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Women Worth Knowing: Meet Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan a/k/a The Fug Girls

Posted by Lane on June 14, 2011 at 8:11 PM

Years and years ago, I followed a friend's LiveJournal icon to a little website called Television Without Pity, and there I found my people.  Among those people were Pamela Ribon, Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, who each recapped several shows for the site. Pamela went on to publish several excellent and hilarious books, and to write for television.  Heather and Jessica went on to create Go Fug Yourself, a site which is probably the most pop-culturally relevant blog of its kind, and to transform themselves into the internationally known Fug Girls--you know, the most popular table in the cafeteria.  People, Victoria Beckham has willingly and purposefully spoken with them.  Need I say more to establish their cred? 


They have also published their own side-splitting fare in the form of Go Fug Yourself: The Fug Awards and now, their first Young Adult novel, Spoiled.




In May of 2010, Pamela was promoting her book Going in Circles, and we considered it a coup when she agreed to be a part of the Women Worth Knowing Project.  Emboldened after a few friendly email exchanges with Heather and Jessica about my recent meeting with The Unsinkable Debbie Reynolds, I name dropped a little more (that's the way I roll), asking if they would join Pamela in the hallowed cyber halls of WWKdom.  And even though they are world famous and have George Clooney as their intern, they were gracious and magnanimous, and squealed right along with me when they said yes.


As part of this Women Worth Knowing profile, I will be giving away a copy of Spoiled and a bottle of ridiculously, fabulously pink OPI nail polish (in That's Hot Pink) to one lucky commenter.   (Read my review here.)



Leave a comment below telling us about your most memorable fashion moment in television (Cher at the Oscars?  Brenda Walsh's prom dress?  Bill Cosby's sweaters?) and we will pick a winner and announce it on Wednesday, June 22.


Until then, it is my great pleasure, delight, and extreme privilege to introduce you to Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan.


Heather and Jessica--Nothing fug at all about these girls!


Meet Heather


Name: Heather Cocks     

Age Range: Turning 34 in August     

Preferred Job Title: Author, blogger

Industry:  Entertainment

    

 

Who are you?  I'm a mutt, both professionally and personally. I'm a native Texan, actually -- born in Houston, as were my two sisters,  before we moved to England. I grew up all over the place -- the UK, where I also hold citizenship, and Florida and Canada -- before landing at Notre Dame for college, then back to Texas to work at Austin's daily newspaper. Career-wise, I was a journalist before I soured on it and switched gears.


Through freelance work, I got a job working in L.A. as a story producer for reality TV, and then once Jessica and I started GFY and it took off, we quit those jobs and now we do this full-time, and we've added author to our job description.  Otherwise, I'm a mother of twin boys, who turn two at the end of June, I'm a Leo, I am addicted to Diet Coke, I love crosswords, I can quote most of the Toy Story movies thanks to my kids' obsession with Buzz Lightyear, and I can cook a mean turkey chili.


 

 

As the Fug Girls, you spend a lot of time looking at pictures of celebrities who are the media standard for the feminine ideal.  How do those images affect you as women?  How has it changed your perception of beauty?  Oh, I definitely have my moments where I stand in front of my bathroom mirror and wish my face was aging better, or I stare at an actress and think, "SHE doesn't have a brow furrow like I do. Why do I have to have one?!?" Because of course, it's easy to forget that we're seeing people carefully presented and made up and maybe even airbrushed, and packaged and presented. But in another weird way, it's so democratizing.


Part of the site was founded on the idea that these people have every advantage -- resources like trainers and stylists, and fantastic DNA -- and still make crazy mistakes, like ugly clothes or dresses that are too tight, too short, or otherwise completely unflattering to their enviable physiques. It makes you feel almost more of a kinship with them. Even the inhumanly beautiful have human problems, and you start rooting for them to pull it together the same way you would a friend. One thing it has definitely taught me is that confidence and self-assurance can be the most beautiful things about you.


Take Diane Kruger. Half of what she wears is nuts, but she seems so comfortable in her own skin that you start to think, "Well, actually, maybe that IS a good outfit." Ditto Beyonce or Rihanna -- we get comments all the time that are like, "Yeah, that's terrible, but she also looks completely awesome," and it's because they have that megastar glint in their eye that suggests a complete belief in themselves.


And I will never forget how gorgeous Jessica Simpson looked on her makeup-free cover of Marie Claire. They stripped away all the artifice, and she just grinned and seemed utterly herself and it's the best I've ever seen her. A belief in YOU is what makes you the most beautiful.


What is your favorite story from Fashion Week?  Oh, so many. My favorite personal story is, I think, interviewing Kanye -- he was just randomly standing there, no entourage, at a Rodarte show. I was like, "I am a terrible interviewer but I can't pass this up." Also, any time we've gotten to talk to Victoria Beckham, because she is so much more than she ever showed in public before. She's phenomenally charismatic and down-to-earth-seeming when she does her presentations. Talk about someone who finally stripped away the artifice and let her true self show -- when she does, she's unstoppable.


One of my other favorite moments was when we attended the Heart Truth Red Dress show, where celebrities walk the runway, and Liza Minnelli surprised us all by closing the show with "New York, New York," like, ten feet from our faces. Iconic.


What is it like to be part of the Pop Culture?  There is something really flattering in hearing that people routinely refer to George Clooney as Intern George, or to Tilda Swinton as SWINTON, or whatever. But I don't know if I've ever considered myself part of pop culture. In the scheme of things we're small fry. But it is exhilarating to have the kind of smart, supportive, endlessly loyal readers that we do -- seriously, the best part of all of this is them. 


If you could impart one pearl of wisdom into every mind, and have it understood completely, what would that be?  I don't think I could choose just one. Instead maybe I will turn to the esteemed Tracy Jordan from 30 Rock and say, "Live every week like it's Shark Week."


 

Describe your family:  Spirited and loving. My twin boys are hilarious and curious and sprightly, my sisters and I share my dad's dry English wit, but we love each other fiercely and we never have as much fun as when we're all together. 


 

What does the first hour of your day look like? The last hour?  If it's my turn to get up with the boys, then it looks like us cuddling on the couch watching Sesame Street, then having a little breakfast, or putting them in clothes so they can go outside and play basketball (they are obsessed). If it's not my morning, I get up and read something over breakfast and then sit down to my computer to check e-mail, check in with the site and our readers, and make sure Jess and I are on track for the day. Other than my kids and my husband and our nanny, she is the first person I talk to every day.


The last hour is usually me working on my laptop on the living room couch, trying to make sure the Web site is lined up decently for the next day so that I'm available to deal with any weirdness that crops up, like sick dudes or whatever, and then crawling into bed with my husband and just talking for a little while, making sure we have a chance to connect -- when he's working, he's often at work so late that our only time to really catch up is in those last minutes before we crash.


What makes you feel successful?  Looking at my kids. So cheesy, but so true. They're happy and healthy and the fact that we've been able to give them that kind of start to their life means the world to me.

 


What brings you joy?  My family, my friends, my work, and sometimes just that moment right after the kids pass out for the night and we've just tidied up all their toys and the house is silent. It's peace, and it's also a sense of, "Okay, we made it through another day. Woohoo."


 

What women do you admire?  My sister has an autistic daughter, who is almost eleven, and twin girls who are almost eight. And she has handled raising that family with the most extraordinary amount of patience and commitment and love, facing things that would've tested and broken lesser people, and always maintaining a sense of humor. If you ever want to think about things being predestined, then consider that she was chosen for her daughter because she is exactly the right person to raise her daughter - she has embraced autism research, she is active in autism groups, she is involved in her therapy and schooling, and she does it all without dropping the ball on her husband or her other kids. She is the mother I think we'd all like to think we would be in that situation, and certainly the mother I aspire to be.


And my mother right now is at the top of my list as well, for numerous reasons -- the kinds of things you never fully appreciate the wonders of until you, yourself, are an adult and/or a parent -- but doubly so because we just lost my father, her partner and best friend of almost 45 years. Mom doesn't live near any of us and so she's back into the grind of daily life without him, in the house where she lost him, also now moving from being a partner in the management of their affairs to the sole decision-maker, which is a huge mental and emotional leap. She's coping with all of this so brilliantly. She is so, so strong. I cannot say enough about how much I admire the way she has handled a situation I suspect I would not deal with as gracefully.

 


What do you like best about your closest friend?  I like that she is willing to let me ride her coattails and be her writing partner. :)


 

 

What do you like best about yourself?  I like that I am always driven to try and see the other side of things. I'm sure sometimes this is maddening to people, but I always feel like I am better prepared to defend my own stance on something if I have considered where the other side is coming from, whether it's an argument I'm having with someone or a business decision or a political matter. I think it's helped me slow down and chew on things instead of leaping to a decision or an action I might regret. Conversely, of course, this means sometimes I overthink things for am almost comedically long amount of time. And THAT is something I might like least about myself. Isn't it so often the case that bests and worsts are two sides of the same coin?


 

 

What advice would you give boys about girls?  You know, I always liked that line from "Singles" where Bridget Fonda says what she wants in a guy is someone who says "gesundheit" when she sneezes. Consideration goes a long way. It is not uncool to be nice, boys. Nice, and communicative.


Don't treat girls like they're guys. Girls, in my experience, like to know where they stand. So be straight with them. Call if you like them. If any of your dude friends tell you to play the game, string the girls along, don't act too interested... ignore them. Most girls don't want you to play the game. They want you to man up.


Pursuant to that, I think I would tell ANY teen that, when in doubt, act in a way that's not going to make you cringe later on in life. Because This Exact Moment might feel fleeting and like it's not a big deal, but if you're a teen then you have a good sixty or so years to look back on your life and you'd be surprised at what moments stick.


The best you can do is treat people in a way that won't make you ashamed of yourself down the line. You want to be proud of yourself, not walk into your high school reunion in 25 years wondering who you should apologize to, or hanging your head, or telling your spouse, "If so-and-so tells you I did such-and-such, um, well, just remember I was dumb when i was 16."


Well, I would definitely want to encourage them to be respectful, and all that jazz. Beyond that, communicate with them. Don't treat them like they're guys, who have the capability to leave all kinds of things unsaid between one another -- and often prefer to. Girls dissect the potential secret meanings to every word, or every silence, between them and a boy. 


How do you overcome adversity?  I take a deep breath and put my head down and work on getting through each day. I get advice and distractions from my friends and loved ones, but mostly, I just try and buck up and put one foot in front of the other, maybe find something else to focus on that's a positive.

That's basically what I'm doing now -- my dad passed away suddenly in mid-April and it's been a daily struggle to keep it together. But I have to -- having kids means I can't wallow; they deserve more than that from me -- so it's just, okay, power forward, get it done, give them quality time, and then at the end of the day I can decompress and feel what I need to feel, and then we move onto the next.


 

How do you want to be remembered?  As somebody who helped somebody, anybody, have a better day. And I certainly hope my kids will remember me as a loving and fun mother, rather than a tired old harridan who sucked the joy out of their lives, but who knows -- by the time they're in their teens maybe I WILL be a tired old harridan who sucks the joy out of their lives.

 





Meet Jessica


Name: Jessica Morgan   

Age Range:   36

Preferred Job Title:      Author, blogger

Industry:      Entertainment


 

Who are you?  I am a native Los Angeleno, a sports fan, a shoe junkie, a lover of terrible AND good TV, and reader of many, many books. I have a degree in English from UCLA, and once upon a time, I worked in television.


 

 

As the Fug Girls, you spend a lot of time looking at pictures of celebrities who are the media standard for the feminine ideal.  How do those images affect you as women?  How has it changed your perception of beauty?  As Heather said, in a way it makes me feel better -- if even these woman with all the resources in the world go outside looking a bit of a mess at times, then EVERYONE does it. I think examining celebrity foibles actually makes me feel more like they, too, are human -- which to me makes them more likeable, honestly. But of course, I don't think anyone who's ever picked up a magazine hasn't found herself thinking, "do I need hair extensions?" or "I am insufficiently moisturized."


It's easy to compare yourself to the genetically (and financially, and time-wise) blessed and think you look a bit bedraggled. But the older I get, the less I even think about it. Any of us could look amazing if we had six people on a team working on us for four hours before an event -- but that's not most of our jobs, the way it is for a celebrity. I just try and do the best I can at my own job, and hope I look decent in the process.

 


What is your favorite story from Fasion Week?  My favorite is the time, at our very first fashion week, when my heel got caught between the runway and the carpet, and I teetered over and I had this moment where it seemed as though I was about to land right in Anna Wintour's lap. I managed to catch myself -- I barely teetered at all, but it FELT very dramatic -- but in that moment before I knew whether or not I would be able to pull it together, it was all in slow motion and we sort of locked eyes and I thought, "DEAR GOD IF I LAND IN HER LAP, IT'S GOING TO BE ALL OVER THE INTERNET." And I feel as if I could read her mind, too, and she was thinking, "Oh my god, this girl is coming right at me. SECURITY!!"


 

What is it like to be part of the Pop Culture?  I truly never think of myself that way! I love, love, love meeting and talking to our readers, and my life would be poorer without them, but I never think of the blog as anything more than my entertaining job, where I get to talk to all the cool people in our little community.


If you could impart one pearl of wisdom into every mind, and have it understood completely, what would that be?  Mine comes from The Onion: "All Problems Could Be Solved By Just Stopping and Thinking For Two Seconds."


 

Describe your family:  My family is great -- very supportive and funny.  I'm single at the moment, no kids, so I always think of my family as being my Mom and Dad, who live fairly close by, and my sister Elizabeth, who's currently attending UC Santa Cruz, and my cozy network of friends.


 

What does the first hour of your day look like?  Coffee-filled. I am a night owl, so I almost always put in some work at night so I can sleep in a bit in the morning knowing the site is well under control. I usually wake up around 8:30am and loll around in bed for a little bit, waking up, then toss on a robe, put the coffee on, and answer emails and look over the GFY twitter and Facebook accounts, read the news, and basically try to start my day as gently as possible. There's a lot of staring out the window in my robe.

 


The last hour?  I try to read in bed for about an hour before I go to sleep. It is my favorite way to wind down from the day.

 

What makes you feel successful?  I always consider a day a success if I've made it through another one having gotten done everything that absolutely needed doing. But on a larger scale, I feel as if I have succeeded when people write to us and tell us that GFY made them laugh, or helped them through a difficult time.

 

What brings you joy?  A good book, a good meal, a good night's sleep, and a good evening with my friends or my family. Also, college football season.


What women do you admire?  Gosh, so many. Heather, for managing to juggle so much more in her life than I do -- I don't know how she manages to be such a great mom and wife, and still do such great creative work. My own mother, for just generally being a smart, awesome woman.  Tina Fey, for being hilarious and owning that she is bossy (as someone who is herself also slightly bossy). All the women in politics who have to do everything the men do, but ALSO have to get up at the crack of dawn to make sure their hair doesn't look totally insane.




 

What do you like best about your closest friend?  I like that she is willing to let me ride her coattails and be her writing partner. :)


What do you like best about yourself?  I think I am a pretty good friend. I have the capacity to endlessly listen to/discuss other people's problems. I legitimately find them interesting and am always willing to talk about them. I also have a great sense of direction, and I am an excellent parallel parker.


What advice would you give boys about girls?  We spend a lot of time over-analyzing whatever it is that you do; please understand this, and make it clear to us if you like us or not. Likewise, boys should know that girls WILL talk about them, and that girls are generally very loyal to their girlfriends, so if you are a jackass to one, you can kiss the idea of ever dating someone else in her particular circle of friends good-bye. And that circle of friends is much, much wider than you think it is. So be nice -- it will serve you better down the road.



How do you overcome adversity?  I guess I just try and power through it.  Every day, you've got to wake up and put one foot in front of the other, and I try and do that with as much good cheer as I can.



How do you want to be remembered?  Well, I would LIKE to be remembered as the greatest beauty of the 21st century, but THAT is definitely not going to happen. So I'll settle for being remembered as a good friend and an interesting person who will be missed.


Thank you so much to Heather and Jessica for being part of our Project!  Remember to leave a comment below to be entered to win a copy of Spoiled and some really pink nail polish.





Also, thank you to our Premium Sponsors, Too Too Fabulous, Note Worthy, and The Outside Lane, who made the giveaway possible!  Please check out their work.




Categories: Women Worth Knowing

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34 Comments

Reply Elspeth
9:24 AM on June 15, 2011 
LOVE the interviews, ladies!! Thank you for being so candid and real.

I've had gofugyouself on my livejournal feed for years, and it always makes me smile, and honestly, it makes me feel a little bit better about myself. Seeing even the most high profile celebs making 'errors' brings them down to a human level.

Keep up the good work -
Reply Debi
9:59 AM on June 15, 2011 
Most memorable fashion moment in television? It is a toss up between Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction during the Super Bowl...or....the "meat gown" worn by Lady Gaga.
Reply Leslieann griffin
10:03 AM on June 15, 2011 
My television moment is the swan dress bjork wore. I remember thinking really...that's what you came up with. I mean I could do better in closet and I suck at fashion.
Reply Alexia Isaak
11:00 AM on June 15, 2011 
Thanks to Lane for introducing me to the Fug Girls. I am new to them and find their commentary authentic and witty. I appreciate the two perspectives of mom and single girl both trying to make an impact. They feel like talking to any of the WWK ladies I've met, just another one of the girls. I commend them for finding a way to live out their passions. It's an inspiration to a fellow blogger, author. BTW I love Pepsi MAX :-)
Reply Paisley
11:46 AM on June 15, 2011 
I have to say I do love Bill Cosby's sweater; those patterns and the colors, so ridiculous.
Love the fuggirls and their hilarious commentary on celebrity wardrobes. Thanks for the giveaway!
Reply Cassie
4:29 PM on June 17, 2011 
Years ago, working in a slow and meaningless job, my hours of bored internet browsing led me to discover gofugyourself. I would sit, silently snickering at their wit, until my shift was over. I moved on to a job where my hours were filled with work (blah) and forgot about my favorite fug girls - until recently, when I witnessed an extraordinarily unfortunate outfit, and knew right away where she got her style inspiration - from the pages of gofugyourself. It's back on my reader, and once again a part of my daily life.

My memorable fashion moment? Recent, yes, but Fergie at the Billboard Music awards reminded me of something, but it took some time to really put my finger on it.....

http://images.fanpop.com/images/image_uploads/Never-Been-Kissed-n
ever-been-kissed-727385_1024_768.jpg
Reply Stefani
7:46 PM on June 17, 2011 
LOVE the Fug Girls! Their blog, articles, tweets, and status updates entertain me daily! I am dying to read "Spoiled".
Reply Alison
8:36 PM on June 17, 2011 
I cannot wait to read this book!! I ordered a copy for my library (I'm a high school librarian) and I know I'm going to be the first to take it out!
Reply AshleyKei
10:29 PM on June 17, 2011 
This is such a fantastic look at the women who bring us our daily dose of fashion, snark, and hilarity. I'm really pleased to partake in a website that is run by such intelligent, well-rounded women. They deserve every ounce of praise and support that comes their way.
Reply Valerie C.
11:02 PM on June 17, 2011 
Most of the TV I watch is not very fashion conscious - hello Scully - but I would love to win a copy of Spoiled so... most memorable fashion moment in television: Smashing Pumpkins music video for Today is the Greatest basically served as my wardrobe inspiration from high school through college ^_^

I'm a faithful GFY reader since 2007. I totally identify with these ladies and appreciate their wit and talent (even though I never followed 90210 or Dallas)!
Reply Lane
11:18 PM on June 17, 2011 
I miss the Peldons, don't you?

Elspeth says...
LOVE the interviews, ladies!! Thank you for being so candid and real.

I've had gofugyouself on my livejournal feed for years, and it always makes me smile, and honestly, it makes me feel a little bit better about myself. Seeing even the most high profile celebs making 'errors' brings them down to a human level.

Keep up the good work -
Reply Lane
11:18 PM on June 17, 2011 
Oh! Both very fleshy moments!

Debi says...
Most memorable fashion moment in television? It is a toss up between Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction during the Super Bowl...or....the "meat gown" worn by Lady Gaga.
Reply Lane
11:19 PM on June 17, 2011 
You don't suck at fashion badly enough to make it onto What Not To Wear, though. ;) I know this to be true.

Leslieann griffin says...
My television moment is the swan dress bjork wore. I remember thinking really...that's what you came up with. I mean I could do better in closet and I suck at fashion.
Reply Lane
11:19 PM on June 17, 2011 
Alexia, my pleasure! They bring me lots of laughs.

Alexia Isaak says...
Thanks to Lane for introducing me to the Fug Girls. I am new to them and find their commentary authentic and witty. I appreciate the two perspectives of mom and single girl both trying to make an impact. They feel like talking to any of the WWK ladies I've met, just another one of the girls. I commend them for finding a way to live out their passions. It's an inspiration to a fellow blogger, author. BTW I love Pepsi MAX :-)
Reply Lane
11:21 PM on June 17, 2011 
And yet some people wore them unironically. Oh, the 80s.

Paisley says...
I have to say I do love Bill Cosby's sweater; those patterns and the colors, so ridiculous.
Love the fuggirls and their hilarious commentary on celebrity wardrobes. Thanks for the giveaway!
Reply Lane
11:22 PM on June 17, 2011 
Cassie, I can't see anything on that link, sadly, but Fergie does bring the...lumps?

Cassie says...
Years ago, working in a slow and meaningless job, my hours of bored internet browsing led me to discover gofugyourself. I would sit, silently snickering at their wit, until my shift was over. I moved on to a job where my hours were filled with work (blah) and forgot about my favorite fug girls - until recently, when I witnessed an extraordinarily unfortunate outfit, and knew right away where she got her style inspiration - from the pages of gofugyourself. It's back on my reader, and once again a part of my daily life.

My memorable fashion moment? Recent, yes, but Fergie at the Billboard Music awards reminded me of something, but it took some time to really put my finger on it.....

http://images.fanpop.com/images/image_uploads/Never-Been-Kissed-n

ever-been-kissed-727385_1024_768.jpg
Reply Lane
11:23 PM on June 17, 2011 
Stefani, be sure to post your favorite television fashion memory to be entered to win a copy of the book. It's such a fun read!

Stefani says...
LOVE the Fug Girls! Their blog, articles, tweets, and status updates entertain me daily! I am dying to read "Spoiled".
Reply Lane
11:24 PM on June 17, 2011 
Some of my favorite people are librarians =) You're going to love the book.

Alison says...
I cannot wait to read this book!! I ordered a copy for my library (I'm a high school librarian) and I know I'm going to be the first to take it out!
Reply Lane
11:25 PM on June 17, 2011 
I adore them and end up giggling out loud almost every day.

Welcome to the site!

AshleyKei says...
This is such a fantastic look at the women who bring us our daily dose of fashion, snark, and hilarity. I'm really pleased to partake in a website that is run by such intelligent, well-rounded women. They deserve every ounce of praise and support that comes their way.
Reply Di
1:10 AM on June 18, 2011 
I remembering loving Clarissa Explains it All and thinking Melissa Joan Hart's clothes were just SO cool. What can I say, I was fashion misguided...