(born February 24th, 1959, in Los Angeles) is a critically
acclaimed American author. She lives in Southern California with
her husband, the painter Charles Arnoldi, and their two
A fourth-generation Californian, Arnoldi graduated from Westlake
School for Girls in 1976, and received her BA in Art History from
Scripps College in 1980.
Arnoldi’s first novel, CHEMICAL
PINK, is set in the world of female bodybuilding.
CHEMICAL PINK is a story of amateur
bodybuilder Aurora Johnson. While at a gym, Aurora meets Charles
Worthington, a wealthy eccentric with a passion for up-and-coming
bodybuilders. Aurora, thrilled to have found a
“sponsor,” willingly surrenders her life to Charles.
Under his tutelage, she begins an intense training
program—regular workouts with a trainer, special high protein
meals, and even muscle-enhancing drugs—all the while putting
up with Charles’ sexual games. Together they watch her body
grow and change into the champion that they envisioned from the
start in this portrait of two obsessed personalities and the
perverse relationship that draws them together.
Referred to as “…a page-turner” by The
Village Voice and “… a dazzling first
novel—entirely original, dizzyingly controlled” by
essayist and author Joan Didion, CHEMICAL
PINK so burrowed itself into the public’s
consciousness that its title was the answer to a double Jeopardy
In an 2001 Interview with Paper Magazine, Arnoldi spoke of
her own experience as a bodybuilder, including winning the 1992
Southern California Bodybuilding Championship. She tells journalist
Allison Xantha Miller, “I competed on a really low level.
That’s the only title I ever won…I found out pretty
quickly that you can’t go any farther without taking that
next step, which is jumping into taking drugs.”
Seven years later Arnoldi published her second novel, THE WENTWORTHS. A searing portrait of a wealthy
Los Angeles, this novel portrayed the dysfunctionality of the
modern American family. Maire Claire called The Wentworth
a “… savagely funny novel rings true as a social satire
of contemporary L.A.” According to Elle,
“…while tales of dysfunctional families abound, this
one separates itself from the pack with concise prose, escalating
tension, and wry humor.”
Arnoldi is known for her athleticism. As a competitive surfer, she
worked the longboard club circuit from Santa Cruz to San Diego. She
is also trained in hardcore outback survival, and frequently goes
on solo high-altitude expeditions.
Arnoldi has just finished her new novel, POINT DUME, in which prominent themes include
the death of surf culture, human trafficking, the Mexican drug
cartel, illegal pot farms on public lands, environmental
devastation, and obsessive love.