Soniah Kamal

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'Islam is not Pakistan's religion; Marriage is'

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Jamie Beckman and Cherish and Madonna and Me

Today's interview is fellow contributor to 'Madonna and Me'  is Jamie Beckman. Jamie's essay 'Where's That Girl? is about the implications of  Madonna moving into Jamie's neighborhood. My favorite bit from Jamie's essay: 'After we had walked a few blocks, we stopped on an unassuming street full of unassuming townhouses. 'That's it...I think," I said, looking from my Post-It to the address across the way. We stood, squinting in the afternoon sun at a big brick building four stories high. The plot of residential real estate was palatial by New York standards, but without context, it was just a brown brick box with painted brown wood accents.'

And here's Jamie herself.

Favorite Madonna song and why? 
I love Cherish, just because I like that she took that beautiful 1966 song by The Association and reinvented it in her signature Madonna way. From what I've read, I don't think Madonna herself thought that it was that great a song — she called it "retarded" — but the verse, "Romeo and Juliet, they never felt this way I bet" is just so sweet, simple, and succinct. I get happy whene'ver I hear it.

Favorite video and look?   
It's great that you asked me this now, because I recently re-watched Justify My Love, and holy cow, it's still so hot! Her gorgeous Marilyn Monroe-esque hair, the great lingerie, the gender-bending... It still reads fresh. I mean, the way she runs down the hallway at the end, wearing a black trench coat, and bites her index finger, thinking of what just went on? It still seems exciting, even today. I want to BE Madonna in that video.
Madonna with Nickie Minaj and MIA: Ultra Diva or Desperate?
Oh, Ultra Diva! Is this even a discussion? I thought her performance was thrilling and professional all the way through, to the very end of the show. Reading my Twitter feed afterward was almost more fun than watching Madge in action, because even a few men I follow who are rarely serious and rarely sincere were blown away by Madonna that night and tweeted as much. I think any hyper-vocal dissent had some element of sexism in it. She brought it, end of story.
Can you tell us a little about your writing and revision process for 'Where's That Girl'?
 At first, I wanted to put down on paper everything in my life that had ever related to Madonna — I'm still a little bitter that I didn't get that Immaculate Collection cassette tape that I'd asked for for Christmas back in 1990 — but as Laura and I looked at my first draft together, we realized that my little "search" for Madonna's new home on the Upper East Side was probably the most fun, unique gem in the whole piece. So I whittled it down to that idea, and in doing so, I got to talk about my unconditional love of New York City at the same time. I'm still really proud of my essay, and I credit Laura Barcella for drawing it out of me.

What are you working on now? 
I'm working on several lifestyle-oriented magazine pieces, my relationships news blog for, Sexcerpts (, and the proposal for my next book, which is top-secret now, but I hope to have more news about it in the near future. Stay tuned!

Jamie's Bio: 
Jamie Beckman is a freelance magazine writer, columnist for the women’s website and its Sexcerpts relationships-news blog, and the author of the book The Frisky 30-Day Breakup Guide. She has worked as a writer and editor since she graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.Jamie has written about health, nutrition, fitness, relationships, sex, and style for publications and websites including Redbook, USA TODAY, the L.A. Times, Health, Men’s Journal, Men’s Health, Best Life, Better Homes and Gardens, First for Women, Publishers Weekly, The Frisky,,, The Good Men Project,, and
 Jamie judged the 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel awards. She lives in New York City.

Thanks Jamie!

Next up is contributor Tamara Lynch

Buy Madonna and Me 

Read Q& A with Soniah Kamal
Read Q & A with Caroline LeavittRead Q & A with Rebecca Traister
Read Q & A with Erin Bradley
Read Q & A with Jen Hazen
Read Q & A with Sarah Sweeney
Read Q & A with Joshunda Victoria Sanders
Read Q &A with editor of the anthology Laura Barcella
Read Q & A with Wendy Tokunaga  

Interview series for Sept 1, 2012. Decatur Book Festival. Local Prose Stage. 3: 15.
Soniah Kamal will be talking about growing up Muslim with Madonna. She will also read from her essay 'Through the Wilderness'. Please join her.

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