Charlotte Laws and Pamelyn Ferdin at lunch in Westlake Village

 Charlotte Laws and Pamelyn Ferdin at lunch in Westlake Village. November 2020.


Charlotte Laws authors comprehensive article about the eviction moratoriums

 Charlotte Laws writes about the eviction moratoriums and how it is impacting landlords, many of whom are "cash poor." It can be found at this link. 


Charlotte Laws Pens Article About Landlords for the NY Daily News

 October 2020 - Charlotte Laws says the vitriol against landlords and eviction moratoriums will hurt affordable housing. See her article in the New York Daily News


Charlotte Laws Stars on the Netflix Series 100 Humans

Charlotte Laws on the red carpet at the premiere of the new Netflix show "100 Humans." March 15, 2020 in Pasadena, CA.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Charlotte Laws to speak at the National Association for Female Executives

TV personality and bestselling author, Dr. Charlotte Laws, will speak at NAFE (National Association for Female Executives) on Saturday, January 18, 2020, noon – 3 pm. Charlotte is a cable news pundit, a former politician, a renowned activist (often called “The Erin Brockovich of revenge porn,”) and the author of award-winning books (Undercover Debutante, Rebel in High Heels, Devil in the Basement, et al). The event is sponsored by the West Los Angeles / Hollywood chapter of NAFE and it begins at noon at Billingsley’s (back room). A menu-style lunch can be purchased at the event, and there will be raffles for Charlotte’s 2019 memoir. $10 for NAFE members. $15 for guests. Tickets can be purchased at the door.    

Billingsley’s restaurant (in the back room). Lots of free parking. 11326 Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064. 

Charlotte hopes to see you there! 

Charlotte Laws interviewed in Vegan Food & Living magazine

Charlotte is interviewed about her life and new memoir in the January 2020 edition of Vegan Food and Living magazine.


Hanging with Tulsi Gabbard and friends in Los Angeles - Nov 2019

You can read my article about Gabbard in City Watch and in IVN News

Spoke at a book club about my memoir, Undercover Debutante

They made a cake that looks like my book!


Genetics, Judaism, and Finding My Birth Family

My birth mother is Jewish. Actually, she had been raised Christian, then attended a Unitarian church for a year, and finally converted to Reform Judaism.

I am also Jewish. I had been raised Christian, too, then attended a Unitarian church for a month, and finally converted to Reform Judaism.

Charlotte Laws (center) with her birth mom and daughter
The interesting part is that we did not know each other — or even know anything about each other — yet we had followed the same religious path. We had lived in different states with different families; we had led completely separate lives. 

My birth mom was in her mid-20s and living on the East Coast when she studied with a rabbi and converted to Reform Judaism. I was 24 and on the West Coast when I completed a one year “Introduction to Judaism” course. Afterwards, I stood before a Reform congregation, recited Hebrew passages, and was officially welcomed into the religion. 

Let me back up to 1960 in Atlanta: I was born in the backseat of an Oldsmobile. My birth mom was in labor for 15 minutes, not enough time for my birth dad to drive her to the hospital. A nurse lifted me from the vehicle in the hospital parking lot and immediately whisked me out of sight because my birth parents had already signed the official adoption papers. They had relinquished me to “The Agency.” 

Two months later, I was adopted by a well-to-do couple that was determined to raise a respectable number of children — two — in order to fit in with preppy, debutante society. This couple, whom I called “Mom” and “Dad,” lived in a big, Atlanta house with a servant — a servant whose ancestors had purportedly been slaves to Dad’s family. This was a bragging point for Mom, although I found it disturbing and embarrassing, plus I’ve never found data to support her claim.   

Mom and Dad were racist and homophobic. They claimed to be Christian, although they never attended church or discussed religion. They owned guns, raised cattle as a sideline investment, and had no interest in current events, charities, or philosophy. They were, however, very interested in money. They were the embodiment of the saying, “Whoever dies with the most stuff wins.”

They branded me as a bad seed because I did not share their values, taste, or religion. I liked sequined dresses, something they considered “low class.” I complained about going to Sunday school and attending communion services at my private school, confessing that I was not a Christian. From an early age, I was fascinated with Judaism, and I seemed to have an innate love for the Jewish people. I also supported the civil rights movement, gay rights, and had empathy for animals, including those on the dinner plate. (I became a vegetarian in my early twenties, and a vegan later in life.)

My differences were not tolerated in silence — not by my parents, my brother (who was adopted two years after me), nor certain members of the community. I was called “kooky” and “defective;” I was told I would go to hell for not believing in Christ. I always felt out of place, a pair of spiked heels among a sea of Top-siders. 

Mom and Dad were disciples of the “blank slate” theory. In other words, they did not think genetic material could affect a child’s personality, interests, or beliefs — a view that was common in those days. They assumed that, with the right upbringing, an adopted child could be programmed into a replica of her parents — in this case, an obedient Christian socialite who would marry a proper, old-money gentleman.    

Charlotte Laws (center) with her birth mom and natural grandma
Today, there is astounding new research on the “nature versus nurture” debate. Experts believe that biology plays a significant role in determining what a person thinks, what skills she possesses, what interests she has, and even what career she may enjoy. It is called having a “biological predisposition” for something. Of course, external factors also help shape a person, but they are deemed less powerful than previously thought. Popular books, such as The Nature Assumption, argue that parents have almost no impact whatsoever on a child’s development.      

Steven Pinker, cognitive psychologist and author of The Blank Slate, agrees that biology affects personality. He writes, “Though no one has identified genes for morality, there is circumstantial evidence that they exist.”

What’s more, research from the University of Delaware indicates that intelligence is up to 90 percent genetically determined, and many other factors or traits also have significant levels of heritability, such as religiosity, social attitude, hobbies, interests, self-esteem, criminal proclivities, worldview, musical skills, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic trajectory. The Delaware researchers state, “Longitudinal studies of adoptive families show that as adoptive children grow up they become less like their adoptive parents (the correlation drops to zero) and more like the biological parents and siblings they may never have seen.”

This was my experience as well. In my mid-20s, I tracked down my natural parents — not an easy feat because records in Georgia were closed. I also made contact with my grandmother, aunts, cousins, and eventually half-siblings. To my astonishment, I found closets full of spiked heels and not a single pair of Top-siders.

There were numerous links between me and my birth mom. She was an environmentalist who left Atlanta for ideological reasons; she could not tolerate the prejudice of the South in the 1960s.

As for our religious similarities, both of us had been initially drawn to Reform Judaism because it was malleable, nonjudgmental, and welcoming. It was nothing like the blindly-accept-the-word-of-Jesus form of Christianity that we had been force fed as children. Although my birth mom cannot remember her first Shabbat service, I remember mine. A congregant raised his hand in the middle of the sermon and offered his opinion, which deviated from that of the rabbi. He was permitted to explain. The rabbi later told me, “Reform Judaism is not rigid. We welcome disagreement.” At that moment, I knew I wanted to convert.     

Although my natural grandmother, who died a few years ago, was not Jewish, she was the essence of glitz. She and I enjoyed the same bizarre hobby: purchasing brand new, department store clothes and adorning them with sequins and beads. Our garage-sized, color-coordinated closets looked virtually identical, and we owned much of the same furnishings, including a rare, carved, antique desk that I have never seen elsewhere.

My birth father is open-minded and was thrilled when I told him that I had converted to Judaism. He is an author; has a doctorate; and loves philosophy and religion. My Ph.D. is in religion and social ethics. In fact, our entire family is well-degreed; there are 16 college and graduate school degrees among the five of us (my birth mom, birth dad, two half-siblings, and myself). My birth dad is also sympathetic to animal rights arguments and only a few crab cakes away from being a vegetarian. Like me, he does volunteer work in his spare time and believes people should formulate their own opinions rather than mindlessly adhere to societal norms.   

No one in my natural family is focused on money. No one is a patron of preppiness. No one calls me “kooky” or “defective.” And no one claims that I will go to hell for rejecting Christ.

I am glad that I found my biological family. I feel connected. I am no longer an outsider in search of a flock. Although I cannot prove it, I believe our commonalities stem from tiny hereditary units called genes—including our love of all things Jewish.

Article was fist published in Kveller on October 3, 2019. 

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Hiding from Michael Jackson

You can run into anyone, anywhere, anytime, even an international pop star… so try to look presentable and have self-confidence

Charlotte Laws, Michael Jackson, Brooke Shields

Have you ever looked so scruffy that you want to crawl under a rug? Has your hair ever been so frizzy that strangers ask if you’ve been electrocuted by a toaster oven? Has your face ever been so puffy that it seems like you’ve ingested a tub of grease, a ten-foot-tall Tater Tot, or a salt mine?  

This was me on a particularly embarrassing day in the 1980s when I was in my 20s. I had errands to complete and little time. I was wearing frayed gym shorts and a blouse that looked like it had been through World Wars I and II as well as Custer’s Last Stand. Frankly, I looked like a bag lady minus the lady. I resembled a bag.

I needed to pick up photos from a local camera shop. My plan was to dash in, grab my pictures, and scamper back to my car before anyone could shout, “What’s the Loch Ness Monster doing in LA?”     

I was alone at the camera shop counter; the clerk had gone into the back to retrieve my merchandise. All of the sudden, pop star Michael Jackson entered, wearing a flashy satin shirt and black pants. He was accompanied by two other fellows who seemed like bodyguards. I was in shock and unsure what to do.

I tried to ignore Jackson and his cohorts because of my appearance. I was unsure whether they’d had breakfast and didn’t want them to regurgitate their Cap’n Crunch. But Jackson was not having any of my evasive nonsense and tried to strike up a conversation. Perhaps he was baffled as to why anyone would so willfully ignore him since he was an icon at the height of his fame. Perhaps he hoped to ease my discomfort. Perhaps he just needed a friend.

He stood on my right. I quickly turn my head to the left. Then he moved to my left. I whipped my head back to the right. He leaned around several times hoping to be acknowledged and finally spoke. “Hi,” he said in a meek voice.

With my face still turned, I mumbled, “Hi.”

He seemed to be searching for something to say. “You look like this girl.” He pointed at one of the many photographs displayed under a glass countertop.

I shifted my eyes ever so slightly so I could see the picture. No disrespect, but this woman was over forty and looked like Pee Wee Herman in a wig.   

“Are you her?” he asked softly.

“No,” I exclaimed, still hiding my face. “And I don’t really look like this. I look terrible today.”

The clerk appeared with my package of snapshots, which I tore open at breakneck speed. I whisked out a picture of myself in which I was dressed to the nines. “This is what I really look like.” I offered it to Jackson, while still concealing my face. He studied the photo.

“This doesn’t look like you,” he replied in an innocent voice and again pointed at the girl under the glass countertop. “You look like her.” He clearly meant no harm and probably didn’t think she looked like Phil Spector during his mugshot.      

“It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Jackson.” I finally revealed my face, smiled, and bolted to my car.

This embarrassing incident taught me one thing: you can run into anyone, anywhere, anytime. And these chance meetings can be beneficial, a stepping stone to achieving your dreams. The person you bump into might be an old friend with whom you hope to reconnect, a cute guy that you want to date, or a famous person that you’d like to befriend. It might be a politician who holds the key to important legislation, an executive who might give you a job, or a fat cat who could donate to your favorite cause.

I have learned another thing. Looking like a tattered Boo Berry can hinder your goals, especially when it kills self-confidence.   

Originally published in the MJ World Network - Oct. 9, 2019

Labels: , , , , , , , ,