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Q&A: Renee Mazer

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“Sex sells” is a mantra embraced by marketing gurus everywhere, and exactly why girl-gone-wild Renee Mazer of Ardmore has made it her teaching tool of choice. A steamy way to steam up your vocabulary with a bevy of dressed-to-impress 25-cent words, Wordgasm is guaranteed to shock your pants off—and those of anyone else within earshot. Each CD is built around a theme, delivered in the form of a witty poem that utilizes all the words covered in the lesson. We’re keeping it clean here, so if you want to sample her double entendres and saucy scenarios, you’ll have to go to your nearest bookstore.

MLT: Is there a story behind your decision to use sex as a vocabulary-building platform?
RM: When I was an SAT instructor, I was constantly searching for ways to make things more interesting. Humor always won out, and it’s what made my first audio program so successful. I’m a huge fan of Sex and the City, and I tend to have a risqué edge. Bringing that into a typically boring educational platform seemed like a good way to capture adults’ attention.

MLT: What has the response been?
RM: Terrific. I’ve gotten e-mails, phone calls—everyone who’s been listening to it loves it. It doesn’t matter what your background is; everyone wants to have a better vocabulary. Most people just don’t want to work hard at it.

MLT:
Were you afraid you wouldn’t be taken seriously?
RM: There’s always anxiety about launching a new product. But because I’ve proved that my teaching methods are effective, I never worried about how I would be perceived.

MLT: What importance do you place on having an advanced vocabulary?
RM: In the business world, studies have shown a correlation between vocabulary and salary. For me, it’s just fun. I love reading and knowing every word I come across—and I can impress my teenage son. Ironically, I was terrible at language acquisition when I was younger. When I started teaching SAT prep courses, I was petrified of the verbal portion of the program.

MLT: What’s your track record on improving people’s verbal skills?
RM: Really, really good. Just ask anyone who’s listened to my programs. If you listen, you’ll remember every single word.

MLT:
Do your sons practice what you preach?
RM: Until recently, my son found my job amusing. Now that he’s entered high school, though, he’s expressed an interest in improving his vocabulary. He actually put on my kids’ program, Not Too Scary Vocabulary, instead of music one day while we were in the car. I was floored.

MLT: What exactly does “Jumping the Jock” mean, anyway?
RM: One of my goals is to try and find themes a lot of people can relate to. This particular one is about a crush I had on a football player when I was in high school, and what happened when I finally got together with him. The larger theme, of course, being about what happens when you get something you really want.

MLT: The fine print on your packaging promises a “bonus gift” to those ordering Wordgasm before June 30. Obviously anyone reading this has missed out. What was the surprise—anything X-rated?
RM: It’s not as racy as you might be thinking. Just a cute highlighter pen with feet and a head—and troll-like hair, only softer—that says, “I just had a Wordgasm.” I might do tees with my next program—for an extra dollar though.
 

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