Charlotte Laws: Take Calculated Risks & Say Yes To Life

Dr. Charlotte Laws was interviewed about risk-taking and success. This is what she said.

Questioner: I sat down with TV presenter, author and activist, Charlotte Laws, for an exclusive interview. Hi Charlotte. Welcome. It is a pleasure to meet you. First of all, are you a risk-taker? And how has this affected your career?

Charlotte: Risk-taking is like porridge. It should not be dangerously hot or scaredy-cat cold. It needs to be just right. In other words, it is all about taking calculated risks. They are integral to success.

My goal from a young age was to be a voice, to feel like I was making a difference in the world. I realized the best way to accomplish this was to author books and articles, to become a cable news contributor and to assist causes close to my heart.

I took a number of calculated risks along the way. For example, I realized party crashing could connect me with the rich and famous, the “movers and shakers” of the world. These were the sorts of people who could finance my projects, give money to my favorite nonprofits and grant me exclusive interviews. Gate-crashing could also help me meet influential politicians, allowing me to press for much-needed laws. The affluent might pay 100k to attend a fancy political fundraiser; they had that all-important, lobbying access. Since I lacked the big bucks, I taught myself how to crash any event, anytime, anywhere—techniques that are discussed in my memoirs, Rebel in High Heels and Undercover Debutante. Gaining entrance in this unsanctioned way is low-risk. The penalty for getting caught in California is $75 and it is termed an “infraction” (less serious than a parking ticket). I have never gotten caught.   

Party crashing allowed me to pitch book proposals to the big shot editors at Simon & Schuster and Random House. It allowed me to secure TV interviews by crashing production studios and giving a why-I-should-be-on-the-show spiel to the shows’ executives. It allowed me to hand my novel, Devil in the Basement, directly to Oprah Winfrey for her book club. It allowed me to give my movie treatment to Angelina Jolie at the Golden Globes. It allowed me to pitch Matt Damon with a film project at a Beverly Hills fundraiser and present my screenplay to Steven Spielberg backstage at a Director’s Guild function. It also helped me raise thousands for nonprofit causes and get one-on-one interviews with Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna and Michael Jackson as well as Presidents Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and Donald Trump.       

Fear of failure and fear of rejection are common barriers to accomplishment. I urge success-chasers to be bold and embrace opportunity. In other words, say yes to life! I feared failure when asked to be a regular commentator on the NBC show “The Filter,” but four years later, one of my episodes was nominated for an Emmy. I was nervous when asked to be a lecturer at the FBI Academy, but in the end, took the risk and am grateful I did. I had apprehension when I was invited to work as a syndicated columnist. Today and over a hundred articles later; I am glad I ignored self-doubt. I still have worries each time I am asked to deliver a speech at a university or an academic conference, but I always try to say yes to success or at least to potential success. I strive to let the fierce be with me and live in the bold zone.

It was a calculated risk when I fought to protect victims of image-based sexual abuse, more commonly known as revenge porn (RP)—a mission that began over a decade ago. My story is detailed in the Netflix docuseries, The Most Hated Man on the Internet. I received computer viruses and death threats from online trolls, and I was confronted by a stalker at my home. I am pleased that I took on the challenge because I have been able to assist over 800 RP victims. I also helped get an abusive website down, worked with the FBI to put the website owner and his hacker in jail and aided legislators throughout the country with anti-revenge porn legislation. We currently have laws in 48 states; I am hopeful we will have a federal law soon.  

Questioner: Wow, you have had an interesting life. Tell me something specific that sets you apart from others or something unique about you. 

Charlotte: One unique aspect about me is that I have embarked upon over 30 different jobs in my life. For example, I have been a Los Angeles city commissioner, loan officer, maid, cab driver, backup singer for an Elvis imitator, nurse, standup comedian, private investigator, politician, actress, fashion designer and executive director of a legal nonprofit, to name a few. These varied occupations have afforded me the opportunity to become knowledgeable about an assortment of professions, a sundry of lifestyles and a wide collection of value systems. I have had a glimpse into contrasting worlds. This first-hand knowledge has been invaluable to my writing and TV pundit career. I am able to bring observational data into my articles, books and discussions, plus I can often relate humorous or compelling stories relevant to the topic at hand. I would recommend all artists look into broadening their experiences in this way.

Another unique aspect about me is that I tracked down my birth family. I was adopted at birth and had a tragic childhood. My adoptive mom committed suicide, my adoptive dad was abusive and my adopted brother was killed at age 16. I used my detective skills to locate my natural kin because adoption records are closed in Georgia where I was born. It took a heck of a lot of finagling and investigating to find them; the story is detailed in my memoirs. I met my natural mom and dad in my 20s and recently met my half-brother and half-sister. (They did not even know they had a sister!) I have an ongoing relationship with everyone. I have learned first-hand that genetics trumps environmental factors. There are uncanny similarities between myself and my blood relatives. Experts in the nature vs. nurture field argue that genetics accounts for about 70% of who a person is. It is not just physical; biology affects interests, likes, dislikes and values. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to explore this fascinating subject further as a writer and cable news contributor, bringing my insights to a national audience.   

Questioner: Thank you for joining me today. Your advice is inspiring as always. Good luck with your future projects. 

This interview appeared in a couple of publications and was posted here by Stephanie (Office of Charlotte Laws). 



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