With a bat-biting rock star for a father and an opinionated show-biz impresario for a mother, Kelly Osbourne has had a lot to live up to. And it hasn't been easy: Since stepping into the spotlight in 2002 on MTV's Emmy-winning reality series The Osbournes, the 26-year-old has battled drug and alcohol addiction and struggled with her weight.
Happily, she was able to hang tough, counting a hit single, an autobiography entitled Fierce, a well-received stint on Dancing With the Stars and a whopping 42-pound weight loss among her accomplishments. And now, she can now add fashion muse to her burgeoning list of credits. At New York's latest Fashion Week, Osbourne made the rounds, looking svelte and sensational.
But having met the outrageous Ozzy back in the old days, what really impressed me was seeing how this little girl of his had grown up to be a most gracious and grounded young woman. I chatted with her backstage at Jeremy Scott's show.
Jeanne Beker: You've been looking so amazing lately; everyone's lapping it up. How empowered do you feel in this new incarnation?
Kelly Osbourne: I don't know how much it's empowered me, as I'm still kind of getting used to it myself. To be honest with you, I get a little nervous because I feel like more is expected of me and I don't really know what I'm doing! But I'm just having fun with it. I get to come to Fashion Week and go to all the shows and hang out with my friends and I couldn't ask for more.
JB: What do clothes do for you personally?
KO: I think clothes define you. You can become whoever you want to be with how you dress. I could make myself look like a nun or I could make myself look like a slut with just a change of shirt.
JB: Who would you say you learned the most from when it comes to style? Who's your greatest mentor?
KO: Probably my mother. I learned everything I know from her. And she's had such an eclectic closet through the decades. She has some of Karl Lagerfeld's first collection for Chanel and all sorts of stuff like that.
JB: Oh, to grow up with that stuff!
KO: I'm not allowed to touch any of it, though. At all.
JB: Oh, that's very greedy of her. We'll have to have a talk with her.
KO: No, it's because I once wore a pair of white-leather Fiorucci boots and I destroyed them. She was devastated.
JB: What words of inspiration do you have for young girls out there who look up to you and see you as a style icon these days?
KO: Wear what makes you feel comfortable. Wear what you like. Wear what makes you feel special, because there are enough clothes out there to do it.
JB: Are you always courageous in your fashion choices?
KO: I like pushing boundaries. I like wearing stuff that most people wouldn't wear. But I guess I've always been like that.
JB: Running around the shows must be a great pleasure for you. But it's work in a way too, right?
KO: Yeah, but it can never really be work when you love fashion that much. I'm just so lucky that I get to come and do this. And this year, the designers have been unbelievable with me. I'm just, like, 'Where's the seat belt?! I feel like I'm going to fall out of this car!' It's incredible.
JB: Well, you're inspiring them as they inspire you, which is really nice.
KO: I mean, Jeremy Scott told me I was one of his muses today and then Marchesa told me I could take any dress I wanted at any time! And I'm just standing there, like, 'This is really happening!' It almost made me want to cry because I'm so touched when people say stuff like that. And then this man came up to me who works for, I think, the New York Times and he goes, 'I just want to let you know that, out of everybody that comes to Fashion Week, you're the most approachable and most polite.' And that to me was the best compliment that anyone could have given me today.
JB: Well, I'll second that. It's true.
KO: Thank you. That means so much. I called up my mom and I told her and then she goes: 'It's because I taught you manners.'
JB: That's what it's all about! It's all about people and being nice.
KO: And when you take it too seriously, it stops being fun.
JB: I just want to tell you that, back in the late seventies, when I started doing rock and roll television, I interviewed your dad up in Canada. He must be so proud of you.
KO: My dad calls me every single day to find out all the gossip and what I've been up to because he's got an iPhone. But he's on tour right now. And I miss him so much.
Jeanne Beker is the host of FashionTelevision. This interview has been edited and condensed.