Red Carpet Maven
Steven ‘Cojo’ Cojocaru is a self-proclaimed red carpet maven.
With his beautiful flowing hair, he’s on the fence whether or not he will be walking into the Hospital Hospitality House’s annual Fancy Hat Party sporting a stylish piece of headgear or showing off those signature locks.
Hat or no hat, the fashion guru, will be speaking in Richmond at the April 1st event about his battle with kidney disease and the positive outlook that helped him get through it.
He spoke with GayRVA.com about walking the red carpet and more seriously, about his personal struggle.
GayRVA: Who are you wearing?
Cojocaru: Right now, Fruit of the Loom. It’s a tank top, I just came from the gym.
What type of hat does Cojo wear to the Fancy Hat Party?
If everyone is wearing a hat, then I’m not wearing a hat. I like hats on other people, just not me.
Who knows, maybe I will. Perhaps a mad hatter or top hat. I may have to get a headdress.
Why did you decide to become an advocate and speak out about kidney disease?
It’s extremely personal and there was never a choice. One day, I was in this emaciated grunge heroin-chic model, then all of the sudden, I gained 70 pounds. You can’t hide that, so I started to talk about it.
You have to speak about what you know. I never set out to be a role model… I’m angry and infuriated that the healthcare systems in this country are archaic. I’ve yet to start the real work… I’d love to be Oprah-rich and take on a bigger role. I have goals.
What did you learn from that experience?
I think we are so blessed. I took away gratitude and learned that we have reservoirs of strength within us when tested. It could be the universe, it could be God. I was just a superficial social butterfly and then this warrior emerged.
I’ve also learned that life is too short to wear ugly clothes.
Tell me more about the warrior that emerged.
Someone very strong emerged – you have to be strong to deal with Hollywood and that kind of career path. There’s an ugly side to the red carpet too. You have to pound the pavement. I was always strong, but this person arose from the ashes after being split into a million pieces.
I firmly believe that you have to have a life too – we are not on this earth to just work. I didn’t have a life before kidney disease – I was a monstrous workaholic. Now, I stop and smell the roses. I have more balance.
How do you have that balance?
I love watching old Hollywood movies. That’s where all my fashion inspiration comes from. When I’m judging people on the red carpet, I’m thinking Betty Davis…
I also like to shop – it’s really a horrible, horrible addiction. There’s no Betty Ford for it…
I do lunch…I pretend that I’m in Paris. I have a little French cafe that’s my hideaway… I was there with a friend all afternoon yesterday. I have my PhD in lunch.
Which celebrities are doing fashion really well right now?
Very few – we’re in a very dark moment right now. The Oscars were a catastrophe.
I’ve fallen in love with Emma Roberts – she’s 20 and already wearing great designer cloths…Michelle Williams was extraordinary at the Oscars… I’m obsessed with Jennifer Lopez – she’s got balls.
Jennifer Hudson…she wears whatever the hell she feels like wearing. She’s got it. She’s got fashion charisma and can pull it off. She has a healthy appetite for fashion.
And your thoughts on Lady Gaga?
I think she’s amazing. I love what she does… She’s got the balls and she’s got the heart. I don’t think she’s a Madonna rip off at all. There’s passion and excitement…Some of it is conceptual performance art. I’m not so into the music, but as a fashion icon, I think she’s great. I was there at the Grammy’s when she was carried in the egg.
How did people around you react to her entrance?
They were stupid and gazed. They were dumbstruck and didn’t get it.
What’s your most memorable moment on the red carpet?
The first time I saw Sophia Loren, I lost my mind. I’m in it for the legends. I don’t care about the C-listers. It’s the big ones that give me goosebumps… I gushed over her. She realized that someone appreciated her.
We air kissed.
What tips do you have for working the red carpet?
Come prepared and come looking fabulous. Get a professional blowout. Get a bikini wax. No one will see it, but you know it’s there.
You really have to have confidence. It’s like a football game. This is not amateur hour. I’m very normal in my real life – flawed and aware and rife with insecurity. On the red carpet, I think I’m a legend beyond words and that’s the character I play.
How do you get red carpet ready?
It’s like drag – I feel like I’ve been doing it for so long. I love my hair and makeup people. We play Frank Sinatra… My look is everything… It takes four hours with breaks. Four luxurious, lazy hours.
Hair comes really early – I put two hours in there, but we talk and I’m online. I’m always taking breaks. Then ET calls, so I have to put that pad in there for makeup and clothes, but I enjoy it. It’s fun.
The Hospital Hospitality House’s annual Fancy Hat Party is on Friday, April 1, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Richmond Marriott Hotel. Tickets are $100. For more information, call the Hospital Hospitality House at (804) 828-6901 or visit their web site at www.hhhrichmond.org. Photo courtesy Cojocaru.
Kevin Clay is the editor and publisher of GAYRVA.COM. He is a Richmond native, loves the city and knows it's on the edge of greatness. Don't hold back RVA. You can follow Kevin on GAYRVA's Twitter or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You’ll probably never have a chance to break bread with Obama – but you can get close with Hospital Hospitality House’s SAVOR The White House.September 21, 2011
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