Killinger is from Grosse Pointe, Mich., a Detroit suburb, but spent a chunk of her childhood in Mexico City, where her father, who worked for Ford Motors, moved the family when she was 11. She was bullied there for looking different and bullied again back in America when she pulled up to Grosse Pointe South High School — preppy Izod city — looking “like a combo platter of Debbie Gibson, big bangs, shellacking hair spray, blow dryer to keep them up, white frost lip gloss.”
In 1995, she graduated from Penn State with a marketing degree and later worked in television, including on air in local news in Albany, N.Y., and Orlando, Fla. In 2006, Martha Stewart fired her from “The Apprentice.”
A self-proclaimed homebody, she likes to spend her free time with her husband, Joe Carretta, and adopted daughter, Jagger, who is 6. She also cares for her mother, “who’s 84 and lives with me and is not great and requires a lot of care, and trying to be a mom to a 6-year-old, who, by the way, I’m 51, so I started a little late there.”
Search for Killinger’s name online and the first results are articles about a cheeky on-air debate she had in 2017 with her frequent co-host, the fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, about whether the moon is a star or planet. (It is neither.)
I called Mizrahi, and he agreed that anyone who wants to learn how to be more breezily authoritative, or come across like it, should watch what Killinger does with a pullover.
“The confidence that I exude is more like bravado, like a fake confidence,” he said. “Whereas when she puts on a jacket or a little sweater, she looks amazing in it because she’s so committed to how great it looks on her that she really looks great.”