Jenny McCarthy tells all in Naperville
BY David Sharos For The Sun October 15, 2012 11:26PM
Author and Chicago native Jenny McCarthy talks about her new book, "Bad Habits," on Monday, October 15, 2012, at North Central College's Wentz Concert Hall. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 18, 2012 6:40AM
The road of life sometimes takes us on a journey that follows a curious path. Just ask Jenny McCarthy.
A former Catholic school girl, McCarthy, 39, chose a different road during the years following her religious education and became a Playboy Playmate in 1993, and was later named “Playmate of the Year.” But the journey didn’t end there.
Monday night, McCarthy appeared on the North Central Campus in the Wentz Concert Hall to talk about her life and her new book, “Bad Habits — Confessions of a Recovering Catholic” — an autobiography of sorts that looks at McCarthy’s journey from an aspiring nun wannabe to becoming a best-selling author, talk show host, and major autism activist as well as someone who now understands her own faith.
“God, I feel like a professor!” McCarthy exclaimed as she appeared a few minutes after 7 p.m. before a crowd of about 125 people. “I wrote down some of the questions I’ve been asked during the 700 or so interviews I’ve had and their answers. Some of them were good — some were asinine.”
Dressed in a jacket, jeans, a scarf and shoes with 6-inch heels, McCarthy swigged at a bottle of water and offered an unscripted casual “talk” as well as a question and answer period with the audience. She recalled her Catholic upbringing and admitted she believed in some radical things.
“I did attend Catholic schools and one of the things I grew up and was obsessed with was that Satan was going to possess my soul,” she said. “When I was very young, those are the kinds of things I believed.”
McCathy’s appearance was revealing but fans found the author’s insights both human and honest.
“I think she’s awesome and is someone I think is feisty and very talented,” said Kim Erkman of Schaumburg. “I still think she needs to get that big break. I know she’s done books and been in movies and television — but she needs to become something like a syndicated talk show host. I really think she’s very honest and straightforward.”
Armida Sopa of Darien said she was familiar with McCarthy from her television appearances and said that the actress and writer was a sort of role model for her.
“I like her personality and her attitude, and I really would like to be someone like her rather than just an ‘ordinary’ person,” Sopa admitted. “I’m hoping I could be famous like her someday.”
Mark Leinbach of Aurora, along with his wife Dianne, said they live “less than six miles from downtown Naperville” and that the empty nester couple continues to seek out things to do in the area. Mark admitted he was hoping to get a photo of McCarthy with him and post it on Facebook.
“I’m really the one that wanted to see her, not my wife,” Mark said. “She’s a local girl from the Chicago area, and it’s fun to see someone who is regarded as a local celebrity. With something this close, it’s a great opportunity.”
“I’m doing this for my husband,” Dianne said. “Tonight, I’m taking one for the team.”
Sue Swenson of Lisle said she “finds McCarthy to be hilarious” and was surprised about the title of her book.
“I thought saying you were a ‘recovering Catholic’ was sort of unusual,” Swenson said. “This is the first book signing I’ve ever been to, and it’s pretty amazing to actually see a celebrity.”
Another audience member, Bill Kempin, 56, of Lenexa, Kan., said he was a personal friend of McCarthy’s who tries to run into her whenever she is out on a book tour. His name appears in the acknowledgements of her new book.
“We talked about her wanting to do a book like this two years ago, and I think the biggest surprise people may have about her and the stereotypes is how smart she is and how hard she’s had to work,” Kempin said. “She honest and straightforward and we’ve had many talks about her own faith along the way.”