Osbourne book charts path to self-acceptance
by Alex Madison
To say Kelly Osbourne has had an interesting life is quite an understatement. Her complexity is not known or understood by many, but instead is often misconstrued from her early days as the misbehaved, rebellious teenager on the reality TV series, "The Osbournes," or as the perceived partying, spoiled-brat daughter of infamous rock n' roller, Ozzy Osbourne.
But after reading her new book, "There is no Fucking Secret – Letters from a Badass Bitch," anyone can recognize her strength, authenticity, and pure heart. Osbourne will be in San Francisco next week for a book signing and meet-and-greet.
Reading the book, due out April 25, it's hard not to imagine Osbourne's distinct British accent, signature potty mouth, and chic lavender, punk hair style as her voice shines through the pages of the light, hilarious, and at times, devastatingly sad book. Written as letters to experiences and people in her life, Osbourne, 32, explores her most challenging times, her passion for standing up for marginalized communities, and her long-fought, but successful, battle to unapologetically be herself.
"I wanted people to see me for me and tell them who I am," Osbourne said in a recent phone interview. "So many people try to tell me who I am, 'you don't know anything about my life.'"
Her inspiration to write the book came from people asking her, "What's your secret?" as if this self-acceptance transformation happened in an instant, and all it took was some diet pills, a new dress, and some counseling. She wanted people to know that it hasn't been easy and there is no secret.
"Accepting yourself and realizing you don't have to be someone else is a long miserable road," she said. "I've been through the sadness, self-loathing, self-hatred, the pain of seeing a loved one suffering, and being greatly misunderstood in the world."
It took her almost four years to finish the book, a journey she described as, "a roller coaster." Easily understood as she talks about moments like seeing her dad flatline after an ATV accident just months after her mom, Sharon Osbourne, was diagnosed with stage-three colon cancer, her body-image insecurities, self-hatred, and addiction to painkillers. She also chronicles some of her most rewarding experiences like placing third on "Dancing With the Stars," her beloved friends like the late Joan Rivers, and her transformation into a career-driven, style icon who accepts herself, "wobbly bits" and all.
For Osbourne, a longtime LGBTQ ally and friend, sharing this message is a part of her recognition that she is not alone in the battle to break out of being someone society tells you that you should be.
LGBTQ member and major Osbourne fan Na'amen Tilahun, 29, who will be attending the book signing, said Osbourne is an important voice for him and the queer community.
"I think to a large degree a lot of queer and people of color don't get to see themselves in the media," he said. "Having advocates who aren't necessarily a part of the community, but are a voice for us, is important because they can reach people who would maybe not hear the message otherwise."
Tilahun said he appreciated that Osbourne goes against the grain and molds her own path and own identity in a society that tells you how to look, act, and feel. She is a role model for him.
Growing up, Osbourne said her time hanging out with drag queens and LGBTQ friends had a significant impact on her and ignited the beginning stage of her journey to self-acceptance.
"Drag queens, the trans and LGB community choose to be themselves, knowing a lot of people will question it in a mean way," she said. "They choose to show the world who they really are. I have taken on and applied that to my life."
Osbourne continues to be an activist and has participated in many campaigns to end discrimination. She calls her friends in the community "some of the bravest people I know," and said, "I'm a big activist for anyone fighting to be who they are."
Now living in Los Angeles, Osbourne spends time with her family and friends and said her biggest joy is accomplishing things people tell her she can't.
"You never know what life will bring next," she said.
The Booksmith, 1644 Haight Street, will host Osbourne Friday, April 28 and organizers said it's a bit of a blast from the past. Amy Stephenson, events director for the store, talked about Ozzy Osbourne's wild visit in 2011 and said Kelly Osbourne's book defines what it means to be a "young goddess woman," and The Booksmith is all about that.
The book signing and meet-and-greet begin at 5:30 p.m. in the back of the store. The event is free, but to guarantee a signature from Osbourne and to meet her, a copy of her book must be purchased at The Booksmith. For more information, call the store at (415) 863-8688 or visit http://www.booksmith.com.