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LAist Interview: Janet Charlton

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Let's face it, Angelenos, we're all a bunch of gossips. How else to explain that peculiar L.A. habit of looking up at each new customer who crosses a restaurant's threshold, assessing their attractiveness and/or celebrity. In certain dining establishments around West Hollywood, the atmosphere is akin to a high school cafeteria. One keeps expecting restaurant patrons to break out in song like in that scene in the film, “Gigi,” where guests seated at Maxim’s restaurant chant out the latest gossip on each new diner entering the establishment.

Nevertheless, it takes more than just a set of eyes to become a gossip columnist like Janet Charlton. She is a veteran of the L.A. gossip beat. She’s contributed to countless entertainment magazines and TV shows. Remember her contributions to E!'s "The Gossip Show" in the '90s? New York Observer columnist and celebrity window dresser Simon Doonan included Janet in his book, "Wacky Chicks," as a proponent of “Saboteur Chic.”

Now Janet’s taken to the Internet and has just launched her own blog, called Janet Charlton’s Hollywood.

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Age and Occupation:
I consider myself a journalist and gossip columnist (Notice I skipped over the age question- you 'll never get that out of me! -call me middle aged or over 50 if you must).

How long have you lived in Los Angeles, and which neighborhood do you live in?
I've lived in LA since the early 70's when I opened my clothing store, The Garment District on Sunset Strip. I'm from Chicago and I ADORE Los Angeles - I always have. Right now I live in a mid century modern house in Hancock Park.

Why do you live in Los Angeles?
I think LA is the greatest place in the world. I love the weather, the diversity, and all the social possibilities. To me it's heaven.

You have launched your new gossip blog this summer. What have you discovered that you like or dislike about new media publishing?
I launched my website because I think LA loves fresh gossip. There are some really fun websites - like Perez Hilton or the WOW Report, but lot of what I read online is culled from other sites and not original. Magazines are not as interested in gossip as they used to be, but I think readers ARE. I have high hopes that my website column will improve enormously as time goes on.I love reaching people directly and getting instant feedback. Not having an editor is a dream come true. My only problem so far is I can't post items fast enough to suit readers. But I'll get better.