Denise Quan is an entertainment journalist and producer who spent 18 years at CNN, where she headed up music coverage for CNN Entertainment and served as a reporter and producer for weekly features spotlighting top musicians. Before talking with Eddie Van Halen about rock ’n’ roll and reinvention, she confessed in the What It Means to Be American green room to a fondness for eating ice cream out of the carton and to having some difficulty getting out of bed in the morning.
Q: What was the first album you bought?
A: I think it was Let it Be.
Q: What do you love to hate?
A: When people are mean to each other.
Q: What do you wish you had the nerve to do?
A: Tell people what I think—refer to answer prior.
Q: What’s your favorite pizza topping?
A: Artichoke hearts.
Q: What do you wake up to?
A: I wake up to an alarm that goes off like 50 times before I get up to shut it off.
Q: What’s your fondest childhood memory?
A: Probably vacations with my family. I’m one of 20 grandchildren on my dad’s side, so four or five of our families would get together and rent a few houses in Lake Tahoe and just have a big family outing.
Q: What’s your guilty pleasure?
A: Eating ice cream out of the carton. Because I can. I’m an adult, damn it!
Q: What profession would you like to practice in your next life?
A: Probably something that was more stable than being a journalist in this day and age. Or maybe I’d come back as a chef.
Q: What do you consider beautiful?
A: I think when people glow from the inside out—just because they have a passion about something, or when there’s a warmth to someone’s personality.
*Photos by Abram Eric Landes.