Porochista Khakpour

WHO: Porochista Khakpour, Writer, Dog Lady, College Professor. 
WHY SHE’S FOXY: Because she’s a ferocious purple-haired émigré and acclaimed novelist whose torpid romantic history and wild checkered past has colored her current state of authenticity and self-esteem in all sorts of beautiful and brilliant ways. 


ON WRITING: “My family left Iran just after the revolution. We made our way through the U.S. by way of Europe and Turkey. The only things we had were pen, paper, and some books. Sharing stories was the only form of escape. I discovered at a young age how literature could be a lifesaver. Since then, I’ve never wanted to be anything but a writer.”


ON WHAT SHE TALKS TO HER COLLEGE STUDENTS ABOUT: “I’m like an artifact from the nineties. I have these female students who come to conference in crushed velvet dresses and torn fishnets and they want to talk about Riot Grrrl. I’ve loved being able to be a representative. I would do anything to live in that world again as an adult."


ON GIRLS: “It’s so much more refreshing than Sex And The City. SATC is like the Brazilian bikini wax of feminine identity. Girls has a dirty realism.”



ON HER TWENTIES: “My twenties were a mostly ugly mess with brief periods of beauty here and there. I was always devastatingly broke, running from collection agencies left and right — until I was in a cab accident as a passenger and got a settlement. I was always hanging on to some crazy-making job while trying to write — hair-modeling, dog-walking, hostessing, teaching, tutoring, etc. I also got my yoga teacher's certificate, then tried to be a yoga teacher for a while until I realized I mostly hated yoga. I rescued a dying senior greyhound who became my best friend, I drowned in unstable relationships with wild men. I was a bar reviewer right out of college, and it became a way for me to drink for free. At one point I realized I was no longer just drinking for work, but just drinking. I think I was consistently self-destructive but I'd always pick myself up before all was totally lost. Knowing I had a book in me, that I wanted to be a writer since and that was going to be my path really kept me going. At my most desperate, I still had a sense of where  I was headed. The idea of a future is really the greatest gift any human can possess."


ON GROWING UP: “As I got closer to my mid-thirties, everything changed. I feel better about how I look. I grew into myself. I no longer feel like my body and face are these foreign things to battle. I know what I look like, I know what I'm made of, I feel pretty okay in my skin."



ON HAIR: “Recently I bleached it blonde and played around with a few different shades. My colorist did this blush tone that made it look like a dirty My Little Pony mane and then I mentioned purple and she was like, ‘let’s do it today.’ I was a hair model in my twenties, so I’ve always had this blasé attitude about hair. Girls would start crying in hair salons if something didn’t look like they wanted it to— meanwhile I would be sitting there with half my head shaved.”


ON HER ALMOST WEDDING: “I was engaged about four years ago; I was really set to get married. I had my dress.  It was a strapless dress with tarnished gold sequins and this kinda shabby frayed looking lace, very simple and a bit rock and roll. It was going to be a backyard wedding. It fell apart right before the wedding. I discovered all these things about his life, he had some substance abuse issues. It kinda forced me on a different track. That was supposed to be the big relationship of my life. It was the hardest decision of my life, but it was the right one. And one year later I sold that dress for nearly its original value...it felt too much like the ghost of some past that I was still hanging on to. I was very depressed afterwards. I still haven’t landed on the perfect person, but I feel like I’ve already been through a marriage! In my last two long-term relationships we shared finances and a home. In some ways, these days we get married multiple times, though in reality we’re perpetually single. When I was in my twenties I would feel bad for single women in their thirties. Now I’m 36 and single — but I feel better than ever.”