Mention one of her favorite topics - Hillary Clinton's presidential bid, diversity in the workplace, or her forthcoming VH1 TV show - and Star Jones hits the accelerator hard. She speaks faster than a speeding bullet. She's emphatic, sincere, excited.
Ask, "Where is Star Jones these days?" and the floodgates open.
Jones says she's deeply involved with her friend Clinton's presidential campaign. "There's no question that Hillary is my choice," said Jones. "She's the only choice."
Jones has been conspicuously absent from TV screens since she left The View in 2006 but will make a sort-of return with VH1's scripted series based on her 2011 novel about a women's daily talk show, Satan's Sisters. She is an executive producer of the series, which will star Vanessa Williams. It is slated to debut in 2017.
Jones also has ventured into corporate America as president of the Professional Diversity Network, a for-profit public company that offers a fee-based networking forum for professionals and organizes career fairs. She's on the phone to discuss how her company promotes diversity in the workplace. Jones will participate in the Philadelphia Professional and Technology Diversity Career Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Convention Center.
"It's free and open to everyone who wants to meet with some of the biggest employers in the country," Jones said. "Come with your resumés - these people are sincerely looking to hire."
She'll stick around after the fair to address an invitation-only luncheon for local members of the National Association of Professional Women. The PDN and the women's group merged several years ago, and Jones is president of both.
It's bewildering how many careers - how many lives - Jones has pursued in her 54 years. Trained as a lawyer, she was a prosecutor in Brooklyn in the late 1980s before landing a gig as a Court TV commentator. Before joining The View, she also worked as a legal correspondent for NBC's Today and Inside Edition.
Don't expect her to host another talk show, though.
"I'm not interested in [doing] on-camera TV work anymore," she said. "I was lucky to be on daytime TV for 25 straight years and [now] I have an opportunity to use a different skill set."
It's not hard to see why Jones isn't keen on returning to TV. Her stint on The View, her last full-time media job, ended with what Jones calls "a very public firing." It caused a rift between Jones and View executive producer Barbara Walters. (Six years later, Jones appeared on the show as a guest and all seemed to have been forgiven.)
Out in the cold, Jones found herself at a crossroads.
"I had to figure out how to come back from that," she said. Before long, she had to face another challenge when she had to undergo open-heart surgery to remove a thoracic tumor.
Want to know where her novel comes from? She wrote it while recovering from surgery. It was good therapy, said Jones.
"They took my heart out of my body for 22 minutes," she said. "It means for the first three to six months, it's important that you keep your mind going" to ensure oxygen deprivation didn't cause permanent damage.
But the book and TV show are just icing on the cake. Her real work is in the world of business.
Jones already had a reputation as a diligent and aggressive entrepreneur. To some, she's too much so: She was criticized in 2004 for using The View to plug the companies that organized and supplied her sumptuous wedding to Al Reynolds. The couple divorced in 2008.
In her new role, she hopes to make corporate America far more open to diversity. "And by that, I'm not only thinking of people of color, but also the LGBT community, veterans, the disabled, and the biggest group - women," she said.
"I'm focused on what is really my utmost purpose in life, to be an advocate for diversity . . . and to redefine what diversity means in this country."
Jones said she finally feels like she is on the right path. "I wake up each morning doing the thing I was meant to do."