Alex McCord wears many hats: wife and mom of 2 endlessly energetic boys, author, model and television personality in addition to her retail design business. Well known for her four seasons and counting on Bravo’s hit docu-drama The Real Housewives of New York City, Alex co-authored the book Little Kids, Big City with husband Simon van Kempen, and also gives the insider’s perspective on other Housewives franchises for People magazine. Named ‘Best Dressed Housewife Overall’ by Glamour Magazine, Alex is in the celebrity division of New York Model Management and serves with husband Simon as Ambassadors for Style Week Providence in Rhode Island. Alex appears often as a panelist on the Joy Behar show; additional appearances include The View, Today Show, Rachael Ray, Wendy Williams, The Insider, Huckabee, Tyra Banks, LXTV, Access Hollywood, Extra, Entertainment Tonight, Better TV and local morning shows across the country.
What was the first thing that made you smile today? Watching our five year old son pounce on my unsuspecting, coffee-drinking husband with a balloon bat. I could have warned him…but I didn’t!
Who is a mama that inspires you? (Living or dead, real or fictional) My mother-in-law. She was widowed at 32 with four children, but managed to put them all through great schools and launch all four into the world successfully.
What is the one extravagance you view as a necessity? A housekeeper – someone to get the laundry done, pick up the kids when we can’t and tell us that we’re out of toilet paper.
What is the one household task you try to avoid at all costs? Cleaning up cat hairballs – it’s the one household mess that gives me hives.
How do you shortcut dealing with this unavoidable task? I pretend I don’t see them, and remind my dear husband of our deal made before we had children – I clean up poo; he cleans up vomit.
Which talent would you most like to have? Bilocation – the ultimate in multitasking…
What is your favorite thing to do with three hours to yourself? I love to read; right now I’m reading The Paris Wife by Paula McClain – only 2 chapters in but so far, so good.
What day-to-day achievement gives you renewed energy and enthusiasm? These days it has to be working out. I’ve just gotten to that mama point where I don’t carry the boys around as much as I used to, so I need to actually lift weights once in a while. A great weekday is one where we get the kids off to school, I go straight into our home gym and work out, then immediately get dressed and start work. It’s all too tempting to pour more coffee and start answering emails once the kids are off.
What is your favorite occupation? To occupy my time or to make money? Sex, sleeping and snuggling for the former. For the latter, I get fulfillment out of a number of things – my design & merchandising business and writing are at the top.
What do you most value in your friends? Honesty and independent thought.
Who are your favorite writers? Ayn Rand, although not as a how-to manual — she’s more idealistic than a 4 year old and I don’t think anyone can live in the real world that way. Gore Vidal, Bret Easton Ellis, Trollope, Jack Finney (wish he wrote more before he died!)
If you were the lead singer in your own cover band, what song would you sing? Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock & Roll,” although she’s a mezzo so that wouldn’t really work out too well, as I’m a soprano with a capital “S.”
What family tradition do you look forward to most? We’ve started a new tradition of going on vacation without taking or hiring a babysitter, plus switching off all technology. 24/7 time with the kids and each other – it’s absolutely the best. These days it’s hard to be completely unplugged since we both work for ourselves, but it’s doable for a week and we felt like we could leap over buildings by the end.
What is your most favorite holiday? Thanksgiving – it’s not commercial and for us, it’s a day of great food and spending time with family.
What is one thing you say to your kids that your mama never said? It’s an acronym, actually. B-B-S, which stands for brain, breathe, speak. It’s a shorthand way of reminding them to think first before saying something they might regret (or harassing the cat, punching their brother, hiding daddy’s cufflinks, etc.)
What was the funniest thing your kid did or said yesterday? Johan and Simon were filling up with gas in his toy car in the backyard; he said, “That’ll be $474, please. I’m trying to make a profit.”
Who can you count on most when you need help? My husband – he’s my best friend and partner in every sense of the word.
Where in the world would you most like to spend a week with your family? Other than St. Barths? We plan to take them to every continent eventually, so we ought to get South America in next, I think. Suggestions?
What is your motto? Regret nothing, learn from everything.
Who would star in the movie of your life? Myself, of course, too much of a control freak to have someone else do that.
What do you love most about being a mom? Pretty much everything. Simon and I didn’t want to have kids to begin with, but we changed our minds and threw ourselves into the experience head first. I’m most awed by the little things they do that are carbon copies of us as children, things we never talked about but just trickled through the gene pool. We really do have two mini-Silex’s living with us.
What do you and your partner do to reconnect? We have a relationship motto, which we talk about in our book (Little Kids, Big City) that is “We were here first.” Before the kids, the jobs, the show, etc., it was just us and we take time to remember what we liked to do when we were dating. Sleep in, have long tasting menu dinner with wines, etc. We don’t always get to make time for that, but we do take an extra hour at the end of an evening spent working to have dinner together, to let the kids watch an hour of TV on the weekend while we lock ourselves in our room.
What is the single most brilliant invention (gadget, product) that makes your life as a mama easier? Papa.
What is the one strategy that keeps your family moving right along on a day-to-day basis? Google Calendar – available on any computer in the world. I might get the kids PDAs not so that they can email or call, but so they can see the calendar too!