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Media Watch

LAURA SALTMAN

ALL "ACCESS," ALL THE TIME

By Chad Collins

Access Hollywood Correspondent Laura Saltman can sure dish out the celebrity news and gossip, but can she take it?

Absolutely.

"Personally, I like Mark Twain's philosophy: 'If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything,'" shares the producer-turned-on-camera personality. Her popular online "Dish of Salt" (www.accesshollywood.com/dish-of-salt) column features breaking news, photos, videos, and interviews with the hottest stars in Hollywood today, but Saltman is as forthright about her personal life as the celebrities she interviews are forced to be. That includes her plastic surgery, love life, and health challenges, the things that celebs keep under wraps at all costs.

Laura Saltman

"Everyday I ask celebrities to be totally open about their own personal lives...the good, the bad and the ugly. So, to not be open about my own life experiences seems completely hypocritical!" she explains.

We turned the mic on Laura Saltman to see just how open she really is.

What, if any, is your golden rule when interviewing a celebrity?
My golden rule is to just be yourself. If you make it a conversation instead of an interview, you'll never go wrong. I haven't been star struck in an interview since I was an intern; I got over that really quickly. If you get star struck then you should not be doing interviews with celebrities.

Regale us with a tale of your favorite interview...
Hands-down my all-time favorite interview experience was when I spoke to Hugh Jackman the day he was announced People's "Sexiest Man Alive." A lot of my co-workers bashed him as the choice, but I think he is about as handsome as they come, so I wrote a blog: the "Top Ten Reasons Why Hugh Jackman Is the Sexiest Man Alive." I had it framed and showed it to him at the interview and he went crazy over it! He told me he was planning on hanging it in his "man room" back in Australia, which made me feel special!

Now, give us your worst interview experience...
I don't have an absolute worst experience. Overall, the toughest part of my job is when I have to ask people about some negative personal experience and they get upset. They have to understand I'm just doing my job. I'd prefer a "no comment" as opposed to someone getting angry. Just after Nicole Kidman got divorced from Tom Cruise I had to ask her about it at a press junket for her film The Others. She responded perfectly; she could not have been more polite in telling me she wouldn't comment on it but understood it was my job.

You do a lot of coverage on reality shows. What's the main difference between interviewing a reality star as opposed to someone doing television or film?
Reality show stars are real. That's the difference. They don't have publicists breathing down my neck in an interview, concerned over what I might ask. Their egos are usually in check, unless you're talking too a C or D-list actor trying to make a name for themselves again on a reality show - they can be a little precarious, but the [stars of] The Bachelor, Survivor, Top Model and American Idol are typically just happy for the chance to talk to you. I'd take an interview with a Bachelorette reject over Brad Pitt any day!

You're pretty open about your dating and personal life. So, what's it like to date a celebrity anyway?
Dating a celebrity is difficult because other women can be evil. When someone is famous, attractive and single, it turns women into these vicious creatures. They get very competitive and have no qualms about trying to steal your man right out from under your nose. You also have to be much more secretive. I've spent many nights at someone's home or hotel room having dinner or drinks because going out on a date to a restaurant means anyone can report on it.

You openly admit that you've had a few cosmetic procedures done that have changed your life for the better. Why do you think celebrities won't come clean about the work they've had done, even when the changes are obvious?
They won't talk about it for several reasons: One, they don't want to put it out there that they are not perfect people; two, someone who considers themselves a role model is concerned how it will make them look if they admit to altering themselves via scalpel; three, they think they can lie and get away with it, so why not?; lastly, I think most are scared of aging and that Hollywood will drop them like a hot potato. This, sadly, is partly true.


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