(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 question.
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.