Fun, flamboyant and bursting with energy: anyone who’s ever come across Mickey Boardman in one of his manifestations (be it live or through his column on Paper magazine or his vivacious Twitter account) is immediately struck by his immense joie de vivre. If there ever was a perfect subject for our ZigZag Questionaire, the editorial director of Paper is it.
You’ve described yourself as “cartoonish”. Be more specific: which cartoon, exactly?
My favorite people are all slightly cartoon. I mean eccentric and visually unique. I love cartoons and calling someone a cartoon means they’re larger than life and adorable and fun to watch.
When did you first discover that being onstage was liberating for you?
As a kid, like anyone, I was nervous about being in front of people, making a speech or being on stage. I always loved attention, though. Somewhere as an adult I realized that being on stage is a bonanza if you like attention. Everyone in the room is looking at you. Now as a mature adult I realize that the reason I like being on stage is that I’m comfortable there and have a talent for being myself on stage. Most people are nervous and don’t act like themselves in that situation. One of my biggest strengths is that my personality shows through when I’m interviewed on TV, on stage or when I write my column. People read my writing and say they can hear my voice. Being on stage feels right to me.
Your Twitter account is an endless source of memorable quotes. Do you ever feel pressure to perform, or are you a freewheeling tweeter?
I really have no plan for my social media. I just say whatever comes to me and since I have a wide range of interests and tend to go on rants I think I’m really made for social media. So many writers I know always ask for more space for their stories. For me, just give me three tweets and I can say everything I need to say on ANY subject. Having a plan when it comes to Twitter is like purposely trying to make a viral video. You can’t plan for something to be viral. That part needs to just happen.
When making an editorial decision, what counts the most: something that’s new and no one’s covered before, or something that’s relatively well-known but can be counted on to draw attention?
So many magazines are in a race to cover someone before everyone else. Paper is known for being early in covering new talent but really what counts to me is that someone on our editorial team is obsessed with what they’re writing about. For example, I am and always will be obsessed with Missoni. It’s not new but it’s fabulous. If we’re writing something about Missoni, I am the person to do it because I really and truly love Missoni and have followed it for decades.
As I get older I lean more towards us covering people who have a bigger impression on the pop culture world. It’s great to cover fabulous nobodies, but sometimes it’s better to cover someone that is actually well-known to a bigger audience. You just need to cover them in a way that stays true to your publication. But that might just be that as you get older you care more about being commercial.
What’s the definition of a “superstar” to you?
A superstar is someone who is larger than life and always delivers the highest level of glamour and fabulousness. That doesn’t mean they dress like a Las Vegas showgirl, it just means that they have the magical quality that makes some people stars and you get a shiver of excitement every time you see them.
What is it about Missoni designs that you appreciate most?
For me when I think of Missoni I think of the most glamorous jet set yet sporty lifestyle. When I wear Missoni, I’m Dominique Sanda in the Garden of the Finzi-Continis. I’m Aristotle Onassis on his yacht. I’m an Olympic ski champion in Cortina. I’m an international glamour puss strolling down the via del Babuino in Rome. Missoni gives you that fantasy of glamour in a chic but sporty way.
What’s your superpower?
I can go through ANYTHING bad and traumatic and still be happy and excited about life.
Where does your love of fashion come from?
I think any real love just comes from somewhere deep inside and you can’t explain it. You can show a clip of the Supremes wearing sequined gowns singing You Can’t Hurry Love and literally I’ll foam at the mouth. I just have a physical reaction to fabulous fashion. I don’t think it’s because I’m gay or because my mother was a wild dresser or because I love old movies. I just think I love it because it always makes me so happy. You project an image of perpetual cheer and good disposition.
Do you ever have grumpy days, and if so, what is your coping strategy? Do you hide away until the grumpiness has subsided, or do you go out and party it away?
I work at a magazine organizing photo shoots. Of course no matter how far in advance you plan something you always end up with someone canceling the night before. Or the location suddenly isn’t available. Or some other catastrophe. You get pissed and then get over it and move on. It’s the same when I’m in a terrible mood. It certainly happens but I just let myself wallow in it for about fifteen minutes and then remind myself that nobody gives a shit if I’m in a bad mood, life is still pretty amazing and I get on with it.
What’s your idea of a perfect party?
A great room filled with super fun people (some close friends and some fabulous strangers) and DJ Mad Marj providing the music. A fun party is really not as complicated as some people think.
Do you have a go-to outfit for those “Omigod what do I wear” moments, or do you always improvise?
Sparkles! I have tons and tons of sparkled tops, jackets and shirts that always work. I never plan a look ’til the last minute.
What’s your poison?
Coca-Cola. I’m addicted and sugar is literally poison!