My heritage, many generations back, is Dutch and it was fun to go where nobody asked me how to pronounce my name.
I wasn't into anything at school. I used to get really embarrassed. I used to get asked to do performing things, and I'd go to all the rehearsals, and then I'd pretend to be ill on the day I had to actually perform. I was very unhappy at school.
I came from the musical stage. My first show was '110 In The Shade.' I started as a ballet dancer and then sort of gravitated toward musical theater, so any time I got asked to sing or dance, it was a joy for me.
I thought I was going to write fiction but I fell backwards into non-fiction. It started when I got locked out of two apartments in one day and I told the story to some friends, one of whom worked in the 'Village Voice' and asked me to turn it into an essay.
Learn to ask for what you want. The worst people can do is not give you what you ask for which is precisely where you were before you asked.
I came out of the mall one day, and a guy was standing there with a coat hanger in his window, and I couldn't stop myself. I asked the stupid question. 'You lock your keys in the car?' 'Nope, just washed it, gonna hang it up to dry.'
Whenever I have asked something from God and worked hard for it, I have always got it, be it my Indian citizenship or my weight loss.
I have long been a supporter of The Prince's Trust, and so when American Express asked me to launch 'Amex Be Inspired' and help young people build their confidence and fulfil their potential, I was delighted to get involved.
If you had asked me growing up what a stylist does or what a magazine editor does, I would have had no clue - how do you research something like that when you are a first-born child of an immigrant who only grew up knowing doctor, engineer, and lawyer as careers?
The 'New Yorker' asked me to shoot a story on climate change in 2005, and I wound up going to Iceland to shoot a glacier. The real story wasn't the beautiful white top. It ended up being at the terminus of the glacier where it's dying.
I have gotten more than I asked for. All that I ever wanted was to hear my voice on record and have a song among the Top 20.
When asked for your views, by the press or others, remember that what they really want to know is the President's views.
I never turn down requests for interviews. I'm just rarely asked.
Regularly, customers asked for a book on Greenwich, and there was none. After all, Elizabeth I was born there. The Observatory is known all over the world; the Royal Naval College is there. So I decided to do it.
Every time I sit down with a powerful working mom, I wrestle with whether to ask the 'mom question.' I don't want to be part of perpetuating a double standard by asking women in business a question that men are not asked.
I sat with myself one day and asked, 'Who is in those prestigious literary circles? Do they represent me? Do they appreciate the topics I write about and the style in which I write? Do those gatekeepers let a demographic like mine through the door?' And the answer was no.
There were the phone calls and Elvis had asked me to visit him in Los Angeles. This was in 1962.
I'm asked all the time in interviews about who I am, and I know a few people my age who have a strong sense of self, but I couldn't say I know myself and sum it up and give it to you in a little package. I don't know myself at all yet.
A lot of people have asked me about some of the characters that appear in 'Clockwork Prince,' like Aloysius Starkweather and Woolsey Scott. A lot of people like Woolsey Scott, which I was really happy about because he's very fun to write.
If journalists ask you again and again about the same bands, you'll end up saying you hate them just because you're so fed up with being asked all those stupid questions.