Call Answered: Bill Alverson: "Coach Charming" + "Insatiable" on Netflix
Bill Alverson, also known as “Coach Charming” is truly an inspiration. As a successful lawyer, Bill already had a great career. After coaching one client for a beauty pageant, word quickly spread that he was the go to guy to help you win, whether it be a local pageant or Miss USA.
After a 2014 New York Times article came out about Bill, Hollywood took notice and the Netflix series Insatiable was born. You can binge Season 1 now. Season 2 will drop in 2019, but there is not a firm release date yet.
1. There is so much to talk about. So, let's just start at the beginning. You are a lawyer by trade which has parlayed into a second career (while you continue to keep your law firm going) of pageant coaching. How did this movement happen? Divine intervention. You know sometimes in life you do something that sounds fun and interesting and not giving any second thought about that. I was probably 31 when I got a phone call to help this young girl in my hometown. It was my church choir director who reached out to me. She knew that I could sing and had some theatre experience and had helped a girl a little bit the year before -- so I did. We revamped this young girl and she won and then the mom's found me.
2. After your first coaching experience, did you automatically know you wanted to continue pageant coaching or was there some hesitation? I wish I could say that I actually sat down and thought about this but I didn't. I saw it as a little small side job and it was kind of a service as well. We had a young family with two small kids so the little extra money helped.
3. What is the greatest reward you have received so far from pageant coaching? Probably the greatest reward was a comment from a mother. This happened early on and I was onstage. The previous year’s winner was a girl that I had coached. She truly blossomed through the preparation and had won. While everyone was around the new winner her mother came up to me and said, because of you her life is changed. I told her of course that her daughter did the work, that she made it happen. Her mother with tears in her eyes, hugged me and said, no. Had she not met you she would not be the girl she is today. That was over 20 years ago.
4. Your coaching style is very blunt and direct. What do you feel is the most direct thing you have told a client? What is the most direct thing someone told you about yourself? Oh this is kind of fun for me because I don't really remember them but it’s fun when my former clients remind me.
One that stands out is I told one client that her eyebrows looked like two caterpillars. I might have told a girl that we needed to go look at trailers and drive down a dirt road because at this very moment that was the only thing i saw in her future.
Hmmmm, direct thing that someone has told me about myself – that’s a complete turn around the tables on me -- something I don't do. Honestly it was years ago, in a drinking situation with other guys as i was finding out my sexuality - this hot guy looked at me and said, "you just want to be liked".. . it stuck. While he wasn't totally correct -- I did have this desire for someone to like me for who I was -- although I hadn't gotten to that point in my life myself.
5. You charge $125/hr for your pageant coaching. I am sure there are people out there who can't afford your services, but would very much like to benefit from them. Are there 3 tips you can give here that someone preparing for a pageant should know? Honestly it is a tad higher - but please people pay much more for other personal items -- but following that – I can give tips.
Know yourself -- if you don't know who you are or why you are the way you are then you can't expect someone to get you.
Attention to details - shoes, hair and nails…as simple as it sounds too many go around with that detail not always taken care of.
Explainable is not justifiable. Just because you can explain why your hair is a mess, why your self-tanner is molted, why your weight isn't where you want it to be, doesn't equate to being justifiable.
6. In addition to being a lawyer and pageant coach, you are also a producer on the Netflix series Insatiable, which is loosely based on your life from a 2014 New York Times interview you did. What do you think it was about that interview that made Julie McNamara go, "This would make a great TV show?" As a lawyer I can say that I can't really speak to the mental operations of someone else - but i have had numerous conversations so here is a qualified guess. Many people think that is paradoxical that I do both and that my coaching is based on legal training. I think that jumps out. I think also there is a stereotype of southerners that people are still surprised that we are smart -- like how did three (3) Miss New York’s end up being coached by a southern lawyer and then win? People want the receipt and/or the magic --
7. What has it been like to produce this show? What's the most fun part? What is the most challenging? Working with Lauren Gussis - who is everything Insatiable - has been a fun collaboration. Lauren dissected me and I willing was in her lab.
The most fun part was celebrating success with her. The most challenging is articulating how I would be in certain scenarios that now are not really events of my life but yet “Bob” is living them as if it was me.
8. With so many demanding jobs - your law firm, Insatiable, and being a pageant coach, how do you keep up with all your responsibilities and find time for yourself? I bore easily - with so many things keeping an active calendar is great. Technology has been my friend. Thankfully I can talk to all of my clients by phone (except the ones in jail) so maintaining active communication is the key.
Seriously though, at times, I just want to say fuck it and close my phone - but then a nice voice says, - how would I like to be treated. Everything I deal with deals with someone's life. Each life matters. Doesn't matter if I'm going to a premier of my show -- if someone is in crisis - taking the call might help them not do something to make things worse for them. So you take the call.
9. As if all these jobs weren't enough, I just did an interview with your friend Jasper Cole who mentioned he was working on some projects with you. He didn't mention specifics, but is there anything you can tell us about them yet? I can say that others that see my life and see what we can do with it are the better ones to answer. Hopefully there will be additional TV. As a bi-sexual man who presents himself as gay (I can't not acknowledge that I had a healthy sex life in the hetero world), there is still so much to say. I have received many emails and comments from kids whose parents are red America living who thank me for being me. I still live in Alabama -- and each day is an opportunity to live an authentic real life and not escape, flee or run because it’s easier. If we can have an opportunity to show that, tell that - regardless of comedy, drama or other forms, and it inspires someone to be educated and help eradicate ignorance -- then we can do something -- so hopefully there is more in that aspect in our future.
10. Rapid Fire Questions:
Twizzlers or Red Vines? Twizzlers
Favorite M&M color? Green
Peanut Butter: Crunchy or Smooth? Crunchy
Favorite go to Emoji when texting? 🍆
More on Bill:
BA - Auburn University ‘83
J.D. Univ of AL ‘86
Law clerk- AL Supreme Court - ‘86-87
Private practice- Montgomery AL ‘87-90
Named partner - Andalusia, AL - 90- 2007
Past Local Bar President
Individual practice 07 - Present Currently Law Firm with Son.
Argued in front of the 11th Circuit and won at age 31
Argued in front of Alabama Supreme Court and won