My favorite things: Joy Blanchard
Assistant professor of higher education administration, LSU
Guilty pleasure: (1) Upgrades on flights. I feel like my hips, and the person sitting next to me, thank me. And the unlimited drinks pay for themselves, right? (2) Blowouts. It has gotten to the point where I can’t honestly remember the last time I washed my own hair. I try to justify it by telling myself that I’m saving on carcinogenic keratin treatments, and I can increase my productivity by doing work while in the chair, but all I end up doing is playing on Facebook or watching tennis.
Place for lunch: Restaurant IPO. Bacon-wrapped dates and specialty pear martini.
Way to spend a Saturday morning: Volunteering at OLOL Children’s Hospital with Junior League of Baton Rouge
TV show: Though I tend to be a movie snob and only watch films with Oscar credentials, my small screen tastes have veered into the valueless. I have a love-hate relationship with Bravo reality programming. Every week I host an “online viewing party” for Southern Charm, which tracks the high jinks of the Charleston aristocratic set. My friends from Miami (I moved from there last August) and I live tweet our observations and reactions throughout the show. It’s the next best thing to having them in my living room with me, and that really warms my heart.
Way to spend $20: Money seems to just disappear around me, so who knows…
Class in high school: French. My undergraduate degree is in French education, and I actually was the lower school French teacher at Ascension Episcopal School in Lafayette before pursuing my doctorate.
Baton Rouge experience or attraction: Being that I moved here less than a year ago, I still consider myself a newbie so I anticipate I will be collecting many wonderful experiences over the next few years. But every time I cross the Mississippi River bridge, I always look in wonder at the magnificent scene of downtown. I would love to see that area develop more. Having lived in Midtown Miami, I don’t think there’s anything finer than an urban core along the water.
Way to get myself moving in the morning: Stefanus at LA Fitness is my sunshine and savior. Though I was an aerobics instructor in graduate school, I went through a funk a few years ago and lost my love of fitness. I’ve been working with Stefanus since March and have lost 25 pounds, and my endurance levels have shot through the roof. I can do 750 pounds on leg press, and he informs me that by end of summer I’ll be doing 1,000 lbs. Stay tuned!
Childhood memory: Appearing on the stage at America’s Junior Miss and with the most excitement and pride you can imagine announcing myself to the crowd at the Mobile Civic Center, “Joy Blanchard, LOUISIANA!” It is NOT a pageant and actually is the oldest and largest scholarship program for high school women. My idol Diane Sawyer was a national winner, and many other notable celebrities have participated since its inception in 1958. I met lifelong friends, discovered an outlet for community service, and learned self-confidence and the ability to dream big. I still am involved in the program as a volunteer and fundraiser.
Song on my iPod: My music tastes are as varied and eclectic as my moods (but you’ll never find country). Sappy Broadway tunes (I’m ready to be cast as Evita tomorrow), ’80s and ’90s throwbacks (everyone makes fun of me for my unabashed love of Debbie Gibson), sugary pop (I was the American Idol correspondent for a radio station in Lafayette for three years, but that’s a story for another day…), and make-you-move hip-hop (I voted for Luther Campbell for mayor of Miami; he’s actually become quite a community activist).
Item in my wardrobe: I’m obsessed with anything cork, especially shoes and purses. It’s surprisingly versatile and timeless. I’m also known for my whimsical hat and glove collection (I was born in the wrong era), and my personal aesthetic is defined by my quirky contemporary and vintage (i.e. Jacques Fath) eyewear collection.
Time of year: The height of the tennis tour. I love following Roland Garros and The Championships in the summer and returning to Florida in March for the Miami Open. I volunteered as a player and VIP driver for several years, and those two weeks were always my favorite out of the year!
Book: Because my job involves reading and at any given time you’ll find a law review article in my purse, I sadly rarely read for pleasure. The Great Gatsby has withstood as a favorite classic. A few years ago I was seduced by Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara. I tend to gravitate to tales of the rawness of reality.
Concert I ever attended: When I was a student at the University of Georgia, The Killers gave an intimate surprise show in homage of Athens as the birthplace of many great acts, like REM and the B-52s. It was announced in the campus newspaper that at noon 200 tickets would go on sale, and by 12:03 it was sold out. My friends Jennifer and Andy and I belted out songs and danced all night long!
Place for a manicure/pedicure: I have actually never gotten either. Something about the sterility issue freaks me out. (And CVS suits me just fine…) I look at it as a cost-benefit analysis. When I’m walking toward you, the first things you will notice are my clothes, my hair, and my face—so I spend money on those. If you’re noticing my nails, you probably are looking at me too closely and need to give me some personal space.
Perfume: The history of Guerlain in the fragrance industry dating back to the 1800s is fascinating and remarkable. I wear L’Heure Bleue or Samsara for day. Mon Precieux Nectar comes straight from the gods.
App on my smartphone: I’m an avowed Luddite and swore I would never enter the smartphone generation. In December I caved, and begrudgingly I admit it has proven useful in many situations. I don’t know any of the “cool” apps, but Fandango and WAFB Traffic are quite handy and the ability to watch Tennis Channel on my phone has proven to be an invention greater than the automobile or personal computer.
Item in my makeup bag: For skincare, I exclusively use the Eminence line. It’s completely organic, and I’m pretty sure I could eat it. (And the way it smells, I want to!) For cosmetics, I use Laura Mercier; Cleopatra would have loved Tightline. And recently I serendipitously stumbled upon Sally Hansen leg makeup, which is on par with epic discoveries like penicillin and the wheel.
Out-of-town destination: When I was a student I would just hop in the car to clear my head and end up at the most random of destinations, like the setting for Deliverance and a casino in the North Carolina mountains. Even though I love the energy of city life, escaping to small picturesque towns or the mountains of the Atlantic South are usually what I long for.
Most treasured possession: A picture of me shaking hands with Hillary Clinton. When I was in high school I was one of two students selected from Louisiana to participate in the U.S. Senate Youth Program, sponsored by the Hearst Family Foundation. We got to visit the White House one day, and I remember with precision everything about that moment—from what we said to each other down to what she was wearing.
Idea of perfect happiness: Even though I have a vision for my life, to take one out of the cliché bag, I firmly believe the universe guides me to where I need to be—and it has many times. In the end, 1 Corinthians 13. That’s all that matters.
Talent I wish I had: I just have a feeling that being able to play “Great Balls of Fire” on the piano could come in really handy at parties.
My motto for life: Don’t ask questions that you don’t want to know the answer.
Hidden talent: Apparently I’m funny. I don’t try to be, but the weird, absurd, bizarre and hilarious just seem to follow me. Had we known I would turn into an unwitting comedienne, my parents could have saved on 12 years of dance lessons.