āIt really seems like a natural extension, because I was doing my radio show five days a week for a really long time, so Iām used to putting myself out there,ā says San Francisco-based āSex With Emilyā radio show host Emily Morse of her costarring role in Miss Advised, Bravoās new docuseries that profiles the roller-coaster love lives of Morse and two other comely young relationship gurus, New York matchmaker Amy Laurent and former Internet It-Girl Julia Allison.
Still, Morse concedes, after enjoying the relative privacy that a radio studio affords, putting her own romantic adventures out there for all the world ā especially the audience that tunes in to listen to her wildly popular podcasts and CBS radio show ā to see is daunting. At least professionally.
āI receive thousands of emails from listeners asking for advice,ā Morse explains, āso as an expert, itās scary to think, āWell, what if I go on camera and show that I donāt know what the hell Iām doing?ā But no oneās perfect and we all learn from each other and I just decided that I was going to be myself.”
Told in intertwining vignettes, Miss Advised ā the first show from actress Ashley Tisdaleās Blondie Girl productions ā follows Morse, Laurent and Allison as they continue to amass professional successes advising others on love and sex, all the while ignoring their own wisdom. And if the premiere episode, which airs tonight at 10/9CT, is any indication, itās going to be a wild ride.
Laurent, the 34-year-old founder of Amy Laurent International matchmaking agency ā which boasts offices in five major cities and an 85 percent success rate ā has a killer wardrobe and high-profile pals like former Bachelor Prince Lorenzo Borghese. She also has a lingering crush on her former flame, AB, who reduces her from ice-queen socialite to stammering schoolgirl in the high-school hallway when the two reunite over dinner.
Thirty-year-old Chicago native Allison (a younger Kristen Johnston lookalike) is a print, online and television media veteran who recently broke off a long-term relationship with former presidential candidate John McCainās son Jack and decides a move to Los Angeles is in order. Prim on the outside (she adores pink and owns 21 tutus), with the mouth of a lady-sailor, Allison believes that āthere is no such thing as a bad date ā there are only good dates, and good brunch stories.ā
Suffice it to say that a rendezvous with a former potential landlord qualifies as the latter ā but not before she gets some good box-lugging labor out of the guy. She also has some memorable advice on what makes for a good first-date dress. Trust me. If you only tune in for one thing, tune in for that.
And the freewheeling Morse, a Michigan native who resembles Connie Sellecca in her poster-girl heyday, opines that monogamy is an āepidemicā and tells her mother everything. Like, everything.
I spoke with Morse about making the transition from radio to television, her family, advising her costars ā¦ and the Menace that lurks in her studio.
Channel Guide Magazine: When you were all cast and filming began, was there a distinct outcome in mind ā i.e., to affirm the devoutly single girls out there or to give hope to devoutly searching girls ā or did they just turn on the cameras and see what happened?
Emily Morse: Cameras were turned on and whatever happened, happened! From my point of view, the reason that I do my show, and my purpose on the planet, is to help people have better sex and better relationships, so this is just a different take on it. If, from watching the three of us date, people learn what they want and what they donāt want, thatās great.
CGM: Several women in this office watched the premiere episode, and it was interesting to see how our personal takes on the show were so grounded in our own relationships and experiences. Do you think Miss Advised will be something different to every woman who tunes in?
EM: Thatās why I think why the show is so great! Iāve only seen the first episode as well ā but I think that Amy, Julia and I are so different in our views and our philosophies that thereās really something for everyone in the three of us. I feel like itās a great way for people to learn about themselves and what they want in relationships or what they donāt want to do in relationships.
CGM: Had you met the other two women on the show previously Ā ā and do we ever see the three of you interact?
EM: Only on the Today show, and that was very early on ā we donāt interact on the show.
CGM: Then did you find yourself in the viewersā shoes, wanting to dispense advice to the advisors?
EM: Yes. Yes. I just wrote my first blog for Bravo ā and I did want to give advice! I was like, āAmy donāt date a guy you met at the gym! That should be your first sign!ā And āJulia! You donāt even like this guy ā¦ but you got him to move your boxes, so I guess thatās good.ā
So yes, I watched it and I did want to have a chat with them.
CGM: In the premiere, we already see you struggling with the notion of men who might only be interested in hooking up with you because of what you do for a living ā and that was before you were on national television. Are things about to get that much more difficult?
EM: Oh my God! Itās going to be exponentially more difficult now, because I already have a difficult time. Iāll go to the bars here with my friends and weāll meet a guy and Iāll whisper, āDonāt tell him what I do for a living!ā I always say Iām a producer. And now the entire world is going to know what I do.
I hadnāt really thought about that! I havenāt gone there, because the show hasnāt aired yet, but Iām sure itās going to be even more difficult. Or maybe it will weed out the people who canāt handle it. Iām pretty good at figuring guysā intentions at this point and knowing if itās real and itās about me, or if they just want to have sex with me because Iām a sex expert. I think I can figure that out, now.
But Iām so proud of what I do ā itās what Iām most proud of and most passionate about and what I spend all my time on ā so itās kind of hard to separate me from āSex With Emily.ā I just might have to do a lot more weeding. But Iām not too worried about it!
CGM: Are you also happy to give other grown-up women who donāt feel that monogamy is necessarily the ultimate prize a real-life role model on television?
EM: Yes. I just want people to know that there are other options. Just looking at Julia and I ā the first time I met her, she said, āI canāt believe Iām not married yet!ā And sheās only 30! Iāve never been a goal-oriented dater ā thatās just never been my thing ā so I hope that other people who feel pressure or like somethingās wrong with them or that monogamy is the only option, weāll open their eyes that there are other ways to go about dating, and there are other ways to have a relationship.
CGM: There is something kind of tragic about putting an expiration date on oneās value as a desirable, datable person ā¦
EM: I know. And I never did that. I donāt think in those terms. And I donāt know if itās just my family, that I wasnāt raised that way? My mom never said, āWhen are you getting married? What are you doing with your life?ā And I think I was always much more about finding my life purpose and how I could change the world. I was always one of those people. I wasnāt really focused on relationships.
I would love to find someone ā I think that would be great ā but thatās not ātop of the listā and then everything else falls by the wayside. Itās just part of everything that Iām doing.
CGM: In the premiere, we do see you lamenting to your brother about the ramifications of your momās advice to put a successful career before a successful relationship. Mom-advice or not, do you think a lot of women feel that way these days ā because, at least to a degree, the satisfaction we get from our jobs is something we can control more so than the success of a romantic relationship?
EM: Absolutely! And I hope that a lot of people can relate to my story in that itās a changing world. People arenāt getting married as quickly, and women are working and have serious careers. And itās OK to be into your career and not focused on a relationship!
Iām hoping that my story will be insightful. For me, itās been about supporting myself and having a stable career before I can commit to someone. I felt like I needed to get my baby, which is āSex With Emily,ā up and running and to make a good living doing it ā because my mom did tell me that advice to never rely on anyone else to take care of you. Youāve got to take care of yourself.
And I unfortunately picked a career where itās challenging to make a living! Itās challenging to make a living in entertainment! Itās really, really hard! But Iāve been doing my show for seven years and I love doing my show ā itās my favorite thing in the world ā and if I can make a living doing it and feel good about it then I feel like I can make time for a guy.
Thereās probably some validity to what my brother says in that scene, where he says itās healthy codependence, and I do hear what he is saying. And some people might say that itās an excuse so I donāt have to focus on other things, but I do make time for dating. So I donāt think itās an excuse.
CGM: And I donāt think there is really any shame in being as proud of your professional accomplishments as you are of your personal relationships.
EM: I donāt know if thatās just the way Iām wired, but all the way back in college I was already thinking, āI want to do something thatās going to make a difference in peopleās lives and change the world!ā I used to work in politics for a long time and Iāve done a lot of different things trying to figure it out, and the first day that I did my show, I thought, āThis is it! Iāve figured it out! This is my lifeās purpose!ā
To me, itās akin to what somebody must feel like when they feel like theyāve found āthe one.ā I felt like I found my career. And ever since, itās just been all-consuming.
CGM: What did you think you were going to do for a living when you were in high school?
EM: I thought I was going to be a lawyer, because my father was a lawyer and my brother was a lawyer and I really thought that was going to be my only option. I thought, āIām going to be like my dad!ā And then I got to college, I studied psychology and I took the LSATs and then realized that I didnāt want to be a lawyer. But if you told me in high school or college that Iād be doing what Iām doing now, I would have been surprised!
CGM: Returning to the subject of your mom, youāre from the Midwest and Iām from the Midwest, and there is no way on earth I could tell my mother what you tell yours ā¦
EM: Like how I went out with a bisexual last night? [laughs]
My mom is amazing and youāll actually see her in upcoming episodes because we actually go to Michigan. Sheās very open and supportive. My mom raised me to be a very independent woman, because my parents got divorced when we were very young and she supported us. She just always has watched my career and said, āI just want you to be happy. I just want you to find something that you love and be happy.ā Sheās just cool! My mom is the mom that my friends used to call for advice when we were in college. Sheās always been just really ā¦ cool! I lucked out.
And I think I got a lot of those good traits from her. Weāre not a very judgmental family ā maybe my brother is a little ā but my mom and I are not very judgmental people and that really gave me the freedom to pursue my dreams.
CGM: Your brother comes off as protective and brotherly ā like if you invest in the things he invests in emotionally he can be sure that you are safe and taken care of.
EM: Our dad died when we were young ā I donāt think I say that in the first episode ā so I always say that my brother is the man in my life. My dad died when I was 19, so he sort of stepped in and has always given me good advice. Heās smart!
CGM: Speaking of protective men in your life, how did you acquire your hilariously curmudgeonly āSex With Emilyā cohort, Menace?
Iāve been doing my show for seven years ā I started as a podcast and then I got a live show on CBS Radio about five years ago, and Menace was assigned to me as my line producer. He didnāt talk for the first three or four Ā years that we did the show. And in the last two or three years, he started commenting and talking and we had really good chemistry. I got really good feedback from my listeners. They liked him and they liked us together and so thatās where we got Menace!
Itās so funny because he still doesnāt know about sex and it still isnāt really his thing, but I think weāre a good point/counterpoint to each other and a good balance ā and he loves doing the show. He works full time at CBS Radio and he comes and does the show with me every day in the middle of the day. Iām glad you like him.
CGM: Looking forward to seeing how that kiss you guys share in the teaser reel plays out ā¦
EM: Oh my God! Oh my God! I donāt even know what happened there. Yeah, thatās going to be funny for people to watch.
CGM: So, considering what Amy does for a living and now that sheās your costar, have you ever used ā or would you consider using ā a matchmaker to find a man?
EM: Iāve never considered using a matchmaker because, to be honest, I meet plenty of men. I wouldnāt rule it out ā and if I ever moved to New York, I probably would call Amy and have her set me up with some guys just for fun. But Iāve never thought about turning to a matchmaker before, no. Iāve never dated online, either!
CGM: Do you ever advise other people to do either of those things?
EM: I advise people to do that all the time! But I never have. Iām telling you, I meet a lot of guys. I meet a lot of men in my life.
CGM: Youāve been doing your podcast for a while now ā are you still surprised at the gamut of sex and relationship questions that people have, or does nothing surprise you any longer?
EM: Nothing surprises me. Iām pretty sure Iāve heard it all ā OK, there are probably things I havenāt heard ā but nothing really surprises me. Because there are really maybe 3 to 5 topics that everything can be categorized under. Iāve been doing it for seven years now, Iāve done 500 shows and I get thousands of emails from listeners every day and I read all of them. So I feel like there is nothing that has really shocked me in a while.
CGM: I wonāt ask you to reveal any specific spoilers, but will viewers be shocked and amazed at what happens to you over the course of the season?
EM: Yeah, I think so. I think theyāre going to surprised and amazed. I have some good laughs on some of the dates that I went out on. They will definitely see me evolve and change ā¦ and have some very, very strange dating experiences! Some very, very bizarre things happen to me along the way.
CGM: With that in mind, if the show takes off, would you consider transitioning to television full time, or are you onboard with āSex With Emilyā for as long as itās a success?
EM: Whatever form āSex With Emilyā takes, I will enjoy the ride. For sure. I think television is really, really fun, but there is something about the anonymity of being on the radio thatās also kind of nice.
I just want my brand to represent safe sex and improving peopleās sex lives. If you listen to my show, your sex life will improve ā and I donāt care if itās on television or if itās on the radio or if itās through my blog posts or my book or my iPhone apps. Itās more about that. And wherever that takes me, Iāll go along for the ride.
Miss Advised airs Monday nights at 10/9 CT on Bravo.
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