Celebrate New Years With Ryan Seacrest

Ryan Seacrest Is Ready to Relax. A Little. The Smallest Possible Amount.

He has missed family Thanksgivings. He says his mom has given up on grandkids. Asked about his work-life balance, his associates laugh out loud. But it’s never too late to change, the tireless host now says—even when your brand is always on.

The Ryan Seacrest interview is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., but texts from his team about my arrival time begin lighting up the phone well before 1 p.m.: “What is your ETA? He is arriving a bit earlier.” And indeed, at 2:27 p.m. a Range Rover rolls to the curb and out of the back bounds Seacrest, his relieved interviewer having only just sprinted into the private back room of Cosme, a farm-to-table Mexican restaurant in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, one of Seacrest’s favorites since he relocated from Los Angeles four years ago. 

“My lunch date!” Seacrest says, bursting through the double doors, thrusting his hand out, his smile electric, his gold Rolex Cosmograph Daytona catching the light. His manner is familiar and warm, every ounce of the charisma bomb seen on TV and heard on the radio. He’s chronologically 46, but owing to clean living and his well-documented skin-care regime, could pass for a decade younger. When I mention that I’m relieved to have arrived before him, Seacrest says that while flipping through articles I’d written, he’d read of me showing up late to an interview and got the word out that doing so today would be suboptimal. One minor delay could throw off his whole schedule. “I just really like things to move,” he explains without rancor or menace. “I never am loud, but I like things to stay on schedule and be efficient.” 

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Way back in 2007’s KnockeUp, Seacrest did a cameo as a heightened, foul-mouthed version of himself, apoplectic that Jessica Simpson is late for an E! News interview. “All these stars..., they f—k my day up!” he bellows to the waiting crew. The portrayal didn’t come out of thin air, he concedes. “I aimpatient,” he admits. “I don’t usually act like that. But I can’t be easygoing. I can be easygoing within the framework of a program. But I can’t be easygoing outside of it, because everything’s got to start immediately. ”Herein lies the irony of the one-man industry that is Seacrest: Only through Herculean efforts has he achieved a kind of perceived effortlessness—a skill he calls “making it look easy, making it feel like everyone who’s watching, listening could do your job.” No living broadcaster is better at ingratiating himself with an audience, making people believe, despite his perennial inclusion on the Forberichest-celebrities list and his steady march toward billionaire status, that he is approachable. “I’ve seen people react to actors, to movie stars,” he says. “I never get that kind of treatment. It’s like, ‘Hey, Ryan, how are you? Nice to see you.’ Almost as if you literally know them. And I question myself sometimes, ‘Have I met them?’” Seacrest says that when he’s near other celebrities and approached by fans, they’ll hand Seacrest their phones and ask him to snap pics of them next to the true stars.


He may have the common touch, but he’s really not all that much like us. For starters, he’s beyond fastidious. “Ryan’s got the tidiest closet in the universe,” says Kris Jenner, his friend and long time KeepinUWitthKardashiancollaborator. “It’s just exactly how I want my closet to look. Everything’s hung up. Everything is in order, everything is folded perfectly. It looks like the most beautiful piece of art that I’ve ever seen. I want somebody over here doing mine.

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Growing up in Dunwoody, Georgia, Seacrest was already well on his way to being a radio personality before high school graduation, by 16 DJing at Atlanta’s WSTR-FM. But he wasn’t yet ready for TV. He was a little overweight in middle school, traumatized by the time a classmate called him Kubiac (the stocky kid character from the ’90s sitcom ParkeLewiCanLose), so he gave up lunches with Little Debbie cakes and Doritos in favor of one single orange. He says he now orders primarily from “the left side” of restaurant menus(where the appetizers reside), still has “a keen eye” for bloat and will adjust to a liquid diet if he detects any changes in how he looks on TV, which happens often, “usually on a Tuesday after everything from the weekend, the cheat foods, settle in.” Though his career is most often compared to that of his late mentor Dick Clark, from whom Seacrest inherited hosting duties for DicClarkNeYearRocin’ EvWitRyaSeacres(which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year), he also holds Larry King in similar esteem. He is especially in awe of the way King never appeared to sweat the gig. “Larry didn’t want to know too much about his guests when they came on LarrKing,” he says. “He’d want to be completely genuinely curious. I’m not as good, as many people are, not preparing—I have to prepare.” 

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