Tag Archives: celebrity

Lessons from Tyra

From supermodel to media brand.

The New York Times magazine recently ran a profile of Tyra Banks about which there has been much bitchery online. She’s an easy target: utterly lampoonable yet ruthlessly ambitious. We think the interview is a masterclass in how to build a media brand and in how to maintain control. Particularly fascinating are the insights into how Tyra and her formidable mother London plotted her rise. Any fame wannabes should pay particular attention to the following:

Around this time, in the mid-’90s, Banks started gaining weight. Her agency made a list titled, “Designers who will not book Tyra because of hips and breasts.” They had a meeting with London and told her to put her daughter on a diet. “My mother told me the whole thing as we were walking down the street in Milan,” Banks said. “She said, ‘They say you’re too curvy. Let’s go order pizza.’ We walked into a pizzeria, and we discussed a career change.” Her curves dictated a different sort of modeling. “Tyra was always smart,” Veronica Webb said. “Tyra didn’t like clothes, and why should she? She looked great in a bikini. And in a bra and panties. That’s where the real action is in the fashion business: if you have great cleavage, you can make a fortune. When Tyra started to get really curvy, she signed a contract with Victoria’s Secret. For a black girl, that was incredible.

Genius. Instead of bowing to the dictates of the fashion industry, Tyra and her mother dictated back. Rather than moulding her body to the industry, Tyra diversified. Did the gamble pay off? Tyra used the platform of her Victoria’s Secret contract to create her own celebrity brand. We also suspect she maintains a lucrative relationship with the lingerie company: note how many times she refers to the brand when reminiscing about her modelling days. From her two shows — Top Model and the eponymous chat show, Banks now makes an estimated $18 million a year, and her net worth is around $75 million. Both shows are constructed around her highly ‘Bankable’ (the name of Tyra’s production company) persona. She owns 25 percent of “Top Model” and last fall Bankable Productions signed a deal to develop projects for Warner Brothers television. She wins.

(Full disclosure: Top Model is probably my favourite reality tv show format of all time. Those unable to fathom its appeal should probably read this.)

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Britney Fears

Celebrity tragedy for sale

Footage of Britney Spears being hospitalised for the second time in a month hits YouTube and Google‘s search advertising hits postmodern paydirt. Running next to the clip is an ad for a ringtone of Britney’s current single, ‘Piece of Me’, in which she sings about her life of overexposure and exploitation:

I’m Miss American Dream since I was 17
Don’t matter if I step on the scene
Or sneak away to the Philippines
They still gon put pictures of my derrière in the magazine
You want a piece of me?
You want a piece of me…

piece-of-her.jpg

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Celebrity Skin

Courtney Love’s working on a fashion line.

courtney.jpgIt gets better. Courtney tells the Fashion Informer blog:

…I know a lot of people are doing lines (no sniggering at the back) but my first job, other than stripping, was on Mommie Dearest as an assistant in wardrobe. My first boyfriend, his mother was a third generation wardrobe lady so she ran the Paramount wardrobe department, which was three hangars like this [gestures to the Lexington Avenue Armory space]. And I was in charge, some of the time, of throwing stuff out. I mean, they had four tiers of Mae West’s clothes that went on for, like, six racks… they’d get rid of stuff like Frances Farmer’s clothes and lace that was made out of 24kt. gold that had a little rip in it – so I had the best wardrobe in LA in 1986 since I was in charge of throwing stuff out.

We wonder if Courtney will be reworking her infamous ‘kinderwhore’ look? Can’t wait.

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Correction du Jour

The New York Times editor knows how to craft an arch apology.

An article on Page 46 of The Times Magazine today about Rachel Zoe, a stylist who works with many film and TV stars, misstated the location of the premiere of the Nicole Kidman film Fur, for which Ms. Kidman requested a travel budget of more than $100,000 for her stylist and other assistants. It was the Rome Film Festival, not the Venice Film Festival.

BTW: big congrats to the NYT for going free online today: welcome to the 21st Century. WSJ and FT — please take note. UPDATE: apparently the Rupert Murdoch has …

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Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Pete Doherty spotted with basket of kittens

peted 2.jpgSee how frightened they look? Free the crackhead 3!

Via the much-better-than perezhilton blog, dlisted.

UPDATE (also courtesy of dlisted). Kitten-flaunting appears to be an emergent celebrity trend. Where’s PETA when you need them?

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TomKat and Nicole

Nicole Kidman unwittingly joins ex-husband Tom Cruise and his new wife Katie Holmes on the cover of Hello! magazine.

2UL3J6WUnW.jpg“Nicole Kidman: My Choice”, reads the Omega ad. Indeed.

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Paris, Queen of Links

“If Madonna was Marketing 1.0 then Paris Hilton is Marketing 2.0.”

This blog post about how Paris Hilton rose to global fame is so perceptive that we’re just going block quote it.

Here is a copy of what Paris said after her recent arrest for DUI.

“I had one margarita (and) was starving because I had not eaten all day,” she said. “Maybe I was speeding a little bit and I got pulled over. I was just really hungry and I wanted to have an In-N-Out Burger.”

Did you notice that?

If not read it again and think.

See it now? (the unpaid product placement).

That’s the real reason Paris Hilton is really famous. Because she is the queen of links.

When Paris first came on the scene with her own user generated sex video she used that attention to create a career. Here’s how she did it.

Though she hired a publisist to get her on Page 6 She never really talked about herself. She talked about other people. She would mention the designers of her clothes, the club she was going to, who made the sweater for her dog, all without any guarantee of any return. She just threw out links.

It didn’t take long for designers and club owners to realize that Paris Hilton was a walking billboard. So they embraced her. She paid attention to them, so they paid attention to her.

The most valuable commodity today is attention. And there are many ways to get it. From sex videos to stupid pet tricks to talking bad about Muslims. The real trick is what you do with it once you have it.

What makes Paris brilliant is that she used the attention she had and gave it to others thereby garning more attention for herself. And it’s been profitable.

Here’s what’s amusing to me though.

Whenever she tries to promote herself, it falls flat. Books, records, movies, etc. don’t work for Paris. Because she’s actually a platform. Like Digg and YouTube.

Paris Hilton has gotten so good at garnering attention for others people are now using the fact that she doesn’t visit as a marketing tool.

In a world where any attention is valuable Paris can’t lose.

So, if we stop paying attention to her — and we’re all complicit, from Perez Hilton to Banksy — maybe, just maybe, she’ll go away.

From Chartreuse via WOW.

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The empire strikes back: TMZ.com

AOL Time Warner retaliates against the gossip bloggers with TMZ.

You’re a media empire but you’re losing hearts and minds to the blogsophere particularly in that ripe and juicy segment of the media known as gossip. You were used to breaking all the celebrity news (after all you had a direct ‘in’ to their people) but now bloggers like Perez Hilton are beating you to it. What do you do? Get your video-paparazzi (the secret weapon) and follow every d and z-lister until you get a money shot. And boy does it work. You even broke the Mel Gibson/anti-semitic drunken outburst story. Now those fiendish bloggers are linking to you and everything is right with the world. For now.

Our current clip of choice? DD-lister Tara Reid gets denied entry to a club whilst Paris Hilton glides by. Watch and marvel. Note to TMZ though. You need to get with the clip culture and give us a nice bit of hackable code (a la YouTube).

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Celebrity Exactitudes

How to spot a d-lister.

celebrity exactitudes.jpgWe’ve long been fans of Exactitudes by Arie Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroek, the ongoing photographic project which shows how We Are All the Same.

Now The Observer has noticed that D-list celebrities are starting to morph into each other. The article notes that:

While famous folk now look more alike in general — perfect teeth, perfect size, perfect fashion assembled by the same perfect stylist everyone else has — there is a peculiar subset of D-list male celebrities who are taking it too far. With tans the colour of teak [often owing to the obligatory stint on Love Island], army cadet buzz cuts and a wardrobe of hip-grazing jeans, V-neck T-shirts and crumpled jackets, we defy their own mothers to tell them apart.

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Deluded of the Decade

The only post we will ever run on Paris Hilton.

paris hilton.jpg

I think every decade has an iconic blonde — like Marilyn Monroe or Princess Diana — and right now, I’m that icon.

Paris Hilton in the Sunday Times Style section.

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