Kimberly McArthur answered the phone in her hotel room at a ridiculously early hour. Before we could ask if she had time for an interview, she was off and running. "Hey," she said, "have you read Woody Allen's Side Effects? You have? Well, do you remember this part?" She proceeded to read, in a delightful Southern drawl, a section about UFOs, Government investigations and the notion of traveling 186,282 miles per second. "It says here your hat would blow off. Which reminds me. You know there is a skill to putting on a cowboy hat. The main trick is to pull it over your ears without getting your thumbs stuck. Such was our introduction to Miss January. She had just flown into Chicago from her current home in Dallas. She was playful, teasing. She suggested that we conduct an interview while walking along the shore of Lake Michigan. "I love long walks along the beach. Or, for that matter, short walks around the bathtub. What would you like to know about me? I tried out for the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. I didn't make it. Why? I didn't kick high enough. The girls who made it had kicks that looked like exclamation points. An average day? Well, I wake up in the morning, turn on the TV and exercise along with Richard Simmons, the weight saint. I practice my kick. I play with my cat. We do cart wheels on the carpet. I go to work at a video-game company. I go home. I cook. I fall asleep listening to Barbra Streisand records through the headphones. I listen through only one ear - I try to sing along and match the modulation. One of these days, I'd like to sing like that." The interview moved into serious topics, Kim's childhood (she had to drop out of high school in her home town of Fort Worth to help earn money for her family) and her career: She wants to be an entertainer. "It's something I've been doing all my life. If someone I know is really down, I'll launch into a brogue, do a whole skit. You should see me do a five-minute version of The Wizard of Oz. I play all the parts." She then proceeded to demonstrate. Several passers-by stopped to appreciate the impromptu performance. "They're probably wondering how long I've been out," Kim laughed. The word for her behavior is irrepressible. "What would your readers like to know about me? This could get very complicated, you know. How does this sound? 'Kim likes the simple things in life: mink underwear. Large sapphires.' " It turns out that she does like the simple things in life. "I like the signals given at dinner. The knowing laugh. Where, just for a moment, you and the person you love step outside the crowd and share something private. I like Fort Worth. There's a place called the Lone Star Chili Parlor, out by the reservoir. You walk out back and it's like being transported to Paris or Venice. I like having dinner with friends, having the evening end with hugs, knowing you've shared something special." We end the walk knowing that we have shared something very special - a few minutes in the life of a very likable lady. A Southern Star.
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