She wouldn’t change for anyone. Melissa Rivers said late mom Joan Rivers wouldn’t have let cultural changes affect her sharp-tongued fashion criticisms.
“I think she would find a way around it,” the “Melissa Rivers’ Group Text Podcast” host, 55, exclusively told Us Weekly. “I like to think she would sort of be grandfathered in with Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock and some of these comedians that just say, ‘You know, if you don’t like it, don’t laugh.’”
Joan, who died in 2014 at age 81, found fame as a stand-up comic starting in the 1960s, and she became a red carpet staple starting in the 1990s. She interviewed stars on the red carpet and cohosted E!’s Fashion Police, where she gave biting takes on celebrity style. The New York native was never afraid of offending people while trying to get a laugh. While her bluntness may not be appreciated by everyone in 2023, Melissa believes her mother would still have an audience.
“I’m not saying that everybody does everything and says everything right all the time, but everyone always says, ‘How would she handle it?’ I said most likely she’d handle it by going, ‘Well, if I was allowed to tell you this joke, here’s what it would be. And if I was allowed to discuss this, but I’m not allowed anymore.’ I think that would’ve been how she kind of threaded the needle in that one,” Melissa told Us.
While it’s been nearly nine years since the Diary of a Mad Diva author’s death, her legacy is still felt in Hollywood.
“It shows the impact she had on not just pop culture, but on fashion — and she never really got the credit for it,” the Apprentice alum told Us about social media users often saying they miss Joan during live red carpets. “She gave a number of stylists including Law [Roach] who said to me, ‘I have a job and a career because of your mother.’ I don’t get to hear that a lot and that’s lovely.”
Joan was one of the go-to fashion critics every May for the Met Gala, and Melissa thinks her favorite fashionistas would be the ones who were still slaying a decade ago.
“I think she would be loving Blake Lively. Every year at the Met Gala, she always did,” Melissa shared. “It’s the same ones. I was talking about that to somebody the other day and saying, ‘What’s so interesting, and especially as I track my career on the red carpet and Fashion Police, the women that we were loving in their late 20s and like, my age — and at the time everybody was kind of coming into it around 27, 28, 29 —are now in their 50s or are very close to it and are still the ones we wait for.’ And I think that’s wonderful.”
The Book of Joan author continued, “We still wait for Cate Blanchett; We still wait for Halle Berry; We still wait for Nicole Kidman. And, of course, there’s the younger ones. Florence [Pugh] and all these other people that are making themselves into fashion icons. But I think there’s something really important to be said that these women are still the ones … you’re most excited to see. Especially for such a youth-obsessed industry, I’m always surprised that people haven’t taken more note of that.”
Ahead of the big event on Monday, May 1, Melissa shared her one rule for the Met Gala: “Stick to the theme … If you’re gonna do it, own it. Don’t half-ass it.” This year’s theme is “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty.”
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Reporting by Christina Garibaldi