorry you can get a refund at the front desk.”

KH What were your first thoughts when you were asked to do this show?

RN At first I thought No No No I’m not going to do a reality show. Then when they explained to me that it was us filming it and it was a docu-series well that’s when things changed. No camera crew? No fake scenes?Documenting my life? I thought to myself well this is a new concept I would love to be a part of. In this new age of social media and people viewing content via the Internet and streaming the way we now watch TV and get information has changed. This medium is the future.

KH Now that the final episodes are airing, where do you see yourself going from here?

RN Well honestly after doing the show I realized that when I was going through the worst times in my life other people were too. I hope that when women who have been through the challenges I have been through watch the show and I am able to shine a glimmer of hope in their world. I don’t know why but I feel like I want to help women find their “best” selves. I know I sound like Oprah but I feel like it’s some sort of calling for me. I am blessed with the career I have had thus far and also with the on air experience I have under my belt. So going forward whether it be a book, a TV show or another docu-series I know that I want to help people.

KH Your upbeat personality is an inspiration. Do you have any tips or tricks to stay motivated and upbeat, even when the world gets you down?

KH That’s something I have tons of. I used to get made fun of so much because people always said I looked at life through rose colored glasses. Like being happy all the time was an awful thing. Even back when I was a waitress in Times Square waiting for my big break customers used to question me saying “You can’t really be that happy?” I would see other co-workers get so angry and upset all the time and I would think to myself “Why are they choosing to get so mad everyday.” I feel that you can create your reality! So when I do feel myself slipping out of my happiness state I have outlets that help me escape and get back to my happy self. Yoga and the gym are two of my greatest escapes. They clear my mind of any negativity and fill me with endorphins, and bam I’m right back to being myself. Also I love to read inspirational authors such as Tony Robbins and Abraham Hicks. I read or listen while on the treadmill and train my mind and body at the same time. Study happiness like a subject in school. So my advice would be to find an outlet that you love so when your feeling down you can escape and rid your mind of the negativity.

KH What would be your dream project?

RN My dream project would be to create a scripted show with all the experiences I have been through throughout my life and career. I would make it hilarious! It would show the struggle of trying to make it in the big city as a reporter. I have interviewed Lauren Bacall at a movie junket with her little dog barking and trying to jump on her lap in the middle of an interview. Tim Robbins lectured me in an interview like he was my dad. I attended an extravagant movie premier after party and sat across from Nicolas Cage. Then when it was over I had to come back to reality. I slipped off my high heels and changed into my Uggs, threw on my bubble jacket and hopped on the little jitney bus back to Jersey thinking “hmm something is definitely off I was just at a table with movie stars and now I’m on a bus with drunk people.” I have gone to premiers as a guest not working and had paparazzi start taking pics and say who’s that who’s that and hear them all say collectively oh she’s a nobody!! And literally stop taking pictures! Thank God I have a great sense of humor! Selena Gomez or Zendaya would be the only ones to play me! Obviously I have given this some thought!

 
 
 
 

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