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Cyndi Lauper’s new reality show is called Still So Unusual — a nod to the title of her debut album, 1983’s She’s So Unusual — but the singer says she feels like that’s a description of her that never really fit.
“I never thought I was different,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I always thought everybody else was.”
Still So Unusual, which debuts with back-to-back episodes at 9 p.m. Saturday on WE tv, follows Lauper as she juggles her hectic working schedule with her family life (the show also features her husband, actor David Thornton (The Notebook), and son Declyn,14). The series, which is from Mark Burnett’s One Three Media, reteams Lauper with the reality mastermind, with whom she worked two years ago on The Celebrity Apprentice.
Ahead of its premiere, Lauper talked to THR about why she decided to sign on for a reality series, which celebrity-centric shows she watches and what her friend Kathy Griffin told her about being on reality TV.
THR: How did the idea for this show come about? Was it through Celebrity Apprentice?
Lauper: I was signed with Mark Burnett way before then. They always threatened me we’d do this, and then we did. It was just the right time. It was kind of fabulous.
THR: So you had a working relationship with Mark Burnett before you competed on that show?
Lauper: Yeah, that’s why I went on The Apprentice. I went on meetings at Mark’s office and met his people … and we liked them. And afterward I asked if I was voted out of the meeting, and they laughed. We got kind of chummy and thought we all had a similar sense of humor. We [originally] wanted to do a scripted comedy, but I realized that my life is a comedy, so we might as well film it. … I think the show is fun. It shows the struggle with the juggle. For most women, it’s really hard to work and have a family, and we kind of want it all. I am lucky because my husband helps me so much, but I think that people can relate because it’s about trying to do well and stay close as a family.
THR: In the first two episodes, you perform on Burnett’s The Voice and at the Kentucky Derby. What else will viewers see?
Lauper: There are a lot of things — my work with the Forty to None Project [a program of Lauper’s True Colors Fund that seeks to raise awareness about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth experiencing homelessness]. I wrote a book [Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir] that was on the best-seller list. I am writing music for a Broadway musical [Kinky Boots]; that’s all in the TV show, so I think it kind of highlights things that are important and kind of fun. We also got to travel a bit — to Cannes, Washington D.C., Coney Island.
THR: Do you watch other celebrity reality shows?
Lauper: Some of them. I do watch the Joan Rivers show; I love Joan. Honestly, I’m a fan of hers, so no matter what she does, I’ll watch. Sometimes I watch the Braxtons because they’re on [WE tv], and there are the odd shows like Honey Boo Boo, the guys with beards, Big Ang.
THR: Have you taken anything from those shows that you’ve applied to your own?
Lauper: It’s a new format, and you can kind of see what you can do. We have a lot of fun and there’s crying too. It’s a little like Cats — I laughed, I cried. It was better than Cats.
THR: Kathy Griffin, who starred in her own reality show, also pops up in the premiere. Did she give you any advice?
Lauper: She’s very funny. She told me, “Be ready, girl.”
THR: Was it hard to adjust to having the cameras follow you around all the time?
Lauper: I usually do anyway because I’m a celebrity and am always doing a lot of different things and a lot of work, so I’m kind of used to it.
THR: How did you son handle it?
Lauper: I wanted to expose him to different job options and different ideas. We’ve been watching John Huston and Sergio Leone and Kurasawa movies since he was 6 years old. I wanted him to explore other options.
THR: Did he end up enjoying it?
Lauper: Yeah. Because we did stuff. We didn’t do nothing; we actually did something.
THR: How is Kinky Boots coming along?
Lauper: It previews in March and opens in April. It already previewed in Chicago. I’m still writing; I’ll still be writing until the end. … [Some of] the songs and the opening in Chicago, you’ll see that in the TV show. You’ll get a sneak preview.
THR: Will you be reprising your role as a psychic on Bones again anytime soon?
Lauper: Yeah, and I was also invited back to Franny’s [Drescher] show, Happily Divorced. It’s been a really good year, and 13 is my lucky number.
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