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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Interview with Hill Harper; Interview with Kathy Ireland

Aired September 5, 2011 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, he says he's got the cure for America.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILL HARPER, ACTOR/AUTHOR: What are you really passionate about? What makes your heart beat a little bit faster?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Hill Harper is a best selling author, "CSI: New York" star and an old friend of President Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARPER: We are going win with him as president. I believe. That's my personal belief and that's because I know the guy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Tonight, my one on one with Hill Harper.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARPER: This is when I cry, Piers?

MORGAN: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: And Kathy Ireland -- why this supermodel-turned- billionaire-businesswoman avoids mirrors?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: You avoid mirrors.

KATHY IRELAND, BUSINESSWOMAN: I do. I mean, who has time for them?

MORGAN: Really? You're not vain at all like that?

IRELAND: It's just -- it's not what my life is about.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: A tribute to her good friend Elizabeth Taylor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IRELAND: You knew where you stood with Elizabeth -- so direct, so honest, so genuine and so on top of all of her affairs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: And how a simple pair of socks changed her life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IRELAND: We started our brand with a pair of socks.

MORGAN: I love this story. Literally a pair of socks?

IRELAND: Literally a pair of socks.

MORGAN: These are the $1.4 billion socks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.

(MUSIC)

MORGAN: You know Hill Harper from the long-running CBS series "CSI: New York." He's also the author of "The Wealth Cure: Putting Money in Its Place." And Hill Harper joins me now.

Hill Harper -- I mean, I suppose it's a good title, "The Wealth Cure." The problem is, there ain't much wealth left in American right now.

HARPER: Well, I've struck --

MORGAN: Wouldn't it be the chronic debt cure?

HARPER: Yes, I probably should write -- I called my publisher when all the debt business was going on. And I said, you know what? Can we rename the book "The Debt Cure"? Have they been printed? They'd already been printed.

MORGAN: I mean, there is an -- I suppose there is a truth in the sense that the rich have been getting richer. The problem is that for most Americans, most average Americans, they are getting demonstrably poorer. The economy is tanking, and they want a way out of this.

Tell me how this book gives them some concrete ideas for how to get out of the financial malaise that most people are in at the moment.

HARPER: You're absolutely right. There's a wealth gap that is happening, and that is all over the world, you know? The rich are getting richer and holding a higher percentage of money or wealth that's out there.

In the book, I talk about expanding this idea of redefining money. Most of us have been taught the wrong thing about money. Most of us have been taught that money is a result, so we should chase it. And we -- see, we have a debt addiction. You know, if we look at our -- we look at our country, personal debt since 1980 has exploded in --

MORGAN: I love your quote, here. You've got some great quotes in front of each chapter. This one's from "Mad Magazine," which is appropriate, I think. "The only reason a great many American families don't own an elephant is that they've never been offered an elephant for a dollar down and easy weekly payments."

HARPER: That's right.

MORGAN: I mean, there is a real truth in this, which is that the debt currency, if you like, of the modern American economy is part of the big problem here, is that people just think they can get anything on higher purchase, down payments, whatever they choose.

HARPER: We're buying things that we can't afford. And the debt problem in Washington isn't the only debt problem we have. Personal debt is a huge, huge issue. $355 million in personal debt we carried in 1980, that exploded by 2008 to $2.8 billion.

And what happens is is that many people are just paying their minimums, paying credit card minimums, and they get stuck. There's no way you can save, there's no way you can invest if you're just paying off debt.

And so, "The Wealth Cure" is about taking a very programmatic approach to being much more strategic about how you use your money.

MORGAN: What is the best advice for somebody right now? They're watching the market swirling around all over the world. They're watching savings crashing, pensions crashing. They're fearful. They don't trust the banks after what happened in the last crash.

HARPER: Right.

MORGAN: And so, they're thinking "Where do I put my money?" Gold is too expensive now. Where are the safe havens for people?

HARPER: I think the number one safe haven where people put their money is to invest in yourself first.

MORGAN: What does that mean?

HARPER: It means if you're -- if you use what I talk about, first diagnose the problem. If you're in a situation where you're unemployed and you've been attempting to get a job for months on end, and you're not finding -- you aren't able to get that job, then you have to take a step back and reevaluate, say "What training do I need to have? Where are people actually getting hired?"

They're getting hired in the tech sectors. They're getting hired in other sectors where you may not have your training.

So, you have to make an adjustment, you have to decide, "I'm going to invest in myself to get the training I need to move forward." And if you don't have the money to do that, how do I get the money to do that?

MORGAN: I mean, the key thing, it seems to me, as a premise for this book also is how much money do you need to be happy, to be content?

I mean, you say here a quote from Benjamin Franklin, "Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one."

I mean, most rich people I know are pretty damn miserable. So, the Holy Grail everyone's chasing is never quite what they think it is.

HARPER: No. But at the end of the day, I talk about in the book that money plus wellness equals wealth. Part of the problem I find with money books is that there's this whole set of money books that make you feel almost guilty to spend a dollar.

And there's a whole other set of best life books that talk about -- just put up a vision board, know a secret, and money will somehow magically find its way to you.

There's -- there are truths to both of these ideas, but the point is, is that if we talk about money, money plus wellness is what creates wealth.

What are your wellness factors? Love, family, doing something you're passionate about, your health. A huge wellness factor, OK?

Without that, all the money in the world doesn't matter, you know? And for me, while I was writing this book, I was diagnosed with cancer, and it made me really -- even reevaluate what I was writing in the book.

MORGAN: Well, you've had a -- you've had a pretty tough life, in the sense that you've talked openly about a sense of abandonment from your mother, you were raised by your father. You went through the cancer. You've been dealt some pretty tough blows that many people don't have to put up with.

What has that taught you --

HARPER: Is this when I cry, Piers?

MORGAN: No.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: I don't have you down as the weeping type, although you actors can do it, of course, just like that.

But, no, I suppose the point I was going to make was, having had tough blows, what is the secret to fulfillment, do you think?

Because you must have had moments in your life, now, where you've really realigned your thought process. Materialism isn't probably the answer to everything.

What is the way that people at the moment that haven't got much money, how can they find fulfillment without necessarily material things?

HARPER: Right. Well, I think it's about taking a step back in your life and saying, "What do I love? What am I passionate about?" You know, one of my favorite words in the world is the word "courage." The root or the etymology of that word is "cour," which means "heart."

So, what's in your heart? In many ways, we are pushed in our society to want bling. To want excess. To define success with what's external. Whatever jewelry we can hang --

MORGAN: Do you have a young chap, nine-year-old --

HARPER: Yes.

MORGAN: -- who was -- you were part of a program to help him, right?

HARPER: Yes.

MORGAN: And he said that he'd only be successful in his eyes if he ended up with a Rolex and a Bentley.

HARPER: Yes.

MORGAN: And I found that -- and I'm sure you did, too -- a pretty dispiriting aspiration.

HARPER: But those are the images that he sees. He sees force- fed images, whether it's from music videos or from, you know, my business, the entertainment business, where that's what happy people have, are fancy cars and jewelry.

MORGAN: How do you challenge and change that aspiration for a young boy like that.

HARPER: You challenge it by saying, "Do you believe that having this thing, having this car, really fulfills you? And if so, let's talk about that. Let's figure out what that is."

I like to go with, "What do you really want? What do you really want?" And if you start to talk to people about what they really want -- I travel all over the country, and I'm sure you meet a lot of people as well.

People, after you push them, they get away from the material. They start talking about love. They start talking about passion. They start talking about giving back. MORGAN: None of the people I've interviewed on this show in the last six months, when you actually analyze what has made them happy, the ones who found fulfillment and contentment cite anything to do with money.

It's always about personal relationships. It's about family. It's about friendship. I haven't had one of them say, "You know what, when I finally got that yacht, I was fulfilled."

HARPER: Right.

MORGAN: But don't feel that, because they get the yacht, and they're normally even more unhappy because the things that are more important, they haven't dealt with.

HARPER: Absolutely. I don't -- I try not to go down that road, and I'll tell you why. Because it's easy for people to sit back and say, "Well, you're a guy that can afford that, so it's easy for you to say that that doesn't matter."

I'd rather be much more proactive in the conversations that I have, like through my foundation where I'm dealing with the young people and say, "OK, what are you really passionate about? What makes your heart beat a little bit faster?"

And once you start talking about that, does your heart beat faster when you have a Rolex? Not really. Does your heart beat faster when you have this car? Not really.

Your heart beats faster when you're doing something that you love, when you're working in that area, and I find that once you can get people to engage in that way, they start having big goals and big dreams.

MORGAN: You were at law school with a guy who had big goals and big dreams, Barack Obama.

HARPER: Yes.

MORGAN: Became president of the United States. He's now the guy, as he said this week, the buck stops with him with the economy.

How do you think he's doing in particular relation to the economy of this country?

HARPER: Well, I think he's doing very well. You know, he's building -- when he first came into office, let's take for example, he was criticized for wanting to bail out the auto industry and save tens of thousands of jobs.

He was able to do that very specifically. And if you look now, the government is actually going to make income off the investment that was made then.

Fast-forwarding to now, obviously, he's dealing with a Congress that is hostile. You know, we're talking about a Congress that's been in session more than 220 days and they have passed less legislation than any Congress in recent memory.

There's no jobs bill coming out of Congress. He can't sign a bill that doesn't exist. And so, he's attempting to do things on his own, attempting to compromise and work very hard, yet no one's meeting him halfway.

MORGAN: You went to his 50th birthday party recently.

HARPER: Yes.

MORGAN: Did you go up and talk to him about money? Or how to -- you know, get America back on track? I mean, you're Mr. Money Guy, Mr. "The Wealth Cure," you say, "Barack, come on."

HARPER: It was a birthday party.

MORGAN: Good. Better -- what better place to do this?

HARPER: You don't want -- listen, you don't want to talk about what's going on out there at a birthday party. You want to have fun. You want to celebrate 50 years of an incredible life.

And I'll tell you, on the personal side, you know, I've known him for more than 20 years, now. And this is just coming from my own personal experience with him. I know a whole lot of people, but I can't imagine someone else that I would rather have managing our country right now.

I know this for a fact. He's someone who gets up every day thinking about what's best for our country. And he's working very hard. And I think he's on the right track.

MORGAN: Hold that thought. Let's come back after break and talk more about the president, because you did know him very well. You know him well now, and went to law school and you played basketball with him.

And I always think you can judge a guy by how he is on the sporting field.

HARPER: I think you're exactly right.

MORGAN: I want to know if he was a monster or a team man.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)

MORGAN: That was Hill Harper, one of the stars of the "Yes We Can" music video in 2008. Being friends with Barack Obama for over 20 years, we said that before the break.

You played basketball with the man, and I always think, as I said, you can judge a guy by how he is on the sporting field. So what was he like? HARPER: I completely agree with you. You know, either somebody's a ball hog and wants to make it all about them, or they pass the ball and get to make the team better. He's definitely one of those people.

He was very good, and he's tall, he's got long arms. So, he's a good basketball player. And he's left-handed, so that's a little deceptive.

MORGAN: Is he aggressive when he gets wind up?

HARPER: Yes, I -- you know, he plays hard and he wants to win.

MORGAN: Yes, but did you ever feel a presidential fist?

(LAUGHTER)

HARPER: No, I never felt a presidential fist. No, I never did. But it was --

MORGAN: How has he changed? I mean, as a friend of his, how -- when you saw him at his 50th birthday party, he's got the weight of the world on his shoulders quite literally. And it's been an incredibly turbulent time to be president?

How is he dealing with that physically, mentally, emotionally, do you think?

HARPER: You know what? I think that he's dealing very well. The one thing that I wish more people would see, that they don't get the opportunity to see, given the weight of -- the magnitude of what he's dealing with, is his sense of humor, extremely funny guy.

And -- you know, he can deal with a lot, but he's also relaxed in a way that we want our, I think, our leaders to be. We don't want them to get so caught up and wound up in something.

I think that what happened before the bin Laden incident at the White House Correspondents' Dinner --

MORGAN: Yes.

HARPER: Him being able to joke literally a night before he knew this --

MORGAN: Extraordinary, I thought.

HARPER: Absolutely extraordinary. That shows you something about him and his temperament and his personality. That, oh, this huge thing was going on and he knew this mission was happening, yet he could make jokes the night before and you would never know.

And that's who he is. He's a funny guy, clever.

MORGAN: How do you feel, psychologically, about seeing a guy who you obviously value very highly as a friend, you like him enormously and you have great respect for him, seeing his personal approval rating dropping all the time, seeing the pressure mounting, seeing the Republicans trying to rip him apart, and seeing an election campaign around the corner?

Do you worry for him?

HARPER: You know, one thing that I've come to realize is that polls reflect present day fears, not future results. That's number one. And I think that we're going to see results happen over the course of the next year and a half that are going to prove that we're -- the country's heading in the right direction.

This -- all of these things take time. And so, do I think the country is better off with him in the White House? Absolutely.

MORGAN: When you see the Republican candidates to date, what do you make of them?

HARPER: I think that they have a pretty strong field.

MORGAN: Who do you think is the most dangerous?

HARPER: Dangerous isn't the best word.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Who's the one the next time you see the president you say, "You just want to watch that one"?

HARPER: You know, I don't know. I'll be honest, I can't -- I can't answer that. I think that they have an interesting field of a -- a pretty diverse field, which is what you want, and also, a group of pretty strong candidates.

And so -- that's what we all want. At the end of the day, we want a great president, and we want great people running. I mean, you always want two really good people running, right? Because whoever wins, you want someone good in there, and I think that there are some candidates among the GOP field that are very strong.

MORGAN: The thing I've been surprised about with people I've interviewed about this are the number of African-Americans who feel a bit let down by Barack Obama -- you know, Tavis Smiley, Cornel West. Most recently, Congresswoman Maxine Waters. And there have been others who kind of say, "You know, we invested all this faith in this guy, and we feel a bit let down."

Do you understand that, and what do you think of that?

HARPER: You know, I -- folks are able to have their own opinions, and I would never censor anyone and say they're wrong for their own opinion.

However, he's a president of the United States. He's not the president of Black America. And you have to also take a look and peel back the onion. A lot of the things he's been fighting for are going to help African-Americans in a real specific way.

We're talking about improving the public education system that has been decimated. You know, we went from being number one in public education 30 years ago to number 22 in math and number 24 in science worldwide. You know --

MORGAN: But the problem as I see it is that no one is really seen demonstrable improvement in education in the last three years.

HARPER: Well, it's --

MORGAN: Let me finish. The jobless figures have actually gone up not down. And, you know, at the start, like all presidents, he made a pledge, it will get better.

A lot of people, particularly poor African-Americans, as Tavis and Cornel said, I think, quite rightly, they feel a bit let down on that front; that their guy hasn't made their life better.

HARPER: Let's be clear. Poverty existed before January 20, 2008, OK? Before President Obama took office. And he's fighting for things to make the lives of Americans better. I think all Americans.

There's 40 million people that have health care right now as we speak, Piers, that didn't have it before he came into office because he pushed through --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Yes, which I think was --

HARPER: -- health care legislation --

MORGAN: I thought that was --

HARPER: -- and that helps African-Americans.

MORGAN: Well, listen --

HARPER: Because we are --

MORGAN: I agree with you.

HARPER: -- traditionally under-insured.

So, there are -- there are tacit benefits, certainly, but he wants what's better for all America.

I think there's a quote by Ronald Reagan, and there's a lot of Reaganism talk now, and I think there's a lot of revisionist history going on about Reagan. One point being, in his first term, the unemployment rate in 1982 was 10.4 percent. That's higher than it is right now, yet President Reagan was reelected.

So, let's -- you know, you keep that in perspective. But President Reagan said something, he said one of my favorite quotes, he said, "Putting people first has always been America's secret weapon."

President Obama puts people fist. People. Not just African- Americans. Not just rich folks, poor folks. He puts America first and people first.

And I think we have to get back to that idea and support him in that.

MORGAN: When he was losing at basketball in a match, did he fire himself up? Does he have that thing in him to say, right -- like he might be doing now with America?

HARPER: I think you're painting an analogy that he's losing right now, and I --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Well --

HARPER: I disagree with that.

MORGAN: Is that inaccurate?

HARPER: I don't -- I -- it's actually inaccurate, Piers.

MORGAN: Is he winning, though, do you think?

HARPER: We are winning. We're on that track. See, the thing is is that when you inherit --

MORGAN: But you look at the economy in America --

HARPER: Yes.

MORGAN: You won't find many people saying America's winning.

HARPER: No, you wouldn't.

MORGAN: And he's the boss. As he said, the buck stops with him.

HARPER: You wouldn't.

MORGAN: Although he's won a few battles, and the killing of bin Laden, you know, various things he's done, as you say, the automobile industry and so on. Great, ticks on the box.

HARPER: Right.

MORGAN: But a lot of minuses, still, which he has to address.

HARPER: Absolutely, but here's the deal. The -- when you look at a systemic problem. When we have -- what's made our country great historically, in my opinion, is our public education system and the fact that we've been innovators. We've led the world in many areas because we have incentivized innovation. We've gotten away from that. And he is actually trying to put that back. Now, that takes time.

It's like -- the guy from the Titanic saying you can't just turn it on a dime. It's going to take time to turn around.

MORGAN: Take me back to that basketball court when he's losing.

HARPER: OK.

MORGAN: What used to normally happen? Was he a good come-from- behind kind of guy?

HARPER: Absolutely. He is a good come-from-behind kind of guy.

MORGAN: So if you take any kind of assumption that he's not in a winning position right now, you'd back him to win?

HARPER: Absolutely, without question. You don't count him out, and he's there to support and fight and win. Without question.

We are going to win with him as president, I believe. That's my personal belief, and that's because I know the guy. Right?

Now, basketball aside, at the end of the day, it's up to us as Americans. The beautiful thing about this wonderful democracy we have, it's a participatory democracy. The Tea Part proves that folks who get involved can make a difference immediately.

MORGAN: That's right.

HARPER: And it debunks the myth that we can't make a difference or that there's some other people controlling, it's puppet masters up there and you can't have a change. You can make a difference.

He believes that. I certainly believe it, and I hope that more of us get involved and believe it and help him push the country in the right direction.

MORGAN: Hill Harper, thank you very much.

HARPER: Thank you.

MORGAN: Season eight of "CSI: New York" premiers on CBS on September 23rd.

Coming up: the supermodel who turned a pair of socks into a billion dollar empire, Kathy Ireland.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: For men of a certain age, i.e. my age, the words "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue" normally went with one dominant name -- Kathy Ireland. She was one of the top supermodels of the '80s and '90s.

And I couldn't happier that she's joining me now. This is a boyhood dream come true, really, Kathy.

IRELAND: Well --

MORGAN: Welcome.

IRELAND: Thank you. It's great to be here.

MORGAN: I have to be careful, because, obviously, Christine O'Donnell walked off my show and called me creepy after. So, I don't want to be creepy about it.

IRELAND: I promise I will not run away.

MORGAN: You won't hold it against me that you used to be on my college bedroom wall?

IRELAND: No, thank you.

MORGAN: Are you sure? It's a compliment?

IRELAND: Well, it is a compliment. It feels like 100 years ago.

MORGAN: Really?

IRELAND: But I've got such respect for you watching your career from extraordinary journalist, to "The Apprentice." That was incredible. And now, CNN.

MORGAN: Thank you very much.

But we're not here, unfortunately, to laud my own achievement, miserable they've been by comparison. I'd rather talk about you because you're an extraordinary story.

So, you go from a model. And most models have a successful modeling career, and it kind of fizzles off and they go often do relatively mundane things. You go off and you launch this business. Great title, by the way, Kathy Ireland Worldwide. I love that.

And you get a business that's now worth apparently $1.4 billion. How? How did that happen?

IRELAND: A lot of sweat equity.

MORGAN: Sweat equity? I love that.

IRELAND: It's been an extraordinary journey. I have learned so much along the way. I entered the modeling industry as a business person already. I always knew I belonged on the other side of the camera.

MORGAN: Did you?

IRELAND: Oh, yes.

MORGAN: What made you think that? IRELAND: I just knew it. I didn't feel like I was where I need to be. I'm grateful. You have heard the term "runaway bride" -- I was running away from the runway and for so long I was really ignoring my past career. I think because there's been difficulties, I think often times my ideas as a CEO would be taken more seriously more quickly if I showed up at a meeting with my business plan and sketches in hand rather than a past.

But I'm not running away from it anymore. I'm really grateful for it. It was a tremendous education.

But I look at failure as education. In that respect, I am so well-educated.

MORGAN: Have you had much failure?

IRELAND: Oh, my goodness, yes.

MORGAN: You've become one of the world's top models. You've gone to business. You've got a $1.4 billion business. Where is the failure?

IRELAND: Well, first of all, you're very kind. I was OK as a model.

MORGAN: OK? You were in the "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue" 13 years running. I know. I bought them.

IRELAND: Well, that was an incredible publication.

MORGAN: World record. No one else has ever done it.

IRELAND: It was an incredible publication. Julie Campbell, the editor, is still such a dear friend. And I learned so much from her, watching her as a woman in business navigate through men in a world that was often a boys' club and seeing how she did it.

MORGAN: Where is the failure you are going on about? Because I haven't seen it?

IRELAND: Oh, my God.

MORGAN: I tried to find it in your resume. Failure is not an obvious option here.

IRELAND: That's how I have learned. The entire time I was modeling, I was trying and failing at businesses. In fact, we would have started our business much sooner had I been more successful.

We didn't start until '93. I was pregnant at my kitchen table. We started our brand with a pair of socks. John and Marilyn Moretz out of North Carolina.

MORGAN: I love this story. Literally a pair of socks?

IRELAND: Literally a pair of stocks. MORGAN: Incredible. What were the socks? How big were they? What color? These are the $1.4 billion socks.

IRELAND: I was actually offered an opportunity to model the socks. And it's not quite as glamorous as it sounds. It was a really small budget. No exotic locations like "Sports Illustrated," no photo retouch or any of those great perks. But it was a job. And it was at a time in my career where not a lot of job offers were coming my way.

Still, I felt that if I didn't close the door on that chapter of my life, I might not live my dream of design and business. And I really liked these people. That's what -- as you know, in business it's about people. It's about relationships. They were really good people.

I started doing research. And I had put a little team together. When I was modeling, people used to tease me. Why are you so cheap? Why don't you buy some better clothes, a nicer car or at least pay for valet parking? But I was investing in people, an art director, creative director, experts in production and marketing.

I know my strengths. Painfully aware of the weaknesses. There's many. I love sports. So working towards a common goal, that's exciting to me.

MORGAN: That necklace that keeps blinding me --

IRELAND: Yes.

MORGAN: That's worth a lot of money, right? The ensemble, the earrings, the necklace, the ring, which is almost Liz Taylor-esque -- and we're going to come to this later on. The angles here. You are a billion dollar lady to look at.

IRELAND: Thank you. I will take it as a compliment.

MORGAN: It is a compliment.

IRELAND: Thank you.

MORGAN: How does it feel to have made the migration from the model to the businesswoman? You're the empire. That's a totally different thing, isn't it?

IRELAND: It's extremely different. It's so humbling. I'm so grateful. I have to say particularly to the women out there who got it, who embraced our brand. When we started, if you could have heard the laughter, the doors slamming in our face. People saying, you know, love the socks. But who needs you? You can't start a brand with a pair of socks.

I'm a curious person. I like to ask questions. Well, why? People would say, it's never been done. It's never been done does not mean that it can't be done.

MORGAN: What was the key -- when you began with the socks and stuff, what was the key moment for you that really propelled this from, you know, a small business into the big league?

IRELAND: Well, in the beginning, our socks were carried at a handful of sporting good stores, Big Five and a few others. A mass retailer started carrying them. And one day, the CEO calls me into his office. He informed me that the socks were a blowout.

We just had our first baby in diapers, so a blowout had a different meaning. He assured me it was a really good thing.

MORGAN: I'm familiar with this. I've had three children. Blowout is not a good thing.

IRELAND: Yes, but in business, it's great. They asked for exclusivity at their channel of distribution. It was an opportunity to grow our brand. Loved the executives, just great people. As you know, in business, executives change. Change is everything.

Being dependent upon one retailer for our success, for our team did not feel comfortable. Started making plans to move into the independent channel of distribution. Again, laughs, can't be done, impossible, it's never been done. It's a lot of work.

MORGAN: Here you are.

IRELAND: It was worth it.

MORGAN: We're going to have a little break. And then I want to talk to you about the ugliest day of your life.

IRELAND: Oh, OK.

MORGAN: Do you remember what it was?

IRELAND: Sure, yeah.

MORGAN: That's OK.

IRELAND: Many.

MORGAN: Might be a different one.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Back with my guest Kathy Ireland. Kathy, there will be millions of people watching this thinking, how the hell does she look so good. What's the answer?

IRELAND: Thank you. You're very kind. Hair, makeup, great lighting, photo retouching. Those are my secrets.

MORGAN: Any secret secrets? What are the great beauty secrets for continuing to look like this? It shouldn't be allowed. It should be illegal.

IRELAND: Beauty comes from the inside.

MORGAN: People that look like you always say that. It doesn't help me. No one looks at me and says, God, you're a beautiful guy on the inside, Piers.

IRELAND: Yes, they do.

MORGAN: They don't.

IRELAND: Yes, they do. The joy you have for what you do shines through. And it's very attractive.

MORGAN: You also have -- I mean, you have to be able to work at the beauty on the outside, presumably. You know, when you're like 20, as a supermodel, it's one thing. I interviewed Cindy Crawford recently, who I know you know well and worked with, who is fantastic. She described quite poignantly the time that she was I think about 40 or late 30s. And she walked down the same part of London that she had walked when she was 20. And then she stopped traffic.

She had hair just like you, amazing sort of hair. She said now the difference was the traffic didn't stop. She looked slightly sad, although realistic about it. I mean, describe that feeling when you move from the traffic stopping to something different.

IRELAND: That was never on my radar, traffic stopping. It was never important to me. I intentionally built a business that has absolutely nothing to do with appearance.

MORGAN: Really?

IRELAND: Absolutely. Years ago, I was doing something rather silly. I would say my sense of adventure outweighs my grace. And I was, for lack of a better word, wagon surfing. I jumped in our kids' wagon.

MORGAN: I'm coming to this, your ugliest moment.

IRELAND: Yes. This could qualify as one of them, for sure. Standing in the wagon holding on to the steering wheel, asking my husband to push me around our circle big brick driveway, having so much fun, until I noticed my parked car, over corrected my turn, wagon stopped abruptly.

I kept going, smack, hit my face, landed smack on my face on the bricks. And I was a mess. My husband is an E.R. doctor.

MORGAN: What kind of injuries?

IRELAND: Smashed up face, nose, smashed teeth, ripped shoulder, mouth, lips, eyes. I was unrecognizable. Our daughter lily was two at the time. When she saw me, she burst into tears. She thought I was a monster. Our son Eric was just about to celebrate his seventh birthday. He thought it was fantastic. I could scare his friends. I had a girlfriend who took the liberty -- took it upon herself to put a paper on the mirror so I wouldn't scare myself. But it was such a wonderful time in so many ways. I'm very fortunate that I healed. My husband was afraid that -- as well as being a commercial fisherman, he's an E.R. doctor. He's usually so calm.

To see him have that look of panic, he said a blow to the head like that could have been fatal. But I just have a small scar on my nose.

MORGAN: What did you learn? You went from being, in an instant, one of the most beautiful women in the world to somebody with their face smashed in. It's a totally different dynamic when you look in the mirror. What did you go through emotionally? What did you learn about that?

IRELAND: The minute it happened I thought, OK, this is going to be an adventure. I had this -- I had no idea what the outcome was going to be. During that time, our business had the largest growth that it's ever experienced. And for the fist time, no one could say that it had anything to do with my looks, because I was a complete mess.

MORGAN: So ugly sells.

IRELAND: It was a gift. Absolutely. It was great for business.

MORGAN: Obviously you have your family there. How important is it, do you think, to have -- if you are doing this kind of business, to have the backdrop of a good, stable family?

IRELAND: For me, it's everything. I couldn't imagine my life without my children, my husband Greg, our three children, Eric, Lily and Chloe. I'm blessed with really great parents, siblings, mother in law. We have a very close family.

MORGAN: Do you all hang out with other ex-supermodels? Do you all -- I just have this wonderful idea of you all strolling down Malibu Beach on a Friday. Me just missing out on this opportunity.

IRELAND: You know, it was -- it was such a great job and a great opportunity. But I was constantly trying other businesses. So I didn't really connect deeply. There are people I'm still in touch with, but -- well, Julie Campbell, who is the editor of "Sports Illustrated," I see her.

MORGAN: But none of the models?

IRELAND: Some of them, like a few of them. But we lived such different lives, different parts of the world, traveling, family.

MORGAN: Who did you think was -- present company excepted, who did you think was the number one, the most beautiful model you have ever seen?

IRELAND: There are so many. MORGAN: If you could produce one magazine, say one "Sports Illustrated" before you died, and you could put one woman as the cover, it can't be you?

IRELAND: Oh, my goodness.

MORGAN: Who would it be?

IRELAND: There were so many. When you look at people like Christie Brinkley, Cheryl Tiegs, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, these -- and these women -- they were and continue to be seen and heard everywhere.

MORGAN: What about one? One. Come on, give me a name.

IRELAND: One.

MORGAN: One model. You're the editor now. You have to choice. I'm pinning you down.

IRELAND: Cindy Crawford. She's fantastic.

MORGAN: She'd be mine. I would do a split issue, the pair of you.

IRELAND: A what?

MORGAN: The pair of you. I would have a split -- one of those double issues, where, you know, you have to buy both copies.

IRELAND: You'd have to dust mine off.

MORGAN: I would be happy to do that. We're going to have a little break, when we come back, I want to talk more about your life, but in particular about Elizabeth Taylor, who I know was a very close friend of yours. You were one of the few people who were invited to her funeral. I'll discuss that amazing woman.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Back with my special guest, Kathy Ireland. I read somewhere that you went through this weight battle. You pointed to the fact that you put on a pound for 25 years, one a year for 25 years. I was like, to me, that's a diet. I didn't really understand what the problem was. One pound a year for 25 years? I would happily take that.

IRELAND: Well, it's more about health and how that impacts your health. It can. Twenty five pounds can wreak havoc on your health. The C-reactive protein levels -- heart disease is the number one killer of women in America.

So my desire to be healthy has nothing to do with fitting into a certain size. I'm too rebellious for that. But it is all about being healthy. I want to be there for my kids. MORGAN: One of your dearest friends was Elizabeth Taylor. She obviously, very sadly, passed away recently. You were one of the very few people -- one of 40 people who went to her funeral. What was that experience like for you?

IRELAND: It still doesn't -- I still feel like she's here. And she always will be. What an incredible person. Heroic in so many ways.

MORGAN: A proper star, wasn't she?

IRELAND: Absolutely, in every way. That's what I -- I really hope she is remembered for who she is, her courage, what she did, the fight against HIV AIDS, and continued to do throughout her life, despite death threats and all sorts of nonsense.

To see what she did in '76 in Entebbe with Idi Amin and the Jewish hostages, that she contacted the Israeli government and offered herself. They said, thank you. We have a plan, but we're going to hang on to this in case we need it. And fortunately, the idea of special forces was able to be successful.

But just quietly what she continued to do, so much untruths have been written about her and --

MORGAN: What was the biggest misconception? As someone who knew her so well, what was something that really annoyed you the most about the way she was characterized?

IRELAND: People always said she was dying. They always focused on that. And she was so vibrant, so full of life, so smart and brilliant to experience her in business meetings. This is say woman who would not hide behind representatives. She would not hide behind lawyers.

You knew where you stood with Elizabeth. So direct, so honest, so genuine and so on top of all of her affairs.

MORGAN: It sounded remarkably moving, uplifting occasion, actually, her funeral. Was it like that? That's what I was told by people who were there.

IRELAND: It was very surreal. I think none of us really -- had really come to grips with what it was. But it was beautiful. Her family is amazing. And it was such a gorgeous tribute, a beautiful tribute. She loved her family so much. An amazing mother.

And I think that's what many people don't know about her. She was an extraordinary person. There's so much for all of us to learn from her.

MORGAN: I totally agree. She will be greatly missed. Because you're one of the very few people who have ever come on my show and not wanted to promote anything overtly or even surreptitiously, I've decided to award you a free promotional moment. You will now have -- not that you need it. As I keep saying, you have a business worth 1.4 billion. But given I'm now giving you a chance, as a reward for not coming on demanding that I do something, over to you.

IRELAND: Thank you.

MORGAN: What are you up to at the moment? What's the thing you are pushing now?

IRELAND: Our business is about solutions. Our mission started with finding solutions for families, especially busy moms. It's expanded to finding solutions for people in business and finding solutions for people in love.

We've recently launched our collection of wedding gowns. And seven years of rejection with a gentlemen named Steve Lang (ph) from Mon Cheri. And seven years of him saying "no." People said, why do you bother? Why don't you find somebody else?

It had to be the best. When you're talking about someone's wedding day, you can't mess it up. It's got to be the best. Today we have launched Kathy Ireland's Wedding by To Be. It's a great relationship.

MORGAN: I get a feeling talking to you that there's a quiet satisfaction that many, many people in your life and career have not mocked you, but slightly not taken you seriously enough. And here you are now, you've arrived at this place where you're having the last laugh in spectacular fashion.

Do you feel -- what do you feel, vindicated? Do you have a little laugh at them now?

IRELAND: You know, it was interesting, because for years we were building our brand very quietly. I was OK as a model. But by the time we started our brand, I was fading out. And we were able to really enjoy that privacy and build it quietly.

Forbes outed our brand as the 1.4 billion dollar brand. And people started asking questions. And they did stop laughing. They started clocking and copying. And that's great. I think that's a wonderful compliment.

MORGAN: If you could write your own obituary headline in 60 or 70 years -- I'm sure you'll live forever. What would it be, "not just a pretty face?" Do you like that?

IRELAND: I'd say a slow learner, hopefully tough. I think that's a compliment. And it's important. You have to be tough. Business is tough.

MORGAN: Kathy Ireland, slow learner, so slow, you managed to amass 1.4 billion dollars as a business. It's been a pleasure.

IRELAND: Thank you. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: As millions of Americans braced for the arrival of Hurricane Irene, a veteran CNN hero was there; 77-year-old Wilma Melville has carried on her life saving missing at every major disaster for the past 15 years.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILMA MELVILLE, CNN HERO: When the Oklahoma City bombing happened, I saw the size of that building on television. I had a hobby of learning to train a disaster search dog. I was deployed to Oklahoma City. I did wonder, can we really do this? Can we really find live people?

When I got home, I said, what is this nation doing with approximately 15 FEMA certified dogs? This one building alone requires far more than 15.

My name is Wilma Melville. Our organization trains rescue dogs and firefighter handlers to save lives after a disaster.

Right turn. We like to use shelter dogs. It's the humane thing to do. There is nothing better than a dog's nose to find a live human.

We've been to the World Trade Center, Japan, Joplin, Missouri, and Haiti.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Haiti, on our fourth day there we made contact with a 10-year-old girl. We would ask her to acknowledge us with a tap and around the six or seventh hour, she stopped tapping.

MELVILLE: Finding live people is our goal. But providing hope for the onlooker and a place to begin work for the firefighter, those are meaningful, meaningful objectives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: You can learn more at CNNHeroes.com and on CNN Heroes Facebook and Twitter pages. That's it for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.