Bad company 


I wanna be bad. It's just that at 7:30 in the morning on a typically hung-over Friday, good bad is hard to find. That is, unless you're Rachel Hunter. She's always bad ... and she doesn't even mean to be. Turns out that said Aussie flake from Rod Stewart's puffy sap head is in town to talk about birth-control pills and why we should all take them. If we're girls, anyway.

"It's not your grandmother's pill" she prescribes to Fox 35's Melissa Ross, noting that the new era of disc-punched protection won't make you gain weight. And, well, being pregnant will.

I wanted to be there.

But thanks to some pregnant pauses along a.m. I-4, I've just missed Miss Hunter, who has jetted off to further prophylactic banter with cheeky Scott and Erica on Mix 105.1's morning show; she's tirelessy working the pre-9 a.m., post-pertinent press-junket custom made for some combination of cause and cause celebre. I feel like I'm chasing middle age around Altamonte.

Oh wait. I AM chasing middle age.

So, I'll settle instead for an early risen 20-year-old vixen, Willa Ford. With her irreverent call-to-whoredom anthem, "I Wanna Be Bad," saturating the Twizzler- and-a-Coke mall circuit, the girl-pop antihero is primed for some pop promotion of the easily digestible sort. What's easier to digest than rice? (Answer: Fox News.)

Uncle Ben's Minibowls, the necessarily American dissolution of flavors -- like pizza! -- into healthy rice dishes, is currently raiding Willa's bad teen market. And the product is serving Willa up for a free concert at a Daytona bar and a hot date with a lucky fan.

The winner, an awkwardly named 13-year-old, Jonathan Swallows, has just wrapped his first TV interview with bodacious Ford, and he must be the envy of all of his pube-popping friends. I lean into him awkwardly in the green room -- because he's less than half my age, does his hair better than I do and still talks to his mom -- for a quick questioning of how and why. Tellingly, he's just as awkward as I am -- because I'm old, gay and decidedly mom-free.

"Each box of Uncle Ben's Minibowls had a CD in it that took you to an entry site," he recalls. "So we just started entering every day."

He and his sister won -- he a date, she a computer system -- and they're here for a promotional brag. Hmph.

Ford, however, is here because she has to be, sporting big Dior celebrity sunglasses and popping pictures with some aged rockabilly 30-somethings awaiting their own turn at local morning news infamy.

We arrange for a tête-à-téte on the coral leather couch, and I've never felt more like Kathie Lee Gifford.

"So, you seem to have appeared out of nowhere?" I hair-flip. "How much work has it been, and how involved with it all are you?"

"It was a lot of work," she chuckles. "I can't even remember where I've been over the past year. I work. That's all I do."

No it's not. Didn't you beat up Nick Carter?

"That was all blown up."

From there, we're instant friends, exchanging insults about fat mall-teens with braces and matching vendettas.

That's where she's a household name: in the 50 or so "hate Willa" websites borne of suburban teen angst. There, and on TRL.

"I go to some places and everybody recognizes me," she snots. "Then I go to others and nobody does. I'm just like, 'Get cable!'"

Oh, dear. Somebody loves herself.

"I love reading the dirt in Bop magazine, like Carson Daly and Willa: it's official. I read that with my boyfriend. We were like, 'Oh, it's official.' I mean,

Carson's my boy. We're dogs!"

Woof. So you read your press?

"My sister goes to the drugstore and buys all my magazines -- mostly teen magazines and men's magazines," she gloats. "And they're like, 'Why are you buying these?' She says that she's my sister, and they don't believe her because she doesn't look like me. She's like, 'Why do you THINK I'm buying them?'"

"Yeeeaaah, which one of us is wearing a pocketed smock, anyway?" I empathetically effuse, winning her over even more. I love hanging out with the pretty girls. Repeat after me: I am a pretty girl ...

But Willa's a bitch. At least that's her angle, a brash utility here in the third wave of blond-girl bombast: Britney, Christina, Jessica, Mandy, and now Willa, feeding and biting at the bottom.

"I think my attitude was needed," she spits. "I'm the girl who doesn't take any shit."

Like, um, Britney.

"Well, I'd never be a slave ..."

Appropriately, then, Ford doesn't like to be downloaded either, which makes for an odd bit of topical conversation in the throws of our bitchfest. "I mean, I write my songs, so I get paid that way," she blings. "But most people don't understand how hard this business is. ... I need you to buy my record, so I can make another one."

Yikes. Just then, in walks Fox fox Melissa Ross with an, "I didn't know you were here!" hug, interrupting our industry buzz.

"I'm sorry I missed the [Orlando Music] Awards" she squinches.

"That's OK," I glub. "Heretold I was just drunk, anyway ..."

"Did you get that on your recorder?" pipes Willa, with a nervous laugh.

"Baby, that's what I do," I nudge. "I drink, I make people talk, then I sleep with them!"

She doesn't think I'm kidding. Who wants to be bad, now?


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