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VOL 3. NO. 16 Friday, April 13 - Thursday, April 26, 2001
Angela Nissel Is No Longer Broke

Courtesy photo, Angela Nissel, Former Broke Diva

A lesson many learn on the road to individual fulfillment is that poverty can rear its ugly head at the worse of times. No matter how prepared we may be, the unforeseen always happens. Some have learned to cope in inventive ways and none have been as creative as the latest Villard Books release, "The Broke Diaries."

As a student at University Of Pennsylvania, author Angela Nissel found a therapeutic release in posting a semi-daily entry on the Internet. Her small, school-based website found readers relating to her tales of textbook scamming and Ramen noodle hustling. It became her obsession and her site garnered an underground following. She aimed to show an honest slice of college life from a student who didn't have the privileges of unlimited financial resources. And with the popularity of shows such as "Survivor" and "Big Brother," Nissel's diary reads as if the reader is not supposed to have access to her day-to-day activities. Nissel's personable writing style invites you into her life in a most intimate fashion. It has all the makings of a guilty pleasure.

In a recent conversation with MetroConx, Ms. Nissel revealed her insight about writing "The Diaries."

CHANDLER: What is/was your aim for doing "The Broke Diaries" and what do you hope readers gain from it?

NISSEL: I used to write "The Broke Diaries" for free. I started writing them because, well, I was broke and the Internet kept me sane. Being able to combine the two (I used to put the entries on my website at UPenn) made life a little more fun. When people wrote me to share their stories or just to tell me I made them laugh, it felt so wonderful, it kinda got addicting! I hope people get to see the real side of struggling through college. I hope people escape into the book. I hope people laugh, laugh, then laugh some more. I love making people laugh. When you're laughing...at that second the laughter is coming out of your mouth, you're not worried about anything. You're lost in laughter. I like doing that for people.

CHANDLER: Are you interested in doing any novels or does time not allow for that now?

NISSEL: Unlike authors who get advances they can live off of, I think I'll have to put the novel on hold for a bit until I figure out how to handle the day job and the Hollywood stuff that's coming at me. I am also working with director Reginald Hudlin ("House Party," "Boomerang") on bringing "The Broke Diaries" to TV. There has been a bunch of interest and well, can you imagine seeing something you used to write for free to keep your sanity as a TV series? So, that's my second job now.

CHANDLER: Are times still lean for you or have you broken the "broke" cipher?

NISSEL: For me, having broken the broke cipher means I can keep my fridge stocked and feed my cats non-no frills cat food. So, yes, I have broken the broke cipher. It amazing that through writing a book about how broke I was, I realize how little money means and how little we really need to live. It's the "keeping up with the Joneses" that kills our pockets. I have to admit though, I do want to splurge on a Gucci hat.

CHANDLER: Anything you wish to state to your fans or detractors?

NISSEL: It's weird to think of having fans. If people like the book, then they're probably the same as my friends who laughed at the stories I told over dinner. Cool folks with a sense of humor. I doubt anyone will throw panties or boxers at me at my book signings.

Detractors? If they don't get it, they don't get it. I just hope they put their time and energy into doing something they like instead of tearing me down. It's better for their souls. Plus, I'm the broke chick who was writing stories online...any feedback I get, positive or negative, is more than I was getting before. It's a book, `dernit.' If you're not sure if you'll like it or afraid you'll waste your money, get it from the library!

Nissel's broke days are apparently behind her right now. In addition to her new title as author, and possibly creator of a television show, she is co-founder and site manager for OkayPlayer.com, one of the Internet's most popular music and message forum sites. You can meet Nissel and share stories from your own "Broke Diaries" on April 24, 7:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble (555 12th Street NW, Washington, DC). Call 202-347-0176 for more information about this tour date. For more information about the broke diva check out her website www.thebrokediaries.com.

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