Vanessa Grigoriadis is the author of Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power and Consent on Campus. She also serves as a contributing editor at The New York Times Magazine and Vanity Fair, specializing in pop culture, youth movements, and crime reporting. Before delivering a Zócalo lecture, “Are Colleges Campuses Rewriting the Rules of Sex in America?” at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy in downtown Los Angeles, she discussed Greek food, writing about the socialite Lizzie Grubman, and claustrophobia.
What is the first sound you hear when you wake up?
My baby, my one-and-a-half-year-old baby, Apollo, screaming bloody murder, wanting me to save him.
What’s the most difficult thing about talking about sex on television?
You can’t use any dirty words.
What band would you cross an ocean to see?
I have to admit it would be something like the Talking Heads, or some band that doesn’t really exist anymore.
As an investigative reporter, what database do you most?
What was the last book you read?
I read this John Hechinger book called True Gentlemen: The Broken Pledge of America’s Fraternities, about Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.
What’s your greatest fear?
Being buried alive. I’m extraordinarily claustrophobic. I can’t even wear a turtleneck—I’m that claustrophobic.
What’s the biggest lesson you learned from Lizzie Grubman?
Redemption is possible. There was redemption there.
Where do you do most of your writing?
The truth is I do a lot of writing in bed. Half in bed, half sitting in a chair, sometimes standing up in my dresser. I have a baby, so sometimes it’s just stolen moments.
Where’s the best Greek food in L.A.?
That is the hardest question you’ve asked. I don’t know if I can even answer.
Where’s the best Greek food in New York City?
Milos, in Midtown.
What do you miss most about Wesleyan, where you went to college?
I miss it there so much. It’s just fun to be young. No responsibilities, just learn things, and be curious. I also did a lot of musical theater and then I never got to be an actress in my real life because I wasn’t quite good enough. College is the place where you get to do the things you might not be able to do in real life—gospel choir, chorus, the West African Dance Drumming Troupe.
When you turn on your TV, what channel is most likely be on?
CNN. It would probably be the only channel.
What’s the last thing that inspired you?
I’m pretty inspired by my daughter, almost six, who makes a different drawing every day.