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Interview With Gail Evans, Suzanne Somers, Victoria Principal, Pamela Peeke

Aired May 4, 2003 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Suzanne Somers, Victoria Principal, and the new book that men don't want women to read, the book that could shatter the glass ceiling once and for all. "She Wins, You Win," by Gail Evans, CNN's first executive vice president. They're all next on LARRY KING WEEKEND.
Good evening. I may not get a word in tonight. We have four very powerful, successful women with us on this edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND, and our subject tonight is empowering women.

Let's meet the panel. Gail Evans, the author of "She Wins, You Win: The Most Important Rule Every Businesswoman Needs to Know." Her previous book, a "New York Times" best seller still selling is "Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman." She joined CNN back in 1980, in 1996 became that network's first female executive vice president.

Suzanne Somers, entertainer, entrepreneur. She markets her own beauty, fitness and weight loss products plus apparel, jewelry and small appliances. She owns QVC.


KING: HSN. Whatever. They're all on. They're selling all of her. Her tenth book is, "Fast and Easy: Lose Weight the Somersize Way with Quick, Delicious Meals for the Entire Family." Her official Web site,, and she's staring in a one-woman show, "The Blonde and Thunderbird."

Victoria Principal is an actress, entrepreneur. "Principal Secret" is her skincare and "Color Principal" makeup line. Here Web site is She is the author of best selling books including, "Living Principal."

And finally, Dr. Pamela Peeke, internationally recognized expert on nutrition and stress, the evolving field of integrated medicine. She's the best selling author of "Fight Fat Over Forty," presented ground-breaking research about how chronic stress contributes to weight gain and threatens life quality. She's been seen on Food Network's "Cooking Thin," and she contributes to "Prevention," "Good Housekeeping," "O" magazine, and "Shape."

We'll talk about each of their individual endeavors in a just a couple of moments, but the overall subject, do women still need empowering, Gail?

GAIL EVANS, AUTHOR: Yes. Women absolutely still need empowering. Women still need to believe that it's OK to win.

KING: Why? Why, Suzanne? Why do they still -- I thought, you know...

SOMERS: Why not?

KING: But you've come a long way, baby.

SOMERS: It is. It's a fantastic time for women. It's all about, you know, being proactive and deciding what it is you want and then going for it, focusing and going for it.

KING: Do you still think you've got a road to go, Victoria? The female agenda.


KING: I know that.

PRINCIPAL: I come from an era where I had to do it by the seat of my pants, but I've very grateful that I'm having the opportunity to mentor younger women and nurture them and see them explore areas that weren't necessarily open to me.

KING: Dr. Peeke.

DR. PAMELA PEEKE, NUTRITION EXPERT: You know, it's interesting. We talk about this, but it's hard. It's really hard, especially nowadays, because, you know, a lot of the new science now shows that women get caught up in so many care-giving obligations and responsibilities, and sometimes it's really hard to see the journey, in a way.

That's why it's wonderful to have women, who are heroes, who are kind of out there trying to show us the way but, you know, I see so many women in my own practice and my research who are just struggling and just trying to figure out how you balance it all. How do you do that?

KING: Is there a strike or two against the women, Gail, just on being a woman?

EVANS: Yes, in the marketplace there is, in the workplace, because the rules of the game were written by the boys, and women are still inventing and reinventing themselves because they haven't figured out how to operate like a team yet.

KING: And so it's up to the woman to figure that out?

EVANS: I think what we have to understand is that we have to help each other. That's the answer to success. It's not learning all the rules the boys play by and the rest. It's learning that we have to be there for each other.

KING: Suzanne, weren't you raised, though, in the it's a man's world? SOMERS: Yes. Yes, but there's an advantage when you've had an opportunity for celebrity, and there was a point in my life when I realized that celebrity was a tangible thing. It was a thing that if you were honest with the American public, and if you did it from a place of integrity, that you could turn it into -- celebrity into business.

And that's what I have done with my businesses and also followed the passage I am in at whatever point in my life. When I, you know, got in my early 40s, I put on 20 pounds. So, that's how the diet business began.

My husband never buys me any jewelry, so I started a jewelry business. So, you know, he's only hearing about it tonight.

KING: You are, Victoria -- this group, though, is the exception, right, not the norm?

PRINCIPAL: The exception in what way?

KING: The exception to most women. Most women aren't entrepreneurial successes.

PRINCIPAL: Well, you know, Larry, I have a slightly different perspective. I was very lucky. My parents raised me in such a way that it never occurred to me that I wasn't equal.

KING: Wasn't equal.

PRINCIPAL: Right. And so...

KING: You have brothers?

PRINCIPAL: No. No, but if wanted to play a sport, I played a sport. If I wanted to do things that many girls born in 1950 didn't do, I did it. And I was encouraged to do it, and yet, I would go home and wear petticoats and play with dolls. It worked both -- so, I grew up thinking that whatever I wanted to do, I could do.

And I know you talk about in your book that ignorance is not bliss, but in my case, that was. So, I didn't know there were things I couldn't or shouldn't be able to do and, therefore, the fear factor didn't get in the way. It was a matter of doing them to the best of my ability.

KING: It's still constructive, though, the man sets it up, right? The man runs the legislature, man runs the Congress, man runs the -- it's changing, but the man still calls the shots.

PEEKE: But it's interesting. You know, what we're finding is that, you know, I had a lot of the same kind of upbringing. My mother was very, very bright, and she actually ended up being a super model during the 1940s and 1950s and used that money to go to law school with five children at home. She taught me that there was absolutely nothing I could not do in life. That was the message I constantly got. And there was something else I kind of figured out for myself, and there's a way to be able to, you know, kind of get through this. And I use wit and humor all the time. And my story is when I was in medical school, and here I was, you know, entering my first day in surgery, all right? And it's said -- they said please go in the locker rooms, and you need to change. And there it was. It said doctors and nurses, and I said I'm a doctor, but I went in there and went into the men's locker room. It was kind of interesting actually.

It was also where all the scrubs were, the comfortable, you know, the pants and the tops. When I went into the nurses room, there were these awful dresses that made you freeze to death.

And so what I did was very simple. I just marched right into the other room and picked up all the ones that were my sizes and just marched them into the other room. The nurses went crazy over this. It never occurred to them that they could do that, and it was wild.

KING: They were on test scale. Surgeon is a male word. If I say a surgeon is coming through the door, you do not expect a woman.

EVANS: Sure. Or chairman of the company. I mean all though (UNINTELLIGIBLE), right.

KING: Even though there are woman pilots and women surgeons, it's still a male word.

EVANS: That's right.

SOMERS: But I don't think that you can pay any attention to that. I mean, you grew up being supported. I grew up not being supported at all. I mean, I have written several books about this. I was told, from my earliest memories -- it was a mantra. I was stupid, hopeless, worthless, nothing, and a big zero. This is what I came from.

KING: Then what motivated you?

SOMERS: I went into therapy. I think you've got to look at your life, and you've got to say this is the curve I've been dealt. So, therefore, keep what you like about yourself and fix what is broken.

And there was so much about me that was broken, but if you really want it in life, you can change who you are. We all have the capacity to change. And so, I think it doesn't matter where you come from, what economic bracket, if you were abused or from an alcoholic or a drug-addicted family, or whatever it is, at some point in your life, you've got to take charge of who you are and change it and make your life what you want it to be. And then, you have to do what you love.

And you were talking about women, and it's so hard but, you know, I go to the farmer's market every Saturday where I live, and I see these women who have set up little boutiques, and they're selling things that they make or things that they jar, or whatever, and they're talking to people. They're having a good time, and I think they're loving doing it. They're making a little money. It's commerce. It's business. So, it's -- whatever it is that you can do that you love.

KING: Weren't you an agent when there were no women agents?


SOMERS: You were?

PRINCIPAL: I was an actress first...

KING: We're going to get to each of you -- we're going to get into your book and everything. We are going to get individual little tidbits from each of you. But right now, it's general in this first segment.

PRINCIPAL: I was an actress first, and I lost my way. I became so consumed with trying to live up to what the public expected that I lost myself. And I don't know of anyone else who can say this. I went to find myself and save myself by being an agent.

But the person who gave me an opportunity was a man. Irv Schechter came to me and said I want to offer you a job as an agent. So, I man recognized my potential.

I went to a woman for advice about how to be in business, but I learned a great deal from men, not only what to do, but what not to do.

KING: You learned a lot from booking other people on jobs.

PRINCIPAL: I got even. I got even with all the bad management I had by being a good manager.

KING: We will take a break and be right back with Gail Evans, Suzanne Somers, Victoria Principal and Dr. Pamela Peeke. Don't go away.


KING: Gail Evans, what do you mean by, "She Wins, You Win"?

EVANS: That our successes are connected. We are a group. We are women. We are (UNINTELLIGIBLE) because of our chromosomes, and when I succeed, every other woman out there succeeds a little. And If I fail, every other woman out their fails.

And so the one rule we sort of have to learn as women is that we, you know, the four of us are here, and we feel good about what we've done. Part of our job is to turn around and help other women who don't feel as good about it, who haven't learned to be part of the team.

KING: Do you say men won't want people to read this book?

EVANS: No, I didn't say that. Everybody else says that. Everybody else told me that my first book was what the men wanted every woman to read at the office, and this is the book they don't because this reveals the way they guys play on the team.

I don't know, but I think boys are very -- boys understand team from the time they are little because they always play on teams.

KING: What do you mean by the subtitle, "The Most Important Rule Every Businesswoman Needs to Know"?

EVANS: That every businesswoman needs to know that you are a member of the team, and you need to play that way for your own success and for everybody else's success. And we haven't been doing that.

KING: Whereas women have to be team players. They can't go...

EVANS: But they need to be on -- they have to understand they are on big team, which is wherever they were. They are also on the women's team. And where we have gotten lost is we haven't really understood that the women's what the women's team was.

KING: Can they be Martha Stewart and have that principle?



EVANS: I mean, it doesn't -- what it means is that you understand that there really is a connectiveness about it and that we can help each other and teach other and that you have to do -- actually take action to do that.

We have to give each other the business. We're as bad at it as anybody else. I mean, you get ready to hire a doctor or a lawyer or anybody, and does a woman stop and think, do I know a woman lawyer? To just consider. Because how are we going to move the action, so to speak, if we're not the ones who do it?

KING: Do you think, Suzanne, that it is your responsibility to help other women?

SOMERS: I think you teach by example, and I try to put out an example of hope, you know, that if I can do it, you can do it.

KING: But do you think in terms of daily living, as she said? Do you think it terms of if you are going to go see a lawyer, there might be a woman lawyer? Why not a woman lawyer?

SOMERS: At the moment, I have to say honestly that I probably would go for Howard Weitzman.


SOMERS: Because I want to win at this point. But then, look what Marcia Clark did. I think you can't generalize.

KING: Anybody can jump in. Victoria?

PRINCIPAL: For myself, I respectfully disagree as an individual, and that is I always look for the best person to do the job that I need filled. And when I started Victoria Principal Products, at one time, there were 22 full-time employees, they were all women. It wasn't because I only interviewed women. I interviewed men and women. It just so happened that each time I was interviewing, I would meet with a lot of people, and women -- a number of women -- filled the position.

And for instance, "Secret," we have a number of women. And as of Monday, we have a man.

KING: A first for you?

PRINCIPAL: First man. Started a few days ago, Monday. So, it's -- I keep a very open mind. Gender doesn't really -- is not part of the issue for me. It's who will give me what I need.

EVANS: I think you have to add to that -- I agree completely with Victoria, but one of the things we have to do as women, I think, is begin to say, am I considering a woman? When you go to look for the lawyer, I would never say don't hire the best person, but I think we have to begin to say, OK, is there a woman on my list? If we're not starting to look out for the other women, who is going to?


PRINCIPAL: ... I haven't made in the position male or female, I've made it the best person.

EVANS: It's all about the quality.

PEEKE: But, you know, in my field, what's interesting all my mentors, most of my training life, were men because by definition, the fields of medicine, it was highly, you know, male oriented. And so, now I find myself in the position of being, you know, the person who does mentor because I've finally there, and as it were.

KING: Do you mentor all women?

PEEKE: I mentor -- they come to me in droves. It's interesting for a multitude of reasons. So, is it possible to live this kind of a life, and back and forth, rich and -- but the other thing that's interesting in our field -- any maybe you've done it in your own personal lives -- is that suddenly, there's this incredible running to women physicians by women for a very interesting reason. And it's not just because, you know, you know, we have a set of ovaries, too. It's because there's a new medicine that's called gender specific medicine that's now emerging out of all the academic institutions, and it shows that we are, indeed, very unique, incredible unique.

You know, we secrete less seratonin than a man does. No wonder we go for carbs and fat all the time. You know, we ruminate. Men don't ruminate. Women do. And there's beautiful new research out of the University of Michigan, and because of that, I think a lot of women are just wanting to learn a lot more about this incredibly uniqueness and learning how to use it to power themselves.

KING: Not only are you using your...


PRINCIPAL: If you have a vagina, you would like someone treating you who has one, too.

PEEKE: Yes, or have a clue anyway!

SOMERS: Or someone who really likes one!

KING: How do we use your book?

EVANS: What I would love women to do is I would love women to buy my book and get in the discussion with other women. I don't actually care if they agree with all that I'm suggesting, but I think women need to begin talking about are we really helping and supporting each other out there in the marketplace? And are there actual techniques that we can use to make it easier because power is not something anybody every gives away.

And so, I hear women all the time talk about, you know, there's only 11 or 12 percent of the power positions in this country that are controlled by women, and we are 49 percent of the work force. How are we going to get from here to there?

Well, it's been a long time. We've been in the work force a long time. We're not going to get there unless we can get there ourselves. As Suzanne said, unless we are empowered to do it, and I think we have to do it collectively. We've been doing it a lot individually. Now is the time to begin to think about doing it together.

KING: Do you think women should sit down and read this book together?

EVANS: Well, I think women should talk -- I want women to read it and talk about it.

PRINCIPAL: So that it creates a dialogue.


PEEKE: It's provocative. It has to be.

PRINCIPAL: We all have very -- obviously, similarities. We may have different semantics, but we have a very strong point of view. But when you create a dialogue, that's when you create the bond because people can -- it's easy to agree. It's wonderful when women can disagree, share the disagreement in a way that is bonding, and it helps growth.


EVANS: Understanding you can disagree and still love each other.

KING: We're going to break. We'll pick right up. We'll be right back. Don't go away. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Just want to find out a little bit about each of their current projects. Gail Evans' book is, "She Wins, You Win: The Most Important Rule Every Businesswoman Needs to Know."

Suzanne Somers, her tenth book is, "Fast and Easy...


SOMERS: Leave it alone. Leave it alone.

KING: You want to sell a lot of books, don't you? And the subtitle is, "Lose Weight the Somersize Way with Quick, Delicious Meals for the Entire Family." Weight is your bag now?

SOMERS: Well, actually, no. My next bag will be hormones. I want to come on your show and discuss hormones at length. But again, it's a passage I'm going through. When I gained the weight, then I went into the whole weight loss business. It's turned into something that I never imagined. These 20 pounds changed my life.

And then I have a company -- we have over 100 employees, and I have lost count of how many products.

KING: You like being in business for yourself, rather than the times you worked for others?

SOMERS: I -- now I find it very difficult to work for someone else. Once you have worked for yourself, it's very, very difficult to even go back to the things I used to do that I enjoy.

KING: Your line of chocolates and everything.

SOMERS: Chocolates -- the hero is Somersweet, the sugarless sugar that is so fantastic. And it's chocolates and ketchup and barbecue sauce.

I went up and down the aisles of the supermarket to find out, you know, where's all the hidden sugar, and almost every jar I took off the shelf had sugar. Ketchup has 20 percent sugar. Barbecue sauce is 50 percent sugar. Mayonnaise has sugar. Mustard has sugar.

KING: You hate sugar, don't you? Just say it.

SOMERS: I just, well, it's your body's greatest enemy, but...

KING: How about people telling you fruit is good for you?

SOMERS: Fruit? Fruit is good for you.

KING: So, but there's sugar...

SOMERS: Well, you know, you have to -- Alan gained weight eating so much fruit. He used to eat, like, 30 pieces of fruit a day, and he said, I don't know why I'm gaining weight. I said, you know, I write the books, and all that fruit is going to add up to sugar.

KING: But you can lose weight on a fruit diet.

SOMERS: You cannot.

KING: You cannot lose weight...

SOMERS: Well, if that's all you eat, I mean, it's going to make you really regular, and I guess (UNINTELLIGIBLE), but you're going to go back the old way.

KING: Victoria, Principal Secret skincare, this is your big thing.

PRINCIPAL: Principal Secret, yes.

KING: It's a whole line of products, right?

PRINCIPAL: It's the largest direct sales skincare line in the world.

KING: Do you -- are you a chemist?

PRINCIPAL: Interesting you would ask. I'm about to become a member of the Chemists Society of America. Yes, I'm very proud of that.

KING: Do you formulate your own products?

PRINCIPAL: I go to the best scientists. What I do is I have a vision, and that is -- and I've learned enough and been involved enough now in the creation of several lines to understand the language. And so, I will go to one of our two main scientists -- one is a woman, and one is a man -- and say this is what I want. This is in my perfect world. This is what would happen to the skin over a period of 30 days, over a period of three months, over a period of a year. This is what I want to do.


PRINCIPAL: Well, no, you want what we're about to give you. And as a result, we are about to introduce a new line this year that is, in fact, going to be revolutionary, something that you can use topically, and the effects that it will have -- we have the clinicals -- without a prescription.

KING: Really?

PRINCIPAL: Yes. Really.

KING: And what, Dr. Peeke, is, "Fight Fat Over Forty" all about?

PEEKE: Well, it's about the reason why stressed spelled backwards is desserts, and this is something I discovered -- think about that for a minute -- you like that?

SOMERS: When did you think of that?

PEEKE: This was in 1991. I had just come to the National Institutes of Health as a senior research fellow and, you know, these experiments go on forever, and they are, like, beyond boring. And so you begin to doodle and, you know, listen to music in the background. I was like this, and there was the word stressed, and I started spelling it backwards, and I just jumped out of my seat, ran over to my mentor, and I said, "Dr. Carusos (ph), I found it! I found it!" And he said, "What? A new protein, a new carbohydrate?" I said, "Oh, bag all that. This is big! This is huge! This is mission from God!"

And so, I went ahead in the laboratory and figured out why it is that women are stress overeaters, and there was beautiful science behind this.

KING: Why is it?

PEEKE: It's because women are exquisitely sensitive to stress and stress hormone, cortisol. And what ends up happening is we take it all in. Something happens -- I'll give you an example. You know I live in Washington. Many of my patients, you know, who are women, listen to the F16s over, you know, overhead.

KING: Every day.

PEEKE: Oh, yes. A woman will hear a roar in her head, and she'll say, my God, I'm so worried, and I'm ruminating. What's going to happen to my children?

What will happen to the guy? Her husband's sleeping next to her just snoring away and going -- you ask him in the morning. It's not because he didn't care. This is his response. His response is, I don't hear a roar. I hear a soft, comforting purr, and it let's me know that everything's fine. And you're thinking, what's wrong with this picture?

Well, then what happened was we measured stress hormone is women in experiments all day long. What we found is that women are always ramped up all day long, and what ends up happening is when she gets really overburdened, which takes five minutes in a woman's life, you know, with all the care giving, whatever, she ends up having an inexorable appetite for more carbs and fat because that's what high levels of cortisol do. It keeps her in this constant I've got to have more of that thing.

And we've now figured out what we need to do to calm it down, you know, obviously, using the mind, excellent nutrition and, obviously, physical activity, which calms it all down like...

KING: It does?

PEEKE: Oh, yes, it's beta-endorphins, and there are also increased seratonin, and it calms down the entire stress axis. So, I mean, when was the last time you took a walk and said that was the worst experience of my life?

KING: Would it be fair to say that women have more stress, Gail? Generally in life? The raise the children, they...

EVANS: I would think they do because, right, because life is so much more complex because we still have all those responsibilities in the home for our children and, for many women, for their parents. People don't even talk about the fact that a lot of women are just stuck between there's children here, the parents there, and then there's the job.

SOMERS: I think women's health needs are very specific, and I think that there's a lot of ignorance to women's health needs, and the one -- you know, you're talking about stress...

PRINCIPAL: Well, but talking -- I'm going to jump in on you for a second, and that is, in terms of women having more stress, I disagree. I think it's absolutely how we respond to it, that we're wired differently, and the fact is, and that's why more women have adrenal insufficiency that men, is the fact that when something like an airplane flying over, a guy just rams up the volume on the television so he can hear what's happening.

We respond to it. We respond more to our parents. We respond more. It's not that our husbands and our brothers don't. It's just that they respond differently. It's what we do.

PEEKE: The other thing we need to know though. All the science that was ever done on stress was done on male subjects. It was male monkeys. It was male rats. It was male men. Anyway, no, but the bottom line was we finally started looking a women for the first time, and we stress a little differently.

SOMERS: But also, stress blunts hormone production, and you go to doctors, and it is the least understood medical mystery, and nobody understands. It starts happening in your 30s. This book that I'm just about finishing right now -- one of the interesting things I'm finding out is women, in their late 30s and 40s, have no sex drive. These super women...


SOMERS: No, it's true because of being the perfect wife, the perfect houses, the perfect children. They're on the nutrition committee at school. They run the perfect business. They have time for everything except for themselves, and by the end of the night, the last thing they are in the mood for -- plus they are so stressed that they've blocked all their hormone production, and so, it's all out of whack, and they're aren't any doctors who understand when you go to the doctor.


KING: Hold it! Hold it! We're going to get a break and pick right up. I'll reintroduce the panel right after these words.


KING: This second half hour, we'll turn it into a free for all. Empowering women. Our guests are, if you have just joined us, Gail Evans, author of, "She Wins, You Win: The Most Important Rule Every Businesswoman Needs to Know." Her previous "New York Times" best seller was, "Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman."

Suzanne Somers, entrepreneur, entertainer, markets her own beauty, fitness and weight loss products, is the best selling author. Her tenth book is, "Fast and Easy: Lose Weight the Somersize Way with Quick, Delicious Meals for the Entire Family."

Victoria Principal is the actress, entrepreneur, and the founder of the Principal Secret skin care and Color Principal makeup line. Her web site is www.principalsecret -- that's one word -- .com.

And Dr. Pamela Peeke, internationally recognized expert on nutrition and stress, best selling author of, "Fight Fat Over Forty," who introduced groundbreaking research about chronic stress contributing to weight gain.

And, Gail, you were going to say something.

EVANS: Well, no, I just -- I love what Victoria has said about, you know, we do take up the stress. We do worry more about the parents and about the children and about everything being right. Wouldn't it be fantastic if we began an experiment where we stopped doing it?


PRINCIPAL: You know, if your child falls and cuts their knee, your husband says, I did that when I was 5, and we think, oh, I did it when I was five, and it hurt so much. We invest more of ourselves in everything that happens around us. It's not that men are unfeeling. We're just different.


PEEKE: But, think of the reason why. The reason why you do that is because of child rearing. What we found out was that every single time a woman thinks, almost all the time with both hemispheres of her brain activated. That means her senses are on. She's noticing -- right now we're noticing color. We're noticing, you know, visuals and hearing.

A guy oftentimes will not do that for a multitude of reasons. One, the main reason, is they actually think more with one hemisphere than with both. Remember the "USA Today" headline that said, you know, men think with half a brain. It was a very interesting one. And it was -- it was actually, you know a medical experiment that had been done by the National Academy of Sciences. Had a man and woman argue about something. They measured the blood flow in the brain. They found the woman's was just going wild and crazy. She remembers everything, and a month later, she can tell you the exact color of his eyes.

PRINCIPAL: It's subtle nuances. PEEKE: Exactly.

PRINCIPAL: They changes in facial expressions, the color -- if the tips of his ears get red, and you know he really just got mad./

EVANS: Also, I think it's interesting. It's sort of about, like, life to women is very specific. It's why we're so detail oriented. And to men, life is much more generic.

I always kiddingly tell people what I call the orange juice story. You know, where a woman calls her spouse or partner or whatever else and says, honey, will you pick up some orange juice on the way home, and he stops the first place he can, grabs the first thing full of orange juice and walks in the house, expecting her to smile and say thanks, and she looks, and she says, how could anybody have lived here for 10 years and not know that we don't drink that kind of orange juice. We drink a totally different kind of orange juice.


EVANS: What's wonderful about it is six months later the same thing happens, and 10 years later, the same thing has happened, and he's still buying the wrong orange juice, and she still thinks there's only one orange juice.

PEEKE: But he knows the name of every quarterback that he ever wanted to know in the last 20 years.

KING: Do the women bind together -- the women as friends bind together differently than men as friends?

SOMERS: Well, I think, I don't know, you know, I hate to get into a male versus female because I've had -- I have really enjoyed men in my life.

KING: It's not versus when we're discussing empowering women.

SOMERS: Right. Right.

KING: So, obviously, they need, I mean there's been a division that's been unfair everywhere.

SOMERS: Well, I found, you know, as a -- when you take on a corporation, you're going to lose. I found that one out. You just sort of live day by day and not think too much about being in a race with anybody.

Again, I think that you're doing what you love, and you're following that path, then everything sort of falls along the wayside. It's not, I don't know...


SOMERS: Right. Exactly.

PRINCIPAL: And don't strive to be perfect. Strive for excellence.

SOMERS: And sometimes, like when I said Howard Weitzman, sometimes there is a man who is better equipped. If I was in a criminal situation, I -- you would go for a lawyer who has the most experience. So it's not so much that you're choosing a woman over a man, it's just who's the best person for the job right now?

KING: That's self-fulfilling then. Then you never get to be a woman who's a successful criminal lawyer if you only pick the one who's been successful.

SOMERS: Yes, but if you're in trouble, you're going to want the one who has the most experience right now.

And it's changing. I see at HSN, the president is a woman now. The women who are on the floor with me are all running things. They buyers are all women.

I look in my company. I'm looking in my head at the division heads, and its half and half. Half are women, and I never thought about, when I put people in place, I'm hiring you because you're a woman. It's like you're the best one for the job.

PEEKE: Well, what if that same criminal lawyer, who is also now mentoring to women, and now all of a sudden, you see yourself, and that's a whole different ball game.

SOMERS: And that happens.

PEEKE: And that happens.

SOMERS: Look at Steven Spielberg...


SOMERS: And it happens a lot.

PEEKE: And so I think that you -- again, look at my case. I mean, I had no one but men. I only had men to be able to mentor me. There were no women.

KING: What about you?

EVANS: Only men because there were no women.

KING: You were at CNN. There were no women executives.

EVANS: But I think that all of us agree that part of our obligation is...


PRINCIPAL: ... been very lucky. I had a different experience inasmuch that my great opportunities came from men. So, to be an agent came from a man. But I went to Sherry Lansing for advice on how to be a woman in the business. My opportunity came from men to be a full-fledged producer from two wonderful men.

Yet, there was a woman named Judy Polone, who taught me how to do it and mentored me.

And my ability to go into skin care really, once again, came from -- I was mentored by a woman. That was Ida Thibant (ph), but my partners are both men, I needed two people with the knowledge and the ability they had -- and they turned out to be men -- to help me take the skin care nationwide and global.

But there's been a very interesting dynamic in my life, where I've been given wonderful opportunities by men, that they looked at me and looked beyond this and said, what can you do?

KING: Do women, therefore, still need men to give them that? You needed Ted Turner, didn't you?

EVANS: Well, we all need each other. I think, what I'm trying to say, I think, is that what we have to understand is women -- we are going to have to help each other along the way, that it's not just going to happen because the wonderful men in our lives give us these opportunities, that women have made it harder for other women recently, rather than make it easier.

PRINCIPAL: Our mothers taught that we were in competition with each other.

KING: Why do they do that?

PRINCIPAL: Because it used to be you wanted to marry up, and so your mother wanted you not to be really good friends with other -- yes! Absolutely! You were supposed to insulate yourself. You could have girl friend, but don't be too close.

PEEKE: Wait a minute, I'm all confused now.

PRINCIPAL. You were supposed to insulate yourself so that no one could take an opportunity away from you when, in fact, when we work together, it's a bond unlike any other.

KING: We're going to get a break. We'll pick right up. We won't miss a beat. We'll be right back -- can't get a word -- we'll be right back on this edition of NEWS WEEKEND. Don't go away.


KING: We're back. All right. Gail?

EVANS: We have to understand women can still be individuals and play on the team. I think we were taught so much that you have to be an individual, and you have be distinctive, and you have -- and you don't want anybody else to get in your space, but you can be an individual and still be part of the team.

PRINCIPAL: In school -- and I presume we're all around the same age -- I'm 53. In school, when I was growing up, in girly sports, you didn't know how to play against each other and feel good about it because either you had to, like, hate the person you were playing against so that you could justify winning and hurting them, but you would see guys play against each other brutally, and then when it was over, pat each other on the ass and go have a beer.


PRINCIPAL: We didn't have anyone to mentor us about how to compete effectively. And that's what were doing now is teaching young women how to compete effectively.

EVANS: What if you learned that you could grow up, and when you were aggressive as a little boy, somebody taught you what the limits of aggression were? When you were a little girl -- and it's still true today -- you were taught little girls don't -- nice little girls don't think that way. They don't have masculine thoughts.

KING: Boys and girls play differently, don't they? Boys and girls?


SOMERS: Little boys are so full of testosterone and energy, and I have two grandsons that bite each other constantly, but then the girls, they like to play in the corner, and they're just different.

PEEKE: But that's normal. That is a normal, biological, and that's a very primal kind of behavior. But what isn't happening is that as boys and girls grow up, what kind of environment are they in that allows them to be able to believe in themselves and adopt an identity that allows them to grow like that.

You know, as I was listening to all this, I just realized, you know, I did the "Early Today Show" in 1998, you know, the one right before the "Today" show in New York, for an article I had helped with with "Shape" magazine, and a woman picked up the phone, and it was Amanda Urban at ICM, who was one of the greatest of the literary agents in this country, and she says, you know something? You're good. You need to write a book.

And the next thing I knew, another woman on -- they were both on treadmills watching me at the same time in New York doing a little exercise -- another woman calls me up, and she turned out to be one of the top editors at Putnam Penguin, which is the only publishing house at that time that -- it was the first in history that had a woman at the head of it.

So, I ended up with that, with this, and it was extraordinary. And they taught me a lot.

KING: But...

SOMERS: But...

KING: I'm sorry. SOMERS: But that's being raised in a sophisticated environment. If you come from a little small town, where no woman has ever done anything like that, what I found, on a subliminal level, what I did was seek out really intelligent men, really smart men, and I dated them to pick their brain. I married one to pick -- not only to pick his brain...


SOMERS: ... but I think you have to asses, you know, were you are in life and what were you given. And so, if you have access to smart men, who have had more opportunity, up until now -- and I think things are changing -- then what a great place to live.

KING: Are role models -- is Oprah important for women?

EVANS: Oh, very important.

PRINCIPAL: She's incredible, Larry.

SOMERS: Because she did it. She made it out. If she can do it, all the other women at home can say, if she did it, I can do it, too.

PRINCIPAL: I was shooting "Oprah" yesterday.

PEEKE: She was showing humanity. She was showing the fact that she had, you know, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and vulnerabilities and strengths, as well, and she showed that balance, and I think that's what really affected a lot of women out there.

PRINCIPAL: The super woman thing.

PEEKE: Oh, yes.

PRINCIPAL: Because Oprah proved to a whole generation of women, or several generations, that you can be powerful. You can be very bright. That you can have inadequacies and self-doubt, that you can be a whole person with all of that and still be successful and admirable.

KING: But never a threat to men. You think Oprah is a threat?


PRINCIPAL: Oprah is so bright, and her intelligence is so piercing that I don't think that anyone who spends a few minutes with her isn't struck by that.

SOMERS: I don't think men are intimidated by bright women. I think they like it, and I think they find it sexy.

And you know Ellen Levine, who is the editor of "Good Housekeeping"? I was having lunch with Ellen Levine in New York, and I felt like the invisible fly on the wall because men were just coming over to her. Men...


SOMERS. Right, and she's bright and she's sexy and she's successful, and they weren't threatened at all.

KING: The dumb blonde. That's a thing of the past, isn't it?

SOMERS: I think so.

KING: Men don't like that.

SOMERS: They're not interest in that. Well...

PEEKE: You know, it was funny. I was with Ellen about four week ago. I was just named the new national monthly columnist for "Good Housekeeping." She said she had seen you. So, I said I was going to be doing this show. She said, now, here we have a perfect situation where Ellen is powerful. She walks into a room, and she just fills it up.

At the same time, she says, you know, this whole issue -- she was really excited to know we were doing this show -- because she said this whole issue needs to come to the fore now because, you know, we now need to be able to foster, you know, all of that networking and all of that teamwork, and it works.

KING: We're going to break, and we've got another segment to go. Don't go away.


KING: One of our stellar producers has a good idea -- in our last segment -- that as a woman, she worries a lot about people liking here and not making people mad, especially in the workplace.

EVANS: Right. Because one of they ways we were brought up was everybody was supposed to love us. I can say honestly, the first time I got a promotion and I realized that some of my friends were going to be working for me, and I walked by a door and knew they were talking about me, it was like, do I really want to be this important person, or do I want to have my friends again?

But the truth is you can have it all. You don't have to separate...

KING: How does it affect you if you want to be liked so much?

SOMERS: Yes, but, you know, you should give praise when there's competence. I find that I like everybody that I work with, and they like me, and I've never thought about trying to make them like me. It's just -- be pleasant.

The great thing about being female is we don't have to go in that meeting like a man. We go in, and we're pleasant, and we're funny, and we're smart.'

KING: But is still true that if a woman goes in and she's tough, the man is tough, the woman is a bitch?

PRINCIPAL: You can't be responsible for the way people respond to you. You're only responsible for yourself. I try to treat people the way I would like to be treated, but I can't worry about what everyone's going to think.

There came a moment in my life when I realized that I had stepped into another part of my life. I used to walk into a room full of people and think, do they like me? And one day I walk in and I though, do I like them?

SOMERS: I remember -- see, when you come from a screwed up background with a screwed up father and the whole thing that I've written so many books about -- I remember the first time I was on the "Tonight" show because I used to do that show a lot. You used to do it, too, with Johnny Carson. And I was talking to my mother the next day, and I didn't say, did dad watch? I remember that because that was when I changed, when I really didn't care if he watched or not.

And then I knew that I started to be on track, that I was doing it for me, and I wasn't trying to still prove that I wasn't what I had been programmed to be.

PEEKE: It's about being genuine.

KING: You don't have to be a better doctor.

PEEKE: Very interesting. You know, I'm walking right into a land mine on this one, and here it comes. I remember the first time when I was a medical student, and I was setting a bone, and I was putting a cast on, the old days when you had a real cast. And there I was doing this thing, and I was working so hard. I specifically remember, you know, introducing myself, so I'm Dr. Peeke, and, you know, on and on, and there was a whole family there, and we were taking care of the teenaged son.

After it was all done, you know, and they said, well, this is just wonderful. When do we get to see the doctor? And I said, oh, OK, all right, well, wake up. Epiphany. And I said to myself, do I have to be that much better than everyone else?

To be perfectly blunt with you, in our field, the answer is yes. And I'm being absolutely honest about this because, you know, what you have to do is you have to -- look at the competition. It's all about...

SOMERS: But, you know, can I just say something about that because I've been interviewing so many doctors for this book I'm writing right now. I find that what you need to do when you are a doctor, I mean, I'm not a doctor, is keep up. Medicine is changing every week, and there's a whole new way to approach health.

KING: But the female doctor still has another burden, to be a better doctor.

(CROSSTALK) PEEKE: I have to work twice as hard and be twice as smart to get the same amount, and it's not true. She thinks she has to be that way.

KING: The first time I stepped on a plane and saw a female pilot years ago, American Airlines...

SOMERS: What did you think?

KING: The pilot -- she was the co-pilot -- made it a point of standing up and saying to passengers, she is terrific. She is some pilot.

SOMERS: You know, I was fired from "Three's Company" because I asked to paid -- after five years on the number one show -- I asked to be paid what the men were being paid equally in TV. That was a bummer to be fired because they wanted to set an example that no woman should get so uppity like that.

But you know, you walk away from it, and then you push your sleeves up and go, all right -- I remember having this thought -- why focus on what I don't have? Focus on what I do have, and let's come around from another door now.

And I think that's what you have to do. It is a little harder for women. We aren't' paid the same, and we -- and there is a boys' club, and it does exist, but you can't let them win. You just have to work with them and walk around and come through other doors and find another way.


PRINCIPAL: No one can make me work harder than I do, and so, I'm generally not interested in who I am competing with. I'm generally competing with the ideal I have set for myself, and I've found that served me very well.

PEEKE: But we do it differently though. It's interesting. If you look a lot of the way we -- again, going back to medicine again -- all the studies now that we're finally doing on women and men physicians, and how we actually interact with patients, shows we're very different. We have much more a nurturing thing, bedside manner...


KING: We're running out of time, ladies.

Gail Evans' book is, "She Wins, You Win."

Suzanne Somers' new book is, "Fast and Easy: Lose Weight the Somersize Way with Quick, Delicious Meals for the Entire Family."

Victoria Principal, look for her line of products under the Victoria Principal Secret concept.

And Dr. Pamela Peeke, you see her on many, many television shows. She's the author of "Fight Fat Over Forty."

In keeping with subjects tonight, by the way, I want to recommend a remarkable photo interview book by Joyce Tenneson. It's called, "Wise Woman: A Celebration of Their Insights, Courage, and Beauty." It features extraordinary American women from all walks of life between the ages of 65 and 100. "Wise Woman" is from Bulfinch Press. It's a book you'll want to look at again and again.

We want to thank Gail Evans, Suzanne Somers, Victoria Principal and Dr. Pamela Peeke for this illuminating quick-paced hour. We hope you enjoyed it, too.

SOMERS: And you survived it, Larry.

KING: And I survived it.


KING: Stay tuned for news around the clock on CNN. Thanks for joining us and good night.


Principal, Pamela Peeke>

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