I recently sat down with hilarious Gigi Levangie Grazer, whose newest novel The After Wife hits shelves today. Gigi is the bestselling author of The Starter Wife, which became a miniseries and then a series on the USA Network, and Maneater, now a Lifetime miniseries. Her most recent book, Queen Takes King, is currently under option at Lifetime. She has also written the screenplay for Stepmom, starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon, and articles for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Glamour.
Lara Shriftman: What is currently the most important thing to you in your life?
Gigi Levangie Grazer: My two boys, Thomas (“Thug the Elder”) and Patrick (“Thug the Younger”), but only since the day they were born. I still check that they’re breathing at night, when they’re sound asleep. After my boys, my work. As you mentioned, The After Wife releases today, and I have another book, The Sister Effect, due in August. Hi, I’m Gigi, and I’m a word-a-holic. Third, would be getting the right yoga spot at Maha Yoga.
LS: What are you most passionate about?
GLG: I’m a drama queen. There are a lot of things I’m passionate about: family, fairness, equality, children, education, justice, and love. I’m pretty much a passionate mess. I’m a fun date. Really.
LS: Based on your experience, what advice would you give to someone who is currently in need of hope?
GLG: Never give up. I mean, never. Don’t rest on one script, one book, one race, or one at-bat. Talent is a gift, but that’s not what wins.
Perseverance will get you the gold. Don’t be afraid to be mediocre. Don’t be afraid to be judged. Those who have time to judge have only that—time.
Also, get up early and skip lunch. Eat a bunch of nuts at your desk. When everyone else is sleeping or eating, that’s when you can get your best work done.
LS: Can you share with us a bit about your journey?
GLG: Well, I was born before there were cars. I was raised in Hollywood, California, to a schoolteacher and stay-at-home dad. I was one of four girls. When I was in college at UCLA, I worked as an intern on a couple talk shows, and that’s when I started writing skits. Later, when I went to work for a producer, I was up at 5:30 in the morning writing screenplays. The reason I started writing screenplays? Because I read a few and thought, “I can write just as shitty as these guys.”
LS: What’s one of the greatest obstacles you have overcome?
GLG: The voices in my head. You know, the ones telling you that you’re not worthy, just give up, and you should really see someone about that wrinkle (well, that voice I listen to).
There are two kinds of people—those who are a drain on your energy and creative force and those who give you energy and support your creativity, even with the simplest gesture, like a smile. Avoid the first kind. Make it your life’s mission.
LS: What challenge or adversity are you most grateful for?
GLG: That’s worded so perfectly—be thankful for those tough lessons.
I’m grateful for having been a chubby child and having grown up without money. I had to rely on savvy and personality. It’s good to know what the outside of the fishbowl feels like.
LS: Are there any challenges you are going through now?
GLG: Only every day. It is always a challenge to write. I’m so grateful I have a career, but the writing never leaves you alone. Because you can do it anywhere, I feel like I should.
I’m raising two boys as a single mom. Two boys who basically outweigh me. Every day is a challenge and a joy.
LS: What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your fans over the years?
GLG: To keep an open heart and ear. To listen. You pick up on so much just by shutting out the din of the outside world and your own dizzying thoughts and focusing on one person.
LS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
GLG: Three things from my father:
“What people think of you is none of your business.” “What can they do, kill you?” and “Only boring people get bored.”
You have no idea how valuable that last one is when you’re raising kids.
LS: What are you most proud to have manifested in your life?
GLG: My close relationship and stable, loving, secure home with my boys. And home-cooked meals when someone doesn’t have a game or practice.
LS: What’s your favorite way to unwind?
GLG: Not to get too sexy on you, but after the kids are in bed, an Epsom salt bath, maybe half a glass of wine on the side, and NBA on the TV set.
LS: What are you most grateful for right now and why?
GLG: That people think enough of me to ask me for my opinion and advice. I’m also most grateful for my health and the health of my boys, always. And for hot yoga.
LS: What’s the quality that best defines you and why?
LS: What’s your biggest regret?
GLG: My divorce. Not for me but for my children.
LS: When is the last time you have laughed at yourself?
GLG: When you have kids, you are always laughing at what a complete fool you are.
LS: What do you think the three biggest keys to manifesting are, from someone who obviously has manifested a big dream?
GLG: Visualization, perseverance, a half-hour of inner peace a day. Any more inner peace, and you won’t get anything done.
LS: What are you manifesting this year?
GLG: I keep my future manifesting to myself, generally. But I’d like to be able to do a standing back bend again.
LS: What’s something that nobody knows about you?
GLG: I can swear in Tagolog.
Lara Shriftman is co-founder of Harrison & Shriftman Public Relations and has been touted as a fashion/entertaining/PR “expert” in newspapers and magazines including Vanity Fair, Elle, Glamour, The Hollywood Reporter, Departures, The New York Times, The New York Post, Los Angeles Times, The Miami Herald, and WWD. She has authored four books on entertaining, Fete Accompli, Fete Accompli Workbook, Party Confidential, and Party Confidential: New Etiquette for Fabulous Entertaining, and in 2007 launched a line of Party Confidential products on HSN. Lara is also a correspondent for EXTRA! with her own segment, Party Confidential.
*Photo by David Hume Kennerly/GettyImages