For those with nostalgia envy, meet Susan Blond. When she was a rising painter, she met Andy Warhol by way of Ed Hood, one of the characters in Chelsea Girls, and Paul Morrissey, who was making Trash at the time. The rest is a walk down memory lane spent hanging out and working with the coolest people and having one of the most exhilarating careers a person could have. “I met Andy Warhol and I went down to The Factory, and right away, the first day he met me, he said: ‘I love you, you’re going to be in all of our movies, I love your voice, your name, you’re so great,’” Susan recalls. Don’t let the traditional Chanel suits and Etro blouses fool you. Not only did Susan star in the Warhol movie BAD, where she threw the crying baby out of the window, she appeared on Anton Perich’s uncensored, anti-war underground TV show after meeting him in the storied back room of Max’s Kansas City. Susan doesn’t regret showing her breasts on the controversial program, despite her current commitment to Orthodox Judaism – you will never see her today unbuttoned or in pants.
Besides falling in love with the multitude of fascinating people she’s worked with, from her first job at the very beginning of Interview Magazine to thirteen years of PR at Epic Records where she was the first female VP and finally her own PR company, Susan’s other “drug of choice” was a guy named Mark Walsh, who “dealt” her vintage Chanel, Balenciaga and Hermes bags. When she first met Andy, she was wearing things like feathered tops and Malcolm McLaren miniskirts called SEX with chains and “sha-na-na on the back,” which prompted frequent features in the Talk of The Town section of the New Yorker. She says that Andy “would point out people on the street and the way they looked, and the people that he liked would be very Burberry, in a trench coat, very straight stuff.” At some point, Susan made the transition to the understatement of a Jil Sander black knit dress, all the while working with Andy to open many another’s eye to the unconventional. During her time at Epic, he would assist Susan in breaking talent like Cyndi Lauper, Boy George, Luther Vandross, Sade and Michael Jackson, to name just a few, by putting many of the then unknowns on the cover of Interview or on his TV show. “Andy was collaborative… Andy got you talking,” Susan says.
The days of finding yourself at Studio 54 with Michael Jackson (Susan used to take him and the rest of the Jacksons there) are sadly evocative of another time, as is the feeling that people are working together and making a difference, the days when a PR person was an artist who understood other artists, and a time when you’d find your publicist to be such a warm, open and free spirit that they’d wear a pink satin bathing suit to the release of a movie soundtrack as she did. Susan reminisces, “Of the years and all of the rock stars and different talented people I worked with, I still see things as an artist… being an artist really helped me understand the artist.” Patti Smith signed a book of hers that says, “’To Susan, more than a blonde’ because my name is Blond, Susan Blond. I just thought that that was such a great thing because it was all of us girls… it was like we were all pioneers.”