Yes, LeNell Smothers announced last night that she’ll be leaving New York for Mexico. No, she did not know she was being videotaped. And yes, that makes her mad.
“Let’s talk about blogger etiquette,” Smothers fumes. “That’s more interesting to me, and more global, than selling a bottle of bitters. They” — the Spirited Cocktails website who posted the video in which she made her informal announcement — “didn’t get my permission to film me.” She tells Fork in the Road that she’d intended to make a formal announcement to her customers about her upcoming plans, and only learned that those plans had been made public this morning, when a reporter called her. “I’m literally still sitting here in my pajamas,” she says. “I don’t even have my contacts in.
“It’s my own damn fault,” she concedes. “Me and my big mouth.”
As for her upcoming plans, Smothers says, “I’m moving hopefully soon, but I’ve been saying that for over two years.” She’s in the process of negotiating some property in Baja, and, she happily reports, is “madly in love with someone. That’s why it’s Mexico: He’s Mexican. We’re planning to do family-type things.
“I’m not flipping New York the finger by any means,” Smothers adds. “I realized I will never own my own space in this city without someone being a partner in my business who has cash and [wants] to make money off me. Most people would do that option,” she says. “My response is, ‘If you want to be a partner in my business, are you willing to work 90 hours a week?'”
Right now, Smothers is working on getting her intended message up on her website, and also starting a new website so that customers can stay updated on her plans. “It’s exciting for me,” she says. “I’m not leaving the industry. It’s not like I announced I had terminal cancer.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 22, 2009