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Jose Antonio Vargas: The FishbowlDC Interview

jav.jpg Say hello to the Washington Post’s Jose Antonio Vargas.

How many suits do you own? One. My high school principal — also adoptive mom — bought me my only suit two years ago. A graduation present of sorts. You can’t work in Washington and not have a nice suit, PJ said. I own a few blazers, though. Can’t go wrong with a nice, fitted blazer.

What word do you routinely misspell? There are two s’s in ‘miSSpell’?!

Did you see Brokeback Mountain? Yes, and wrote about it. (“This is our gay ‘Gone With the Wind,’” said the GLAAD president. Hmm…Interesting…)

Did you see The Da Vinci Code? No.

What’s the name of your cell phone ring? “Sexy Back” by Justin Timberlake.

What time did you get up this morning? 6:30a. And TV wakes me up to MTV.

When did you last cry and why? A few months ago. On an AIDS story I was working on. Was in a conference room, listening to folks for a few hours. I remember excusing myself, going to the bathroom, sitting on the toilet, and crying. Sounds corny, I know, but true.

Which of the seven deadly sins are you? Gula. Gluttony.

Beach, city or country? City.

Would you say you’re cute? Pretty? Hot? Beautiful? None of the above.

More when you click below…


What color is your bathroom? Something boring. Like taupe. Thanks for reminding me that it’s time for a change.

How many emails do you receive a day, roughly? Lots. Way too many.

What’s your opinion of New York City? It’s a wonderful city.

What’s your favorite letter? As in a letter of the alphabet? Or as in a letter, letter? Is this a trick question, Mr. Gavin?

What single person played the biggest role / had the biggest influence on your journalism career? I’ve been very, very, very lucky. Several folks have served as mentors. Here’s a memory: it was June 2000; I was a high school senior; I called the San Francisco Chronicle; asked for a reporting internship; landed an interview; Leslie Guevarra, the recruiter, read my clips and said I wasn’t good enough but hired me as a copy boy anyway. “Your writing is simplistic,” she said. “Be simple, but don’t ever be simplistic.” Huh? It took me awhile to understand that. I owe Leslie an awful lot.

Have you ever downloaded a podcast? If so, which one? Too personal.

Who’s your all-time favorite American Idol candidate? William Hung…NOT!

When’s the last time you volunteered? Where? I don’t see the point in broadcasting where I volunteer.

Who is your favorite active journalist? That’s like asking which flavor of Ben & Jerry’s I prefer. Robin Givhan is the Phish Food of criticism…Frank Rich is like Cherry Garcia…David Finkel is more Chocolate Fudge Brownie…I could go on and on.

What did you have for breakfast? Eggs. Always eggs.

What’s your favorite item of clothing? My favorite pair of jeans.

What one toiletry item could you not live without? American Crew Pomade. I’ve got Asian hair.

If you could have one superpower, which one would it be? Alas, I don’t believe in superpowers.

Better role model: GIJoe? Barbie? Neither.

Each FishbowlDC Interview subject is asked to contribute a word to this ongoing thread. Thus far we have…”Leprechaun suits shimmer Sensenbrennerly. Never regurgitate, orginate! Ideally, chutzpah feathers one’s soul melodically,” rhythmically…

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