Kim Stolz Smiles With Her Eyes: The Autostraddle Interview

Riese: Do you think that being in the public eye has affected your life negatively at all — has there been any backlash?

Kim: That’s a good question … I don’t know.

I’m not the kind of person who would look at things that way. I’d never say, “These are the bad things about my status right now.”

When I’ve been single and I’m going to a gay bar or something, there’s always the question of if someone wants to ask me out ’cause they liked who I seemed to be on America’s Next Top Model or if they actually liked me, you know? Well, it’s complicated.

Also, it’s obviously hard to read blogs that call me fat or annoying. And everyone says that I’ve given up who I am because I wear dresses sometimes. All of that really bothers me.

Riese: So what do you think about the whole feminine/masculine thing? I saw a Curve headline citing you as the first “butch” top model, which struck me as odd —

Kim: And that’s not even true! Because Ebony in the first season was butch!

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Riese: How do you feel about those words, and everyone freaking out about how you have long hair and things like that?

Kim: Since I was five years old, I’ve never really cared about what people thought of me, whether it was how I looked or who I loved or anything.

Today I’m wearing a dress, and my hair is straight and long. Last week I went to an event wearing a tie and jeans that were certainly too low. It just depends on how I feel.

But it’s sometimes disappointing to me how the LGBT community — which I care about and live in — seemed to be pleased with me when I was “butch” and now there are factions of that same community that want to make fun of me or scrutinize me because they see a picture of me on the red carpet wearing a dress. MTV, Elite, Ford — they’ve never told me what to wear, how to look or how to wear my hair. It’s been my decision and being in the public eye hasn’t made me change.

If everyone could go back in my life they’d see that I’ve always fluctuated my look. Yeah, back on Top Model I had short hair and was acting a bit  more androgynously, if that’s the word you want to use.

But, are you kidding? Today I’m wearing a dress, and my hair is straight and long. Last week I went to an event wearing a tie and jeans that were certainly too low. It just depends on how I feel.

People don’t seem to criticize famous straight actresses in the same way. It’s not like, “Oh G-d, Charlize Theron cut her hair and she’s all of a sudden a lesbian!”

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I think that the LGBT community is very much afraid of losing some of its numbers. And I just wish they’d realize no matter how matter how I dress or look, I will always be really gay.

Riese: I’m really glad you haven’t let the media or whatever deter you.

Kim: I also think it’s important for people in Red States and more conservative communities to see a lesbian who’s not butch but might look just as feminine as one of the football player’s girlfriends.

I don’t even like the word “gender,” I don’t understand the point of it.

Riese: I mean that’s a lot of what we’re trying to do with our website. So how do you feel about this binary gender system?

Kim: I don’t believe in a gender binary. I think that there are probably an infinite number of genders that one can be, and I do mean that in an abstract way. What’s the point in trying to decide if there are two genders or three or three million? However people want to express themselves and however they feel, that’s who they are. That’s their gender, that’s their personality, that’s their sex, that’s who they are. I don’t even like the word “gender,” I don’t understand the point of it.

Riese: Do you ever feel haunted by all the ridiculous things that were said on Top Model?

Kim: You mean like when the girls talked shit about me?

Riese: Or when you’d walk offscreen and Tyra would be like, “She walks like a football player!” You know how with some girls, someone called them fat in 7th grade and they still haven’t gotten over it, what’s it like to deal with that on a national level?

Kim: I mean, I went through middle school being a total nerd, and I dressed exactly how I often dress now, which was in tapered jeans and high tops and flannel, and I wasn’t cool. And I dealt with people talking about me behind my back all the time. So on a television show that makes its ratings on drama, and, I mean, it’s a modeling show, so I certainly don’t care.
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Next … “Probably one of my best skills is my gaydar …”

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Riese is the 37-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2685 articles for us.

32 Comments

  1. Still not finished reading it. But had to say 3 things:
    1. Great photos/interview
    2. She seems really down to earth
    3. I LOVE HER WATCH!

    okay that’s it…thanks

  2. i love kim. she is one reason i want to be a new vj. because a. i’d be adorable and b. how great would our stand-up’s be?

    eric mathew for new vj.

    p.s. the photo of her is gorgeous.

  3. Kim is so awesome. I remember watching her on ANTM when I was 12 and thinking she was the coolest person ever… She seemed even more awesome in this interview, though. I’d totally watch her TV show if she ever got one. How cool would it be if it was right after The Rachel Maddow Show?! It would be like a smart/awesome lesbian marathon!

  4. this interview was so so great, you guys! the virginia tech story is such a perfect example of how important it is to be out, so other people can see how normal it is! cute dress, btw! whee!

  5. i remember watching her on antm and have not followed much of her work but i’m glad she’s doing so well. she looks beautiful. great interview and pictures!

  6. This girl is adorable, and so smart! I remember watching her on Top Model when I was a teenager, it made coming out seem easier/a lot less awful than I thought it would be.

  7. 1. Awesome interview and pictures.
    2. I like her shoes and dress.
    3. She seems really down to earth. I was curious about her after watching ANTM and seeing her on MTV, but never read any articles or anything. I enjoy hearing her opinions and such, I would totally watch her show.
    4. The Virginia Tech story is so cute. I’m a little jealous, my gaydar needs a tune up for sure.

  8. Great interview, and I loved the introduction – it cut to the chase on why she’s relevant and interesting, explains things that maybe wouldn’t be evident in the interview alone, and then follows up with a brilliant one on one. And the photos…geeze – Robin, so talented it’s ridiculous. All your pictures have such a warmth to them, I checked out your wedding portfolio, amazing.

    And Kim is such a babe it’s outrageous. (I’d follow her on twitter but i’m shy.)

    • Robin = brill. She really captures people in their natural light (both literally and symbolically). We’re so lucky to have her!
      +
      And thanks for liking the intro! I’m relatively obsessed with unpacking the impact of specific figures who represent a certain kind of queer visibility in the media, so it’s always interesting for me too to have the opportunity to do that, especially with someone who I think honestly had a significant impact on me when I was watching her on ANTM (in that she reminded me of lesbians I knew, but lesbians I also knew for some reason were never on teevee or in movies, aka “symbolic annihilation”). I really enjoyed fourfour’s ANTM recaps (the only recaps I ever read before trying to write my own) b/c he has a background in media studies and so beneath the humor there was a perspective I really admired.
      +
      Go team!

      • Twisted my arm…I have an aversion to following people I don’t actually know but I guess this counts?

        p.s. i’m recommending you to a friend who’s getting married next year here in CT 🙂

  9. Presbyterians are a stodgy bunch; they’re no United church, that’s for sure. But some like the gays, which is a start.

    Great interview! You guys are really snagging some interesting subjects (and now I clearly have a big huge crush). Keep on shinin’!

  10. Pingback: Autostraddle Interviews Kim Stolz : Top Model Gossip - Top Model Gossip from b5media

  11. Kim’s so great! She was cool on ANTM and even more so when you see her in other lights. I got to meet her during a community service project in New Orleans last year- it was awesome 🙂

  12. Excuse my french, but Kim is full of it. recently she went on Twitter basically saying Kristen Stewart is gay…if its an issue of privacy why doesbn’t Kim respect Kristen’s privacy

  13. Dude kim, we don’t hate your dresses and hair because it makes it look straight, we hate it because you look better with short hair. it’s a face shape thing, not a gay-bait thing ; )

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