Heather Cocks is a die-hard sports fan, a Leo, an ex-reporter, a Notre Dame grad, a dual citizen of the US and UK, a sandwich enthusiast, and a former producer for America’s Next Top Model. Jessica Morgan is a Southern California native and UCLA alumna who has produced reality shows ranging from Growing Up Gotti to the docu-series 30 Days. She collects shoes, books, and unpaid parking tickets. Together, they’re The Fug Girls, the duo behind the blog Go Fug Yourself, where they criticize the daily sartorial choices of Hollywood’s leading ladies and gents. And today, they’re releasing a young adult novel, Messy—the followup to their 2011 book debut Spoiled. In honor of the launch, here are their responses to ELLE.com’s Top Ten.
ELLE: What is your favorite smell?
JM: Night-blooming jasmine. I grew up in Los Angeles, and jasmine (plus sunscreen) smells like summer to me.
HC: Meat cooking on a charcoal grill, or a freshly-snuffed candle. I have so many happy memories of lazy warm-weather barbecues with friends and family and bare feet and deckchairs. But the char-grilled scent is a year-round thing for my family—first, because of all those chilly tailgate parties before Notre Dame football games (lubricated by morning beer, which in those circumstances is best when it’s terribly cheap and in a terribly cold can), but second because my dad, bless him, used that thing all the time, weather be damned. He once grilled our Christmas turkey in thirty-below weather in Calgary. On a very precarious Weber whose third leg was broken, so he’d stuffed a crowbar up in the joint to make it relatively steady. We like our fire, is what I’m saying.
ELLE: What do you consider the epitome of happiness?
JM: Knowing that someone loves you back.
HC: My kids’ spontaneous belly laughter, and of course, the eventual invention of a fat-free yet still delicious peanut butter that is magically also totally natural, easy to spread, full of anti-aging nutrients, and also somehow burns calories.
ELLE: How do you define luxury?
JM: Cashmere sweatpants.
HC: Free time. Although ‘a glass of wine on a hotel balcony overlooking a cerulean ocean’ ranks in there too.
ELLE: What is the last dream you remember?
JM: A few nights ago, I dreamt that Sarah Michelle Gellar managed to get her characters from the tragically cancelled Ringer transferred over to Grey’s Anatomy.
HC: Desmond from Lost (Henry Ian Cusick, who is now on Scandal) invited me on a mystery date that somebody convinced me was to the Met Gala. So I got a ball gown and got all dressed up, and then he showed up wearing a t-shirt that he’d drawn on with colored markers so that it looked like a cross between a superhero costume and that suit Matthew Lesko wears in those weirdo ads for his book about getting money from the government. I tried to change but I was too fumble-fisted to get my shirts on and off, so Desmond just sat in my living room watching hockey and eventually I gave up and we enjoyed several glasses of water together. In short, my husband apparently has nothing to worry about from my subconscious.
ELLE: What’s your favorite childhood memory?
JM: When I was 9, my parents and I went to Hawaii for summer vacation, and my Dad told me I could order whatever I wanted when we went out to eat, which led to me spending the entire vacation having eggs benedict every morning and lobster every night, which I do not think is what my parents anticipated when they gave me free reign over the menu. Actually, that might be my real definition of luxury. I also spent that entire vacation on the beach reading about Mary Lou Retton in a variety of periodicals—this was about two weeks after the end of the 1984 Olympics—and spending hours and hours and hours in hotel gift stores perusing selections of swizzle sticks and coconut bras. Given that I love hotel gift shops more than anything, this was pretty much the best vacation ever.
HC: I grew up in England, so you could put pretty much anything from grades one to seven in this category, like seeing my parents all garbed up for a Buckingham Palace garden party or my dad’s elaborate backyard fireworks displays, which got artier every time (even when he accidentally blew a hole in the flowerbeds). But—and maybe this is because I just lost Dad, so I’m clinging to our buddy time—the very best was that every single weekend, often both days, Dad and I went to the Nags Head in Sunninghill together and hung out with our pub family and had the best bonding time. I would play the slot machine, and usually win, which led to us buying a lot of rounds to make up for the fact that a mildly underage moppet had just cleaned out their moneymaker. And we’d bet on the horses and watch the races with everybody, and if I picked a winner or had been especially lucky for him, I’d get a second packet of crisps. Nobody was more fun than Dad.
ELLE: What’s the last book you read and loved?
JM: The most recent book I really loved was Game Change, by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, about the most recent presidential election. The HBO movie covered maybe one third of the book. It is so juicy and interesting and well-written. Right now, I am reading Bringing Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel, which is the sequel to Wolf Hall, the novel about Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII, which I read last summer. So far, it’s terrific.
HC: Is it weird if I say Rob Lowe’s autobiography? Although I may not have loved it, per se, it was perfect for when I was on the elliptical and didn’t want to have to think too hard about the meaning of life. I just finished Liza Palmer’s More Like Her and Elizabeth Crane’s We Only Know So Much, which were enviably full of sharply drawn characters. I have The Night Circus waiting on my Kindle. And I compulsively read and re-read Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series and the Harry Potter books, perhaps in the hope that some of their boundless imagination will dribble off the page and onto me.
ELLE: Describe your home’s aesthetic.
JM: Quirky, classic, cluttered, colorful. I am not a minimalist.
HC: Comfortable, haphazard, hopelessly cluttered, welcoming.
ELLE: What are your vices?
JM: Caffeine and wine. Oh, and Real Housewives. I could probably watch Bravo twenty-four hours a day.
HC: Diet Coke, baby. Although I consider it less a vice than a cherished life partner. Also—and I’m sorry about this one, Mom—swearing. I’m great at keeping it in check when I need to, but unfortunately that means I unwittingly compensate by letting it rip a bit too much the rest of the time.
ELLE: Describe yourself in 5 words or less.
JM: Friendly, dramatic, thoughtful. Over-accessorized.
HC: Even-keeled, pale, long-winded, frizzy… and apparently, self-deprecating.
ELLE: What possession will you never throw away?
JM: When I was born, my grandfather brought me a teddy bear, and I slept with it for an insanely lengthy period of time. If I could only save one item from a fire, Teddy wins over all my other things.
HC: Strap in for this one, because it’s goofy. Okay: At the Nags Head, we had annual onion-growing contests because someone claimed they had these super seeds that would grow huge ones. So after months of trash-talking and false bragging, we’d have an onion weigh-in, and then eat the winning one with a lot of Branston pickle and cheese and bread and champagne. When we won (I think I was eleven?), we jammed ten-pence pieces in the champagne corks and treated them like trophies; Dad hung onto them and gave them to me a couple years ago. There are a lot of precious things to me in this house, but I have to say that those damn beautiful corks are the items that look the most like mindless trash and yet have the most sentimental value attached. I’m sure they’ll end up in my coffin with me.