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An Interview with Stephanie Klein: How to Go on a Blind Date, End a Relationship, Start a Successful Blog, and Write Two Widely Read Books — All After Getting Rejected From EVERY Sorority in College

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Lawrence chapter.

Stephanie Klein is a blogger, author, and social figure in New York and around the country. Her blog “Greek Tragedy” gets hundreds of thousands of hits each month. Right now she is in the process of writing another book, adding to her resume of two other already successful books. However, Stephanie Klein will be the first to tell you she was not always this popular. She faced the same teasing and alienation that we college women sometimes feel. 

Stephanie Klein has found that some of the worst moments in her life – going to fat camp or getting rejected by every sorority on campus – have turned into her biggest triumphs, helping make her career as successful as it is. 

I had the pleasure to interview Stephanie. She told me about starting her blog, relationships in college, her most mortifying dating story, and more. She is successful, hilarious, witty, outspoken, and can really act as a role model for us collegiettes. I promise if you read what she has to say, you be left laughing and informed! 

HerCampus LU: You have a huge following and in a New York Times article you were called the Carrie Bradshaw of New York bloggers. With all the blogs out there how did you first get people to pay attention to you? 

Stephanie Klein: It all started with a breakup, as all good things do. I was so tired of putting all my energy into dating, into men who’d ultimately disappear, and then I’d be back to just me again. Then it sort of came to me in an epiphany. “Wait a sec. So, why don’t I put all that energy into the person I’m always going to end up with: me!” It was then that I decided to invest in myself, taking photography classes at night, reading in bookstores, and it was then that I began stephanieklein.com. I can tell you this, it was one of the hardest things I ever did. Not starting the blog, that was easy. But making that vow to live differently, to change my familiar patterns, to figure out how to have self-worth without some guy telling me how hot and amazing I was. It really felt like I was facing my fears and the unknown all at once. I can remember the night I began my blog so vividly. I was actually in the fetal position. Then I wiped up my tears and was determined to make myself happy, the kind of happy no one could ever take away by saying, “we need to talk.” 


Stephanieklein.com was simply a vehicle for all my anxiety. I posted random thoughts, rants about being sick and having no one to bring me soup. I complained. People love misery, and they adore angst. No matter who you are, where you are in life, your race, religion, jean size, we can all relate to the emotion of restlessness. And that’s what I felt. Restless with my life. But hey, people also love dirty stories. I’m not an erotic writer; I’m an honest writer. And when you tell the truth, you’re never boring (Yes, there is a blog entry involving me, a man I met at a bar, and a can of Pam Cooking Spray).

I was working full-time in advertising, designing sites for brand deliverance leaders like Heineken, AT&T, Clairol. But at night, I’d grab my camera and clear out for Guam (meander about without a set destination in mind). Sometimes I’d photograph people, and they would ask me where they could go to see the photo. Now we’re talking! I began to post the photos I took at bars, parties, all around the city, on stephanieklein.com. I believe people then visited my site to see their photo, but while there, they’d poke around and eventually stay for the content and bookmark it. 

HC LU: Do you have any advice for college students on how to get someone to pay attention to them when they are trying to make a name for themselves be it in entertainment or journalism?

SK: I didn’t go into blogging to make a name for myself. I wasn’t trying to get noticed, wasn’t leaving comments on tons of other blogs hoping to drive up traffic. My motivation wasn’t validation; it was sanity. I blogged because writing was my gym. It was something I had to do to get all the anxiety out. Though, I will say this, no one ever became popular by being boring. You need to shake things up, explore the taboo, take a stand, make people uncomfortable. I’ve learned this much: the more popular you become, the more love and the more hated you are. When you put yourself out there, pushing buttons, some people will adore it! And others will absolutely hate it. That’s the key. You want to hit a nerve. 

My best advice is this: write as if no one else is ever going to read it. Don’t worry about your parents, your boss, your boyfriend’s parents. Stop asking “what will people think,” and instead ask, “what do I think?” This is your life, not theirs, and you have no one to blame but yourself if you don’t live it the way you’ve always dreamed it. 

My next bit of advice: You can’t just talk about doing something. I didn’t talk about wanting to be a writer, or “Yeah, I’m thinking about this book idea…” No! I wrote it. I didn’t talk about writing it; I did it. THAT right there is key, and it’s true with anything. 

HCLU: You give a lot of great advice on your website, so can you give us college girls some? In college we are told that we should experience new things. Do you think the same is true with relationships? Who is better off: the girls who are going on a lot of dates throughout college or the ones who find one relationship in college and stick to that?

SK: If I could do it all again and go back to college, I’d definitely try hooking up with at least two women. Because if you just hook up with one woman, she might be horrible and awkward, and I’d hate to think that was my one and only impression of women, so I’d likely try again. You think I’m insane for even suggesting this, I’m sure. I’m not gay, but I do believe that life is so short, and I want to experience every last drop of it before I die. As long as you’re safe, I say, experience the broadest range of emotions and experiences you can. 

If I could go back to college, I’d date a lot of different people. I’d expose myself to many different styles. That’s thing. We all have our own particular ways of doing and seeing things, and exposing yourself to as many styles as possible will show you what you don’t want. And you’ll have a better idea of where your priorities are and what the dealbreakers are in romantic relationships. An example: I met my husband at the tail end of my senior year of college. It was then that my ideal husband list looked something like this: Highly educated, good upbringing, strong sense of family, conventionally handsome – someone who’d make heads turn, crazy attraction and chemistry, make me laugh until I snort, chivalry – he’d never let me pay, good earning potential. Then I went ahead and married the guy. But when I discovered, two and a half years into our marriage, that he was running around town with another woman, pretending that he was actually single, my husband quickly became my wasband. Divorced before I turned 30, I had a new list of priorities. You know, stuff like NICE. Not a mamma’s boy. He has to be able to tell me things that he KNOWS will piss me off… otherwise, he’s capable of lying. You learn these things when you date… a lot. So I say, have at it. Do enough in college, where you really are free to experience everything and anything, to one day make your grandchildren appalled as you tell them your stories. You want to live a bold life full of risk and failure and surprise. 

Also, I’d remind myself of this: being alone is a choice. We wrongly believe, maybe somewhere in pre-school when no one wants to play with us on the see-saw, that being alone is something that happens to losers. And we hold onto that notion into adulthood. But being alone can be a purposeful choice, not a condition. I believe every woman should be able to go to a restaurant and sit at a table alone to eat. You should know how to go into a bar alone, without a covey of friends. 

HCLU: What’s your most mortifying dating story? Be specific.

SK: I went on a date with a man I’d met online. We met at a bar, sat at a table, ordered our drinks. Online dating profiles get pretty detailed. I’d listed that I was part Puerto Rican, part Jewish, part Russian and Austrian. I’m your basic “Quarterican Jew.” So, here I am with this man, on a very first date, and he turns to me across the table and says, “Look at those tits of yours. My God, you Puerto Rican dirty girl, you make my dick so hard.” Good times. You know what I did? I stood up, put my hand on his groin, let it linger there for a moment before whispering, “Sorry, I’m just not into guys with a penis the size of Kibble & Bits. You might want to update your profile description there, tiny.” 

HCLU: What is your biggest college triumph? 

SK: My biggest college triumph was being rejected by every single sorority. At the time, oh my God, how appalling. No one wanted me, not even the dog sorority. I felt ashamed. But 10 years later, I started a blog and titled it Stephanie Klein’s “Greek Tragedy” – meant tongue-in-cheek, where I wrote about the experience in all its mortifying glory. Because so often we believe that the tragedies in our lives are our undoing, but really they’re the gateway to our biggest triumphs. 

 HCLU: I really love movies, so I would be interested in knowing if there is any movie that changed your life?   

SK: I love love love this question! But off hand, I don’t know. I know that one of my favorites is SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE, particularly for the storyline of the daughter who’s afraid of becoming “unglued” because then you feel pain when things end. So she guarded herself and lived a safe life where she didn’t risk enough to ever truly ache and feel pain. And that’s no way to live life. She hears from her mother, when her mom is going through a breakup and is in fetal position pain, that it’s all worth it, that you have to risk. 

I do this with love with writing, with everything I do. If I’m scared shitless, it’s exactly what I’m going to do. 

HCLU: Besides visiting your website and reading your books, what should our HerCampus readers look out for from you in the future? 

SK: Every single woman needs to read STRAIGHT UP AND DIRTY. It is about risk and courage and heartache and it will be the cheapest therapy you’ll ever get. 

My latest book, WHEN THE COOKIE CRUMBLES: How The Girl Scouts of the USA saved my marriage, friendships, and life (tentatively titled) is a cross between Private Benjamin and Troop Beverly Hills. It’s a memoir about how I picked up and left NYC to move to “TexAss” where I didn’t know a single person… and about my downright grueling experiences as a troop leader in The Girl Scouts. 

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Annie Kaiser is a senior economics and government major at Lawrence University. Happily born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Annie also has been called a "nomad" by her friends. In the past two years she has lived on both coasts, spending a year at school in Claremont, California and living in Georgetown for a summer internship with a political web-blog in Alexandria, Virginia. She played Varsity basketball and soccer throughout college, and has decided boxing will be her go-to workout after her collegiate athletic retirement. Annie's favorite activities include dining in fine restaurants, debating about politics, memorizing the presidents in order, painting, keeping up with celeb gossip, seatfiling at award shows, making lists of interesting words, and reading classic novels. She can not get enough of Jack Johnson music, new challenges, and Chuck Bass. Her motto: put your mind to it, and do it.