The Mirror

The Mirror Questionnaire With Muck Rack’s Delia Paunescu

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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Meet Delia Paunescu, a freelance media writer for Muck Rack, a site that promises a glimpse of tomorrow’s news today. Muck Rack came to life in 2009. Delia also writes for New York Magazine and the Food Network. She bravely moved through this questionnaire, specifically answering everything from a body hair question to who she’d want to hook up with if she were the opposite sexual orientation. Some journalists take the wimpy way out. Not Delia.

Bona Fides

Hometown: Tampa, Fla.

Age: 27

Named for: My parents’ dentist’s daughter

First job ever: Art camp coordinator at the Tampa Museum of Art – still the best job I’ve ever had

Current employment: Freelancer media reporter and social media gun for hire


If someone wants to get on your good side, what candy or liquor should they ply you with? Hazelnut chocolate anything and a bourbon/ginger concoction.

Most exotic place you’ve ever visitedGot back from Thailand this spring! I’m in love with the entire country and currently plotting an early retirement there.

Why do you think Washington is so polarized? And please consider your answer in terms of boring us. I think it’s just a matter of everyone being beholden by their lobby overlords, right? That and no one willing to compromise.

Who is your celebrity crush? There are pretty swell famous folks out there (along with some stinkers), but I think the French actor Melvil Poupaud and I could live quite happily together for the rest of our days.

A thought that makes you want to cry: Animal cruelty, for sure. And starving children. BRB, going to donate to the World Food Programme.

Weirdest habit you’ve observed in a newsroom (workplace) setting? Haven’t witnessed this one myself but I heard that in England, some staffers at the particularly stern dailies will brew a hot cup of tea and leave it on their desks before heading out at night. That way, if an editor comes looking for them, it supposedly seems like they’ve only just “run to the loo.”

If you had to kiss a politician who would it be? Living? Definitely Clinton. It might be cliche but being a child of the ‘90s, the man holds a special spot in my heart. Dead? JFK just to know what the fuss was all about.

What’s next for you? What would you do with your life if absolutely nothing could stop you? I have this plan to travel around the world and report back about food and gatherings and life in general. It’s mostly in the hope of convincing everyone they’re working too much and enjoying too little, but also because I believe putting a human face on international affairs is a surefire way to get audiences interested in news abroad.

Pick one: House of Cards, Scandal or Veep: Veep all the way! Veep for every award! Veep! Veep! Veep! Really though, I watch every episode twice because I’m usually laughing too much the first time around and miss half the jokes.

Pick one: CNN’s New Day, Morning Joe, GMA or the TODAY Show: Had to stop watching the morning shows a ways back (mostly after the Ann Curry debacle). It’s for the best because now I listen to BBC World News at that time. Shoutout to Razia Iqbal, who’s one of the best interviewers out there!

If you had to have a U.S. senator or congressman as your father who would it be? John Kerry’s always given off the fun dad vibe. So has McCain.

Since this is The Mirror Questionnaire, what would you change about yourself physically if you could? There’s no point in lying to the internet so… a slightly smaller behind.

And your personality? When I grow up, I’d like to be the kind of person who wakes up before 10:30 of their own free will.

Preferred beach anywhere in the world: Any beach anywhere will do for my sanity, but one on a mostly deserted island, preferably with a hammock, will soothe my soul.

Guilty pleasure TV show: Hart of Dixie – a show which features a bizarre number of jackets for taking place in Alabama.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how self-obsessed are you? (10 being you can’t tear yourself away from your own daily Google search and 1 meaning you often spend time in the country away from your computer and don’t give a crap about your Klout score.) I work on the internet so 7.5 most days. 9 on a particularly bad one.

Workout regimen: Yoga, mostly. And jogging for 6 weeks in spring. But only until it’s warm enough to drink outside in short sleeves. This year, I’m mending a sprained ankle so running will have to wait.

Pick one – flabby thighs, cankles or love handles? Flabby thighs – they’re pretty easy to cover up with some Spanx and a nice A-line skirt.

Choose: Beautiful eyes, best personality or perfect legs? Best personality, of course!

A thought that brings you great joy: I met an elephant once and she was delightful! Apparently, they never forget voices so I like to believe she’ll remember me if I ever go back.

A regret (of any kind): So many e-mails unsent. So many opportunities missed.

Any brushes with death? If so, please describe. None, thankfully. Though a glass syphon bottle exploded and almost took out my eye when I was 3 years old. There’s still a scar on my right cheek that I mostly forget about and tell people it came from a shark bite if they ask. 

Just a preference Q: Bo or Sunny? Bo – the OG of hypoallergenic POTUS pups.

Most annoying thing your editor (boss) does: Micromanaging is a universal struggle.

Rank how hairy your butt is: 1 to 10? I have a very thorough waxer so…

Go for a stroll in the park with one of the following and explain the reason for your choice. 1. Andrew Sullivan, of The Daily Dish. 2. The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart. 3. The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald. With all those Snowden conversations under his belt, you know Glenn’s got some amazing dirt to dish.

When was the last time you were, if ever, naked outside? Spring break, 2007. Rincon, Puerto Rico.

From The Sunday Times’ Toby Harnden: If you could tell one person to their face that they’re full of shit, with no consequences, who would it be? Oh this is such a good question! I yell at Olivia Pope on my TV pretty regularly. Obviously, she can’t hear me but I’ve actually had dreams where I’m shouting “Get it together, woman!” at her.

From Al Jazeera’s David Shuster: If you had to watch or read a news report in a language you didn’t understand, what language would it be and why? Italian, hands down! The language is so expressive, you could probably figure it out anyway.

From lefty radio host Bill Press: Where’s the one place in Washington you’d love to have sex, but can’t? I don’t really know Washington that well but I’d say the Lincoln Memorial seems to have nice lighting for that sort of thing.

From former Rep. Weiner’s ex-phone sex partner Sydney Elaine Leathers: Who is the worst journalist on your favorite news channel? For the same reason, Saturday Night Live and I love Fox News. I’m always left wondering just how accurate SNL’s take on Brian Kilmeade really is.

From Washington Free Beacon’s Lachlan Markay: Which universally acclaimed piece of literature, art, film, or music can you simply not stand? The few episodes of Lost I did watch were pretty irritating.

From SiriusXM’s Julie Mason: What is the lie you always tell about yourself? “I’ll definitely be there on time.”

From freelancer and journalism prof Steve Friess: If you were the opposite of your sexual orientation, name three people you’d sleep with. Monica Bellucci, Olivia Munn and Lake Bell are pretty stunning women, regardless of how much I like men.

Please provide a question for the next lucky victim of The Mirror Questionnaire. Make it good. What aspect of modern media do you find most irritating? And what about it do you absolutely adore?