Shirley Halperin, a diligent Israeli-American with a hard-working reputation, enjoys the high-pressure life of a celeb reporter. The respected entertainment editor was graduated from East Brunswick High School, attended Rutgers University, then had the unmitigated nerve to drop out with one semester left to start Smug Magazine, New York’s best alternative rock source from ’93 to ’97. It was a ballsy move that earned her immediate indie cred, and subsequently, through US Weekly and Enertainment Weekly, aboveground notoriety. She’s consistently done tv commentary, lending lucid content to Bravo’s “100 Funniest Movies,” Britney Spears “True Hollywood Story,” “American Idol Untold” and soon-to-be-revealed Pussycat Dolls “True Hollywood Story.”

Obsessed with popular culture and an admitted tv junkie, Halperin originally poo-poo’d reality shows, but now loves them too. Four years at Us Weekly befriending Hollywood stars prepared Halperin for more mainstream coverage at EW. Yet beyond the faddish reporting and hyped-up documentaries, she persevered and decided to go back to her subterranean roots by anthologizing marijuana fun facts for Pot Culture.

“I’d been working on the book before I took the EW job. They’ve been supportive. As a woman in the corporate world, it’s difficult enough to battle. Luckily, I’m strong and independent. Some find that intimidating. But I also smoke pot,” Halperin affably permits.

Keeping up with Hollywood gossip while preparing for Pot Culture exposure, the industrious author used her L.A. connections to amp up mod marijuana coverage.

“I did a Rob Thomas ‘In The Studio’ piece for Rolling Stone. Within 10 minutes he pulled out a bong. We became friends and he was the first person I called for a celebrity essay. The stoner bond is very strong. Once you smoke with someone, you’ve got common ground. On a certain level, we could relate strictly because of that,” she shares. “Adrianne Curry from America’s Top Model, who’s married to Christopher Knight (a.k.a. Peter Brady), is a huge pot head. It’s rare to find visible female celebs volunteering information. She talked about the troubles she went through hiding weed stench. She was very open. Not every stoner’s a lazy slacker that’s crunchy, dreadlocked and tie-dyed.”

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