Here To Inspire

Caroline D'Amore: It Girl-Turned-DJ

Caroline D'Amore may seem like another Malibu socialite, but her lesbian sister and the memory of her mother, who died of AIDS-related complications, keep this globetrotting music lover grounded.

BY Savas Abadsidis and Alexander Hatzidakis

November 30 2012 5:37 AM ET

Photo: Stephen Garnett, 1 of 1 Creative

Caroline D’Amore made her debut as a Los Angeles “It Girl,” appearing on the scene with her famous pals Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian. Eventually the modeling, acting party girl made her musical debut in West Hollywood gay clubs, where she caught the attention of the legendary DJ Skee, who signed her to her own show on Skee 24/7 called Heartbeatz. Following that was a residency at the Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas, and her single “Kill the Clock.” Now D’Amore is concentrating on her upcoming Billboard.com Web series, DJ Diaries.

D'Amore produces and hosts DJ Diaries, where she tags along with big-name DJs including Crystal Method, Steve Aoki, and 12th Planet. The Advocate spoke with D’Amore about her troubled childhood, her mother's AIDS-related death, her connection to the West Hollywood gay scene through her sister, out actress Christie, and her thoughts on Paris Hilton’s recent remarks about gay men and AIDS.

The Advocate: You used to run with a pretty high-profile crowd, including people like Paris Hilton. How did you guys know each other?
Caroline D'Amore: I started DJ-ing about eight years ago. I used to hang in the DJ booth with DJ AM a lot and he really inspired me. I loved watching how happy he was while making other people so happy as he dropped each track. He really was my inspiration and my motivation. He was the one that told me I could do it. Paris actually hired me to DJ all of her record release parties around the world. This was before it was "cool" to be a chick DJ. We actually had a lot of fun.

What was it like growing up in L.A.?
Growing up in L.A., for me, was a lot different than you’d think. I was the daughter of a hardworking pizza man who ended up kickin’ it with the rich kids. I lived in Malibu because we opened a D'Amore's pizza there. I'd make just enough money delivering pizzas so I could pay for gas and valet at the hottest clubs. I worked to party. I must have been fired from D'Amore's 100 times. But being the owner’s daughter had perks. And, of course, free pizza for life, so I never starved.

Your mother died of AIDS when you were very young, and you were raised mostly by your dad, correct? What was that like, and how do you think it affected your life?
Yes, I was raised by my pops. I think it made me super strong, maybe too strong at times. I remember I was the only kid who didn't cry for their mommy at sleepovers. Which turned into not really needing anyone. Which made it hard to date me. Every guy always cried long before I ever did in a relationship. I'm so lucky I met someone who could handle me. My husband [rocker Bobby Alt] changed me for the better, but he loves me for the tough bitch I am. If he's not happy, even for a moment, I will totally cry.
 
My mother contracted the AIDS virus when I was very young by the doctors at the hospital. They gave her a precautionary blood transfusion and did not check the blood they gave her. It was a total fluke. I was lied to for 15 years about it. I always thought she died from toxic shock. I was very angry that my father lied to me, but I now understand that he just did not want the stigma of the disease to affect my friendships at school. As we all know, kids can be mean, and my father was trying to protect us. The stigma of this disease has always been something I'd like to help remove. Anyone at any time can contract this disease, gay, straight, a mom of four with no drug history. Anyone. Everyone needs to educate themselves on how to be protected and also about how to discuss this disease without adding to the stigma.

It shaped my outlook on life by reminding me that life is so precious and can be very short. Live life to the fullest, but be smart and take care of yourself.

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