Taraji P. Henson, as Cookie, in a scene from "Empire." Premiering on Fox in January, "Empire" proved to be a smash hit.
Taraji P. Henson, as Cookie, in a scene from "Empire." Premiering on Fox in January, "Empire" proved to be a smash hit. (Courtesy of Fox)

For some people, 2015 was the year of the Apple Watch. "Hamilton" was all others could talk about. Still others fixated on Cookie's one-liners, Harper Lee's long-forgotten novel, Caitlyn Jenner, Kanye West's high-fashion line and so on.

All in all, things happened. Many things. So many that electing to ignore one or two or possibly several of them was inevitable, and perhaps healthy. In this age of information overload, a selection of prominent citizens tell us what they skipped, and why.


I'm the No. 1 theater junkie. The idea that I haven't seen "Hamilton" yet is nuts. People want to talk to me about it, and I'm like "I haven't seen it," and they're like, "What?" I'm just too busy. My oldest child has seen it — plays me songs, explains the plot to me. But I still haven't seen it. But come January, I will be there. New Year's resolution.

— Cynthia Nixon, actress


I haven't watched "Empire." I just am so knee-deep in shows. And there's like 22 episodes, so it's a big thing to get into. But I actually want to see a couple of episodes because I've heard it's great, and I love everybody in the show. It's watched by like 11 million people or something. If we can get the commercial-break audience from that show to watch our show, life would be different.

— Abbi Jacobson, co-creator of "Broad City"

Donald J. Trump


The biggest thing I decided to skip is the Trump craze. When you're a New Yorker, Donald Trump is a staple part of the city. He's like the crazy uncle. Why I came to this country and why I love it so much is diversity. Diversity of thought, of people. So when I hear about loudmouths screaming at journalists or hating women or calling our president stupid, I check out.

— Marcus Samuelsson, chef and restaurateur

'Empire' and 'Fates and Furies'

I did try to watch "Empire," but that was never going to take for me. I watched one episode and then I tried to watch the second one, but I wasn't stoned, so it didn't work as well. Everybody is talking about this book "Fates and Furies," and I started reading it and I thought it was so silly. Then I saw in People magazine that Obama had read it, and I thought, "Wait a second, if he read this book, I must not have gotten far enough." I was swayed by the idea that maybe Barack Obama was reading it, and then I went back and thought: "No, I don't really care if he read this or not. I still can't."

— Chelsea Handler, comedian and talk-show host

Apple Watch

A customer demonstrates the Apple Watch at an Apple Store in Tokyo.
A customer demonstrates the Apple Watch at an Apple Store in Tokyo. (Koji Sasahara — the associated press)

I sat out the Apple Watch. I was launching the List app, so I made it my business to be up on all the new technology and all the new platforms. I am someone who checks my phone constantly when I'm with people, and I'm told that's the rudest thing you can do. Except there's one ruder thing you can do, which is to check your watch while talking to somebody. So the Apple Watch combines the two rudest activities you can do into one activity.

— B.J. Novak, actor, comedian and a creator of the List app

News About Guns

It seems like every time I turn on the television, there's another shooting. And they go, "Oh, it's not the guns, it's the people with the guns." So I find that issue at this point somewhat intractable and therefore I do tend to avoid it.

— John Slattery, actor

Marie Kondo Craze

I skipped the Marie Kondo "art of tidying up" phenomenon. It's kind of how I roll already. I make tons of stuff, but my life motto is, "If your heirs won't fight over it, we won't make it." It's how I've been living. I felt that a lot of people were talking about it, and like prefab homes or moving to Portland, it's a fantasy people have about simplifying their lives. Those are just little emotional escapes from reality. And I have so much stuff, but each and every item means something to me.

— Jonathan Adler, designer


I missed out on Snapchat, but I don't care that I missed out. I don't have a need to vlog every moment of my life. But a friend of mine said, "You have to follow DJ Khaled on Snapchat." I was blown away by how unintentionally funny DJ Khaled is. I can't believe I missed the boat for so long. We're in the same time zone. So I'll be like, "I wonder what he's doing this morning." But he's the only person I follow. I don't post anything myself. I'm really boring. When I eat and hang out and do stuff, I'm a pretty boring person.

— Hasan Minhaj, comedian and senior Muslim correspondent on "The Daily Show"

'Go Set a Watchman'

I sat out on "Go Set a Watchman." After "To Kill a Mockingbird" became so huge, if there had been the possibility of another great book there that an editor could see, the first thing any editor will do is go to the author, "Hey, let's capitalize on this." The fact that that didn't happen just made me think that this was a draft that was never meant to see the light of day, and it looked like a tawdry cash grab. A lot of authors have a shoe-box novel. It's something you wrote that should never leave the shoe box — you know it, your agent knows it, your publisher knows it. I wonder how many authors actually trashed their shoe boxes after "Go Set a Watchman" came out. Or left notes on things saying, "This is not to be published" or "Not to be sold" or "Not to be read by anyone." It's sort of a doomsday scenario. You can't control the marketing, the narrative, the cover. That's the scary part.

— Jennifer Weiner, author

The 'Mad Men' Finale

I skipped the "Mad Men" finale. I love that show and I love all the performers, and I had sort of dropped off, and I kept thinking, "I've got to get caught up." And then I realized it's just not going to happen. This was a year where whatever dinner you sat down at, someone was like, "Do you watch this show fill-in-the-blank?" And if you said no, they were like, "What's wrong with you?" And my list kept getting longer. By the end of the year, there are now like 20 shows I need to watch. So the "Mad Men" finale came around, and I just had to let that one go.

— Ariel Foxman, editorial director of InStyle and Stylewatch

Amy Winehouse Documentary, 'Jessica Jones,' 'Transparent,' Netflix and Chill (Sort Of)

The things I regret I missed: the Amy Winehouse documentary. I don't know yet who "Jessica Jones" is. I hear about these things in the ether, I know they exist, I have three kids who talk about things. But I haven't found the time to engage. The other one I really need to get into is "Transparent." And I know that's an important one. A few of my girlfriends are amazing with film, fantastic with art, television. I have such great things passed my way all the time. I can probably talk at a dinner in a very peripheral way, but I really need to take a bite of these things I haven't had time for yet. The other thing I'm learning more about is the subtext of "Netflix and chill," which is not just chilling. I was explaining to my 10-year-old that you go to your friend's house and you chill out and watch Netflix, and my 15-year-old started laughing in the other room, which led me to believe there's a deeper meaning.

— Jessica Seinfeld, cookbook author and founder of Baby Buggy


It seems that every few weeks, a new iteration on the contouring trend evolves. Everything from strobing (highlighting/reverse contouring), baking (the process of letting makeup set after applying powder) to the most extreme incarnation — clown contouring (using contour makeup/color correctors to create designs like clown face paint, and in some cases sugar skulls and cat faces).

While I skipped the clown contouring phenomenon, I love a creative transformation, and clearly I have never been one to shy away from unconventional, over-the-top trends.

— Pat McGrath, makeup artist

Hoverboard, Periscope

I'm such a sucker for the hot new thing. I marked the Adele album's drop date on my calendar as if it's a national holiday. I Whipped and Nae Naed my little heart out. But I skip a lot of electronic hype. I would still be using my clickwheel iPod if I could. I marvel at, but will never step on, a hoverboard. What is that craziness? I didn't hop onto the Periscope game. There are so many social outlets for your face and your words and thoughts, I don't know what I would do with another one.

— Candice Huffine, model

Tasting Menus

The food trend I skipped out on this year is sitting through four-hour, 50-course tasting menus. We did it for a little while at one of our restaurants years ago, and just doing it turned me off. I've eaten so many of these incredibly precious, many, many hour-long meals. I would rather just eat at a "normal" restaurant. It's not fun. It's generally not delicious because it's so manipulated and played with and you rarely get food hot. It's food that's made to look pretty. It's a wow-Instagram moment, and you put it in your mouth and think, "That's it?"

— Mario Carbone, chef and restaurateur

'The Affair'

I watched the first couple of episodes, and I thought everyone was nuts. I didn't understand why I was supposed to like the British girl. It wasn't resonating. And it was like: "Oh, great. Let me just sit here with my husband and watch people cheating on each other and being happy about it." That doesn't sound productive.

— Debi Mazar, actress