Reality Matters Contributors

John Albert (Sober House) grew up in Los Angeles. As a teenager, he co-founded the cross-dressing death rock band Christian Death, then played drums for seminal punk band Bad Religion. He has written for The Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, Blackbook, Fader, and Hustler, among others. He has won awards for sports and arts journalism and has appeared in several national anthologies. His book, Wrecking Crew (Scribner), which chronicled the true-life adventures of his amateur baseball team — comprised of drug addicts, transvestites and washed up rock stars — has been optioned by studios three times so far.

Austin Bunn (The Amazing Race, Survivor) is a journalist, fiction writer and playwright. His work has appeared in the The New York Times Magazine, The Village Voice, One Story, Best American Science and Nature Writing, Best American Fantasy, Pushcart Prize 2010, and many magazines now dead to him. His screenplay Kill Your Darlings is being produced by Killer Films. He teaches writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

Melissa de la Cruz (The Hills) is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many books for teens, including the Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, Angels on Sunset Boulevard and Girl Stays in the Picture. She has written for the New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, Marie Claire, Seventeen, Teen Vogue and Cosmogirl. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.

Jancee Dunn (Project Runway) is the author of the 2006 memoir But Enough About Me and the 2008 novel Don’t You Forget About Me. She writes regularly for The New York Times, Vogue, and O, The Oprah Magazine (where she has a monthly ethics column entitled “Now What Do I Do?”) Her collection of humorous essays, Why Is My Mother Getting a Tattoo?, was released in the summer of 2009.

James Frey (Foreward) is originally from Cleveland. He lives in New York. His work has been published in 32 languages.

Amelie Gillette (Ladette to Lady) is a staff writer for The A.V. Club, The Onion‘s semi-serious entertainment section, where she writes the popular pop culture blog and column The Hater, as well as The Tolerability Index. She lives in Brooklyn.

Stacey Grenrock Woods (The Real Housewives of New York City) has written for numerous magazines and was a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart for several years. She currently writes a monthly column for Esquire. Her first book, a memoir entitled I, California, was published by Scribner in 2007. She lives in Los Angeles.

Will Leitch (The Dog Whisperer) is the author of four books, Life As A Loser (2003), Catch (2005), God Save The Fan (2008) and a book about baseball and fatherhood set to be released in May 2010. He is a contributing editor at New York Magazine and the founder of sports blog He lives in Brooklyn with his fiancee and many pictures of Albert Pujols.

Mark Lisanti (Jersey Shore) is a writer living in Los Angeles. He’s the founding editor of, a blog about Hollywood, and is currently Editor at Large at , where he writes about film, TV, and the dizzying magic of Tinseltown. He’s contributed to Vanity Fair, Esquire, Rolling Stone, The Los Angeles Times and Radar. Though he grew up just outside of New York City, he has never actually been to the Jersey Shore.

Ben Mandelker (Big Brother) is a Los Angeles-based screenwriter and blogger whose pop culture observations and multimedia creations have been cited in Entertainment Weekly, US Magazine, The New York Times, Details Magazine, Spin Magazine, USA Today, The Washington Post, and The Houston Chronicle, among other media outlets. Additionally, Time Out New York called his work the “flat out funniest thing this year,” and the Rocky Mountain News called him “deliciously clever.” He has been a reoccurring panelist on NBC’s Today and Fox Reality’s Reality Remix as well as WDVE in Pittsburgh. He has also served as a guest on the TV Guide Channel and Los Angeles’s KABC AM. In 2004, Ben co-founded the website, which Entertainment Weekly labeled as one of the top twenty-five entertainment websites on the internet, and in 2007, he left the site after having sold it to Bunim-Murray Productions. Previously, Ben worked in feature development where he participated in the pre-production of such films as Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle and The Grudge. He also served as a writers assistant on the Fox sitcom Andy Richter Controls The Universe and worked on various television productions such as Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Strangers with Candy, and the WWE.

Wendy Merrill (The Bachelor), author of Falling into Manholes: The Memoir of a Bad/Good Girl, is described by Anne Lamott as “…a wonderful new voice—smart, funny and wildly real.” Wendy runs WAM Marketing Group, a unique marketing communications company based in Sausalito, CA, where she currently lives above ground and beyond her means.

Helaine Olen (What Not to Wear) is the co-author of Office Mate: The Employee Handbook for Finding and Managing Romance on the Job. Her articles have been published in The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post,, and Conde Nast’s Cookie and late Portfolio, among other places. She’s also contributed to the anthologies Modern Love and The Maternal is Political. She lives with her family in New York’s Hudson Valley.

Neal Pollack (Married by America) is the author of the bestselling parenting memoir Alternadad as well as several works of satirical fiction, including the cult classic The Neal Pollack Anthology Of American Literature. A contributor to many publications and websites, including The New York Times, Vanity Fair, GQ, Men’s Journal, Men’s Health,,,, and, Pollack lives in Los Angeles with his family. Harper Perennial will publish his next book, Yoga Dork, in the spring of 2010.

Richard Rushfield (American Idol) is the former West Coast editor of who’s currently writing the complete history of American Idol for Hyperion Books (due out in January, 2011). His first career was as a political field organizer for candidates including Michael Dukakis and Bill Clinton. After leaving politics, he began a career as a freelance journalist and has written on subject ranging from teenage witches to politics for publications including Slate, New York Times, Variety, V-Life, Details, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Black Book, CMJ and Elle Décor. From 2000 to 2002, he wrote a column on film for Arena Magazine. Since 1996, Richard and Adam Leff have co-authored Vanity Fair’s recurring infotainment feature, “The Intelligence Report.” His novel, On Spec, was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2000. He also worked for one season as a Supervising Producer of the reality dating show Blind Date, cofounded LA Innuendo, a quarterly satirical review of LA culture. From 2005 to 2009, he gave service as Entertainment Editor of and contributed numerous pieces to the paper. His memoir, Don’t Follow Me, I’m Lost: A Memoir of the Twilight of the 80’s, was released in from Gotham Books and he’s currently writing the definitive history of American Idol for Hyperion. Richard currently lives in Venice, CA with his wife, Nicole LaPorte, a distinguished journalist in her own right.

Rex Sorgatz (Storm Watch) is a writer, designer, entrepreneur, and media consultant based in New York. He is a contributing editor at Wired and his work appears in New York Magazine and NPR. His consulting agency, Kinda Sorta Media, works with a wide range Internet and media companies. Rex is former Executive Producer of, and he blogs his Internet life in real time at He is currently working on a novel called Everyone Is Famous.

Jerry Stahl (Lock-Up) is author of the narcotic memoir classic Permanent Midnight; I, Fatty (film rights optioned by Johnny Depp); Perv—A Love Story; and Plainclothes Naked. He has written extensively for film and television, and his much-anthologized fiction and journalism have appeared in Esquire, Details, Playboy, Black Book, LA Weekly, and Tin House. He lives in Los Angeles.

Neil Strauss (Dog The Bounty Hunter) is the author of six New York Times bestselling books, including Emergency, The Game, The Dirt with Motley Crue, and How to Make Love Like a Porn Star.

Toby Young (The Other Boat Race) is a British journalist and the author of the international bestseller How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (2001) and The Sound of No Hands Clapping (2006). In 1991, Young founded and edited the Modern Review with Julie Burchill and her then husband Cosmo Landesman. Young moved to New York in 1995 to work for Vanity Fair, where he was a contributing editor from 1995-98. Young returned to London in 2000 and became the editor of the Spectator‘s website, which he helped set up. From 2001 – 06 he worked as the Spectator‘s drama critic and from 2002 – 2007 he was a restaurant reviewer for the Evening Standard. Young is now an associate editor of The Spectator and a columnist for the Independent on Sunday and The Guardian. He has performed in the West End in a stage adaptation of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People and, in 2005, co-wrote (with fellow Spectator journalist Lloyd Evans) a sex farce called Who’s the Daddy? It was named Best New Comedy at the 2006 Theatregoers’ Choice Awards. He has appeared on numerous reality shows, most recently as a judge on Top Chef. He co-produced the film version of How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, which starred Kirsten Dunst and Simon Pegg. He lives in West London with his wife and four children.