I met Lori Bizzoco for the first time when she lost her phone and I let her use mine at an uptown New York party. As soon as we started talking, we realized how much we had in common: a thirst for fame, childhood loneliness, partying habits. As I got to know Lori better, I discovered an incredibly smart and in touch business woman, who constantly adapted to life’s demands. Lori had gone from small town rebel, to big city PR woman, to wife, mother, writer, and then founder of CupidsPulse.com. Amazed by Lori’s versatility and tenacity, we remained close friends, attending red carpet premieres with the likes of Lou Reed, Kim Kardashian, Ethan Hawke and Paris Hilton, ending up at places like the townhouse of the late cartoonist Al Hirschfeld. Yet, behind these glamorous events lay a woman who had fought through depression, a woman who grew up without privacy, feeling intensely out of place. Lori is a master at learning from her past and rising to the occasion, an intuitive, sensitive soul, Lori is able to balance love for her family with passion for her newfound career as a tireless entrepreneur. I stole time from her busy day to discuss her country roots, party phone lines, passion, therapy, dating and giving people a chance.
ROYAL YOUNG: I wanted to talk to you about how you created a different life for yourself than the one you started out with.
LORI BIZZOCO: I knew at a very young age that I wanted to be part of a world where I was connecting people. I studied journalism, advertising and then I took a PR class and once I did, I felt that was my path. Once I make a decision, I’m very dedicated to it. I plow ahead. I come from a very humble background. I grew up on a farm in upstate New York in a rural community many people don’t leave. To make a big move to New York City would shock most people in the town. But I had something in me that drove me. I knew I wanted to move out of the town and come to the big city at a very young age.
YOUNG: What do you think that something was? What part of you knew you had to get out and explore the world in a larger way than you could where you were raised?
BIZZOCO: Growing up in a small town, even as a child I realized you don’t have privacy. I grew up with a party line. Do you know what that is?
YOUNG: [laughs] No.
BIZZOCO: [laughs] It’s a telephone line that’s shared by a community of people in your neighborhood. So when I say there was no privacy, I mean literally, you’d pick up the phone and your neighbor would be on the other end talking, so you’d have to hang up. Whatever you said on the phone, someone could be listening in. Even though you had a lot of land in between you, if you did any of the rebellious teenage activities, smoking, drinking, it was talked about. I was an individual. I wanted to do things my way and that was frowned upon. I needed to go to a place that was bigger where I could hide away amongst the people.
YOUNG: So when you eventually escaped and entered not only the city, but also this glamorous PR life of working with celebrity did you feel like you fit in perfectly? Or did you feel like you were still an outsider?
BIZZOCO: Of course I felt like I didn’t fit in, in my own head. But I masked that and faked my way through it. What was great is that since I didn’t come from the city or around that area, no one would know where I came from or who I was. The other aspect was though I felt like I didn’t fit in, truly I think I fit in better than most because a celebrity has no privacy, a celebrity has the paparazzi following them, a celebrity can’t have private moments and that’s where I related the most. I think why I took on this kind of role is that I did have an inner core feeling for what they were going through. Of course I wasn’t a celebrity, but in my own way I had some of that happen to me.
YOUNG: You mention this inner core. Do you feel like in all the work you do a real passion for something and understanding it on a gut emotional level is really necessary to succeed?
BIZZOCO: For me it is. Absolutely. If what I want to do is about passion, I don’t see it as something that can’t happen. When I launched CupidsPulse.com, it wasn’t “is it going to make it?” There was no doubt. I think that mindset is really what makes things happen and what drives you. When I first moved to Long Island when I was 18, I remember having a lot of fear. It was a different place and I didn’t have money and I felt like I was competing with Fendi bags and Mercedes. I didn’t feel comfortable. I didn’t have a big financial support system. I remember someone gave me a book and one of the chapters was about taking this fear and putting it in the back of your head. That has been instilled in me. I always tell people, take fear, pretend your brain is a library and catalog it for awhile. I’m not saying forget about it, I’m saying keep it there but you don’t have to deal with it now. That allows you to move forward.
YOUNG: In terms of you moving forward, how did you make the transition from big city PR woman to where you are now? I feel like you’ve distanced yourself from the shallow sides of that world and are exploring it in a much deeper way.
BIZZOCO: I was coming to what I thought was a peak in my career. I was a senior vice president in PR, working for a major firm, I had been doing this for 12 years. Although yes I could have kept going, there was something missing, an emptiness that wasn’t being fulfilled. I lived in the city in a gorgeous apartment, I had a great career and lots of money. But I was 38 at the time and I didn’t have a boyfriend, let alone a husband or family. I knew something needed to shift for me. I needed to come back to self. I just wasn’t happy.
YOUNG: How did you achieve a fuller sense of self?
BIZZOCO: I went to therapy. I changed my lifestyle. I started online dating and a man emailed me and said “Do you remember me?” It was a man I had gone on one date with three years prior and I had never called him back. He wasn’t my type. But so much had changed in three years, that when he asked me out again, I said sure. Nine weeks later, we were engaged. He was an old fashioned family man, he was eight years older than me, he wanted a stay at home mom, he believed in family. It was a big risk, but I felt in my core that this was the right thing.
YOUNG: So now, you’re married and you have kids. How do you balance that wholeness, love and family life with your work? You are still working.
BIZZOCO: Interestingly, because I was a stay at home mom, I had the opportunity to become an entrepreneur and do something for myself. My husband is very supportive and also works from home, so we have that advantage. The way I can balance my work and my home is because we’re both at home. Had I stayed narrow minded, blind and not open, I may never have had this opportunity.