Out Designer Kara Laricks Talks 'Fashion Star,' Love and More: Interview
That’s so cute. You guys have been together for six years, but you were out before that. Can you talk about your coming out experience?
Of course. I came out while I was still in college and I was working at a restaurant. The manager of the restaurant where I worked was a lesbian, is a lesbian. She was the very first lesbian that I had ever met, believe it or not. I grew up in kind of a sheltered suburb of Kansas City and I always wondered why I didn’t feel about my boyfriends how my girls in high school felt about their boyfriends. I was like, “Yeah. Maybe I just didn’t find the right one.” Well then I met my boss when I was working at this restaurant and I was like “[singing ahhhh] That’s how it’s supposed to feel! Oh my god!” I was leaving the restaurant to start teaching in Kansas City, just a city over from Lawrence, which is where I went to college. It was the last night that I was waiting tables, and I just realized “I just can’t leave her without saying something.” So, I sat down and had a glass of wine with my boss after work and was like, “Would you like to go out?” She was like, “What? Straight girl, what?”
She goes, “Yeah. Sure.” I’m like “OK. Great.” So, anyway, I was so very excited about it because I had worked with her for a couple years and it had taken me that long to realize or work it up, I don’t know, that when I got home to my mom’s house, I was sitting at the kitchen table with my mom and I was like, “Mom, I have an exciting date on Friday.” She had met her before, so she was like, “Oh. OK.” I said, “Mom, I really like her.” My mom was like, “You mean, you admire her. She is a nice girl.” I’m like, “No mom. I really like her.” My mom was like, “Ohhh. OK.” I was really fortunate because my mom didn’t really skip a beat. My sister didn’t really skip a beat. Family-wise, I’ve been so very lucky. They’ve been nothing but accepting since day one and I think it’s probably because they could see just how excited I was about it. So yeah, that was my very fortunate coming out story.
It’s always nice to hear happy stories like that.
Really, I’ve been so lucky. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t appreciate my mom or sister for being, I was going to say my number one fan, but I guess that would be Melissa. I don’t know. They’re all my number one fans.
They can all share the title.
OK. All right. Very good.
I just have one last question.
Other than design influences, who is your outside-the-fashion-world idol?
Absolutely no question, Ellen is. I know it’s clichÃ©, I know it’s trite, especially given my audience that I’m talking to, but I really love the way that Ellen lives her life. I love how generous she is. I love how she appeals to so many people because she just is genuine and she is who she is. There’s no hiding about it. It’s been so fortunate for me to watch her entire coming out process because she was coming out on her sitcom as I was in real life. It was the same timing. Although I was nowhere near as confident and ready as she was at that time, it gave me an incredible role model. I was fortunate to watch everything – the ups and downs of her career – and now to see her being so authentic, so real, so genuine and so well accepted. I don’t know how anyone couldn’t see her as an idol.
Recently she’s had the JCPenney spokeswoman thing. I don’t know how much you’ve heard about all the drama with One Million Moms and everything. I think she came through that with flying colors.
She handled it so beautifully and with her authentic self, with humor and with grace, and in a way that when she finally made her statement about it on the show, who could argue with that? You know? Those One Million Moms can go do whatever it is they want to do, but it’s not going to stop all of us who adore her, both gay, straight, whatever. There’s just no question. It was wonderful.
Do you have any other stuff coming up that you can talk about? I mean, obviously Fashion Star...
For right now, definitely the show. I’ve been waiting for seven months now for this to get started. And my plan is to absolutely enjoy and soak in every moment and everything that comes from the show. I know there’s never going to be another time like this in my life. I’m just really looking forward to enjoying it.
Good. Well congratulations on the show and we’re all definitely looking forward to your success!
Yay! Thank you so very much and thanks for taking all this time to get with me. I really appreciate it.