NonSociety – Live Differently. Julia's Articles Media Personality

Following My Lifecast: Here's a glimpse into my life. Scroll to the right to view chronologically, and click 'earlier' to see more.

Apr 02, 12 6:44pm

To say I “like” cupcakes would be an understatement of enormous proportion.  I don’t like them.  I LOVE them.  I’m obsessed with them.  I want to marry them and have cupcake babies … okay.  Well.  Maybe not that.  But everything short of it.

As a certified cupcake aficionado, I’ve felt that is is my duty to taste test every cupcake on the island of Manhattan (as well as LA, Chicago and San Francisco, but that’s another review).  Along the way I’ve tried Crumbs, Cupcake Cafe, Buttercup Bakery, Burger & Cupcakes, and Magnolia Bakery of Sex & the City fame (of course).

None of them come close to Sugar Sweet Sunshine, an adorable little nugget of a cafe on Rivington, in the middle of the Lower East Side.  The space itself - a homey, charming, pink walled cocoon - is as warm and sweet and yummy as the actual cupcakes, which is saying something, because they are Cupcake Crack.  (Um, that’s a good thing.)

SPECIFICS
So what makes these cupcakes the Best in the Land?  As I see it, there are two essential components of a world class cupcake: the cake part, and the frosting part.  First, let’s address the cake part: specifically, what can go wrong?  The cake can be dry.  It can be tasteless.  It can be hard.  It can be not sugary enough (aka “bread-like”).  Listen, if I wanted bread, I would eat a roll.  I want moist sugar!  Sugar Sweet Sunshine’s cupcakes are all moist sugar.  Moist, moist, moist sugar.

Okay, now let’s address the frosting portion.  Personally, I am not a fan of the frosting that tastes more like whipped cream (Cupcake Cafe, I’m talking to you).  Frosting should taste like frosting, damnit, and Sugar Sweet Sunshine doesn’t disappoint in this arena, either.  It is perfect.  In fact, if they sold Frosting Shots, I would most likely turn into a frosting drunk.  It’s probably a good thing they don’t.

Overall, if you’re one of those people who sometimes insists that “the dessert is too sweet” (it’s dessert!  IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE SWEET) these are not the cupcakes for you.  But if you have a serious, unmitigated sweet tooth, these cupcakes are pure happy fairy dust.

BTW, I highly recommend the red velvet.  They will change your life.

LOGISTICS
They’re open Monday-Thursday, 8am-10pm, Friday 8am-11pm, Saturday 10am-11pm and Sunday 10am-7pm, and they won’t yell at you if you sit for hours drinking coffee and snarfing ‘cakes.  I know because I’ve done it.

P.S.
Also?  If you’re a guy and you’ve screwed up massively, I highly recommend sending your girl half a dozen Sugar Sweet Sunshine cupcakes, with a little “Forgive Me” note (yes, they deliver).  Much, much more creative than flowers.  Plus, you can capitalize on the benevolence of her sugar high.  Score.

(NOTE: I can no longer eat these cupcakes, as I am gluten free now, but I have heard BabyCakes in NYC makes delicious GF cakes! So if you’re GF too, try them.)

Apr 02, 12 6:41pm

Just because I’m 28 doesn’t mean I don’t still love the vestiges of a girly girlhood - including the color pink, headbands, and all things frilly & ruffled.  I also love 50s style dressing and I used to borrow the ruffled petticoats from Betsey Johnson to wear for photoshoots (or just for fun).  Although I would have happily bought them, unfortunately they were just showroom samples.  So when I spotted a bright red pettiskirt on Zappos.com while browsing for a Valentine’s day outfit, I freaked.  It was … gorgeous.  But when I went to the website - KaiyaEve.com - I didn’t see any section for adults.  Noooo!!!  Little girls shouldn’t be the only ones allowed to dress up like little girls!

After a short email exchange with the lovely owner, Kandi, I found that size 12 does in fact fit most adult women (up to size 8).  I promptly ordered three!  When they arrived, I can say with absolute certainty that there is NO WAY they could have been higher quality or more beautiful.  I was astounded.

Since then, I’ve ordered five more, in various colors (and yes, one I gave to a 5-year-old, and it remains her absolute favorite dress up item).

Tutus as wall/ceiling art!
But I don’t just wear them - and laugh all you want at this, but it makes me happy - I use them to decorate.  I had been in the showroom for Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic, and I noticed she had these stunning vintage dresses with tulle pettiskirts hanging from her ceilings.  I thought it was terribly romantic.  So when I’m not wearing the Kaiya Eve pettiskirts, I hang them from the ceiling and walls to create colorful art!

I can’t recommend them highly enough.

Apr 02, 12 6:39pm

I know every dog owner thinks their dog is the greatest fur covered specimen on the planet, but most people - unbiased people! - who know shih-tzus agree that they’re shockingly well-behaved as a breed.  Sweet, friendly, adaptable, good with children, most shih-tzus are exceptionally loving (they were originally bred, after all, to be the lap dogs of ancient Chinese emperors!)

My pup - a six-year-old almost all white shih-tzu named Lilly - has a temperament which ranges from calm to more or less comatose: we joke that she’s a cat in a dog’s body.  My parents have a five-year-old shih-tzu who goes on 5k runs with my father - and then sleeps the rest of the day.  This isn’t the dog to get if you want to play fetch for hours or hike in the mountains: 20 minutes of running up and down the hall will tire them out for the afternoon.

But if you have allergies, live in a small apartment or a big city, need to travel frequently, or want companionship without the hassle of exercising a big dog, they’re perfect.  Widely considered to be hypo-allergenic, they also don’t shed, although they do need regular grooming (I bathe mine in the sink every other week, and get her clipped at Petco at least every other month).

Shih-Tzus Don’t Really Bark

Unlike other breeds (especially Pomerianians), they’re not known for hyperactivity or frequent barking.  Lilly barks once or twice every three days.  In other words, shih-tzus were not designed for guarding anything, except your heart (awww).  If an intruder broke in, your shih-tzu would roll over and let him rub her belly.  Fierce!

They’re not the easiest dogs to potty train - mine took almost a year - but now that she has it down, her bladder control is exemplary.  After a three month puppy kindergarten when she was a baby, she’s maintained good manners in the “sit, stay” department ever since.  “Come!” however, is a 50-50 proposition.  She comes, sometimes, when she feels like it.  Like a teenager.  Still working on that.

Shih-Tzus: yep, they’re a purse dog. But not an embarrassing purse dog.

The best part about shih-tzus - besides their sweetness - is their portability (they average 10-16lbs).  When I adopted Lilly as a baby, I took her with me everywhere - and I mean everywhere - which ended up being the single best decision I made about her upbringing.  Obviously you can’t do this as easily with the bigger dogs, but with those under 15 lbs?  Just put her in her favorite bag and bring her with! (Lilly loves her bag, and if it’s just sitting on the floor, she’ll climb in and curl up.  It’s her safe spot.)  And I can’t tell you how great it is to just take them on planes with you.

I hope this helps!  I’m so blessed to have Lilly (who is currently curled up, exhausted from a vigorous day of sleeping, at the end of my bed, near my feet, as I type) in my life.  I don’t know what I would do without her.

Apr 02, 12 6:37pm

I love these juices the way some people love drugs. Most likely because it makes me feel like I’m high on crack - or what I might imagine being high on crack is like, which I’m fairly certain I can speak to, since I’ve had Dunkin Donuts coffee on an empty stomach.

I prefer the three day package, although I’ve also done one-day, two-day, and five-days. I find that on the third day of the cleanse, I become super articulate, clearer thinking, and overflowing with a strange, unmitigated (unmitigatable!!) joy. I LOVE everyone and everything, and I will probably kiss you and tell you you’re gorgeous if you so much as look at me. It’s quite a nice feeling, really.

Most of my friends have done Blueprint as well, and they report the same experience.  Bottom line: it’s a great way to kick start to a new healthy regime.  And actually?  The juices taste really, really good.  :)

FAQs:

1) What … is … it?

Level II (the one I most frequently get) is six pressed juices a day: three all greens, two fruit based juices and one nut combo at the end of the evening. You drink them spaced at intervals of two hours each. They’re in portable bottles which are delivered to your apartment in cute green lunch sacks, ala fourth grade. You will come to love these lunch sacks.

2) Are you hungry?

Never. Ever. You’re less hungry than if you eat normal food, because you’re getting more nutrients than 95% of people’s average diets.

3) Is it hard?

Not even remotely. It’s much easier than trying to figure out what to eat three times a day, preparing it and then realizing you’re still hungry after you eat it.

4) Do you lose weight?

I really don’t do the cleanse to lose weight, I do it to feel better (and I’m not just saying that, the way actresses say they never diet). But yes, of course you lose weight. You also poop a lot. It’s awesome!

5) Is it worth the money?

I do believe it is.  If you were buying these green drinks at your local juice store (like the one near my apt, The Westerly), you’d pay about $8 for every 20 oz juice, but they wouldn’t keep (fresh juices don’t last for more than 15-20 minutes).  Also, if you want to do comparisons, think about how much you would spend on a dinner out - especially if you live in New York city, that runs you at LEAST $30-60.  So that, added to what you might already spend for breakfast & lunch?  $85 doesn’t sound unreasonable.

6) Do you just have to drink them as a cleanse?

Nope. In fact, frequently I use them as supplemental drinks throughout the day (especially the green juice, which has romaine, celery, cucumber, kale, parsley, green apple, spinach & lemon).  We’ve dubbed this “Juice till Dinner.”

7) What if … you want to travel with them?

So often I’ve wanted to take the juices with me on trips - (two words: airline vomit ”food”) and no one likes that feeling of desperate hunger setting in just as they’ve gotten to the hotel and they have no clue where to find affordable, healthy food.

Since Blueprint juices are good for three days, I decided that I would order some in New York, then smuggle them in my checked suitcase in their little insulated carrier (with ice packs).  When I arrived at my destination, the first thing I do is unpack the juice, which is still perfectly cold.  Victory!

8) What if … you don’t live in New York?

They’re actually opening a location in SF later this year, but you can order them to be sent to any location in the US via Fedex.  I’ve had juices sent to Chicago, SF, Austin - anywhere I’ll be, especially if I know I won’t have access to a fresh juice place or healthy food. It’s worked so well that I’ve been able to resist peer pressure by friends to eat the grilled cheese at In-And-Out Burger.  Now THAT’S a real victory.

Apr 02, 12 6:24pm

I got on the laser hair removal bandwagon fairly early on - starting treatments when I was a junior in college, around 2002, continuing on and off until today (literally, I just got a treatment three hours ago).

I first heard about the wonders of laser hair removal from a fairly trustworthy source: mom.  My mother had gotten her entire body “laz’d,” as we dubbed it, and vowed it was the best thing that had happened to her since she discovered you could just eat brownie batter straight and not go through the trouble of “using the oven” to “bake them.”  In other words, it was a very good thing, indeed.

Like my mom, I have super light skin and super dark hair, making me an ideal candidate for laser hair removal, especially seven years ago (they’ve since developed lasers for darker skin, or so I’ve heard).  Furthermore - and TMI ALERT, sorry - I had horrid ingrown hairs, esp on my bikini line and my underarms.  And I mean, really, really awful.  Not to mention, I tend to be one of those people who compulsively picks at ingrown hairs, so … yeah.  It just wasn’t attractive. Plus, my skin is so light that even when I did shave (or wax) and managed to avoid ingrowns (which never happened), you could STILL see the dark hair in the follicles underneath the skin, creating an overall effect that could only be described as … greenish stubble. Yuck.

My experience
I forked over a ton of money (and I mean A LOT.  It’s pricey, but so worth it - see bottom ‘graph regarding the financial aspects of laser hair removal.), stripped down, and let a host of different ladies zap the crap out of my legs, bikini area (um, Brazilian bikini area, which is a whole ‘nother level of “Intimacy with Pulsed Light & Strangers”) and underarms.  Because I was a poor college student, I started with my underarms and a few sessions on my bikini line - definitely the best way to ease into it.  I saw results INSTANTLY.  It took two or three sessions and I never got another ingrown hair - ever.  By five - six sessions I didn’t have to shave … at all.  Ever.  For a woman whose stubble could once rival a drunken sailor’s - this was a miracle.  I felt like those girls in the NAIR “Who wears short shorts?” ads! Except without the disgusting chemical NAIR part!

But does it hurt?
Well … yes.  and no.  Sort of?  Okay, here’s the deal: we’re women.  We put ourselves through such a spectrum of pain to look & feel good - from 4” heels to mascara to slimming devices (sorry, control top pantyhose, I’m talking to you!) to botox to that awful stair-climber thing at the gym - that this, in the general scheme of things, isn’t that painful.  That said, it’s not exactly like getting a massage.  It does hurt, especially at first, when you have more hair.  In fact, I used to take extra strength Advil about a half hour before my first couple of appointments.  But then, as you have fewer and lighter hairs, it almost doesn’t hurt at all (like a rubber band snapping your skin.  Sort of annoying, but certainly not painful.)  And it definitely doesn’t hurt more than a bikini wax!

My recommendations

  1. If you can afford it, buy the biggest package possible, but at least six.
  2. If you can’t afford it, know that even only one or two or three treatments WILL help.  The biggest change I saw was from the first through the fourth treatment.  That got rid of about 50% of my hair PLUS my ingrowns, and the hair which grew back was MUCH finer, softer, and lighter.
  3. It’s best to try to find a place which allows you unlimited touchups after your six treatments, or however many is in your package, because you *will* need touchups (I need them about every 3-6 months).  If they don’t offer that, try bargaining for it, or at least get them to throw in 2 years of free touchups!  Especially in this economy, I bet they’ll give you something!


Regarding the Price
If you’re hesitant to spend the money, but you already get waxed, do the math: a bikini wax ranges from $40-$75 a pop (not including tip), depending upon where you live and whether it’s a Brazilian, etc.  Let’s say you get a wax every six weeks, or approximately 8x a year.  That’s $320-600 / year.  For the rest of your life, or until you get married/stop caring (ha).  I’ve probably spent $2500 over the last 7 years on my laser hair removal, which averages out to $360/year, and had I been smart enough / had enough foresight to find a place with free touchups, I’d be paying $0, so that dollar amount would fall every year.  As it is, my touchups are still less $$ than waxing, and the myraid other benefits (ie: being able to throw on a swimsuit without having to schedule a wax = priceless.  Not worrying that guys will think I have an STD when I just have ingrown hairs = REALLY PRICELESS) would make it worth triple or quadruple what I paid.  (I hope no salon owners are reading this!)

If you live in New York, try:
Advanced Derma Tech - 420 Madison Ave, # 406, (212) 421-8858 www.advanceddermalaser.com (I got the majority of my treatments done at Advanced Derma Tech, and I can’t recommend them highly enough.)

Oct 16, 10 10:16pm
FASHION WEEK: TALES FROM THE FRONTLINESTHE GUARDIAN UKSEPTEMBER 22, 2010BY JULIA ALLISON
Six years ago, when the now-storied New York Fashion Week was still  held under huge white tents covering Bryant Park on the chaotic,  touristy intersection of 42nd Street & 6th Avenue, I attended my  inaugural fashion show.  Just twenty-three then, I sat fourth or fifth  row and gaped, slack-jawed, at the models parading the clothing of a  designer I’ve forgotten.   My first impression was the ultimate industry  cliché: “Goddamn, these models are REALLY freaking SKINNY.”Four  years later, as the editor-at-large of Star magazine, my boss asked me  to cover Fashion Week.  I had never reported on fashion before, and I  had absolutely no idea what or how to do so.  I got there with my  videographer and my press pass and expected it would be no trouble. And  it was quite a bit of trouble indeed.Unless your last name is  Wintour or Roitfeld, Fashion Week requires – if nothing else – stamina,  fortitude, old-fashioned wiles and a substantial amount of (preferably  unassailable) of self-esteem, because it will be rocked heartily by the  jockeying and politics of the FW pecking order.  You think you’re  important?  You’re not.  You think you’re thin or attractive?  You’re  not. You think anyone cares whether you get your interview? They don’t.Many  Fashion Week regulars fight this paradox: they adore it, they  understand why it is what it is, why it has become what is has become.  And they also count down the days until it is over and congratulate each  other on “making it through,” as if it were some sort of physical  therapy or painful experiment with dark green vegetables.It’s  been seven long seasons since I stumbled with my microphone into the  tents for the first time, and there are certainly stages to the Fashion  Week experience.  First, uncomprehending wide-eyed wonder as the  glamorous chaos swirls around you coupled with a palpable fear at the  mayhem – doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing, sitting in the  wrong seat, arousing the attention or ire of the ubiquitously lean,  black-clad PR girls.  Then a gradual onset of confidence begins, oh yes,  *this * is how it works: Only the neophytes ask Anna Wintour for a  photograph.  Make your press requests early, but remember, there is no  such thing as a confirmed interview.  Ever.  Accept you’ll be  body-checking people - literally - to get that soundbite. That’s just  part of the job.  Prepare for bruises, blisters, even blood (my camera  guy once started bleeding after he was shoved in the giant pit of  photographers that stand at the base of the runway).Become a  liminal figure – too aggressive and you piss people off, too passive and  you won’t get any coverage whatsoever.  Dress in subtle designer  frocks, but never jeans (unless you’re an editor) and always  unconscionably expensive, outrageously high heels, preferably YSL, Jimmy  Choo, Manolos or Louboutins (they are studied with some regularity,  especially if you’re sitting front row). Too showy and you’ll attract  attention as an outsider – only front row celebs & total newbies  dress like it’s a red carpet – too casual and unless you’re a well-known  editor or buyer, you’ll look (and feel) out of place.Fashion  Week – to the uninitiated outsider – sounds so … frothy.  In reality, it  is anything but. This is a multi-billion dollar global business, but  it’s also an enormous art presentation, bigger and more elaborate than  all of the Basels put together.  The best comparison I’ve come up with –  and one I use with some frequency – is that of 90 weddings, with 18-30  brides each.   All in the span of eight days.I’ve never been in  combat, but I’ve seen GI Jane, and from the looks of it, fashion week  bears more than a passing resemblance to a regimented boot camp,  completed in 6-inch YSLs and Herve Leger bandage dresses, in the middle  of a highly organized, unrelenting mosh pit of well-dressed editors,  reporters, buyers, models, photographers, press and flaks with competing  agendas. It’s this mix that makes Fashion Week so defiantly brilliant, so exhaustingly frustrating.What  began, in essence, as a trade event has been co-opted, at least in  part, by the changing fixtures of the tents: the celebrities (mainly  reality “stars” – Housewives, Project Runway alums, America’s Next Top  Models – oddly sitting front row instead of walking in the shows – and  their CW starlet professional counterparts), the celeb-stylists, the  celeb-editors, the celeb-bloggers (an oxymoron?) and the inevitable  hangers-on that come with all these.This season, I asked  designers, “Do you consider fashion to be an art – or a business?”  It  is both of course, but it’s also entertainment. It isn’t, after all, a  Fashion Tell.  It’s a Fashion Show.And that show isn’t limited  to what walks down the catwalk or the lighting or the thumping music.   The shows are really installation art, and the installation is the tents  and the art is the people and their arrangements and their interactions  and the way they react to the clothing (a standing ovation?  I’ve seen  it before), and the way a beautifully constructed dress can actually  make a crowd gasp.To a certain extent, it’s also an incredibly  nuanced, unbelievably complicated multi-layered competition – who will  get the most press, the choicest front row seats, the hottest celebs  & most powerful editors in attendance?  What results is sometimes a  battle of egos, sometimes a celebration of craftsmanship.Astounding  creative visions are realized here.  But sometimes you’re cold and  you’re bored and you’ve seen clothes like that before and you’d rather  be in sweats and sneakers and your ego is wounded because some PR lady  put you in the third row and you couldn’t think of anything else to ask  Diane von Furstenberg other than “What was your inspiration?” and you  absolutely hate hate hate that question and if you did make it into the  first row by some chance, isn’t it true that your thighs are simply too  big to be there and everyone will be judging you against the backdrop of  0% body fat and oh, god why are you here anyway?  You’re a fraud.  You  just want to go home and eat a chocolate bunny from last Easter.And I’ve done that, too.

FASHION WEEK: TALES FROM THE FRONTLINES
THE GUARDIAN UK

SEPTEMBER 22, 2010
BY JULIA ALLISON

Six years ago, when the now-storied New York Fashion Week was still held under huge white tents covering Bryant Park on the chaotic, touristy intersection of 42nd Street & 6th Avenue, I attended my inaugural fashion show.  Just twenty-three then, I sat fourth or fifth row and gaped, slack-jawed, at the models parading the clothing of a designer I’ve forgotten.   My first impression was the ultimate industry cliché: “Goddamn, these models are REALLY freaking SKINNY.”

Four years later, as the editor-at-large of Star magazine, my boss asked me to cover Fashion Week.  I had never reported on fashion before, and I had absolutely no idea what or how to do so.  I got there with my videographer and my press pass and expected it would be no trouble. And it was quite a bit of trouble indeed.

Unless your last name is Wintour or Roitfeld, Fashion Week requires – if nothing else – stamina, fortitude, old-fashioned wiles and a substantial amount of (preferably unassailable) of self-esteem, because it will be rocked heartily by the jockeying and politics of the FW pecking order.  You think you’re important?  You’re not.  You think you’re thin or attractive?  You’re not. You think anyone cares whether you get your interview? They don’t.

Many Fashion Week regulars fight this paradox: they adore it, they understand why it is what it is, why it has become what is has become. And they also count down the days until it is over and congratulate each other on “making it through,” as if it were some sort of physical therapy or painful experiment with dark green vegetables.

It’s been seven long seasons since I stumbled with my microphone into the tents for the first time, and there are certainly stages to the Fashion Week experience.  First, uncomprehending wide-eyed wonder as the glamorous chaos swirls around you coupled with a palpable fear at the mayhem – doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing, sitting in the wrong seat, arousing the attention or ire of the ubiquitously lean, black-clad PR girls.  Then a gradual onset of confidence begins, oh yes, *this * is how it works: Only the neophytes ask Anna Wintour for a photograph.  Make your press requests early, but remember, there is no such thing as a confirmed interview.  Ever.  Accept you’ll be body-checking people - literally - to get that soundbite. That’s just part of the job.  Prepare for bruises, blisters, even blood (my camera guy once started bleeding after he was shoved in the giant pit of photographers that stand at the base of the runway).

Become a liminal figure – too aggressive and you piss people off, too passive and you won’t get any coverage whatsoever.  Dress in subtle designer frocks, but never jeans (unless you’re an editor) and always unconscionably expensive, outrageously high heels, preferably YSL, Jimmy Choo, Manolos or Louboutins (they are studied with some regularity, especially if you’re sitting front row). Too showy and you’ll attract attention as an outsider – only front row celebs & total newbies dress like it’s a red carpet – too casual and unless you’re a well-known editor or buyer, you’ll look (and feel) out of place.

Fashion Week – to the uninitiated outsider – sounds so … frothy.  In reality, it is anything but. This is a multi-billion dollar global business, but it’s also an enormous art presentation, bigger and more elaborate than all of the Basels put together.  The best comparison I’ve come up with – and one I use with some frequency – is that of 90 weddings, with 18-30 brides each.   All in the span of eight days.

I’ve never been in combat, but I’ve seen GI Jane, and from the looks of it, fashion week bears more than a passing resemblance to a regimented boot camp, completed in 6-inch YSLs and Herve Leger bandage dresses, in the middle of a highly organized, unrelenting mosh pit of well-dressed editors, reporters, buyers, models, photographers, press and flaks with competing agendas.

It’s this mix that makes Fashion Week so defiantly brilliant, so exhaustingly frustrating.

What began, in essence, as a trade event has been co-opted, at least in part, by the changing fixtures of the tents: the celebrities (mainly reality “stars” – Housewives, Project Runway alums, America’s Next Top Models – oddly sitting front row instead of walking in the shows – and their CW starlet professional counterparts), the celeb-stylists, the celeb-editors, the celeb-bloggers (an oxymoron?) and the inevitable hangers-on that come with all these.

This season, I asked designers, “Do you consider fashion to be an art – or a business?”  It is both of course, but it’s also entertainment. It isn’t, after all, a Fashion Tell.  It’s a Fashion Show.

And that show isn’t limited to what walks down the catwalk or the lighting or the thumping music.  The shows are really installation art, and the installation is the tents and the art is the people and their arrangements and their interactions and the way they react to the clothing (a standing ovation?  I’ve seen it before), and the way a beautifully constructed dress can actually make a crowd gasp.

To a certain extent, it’s also an incredibly nuanced, unbelievably complicated multi-layered competition – who will get the most press, the choicest front row seats, the hottest celebs & most powerful editors in attendance?  What results is sometimes a battle of egos, sometimes a celebration of craftsmanship.

Astounding creative visions are realized here.  But sometimes you’re cold and you’re bored and you’ve seen clothes like that before and you’d rather be in sweats and sneakers and your ego is wounded because some PR lady put you in the third row and you couldn’t think of anything else to ask Diane von Furstenberg other than “What was your inspiration?” and you absolutely hate hate hate that question and if you did make it into the first row by some chance, isn’t it true that your thighs are simply too big to be there and everyone will be judging you against the backdrop of 0% body fat and oh, god why are you here anyway?  You’re a fraud.  You just want to go home and eat a chocolate bunny from last Easter.

And I’ve done that, too.

Jan 04, 10 3:53am
THE WIFE FLUFFERCOSMOPOLITANJANUARY 2010BY JULIA ALLISONLast week, I got a call from an ex of mine, a man I truly believed I would one day find in a tux at the end of the aisle on my wedding day.  He’s been dating the same girl since we broke up two years ago, and although I knew it was a theoretical possibility, I had (delusionally) hoped the moment which came next I could somehow avoid: “Julia,” he said, “I’m going to marry her.”I promptly burst into hysterical tears.  This news officially made me a Wife Fluffer - and the worst part?  It wasn’t my First Time.Wife Fluffer, n. - The last girlfriend before The Wife.In fact, I’ve been a Wife Fluffer upwards of SEVEN times.  There was Jason and Steven and Tom and John and Mike and Tim and Paul and now Andrew*.  That is insane.  That is ridiculous.  That is … what IS that??Was there something I did that primed these guys for the long-term relationships and marriages to come?  Had I sparked their desire for a Wife?  Or was I such a disaster of a girlfriend that they wanted out of the game altogether, and the next girl was the last stop on the Dating Express, before he reaches Wifeville, Population 1: her.As I examined the situation, I found that I wasn’t the only girl whose Dating Resume boasted extensive experience prepping men for the big day … with someone else.  One fellow Wife Fluffer calls it “walking them down the aisle,” and some of us do everything but!Either way, the truth must be told: behind every Great Man with a Wife is a Great Wife Fluffer.Wife Fluffing, however, isn’t a “One Size fits All Potential Husbands” proposition.  What drives them to marry the next girl in line?  Some need perspective (#5), while others require extensive coaching (#2), some still others just want a Last Hurrah (#1) before they settle down into martial bliss.Below, the Top Five Wife Fluffers of all time:1) The Last HurrahShe’s “the Marilyn” - the quintessential over the top, hedonist, fun, sexy nymphet.  He says: “Let’s go to Vegas,” she says: “I don’t even need to pack a bag, I’ll just wear my g-string and go topless at the pool.”  This doesn’t exactly scream Take Her Home to Your Folks, and so, he doesn’t.
"This type," says my friend Ben, 30, an entrepreneur, "Is wildly undatable - in which case Guy says, ok, been there, that whole exciting/crazy/unrealistic thing isn’t going to work but at least I tried it.  And promptly marries the next (stable) woman he finds."Like a two-year-old, he thinks he wants freedom, but he really wants limits, and he’ll marry the woman who tells him “no.”  "It’s the Legally Blond curse," says Tiffany W, 27, an actress, "Guys want the Jackie, and not the Marilyn. Sad but true, some guys love when a girl embraces her sex appeal when they are dating, but all of a sudden when things get too serious, they freak out and decide they want someone more conservative.""Compared to the wives these men take on, I’m more fun,"  says Tyler R, 23, in artist management and a self-described "damn wife fluffer" 4 times in the past 2 years.  "We ‘wife fluffers’ must give off a ‘here for a goodtime’ vibe, and might scare them to the more stable women, obviously looking for commitment. I’m clearly a work in progress."2) Coach WedlockIn the 2007 movie Knocked Up, Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd discuss the always controversial “Trainer Girlfriend” (that is, the girl who puts in the hard work of shaping her man into the boyfriend he ought to be):Seth: She thinks she could train ME?Paul: Yeah, like you’re running the Triple Crown.Seth: She can’t train THIS! Oh, but she can.  The only problem is, she might be training him for his next jockey (the one who will win the race)."I can imagine a guy who’s not quite ready for marriage," my dad said thoughtfully (perhaps reminiscing?), "and the girl works really hard to whip him into shape, but in the process destroys the relationship."  He’s not the only one who can imagine that, because many of us - in our overzealous quest to have the Perfect Relationship with the Perfect Guy - have attacked our boyfriends with the overactive enthusiasm of a paint-can, drill wielding Paige Davis of Trading Spaces or the bacon bits and whistles of The Dog Whisperer.  Come boy! Sit! Stay! Marry!I’ve done this on at least two prior occasions, resulting in a devoted boyfriend - now-devoted to the next woman. “Perhaps the problem is,” says a guy friend of mine, “you conduct too intense a training program, and in doing so turn the man away?”
Exactly. Just like a particularly difficult professor, the student grows and learns a lot, but it’s painful, and pain - shockingly! - does not incite a man to get on one knee.  With you, that is.That said, every man needs a Trainer Girlfriend, and for every man you train well, your dating karma will reward you (maybe with a pre-Trained boyfriend?? please?)3) Breaking the Seal (of Holy Matrimony)Awards should be given to the special Fluffers who begin the long, arduous process of him considering marriage as a “real thing” that might, one day, be applicable to his life.  Here’s the script:You: Have you ever thought about the next level?Him: Huh?You: Marriage.  M.A.R.R.I.A.G.E.Him: Huh?Repeat - for months - until he shows some sign of recognition that it could be “that thing he’s gonna do.”The whole process is like getting a horse used to a saddle for the first time.  They’re not huge fans of it at first, but then they calm down - and after a while? They actually enjoy it.  (Or so married men privately admit.  Turns out it’s so bad to have someone love and cherish you forever and ever, eh?)In that time, you can get fed up and move on, while he may realize, a few months after your breakup, having become acclimated to the idea of marriage (THANKS TO YOU), it isn’t THAT scary, after all.  So when the next girl he dates brings up the “M” word, he no longer goes into the Fetal Bachelor position.His Wife should send YOU a wedding gift.4) His Cab Light is On - But Yours Isn’tMen aren’t exactly known for their biological clocks - and, with the notable exception of Brad Pitt - they rarely talk about their desire to settle down and have a family.  That is not to say, however, that issues of timing don’t affect them.  They just happen to be less like elaborate timepieces and more like, well, taxicabs.To wit: for most of their life, they’re driving around with their light off, unwilling to take on passengers, but - as their friends pair up, their hairline begins receding (yeah, that can start in his late 20s, believe it or not), and they’ve reached career cruising altitude, all of a sudden they want a dog and a house and a grill and a … oh god.  A wife.  And boom, just like that, their cab light goes on.  The next girl they see standing on the corner hailing them?  They’re gonna (try to) marry her.But maybe your cab light isn’t on (yes, ladies, there are many times in our lives when we’re not ready for marriage!), in which case, you’re still a mismatch.  “Most men reach a certain point in their life where they’re ready to settle down.  It usually has very little to do with the girl he’s dating at the time, and more to do with job security, emotional maturity, biological clock, etc,” says Shanna D, 23, in public relations, “If a guy is ready, he’s ready, and if you as his girlfriend aren’t ready and for some reason it doesn’t work out between you, he’s still going to be ready after you break up. Most likely, the next girl he dates will be ready and then bam - you’re the Wife Fluffer.”So for once, the traditional roles are reversed: he’s pushing for commitment, you’re resisting (which usually makes him want it even more).  Eventually, you both decide your timing is off.  But his increased desire - thanks to your refusal - certainly trickles down to his next lady.  Nothing primes a guy for marriage like a girl telling him she doesn’t want it - even if that girl isn’t the one he marries!5) Perspective is 20/20These are the fluffers who give their boyfriends an existential lesson in what’s important, who get them to reconsider their priorities, who push them to grow as people."I’ve been a wife fluffer three of four major relationships in my life," says Elizabeth B, "and I think fluffers are just plain good, fun, entertaining, smart, provocative girlfriends who helped those we were in relationships with to grow the f—k up and realize that there’s more to it. To relationships. To life. That sometimes, when you find the right person, staying in and making pasta then doing it on the kitchen counter is more fun than going out and getting sloshed and going home with a random."And from a guy’s perspective?  “So, I date girls A, B, and C,” says Ben. “If I marry C, I might have learned something about about myself while dating B that better set me up for C.”Exactly.  And sometimes it’s the breakup itself which lends that perspective."When a guy breaks up with a catch, he realizes what he’s given up and goes into marriage mode," explains Michelle G, “‘She was a great girlfriend!  Why didn’t it work out?!  I’ll make the next one work! And we’ll get married too!!’  Somewhere in their brains must be a little clock ticking, waiting for them to settle down. I think, sadly, this kind of perspective inducing break up is needed form them to figure out it’s time to settle down."
——-Someone’s Got to Do It"It’s an important job, that of a wife fluffer," Elizabeth says.  "Someone’s got to do the dirty work. Besides, the way I see it, one day, the guy some other girl fluffed will be knocking on my door, and I’ll be ready."In the meantime, Wives?  Add an additional thank you note to your after the wedding checklist …

Dear Fluffer,
How can I ever express my gratitude? I wouldn’t be here without you.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Love, The Wife.

* Names have been changed to protect the Fluffees, bless their married-to-someone-else souls. ;)

THE WIFE FLUFFER
COSMOPOLITAN

JANUARY 2010
BY JULIA ALLISON


Last week, I got a call from an ex of mine, a man I truly believed I would one day find in a tux at the end of the aisle on my wedding day.  He’s been dating the same girl since we broke up two years ago, and although I knew it was a theoretical possibility, I had (delusionally) hoped the moment which came next I could somehow avoid: “Julia,” he said, “I’m going to marry her.”

I promptly burst into hysterical tears.  This news officially made me a Wife Fluffer - and the worst part?  It wasn’t my First Time.

Wife Fluffer, n. - The last girlfriend before The Wife.

In fact, I’ve been a Wife Fluffer upwards of SEVEN times.  There was Jason and Steven and Tom and John and Mike and Tim and Paul and now Andrew*.  That is insane.  That is ridiculous.  That is … what IS that??

Was there something I did that primed these guys for the long-term relationships and marriages to come?  Had I sparked their desire for a Wife?  Or was I such a disaster of a girlfriend that they wanted out of the game altogether, and the next girl was the last stop on the Dating Express, before he reaches Wifeville, Population 1: her.

As I examined the situation, I found that I wasn’t the only girl whose Dating Resume boasted extensive experience prepping men for the big day … with someone else.  One fellow Wife Fluffer calls it “walking them down the aisle,” and some of us do everything but!

Either way, the truth must be told: behind every Great Man with a Wife is a Great Wife Fluffer.

Wife Fluffing, however, isn’t a “One Size fits All Potential Husbands” proposition.  What drives them to marry the next girl in line?  Some need perspective (#5), while others require extensive coaching (#2), some still others just want a Last Hurrah (#1) before they settle down into martial bliss.

Below, the Top Five Wife Fluffers of all time:

1) The Last Hurrah

She’s “the Marilyn” - the quintessential over the top, hedonist, fun, sexy nymphet.  He says: “Let’s go to Vegas,” she says: “I don’t even need to pack a bag, I’ll just wear my g-string and go topless at the pool.”  This doesn’t exactly scream Take Her Home to Your Folks, and so, he doesn’t.

"This type," says my friend Ben, 30, an entrepreneur, "Is wildly undatable - in which case Guy says, ok, been there, that whole exciting/crazy/unrealistic thing isn’t going to work but at least I tried it.  And promptly marries the next (stable) woman he finds."

Like a two-year-old, he thinks he wants freedom, but he really wants limits, and he’ll marry the woman who tells him “no.” 

"It’s the Legally Blond curse," says Tiffany W, 27, an actress, "Guys want the Jackie, and not the Marilyn. Sad but true, some guys love when a girl embraces her sex appeal when they are dating, but all of a sudden when things get too serious, they freak out and decide they want someone more conservative."

"Compared to the wives these men take on, I’m more fun,"  says Tyler R, 23, in artist management and a self-described "damn wife fluffer" 4 times in the past 2 years.  "We ‘wife fluffers’ must give off a ‘here for a goodtime’ vibe, and might scare them to the more stable women, obviously looking for commitment. I’m clearly a work in progress."

2) Coach Wedlock

In the 2007 movie Knocked Up, Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd discuss the always controversial “Trainer Girlfriend” (that is, the girl who puts in the hard work of shaping her man into the boyfriend he ought to be):

Seth: She thinks she could train ME?
Paul: Yeah, like you’re running the Triple Crown.
Seth: She can’t train THIS!

Oh, but she can.  The only problem is, she might be training him for his next jockey (the one who will win the race).

"I can imagine a guy who’s not quite ready for marriage," my dad said thoughtfully (perhaps reminiscing?), "and the girl works really hard to whip him into shape, but in the process destroys the relationship."  He’s not the only one who can imagine that, because many of us - in our overzealous quest to have the Perfect Relationship with the Perfect Guy - have attacked our boyfriends with the overactive enthusiasm of a paint-can, drill wielding Paige Davis of Trading Spaces or the bacon bits and whistles of The Dog Whisperer.  Come boy! Sit! Stay! Marry!

I’ve done this on at least two prior occasions, resulting in a devoted boyfriend - now-devoted to the next woman. “Perhaps the problem is,” says a guy friend of mine, “you conduct too intense a training program, and in doing so turn the man away?”

Exactly. Just like a particularly difficult professor, the student grows and learns a lot, but it’s painful, and pain - shockingly! - does not incite a man to get on one knee.  With you, that is.

That said, every man needs a Trainer Girlfriend, and for every man you train well, your dating karma will reward you (maybe with a pre-Trained boyfriend?? please?)

3) Breaking the Seal (of Holy Matrimony)

Awards should be given to the special Fluffers who begin the long, arduous process of him considering marriage as a “real thing” that might, one day, be applicable to his life.  Here’s the script:

You: Have you ever thought about the next level?
Him: Huh?
You: Marriage.  M.A.R.R.I.A.G.E.
Him: Huh?

Repeat - for months - until he shows some sign of recognition that it could be “that thing he’s gonna do.”

The whole process is like getting a horse used to a saddle for the first time.  They’re not huge fans of it at first, but then they calm down - and after a while? They actually enjoy it.  (Or so married men privately admit.  Turns out it’s so bad to have someone love and cherish you forever and ever, eh?)

In that time, you can get fed up and move on, while he may realize, a few months after your breakup, having become acclimated to the idea of marriage (THANKS TO YOU), it isn’t THAT scary, after all.  So when the next girl he dates brings up the “M” word, he no longer goes into the Fetal Bachelor position.

His Wife should send YOU a wedding gift.

4) His Cab Light is On - But Yours Isn’t

Men aren’t exactly known for their biological clocks - and, with the notable exception of Brad Pitt - they rarely talk about their desire to settle down and have a family.  That is not to say, however, that issues of timing don’t affect them.  They just happen to be less like elaborate timepieces and more like, well, taxicabs.

To wit: for most of their life, they’re driving around with their light off, unwilling to take on passengers, but - as their friends pair up, their hairline begins receding (yeah, that can start in his late 20s, believe it or not), and they’ve reached career cruising altitude, all of a sudden they want a dog and a house and a grill and a … oh god.  A wife.  And boom, just like that, their cab light goes on.  The next girl they see standing on the corner hailing them?  They’re gonna (try to) marry her.

But maybe your cab light isn’t on (yes, ladies, there are many times in our lives when we’re not ready for marriage!), in which case, you’re still a mismatch.  “Most men reach a certain point in their life where they’re ready to settle down.  It usually has very little to do with the girl he’s dating at the time, and more to do with job security, emotional maturity, biological clock, etc,” says Shanna D, 23, in public relations, “If a guy is ready, he’s ready, and if you as his girlfriend aren’t ready and for some reason it doesn’t work out between you, he’s still going to be ready after you break up. Most likely, the next girl he dates will be ready and then bam - you’re the Wife Fluffer.”

So for once, the traditional roles are reversed: he’s pushing for commitment, you’re resisting (which usually makes him want it even more).  Eventually, you both decide your timing is off.  But his increased desire - thanks to your refusal - certainly trickles down to his next lady.  Nothing primes a guy for marriage like a girl telling him she doesn’t want it - even if that girl isn’t the one he marries!

5) Perspective is 20/20

These are the fluffers who give their boyfriends an existential lesson in what’s important, who get them to reconsider their priorities, who push them to grow as people.

"I’ve been a wife fluffer three of four major relationships in my life," says Elizabeth B, "and I think fluffers are just plain good, fun, entertaining, smart, provocative girlfriends who helped those we were in relationships with to grow the f—k up and realize that there’s more to it. To relationships. To life. That sometimes, when you find the right person, staying in and making pasta then doing it on the kitchen counter is more fun than going out and getting sloshed and going home with a random."

And from a guy’s perspective?  “So, I date girls A, B, and C,” says Ben. “If I marry C, I might have learned something about about myself while dating B that better set me up for C.”

Exactly.  And sometimes it’s the breakup itself which lends that perspective.

"When a guy breaks up with a catch, he realizes what he’s given up and goes into marriage mode," explains Michelle G, “‘She was a great girlfriend!  Why didn’t it work out?!  I’ll make the next one work! And we’ll get married too!!’  Somewhere in their brains must be a little clock ticking, waiting for them to settle down. I think, sadly, this kind of perspective inducing break up is needed form them to figure out it’s time to settle down."

——-
Someone’s Got to Do It

"It’s an important job, that of a wife fluffer," Elizabeth says.  "Someone’s got to do the dirty work. Besides, the way I see it, one day, the guy some other girl fluffed will be knocking on my door, and I’ll be ready."

In the meantime, Wives?  Add an additional thank you note to your after the wedding checklist …

Dear Fluffer,

How can I ever express my gratitude? I wouldn’t be here without you.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Love, The Wife.

* Names have been changed to protect the Fluffees, bless their married-to-someone-else souls. ;)

Jan 03, 10 9:15pm
END OF THE DECADE PROJECT: Obama GirlNEWSWEEK December 3, 2009By Julia Allison“You seem to float onto the floorDemocratic Convention 2004I never wanted anybody more …cause I got a crush on Obama!”June of 2007: the Democratic presidential nominee hadn’t yet been decided, even by the most precocious of pundits.  It was a slow news day (month, really) when a not-quite-professional YouTube music video featuring a sexy young girl singing about her love for a certain politician broke out.  Before the end of the week, over five million people had seen “Obama Girl” gyrate in a bikini next to a superimposed shot of “relatively unknown” democratic contender Barack Obama, bare-chested in the waves.No campaign video then – or since – has made it so clear: Hillary Clinton or John Kerry, he wasn’t.“So I put down my Kerry sign / So black and sexy, you’re so fine.”Presidential candidate as sex symbol?  This was a new era, indeed.This was no Swift boat, no cranky senior citizens complaining about health care.  Instead we had model/actress Amber Lee Ettinger, then 25, with long flowing black hair and curves that could make gay Republicans straight – plus an undeniably catchy tune, some arguably amusing lyrics (“You’re into border security/Let’s break this border between you and me/You can love but you can fight/You can Barack me tonight”), and, oh yeah, a bright red pair of booty … uh …  “shorts” – with OBAMA in white letters on the butt.Such iconic sexual-political imagery is the stuff of pop culture legend.
“It’s safe to say the original video was more memorable than any of Barack Obama’s own TV ads,” says former ad-exec Ben Relles, who co-created Obama Girl with vocalist Leah Kaufmann, shooting it in a single weekend.
That it looked slightly homemade – no slick videography, with a budget of just $2k, only fanned the flames of grassroots views & media love.  More important, the message perfectly articulated – in a cheeky (figuratively & literally) manner – the cult-like almost adolescent adulation Obama fanaticism that had been building in pop culture.   “It was a metaphor for how young people were head over heels for him for the wrong reasons,” says co-creator Ben Relles.Well … maybe not the “wrong” reasons, per se, but certainly reasons not frequently ascribed to politicians, like, for example, uh … “hotness.”But it wasn’t just sex appeal that made Obama Girl (now viewed almost 50 million times worldwide) the defining viral video of the 2008 election.  For the first time it became possible for an individual to create and disseminate a video to an enormous audience.  “A video created in a weekend for a few hundred dollars could impact a national election,” explains Relles, “That represents a real shift in the way people can participate in politics.”And so Obama Girl stands – clad in a tight white tee with Obama’s face – at the intersection of sex, politics and the internet, harkening a new era where elections are young and sexy and fun and underwear doesn’t just sport boring lettering like “Juicy Couture” but instead politicians’ monikers.“Obama Girl’s in textbooks, in museums, referenced on SNL and in Michael Moore’s book,” marvels Relles.  Oh, and one more thing … “Obama’s seen it.  He emailed me.”

END OF THE DECADE PROJECT: Obama Girl
NEWSWEEK
December 3, 2009
By Julia Allison


“You seem to float onto the floor
Democratic Convention 2004
I never wanted anybody more …
cause I got a crush on Obama!”


June of 2007: the Democratic presidential nominee hadn’t yet been decided, even by the most precocious of pundits.  It was a slow news day (month, really) when a not-quite-professional YouTube music video featuring a sexy young girl singing about her love for a certain politician broke out.  Before the end of the week, over five million people had seen “Obama Girl” gyrate in a bikini next to a superimposed shot of “relatively unknown” democratic contender Barack Obama, bare-chested in the waves.

No campaign video then – or since – has made it so clear: Hillary Clinton or John Kerry, he wasn’t.

“So I put down my Kerry sign / So black and sexy, you’re so fine.”

Presidential candidate as sex symbol?  This was a new era, indeed.

This was no Swift boat, no cranky senior citizens complaining about health care.  Instead we had model/actress Amber Lee Ettinger, then 25, with long flowing black hair and curves that could make gay Republicans straight – plus an undeniably catchy tune, some arguably amusing lyrics (“You’re into border security/Let’s break this border between you and me/You can love but you can fight/You can Barack me tonight”), and, oh yeah, a bright red pair of booty … uh …  “shorts” – with OBAMA in white letters on the butt.
Such iconic sexual-political imagery is the stuff of pop culture legend.

“It’s safe to say the original video was more memorable than any of Barack Obama’s own TV ads,” says former ad-exec Ben Relles, who co-created Obama Girl with vocalist Leah Kaufmann, shooting it in a single weekend.

That it looked slightly homemade – no slick videography, with a budget of just $2k, only fanned the flames of grassroots views & media love.  More important, the message perfectly articulated – in a cheeky (figuratively & literally) manner – the cult-like almost adolescent adulation Obama fanaticism that had been building in pop culture.   “It was a metaphor for how young people were head over heels for him for the wrong reasons,” says co-creator Ben Relles.

Well … maybe not the “wrong” reasons, per se, but certainly reasons not frequently ascribed to politicians, like, for example, uh … “hotness.”

But it wasn’t just sex appeal that made Obama Girl (now viewed almost 50 million times worldwide) the defining viral video of the 2008 election.  For the first time it became possible for an individual to create and disseminate a video to an enormous audience.  “A video created in a weekend for a few hundred dollars could impact a national election,” explains Relles, “That represents a real shift in the way people can participate in politics.”

And so Obama Girl stands – clad in a tight white tee with Obama’s face – at the intersection of sex, politics and the internet, harkening a new era where elections are young and sexy and fun and underwear doesn’t just sport boring lettering like “Juicy Couture” but instead politicians’ monikers.

“Obama Girl’s in textbooks, in museums, referenced on SNL and in Michael Moore’s book,” marvels Relles.  Oh, and one more thing … “Obama’s seen it.  He emailed me.”

Jan 03, 10 9:14pm
END OF THE DECADE PROJECT: LonelyGirl15NEWSWEEK December 3, 2009By Julia Allison
LonelyGirl15: the post-modern Hughesian icon for the Face-space generation.****Sixteen years old, with widely spaced brown eyes – and those crazy eyebrows! – Bree’s first video as “LonelyGirl15” on her eponymous YouTube channel had all the sophistication of a pink fuzzy diary (with over 100 million people leafing through the pages) and all the plot … well, it didn’t really have much of a plot at all. Ostensibly the clear-skinned home-schooled daughter of super religious parents, somewhere in a generic IKEA outfitted room in the heartland, she pulls her legs in close to her chest, has difficulty maintaining eye contact while glancing around nervously, and awkwardly stumbles over her lines … oops, wait – did we say lines?Oh yeah, Bree isn’t really Bree, of course, but an unknown Kiwi actress named Jessica Rose, now 22, playing what the New York Times dubbed “an unbeatable fantasy: a beautiful girl who techy guys had something in common with.”  Bree certainly captured the eye-roll inducing late-aughts zeitgeist of semi-precocious teens spending their free time angsting into web cams and editing it on iMovie.  That made it all the more shocking for the millions of fans who finally realized they had been duped when it came out that LonelyGirl had a web cam Svengali: the 2007 budgetless (talentless?) John Hughes.The story lines were unabashedly basic, but media outlets obsessed over the hoax, with the NY Times calling it “one of the Internet’s more elaborately constructed mysteries.” User generated content that wasn’t so user generated?  It was, as NY magazine concluded, “the birth of a new art form.” An art form with more views than the last two superbowls combined.That the popular success didn’t necessarily translate into direct monetary success was neither here nor there: LonelyGirl15 was more proof of concept – a concept that some argued represented the future. “Maybe this, and not some NBC shows for sale on iTunes, is the future of television—or the promised land of a new narrative form,” NY magazine wrote presciently in 2006, far before the LonelyGirl creators released the sub-three minute “In the Bedroom,” their highest viewed episode, clocking in at almost 25 million views as of October 2009.   The irony, of course, is that hits-based-upon-trickery are inherently un-replicable: fool me once, say the easily-jaded internet viewing masses, and we’ll find it creative and maybe a bit charming.  Fool me twice?  Well, uh … you can’t!In the end, LonelyGirl’s rank in the annals of pop culture certainly won’t be for masterful story-telling (You got kissed? Whatever. Get murdered and now we have a show NBC might air).  But with the Blair Witch-esque blurring of the lines of is-she-or-isn’t-she real - the hallmark of the muddled “reality-based” entertainment in this decade – it did, at the very least, capture our attention.  And as the first episodic internet series to go mainstream, LonelyGirl showcased the web’s ability to create and sustain a viewership for content beyond cat videos and Andy Samburg.For that alone, Bree deserves a prize.

END OF THE DECADE PROJECT: LonelyGirl15
NEWSWEEK
December 3, 2009
By Julia Allison

LonelyGirl15: the post-modern Hughesian icon for the Face-space generation.

****

Sixteen years old, with widely spaced brown eyes – and those crazy eyebrows! – Bree’s first video as “LonelyGirl15” on her eponymous YouTube channel had all the sophistication of a pink fuzzy diary (with over 100 million people leafing through the pages) and all the plot … well, it didn’t really have much of a plot at all. Ostensibly the clear-skinned home-schooled daughter of super religious parents, somewhere in a generic IKEA outfitted room in the heartland, she pulls her legs in close to her chest, has difficulty maintaining eye contact while glancing around nervously, and awkwardly stumbles over her lines … oops, wait – did we say lines?

Oh yeah, Bree isn’t really Bree, of course, but an unknown Kiwi actress named Jessica Rose, now 22, playing what the New York Times dubbed “an unbeatable fantasy: a beautiful girl who techy guys had something in common with.”  Bree certainly captured the eye-roll inducing late-aughts zeitgeist of semi-precocious teens spending their free time angsting into web cams and editing it on iMovie.  That made it all the more shocking for the millions of fans who finally realized they had been duped when it came out that LonelyGirl had a web cam Svengali: the 2007 budgetless (talentless?) John Hughes.

The story lines were unabashedly basic, but media outlets obsessed over the hoax, with the NY Times calling it “one of the Internet’s more elaborately constructed mysteries.” User generated content that wasn’t so user generated?  It was, as NY magazine concluded, “the birth of a new art form.” An art form with more views than the last two superbowls combined.

That the popular success didn’t necessarily translate into direct monetary success was neither here nor there: LonelyGirl15 was more proof of concept – a concept that some argued represented the future.

“Maybe this, and not some NBC shows for sale on iTunes, is the future of television—or the promised land of a new narrative form,” NY magazine wrote presciently in 2006, far before the LonelyGirl creators released the sub-three minute “In the Bedroom,” their highest viewed episode, clocking in at almost 25 million views as of October 2009.   The irony, of course, is that hits-based-upon-trickery are inherently un-replicable: fool me once, say the easily-jaded internet viewing masses, and we’ll find it creative and maybe a bit charming.  Fool me twice?  Well, uh … you can’t!

In the end, LonelyGirl’s rank in the annals of pop culture certainly won’t be for masterful story-telling (You got kissed? Whatever. Get murdered and now we have a show NBC might air).  But with the Blair Witch-esque blurring of the lines of is-she-or-isn’t-she real - the hallmark of the muddled “reality-based” entertainment in this decade – it did, at the very least, capture our attention.  And as the first episodic internet series to go mainstream, LonelyGirl showcased the web’s ability to create and sustain a viewership for content beyond cat videos and Andy Samburg.

For that alone, Bree deserves a prize.

Oct 22, 09 7:27am
PAGE SIX MAGAZINE DebateBy Julia Allison
I’m not against expletives as a rule – they’re handy when putting together IKEA furniture or attempting to follow a Martha Stewart recipe or when your boyfriend finishes in less than 120 seconds. But on live television?  In the morning?  When you haven’t been drinking, Danny-Devito-on-the-View style?  Ehhh … Not so much. It’s not necessarily that Jane Fonda’s “cunt” or Diane Keaton’s “fucking” were such big deals in and of themselves.  Context is key, and theirs were innocuous – the former, to describe a play about, well, vaginas – the latter, to emphasize just how vibrant her personality really is (the real question is: if she had Diane Sawyer’s lips, would she have sworn with them?  Hmm.) So the problem isn’t these two ladies or their particular swearing scenarios. The problem when OTHER people – in less appropriate situations – start throwing around four letter words in ad hominem attacks (or to spice up a boring fucking interview!).  Two words: downward spiral.  We don’t want tv denigrating into some barroom stream of invectives.  It’s one thing if Jane Fonda says “cunt.”  But Bill O’Reilly?  That’s hate speech.  Or his private fantasy.  Either way, it has no place on television. And yeah, we’ve gotta protect the kidlets.  Even if you curse like a trader on Black Monday, you probably wouldn’t do it around your little ones.  Why?  Children don’t know how to correctly wield the power of expletives.  It’s like drinking.  Unless you’re taught properly (Only on special occasions!  In moderation or you’ll regret it the next morning!), you’ll binge.
Not to mention that if you swear too frequently, it loses all its power.  If we want expletives to really MEAN something, we need to preserve them. “Save the swear words!”  Perhaps it could be Fonda’s new campaign.

PAGE SIX MAGAZINE
Debate
By Julia Allison

I’m not against expletives as a rule – they’re handy when putting together IKEA furniture or attempting to follow a Martha Stewart recipe or when your boyfriend finishes in less than 120 seconds.

But on live television?  In the morning?  When you haven’t been drinking, Danny-Devito-on-the-View style?  Ehhh … Not so much.

It’s not necessarily that Jane Fonda’s “cunt” or Diane Keaton’s “fucking” were such big deals in and of themselves.  Context is key, and theirs were innocuous – the former, to describe a play about, well, vaginas – the latter, to emphasize just how vibrant her personality really is (the real question is: if she had Diane Sawyer’s lips, would she have sworn with them?  Hmm.)

So the problem isn’t these two ladies or their particular swearing scenarios. The problem when OTHER people – in less appropriate situations – start throwing around four letter words in ad hominem attacks (or to spice up a boring fucking interview!).  Two words: downward spiral.  We don’t want tv denigrating into some barroom stream of invectives.  It’s one thing if Jane Fonda says “cunt.”  But Bill O’Reilly?  That’s hate speech.  Or his private fantasy.  Either way, it has no place on television.

And yeah, we’ve gotta protect the kidlets.  Even if you curse like a trader on Black Monday, you probably wouldn’t do it around your little ones.  Why?  Children don’t know how to correctly wield the power of expletives.  It’s like drinking.  Unless you’re taught properly (Only on special occasions!  In moderation or you’ll regret it the next morning!), you’ll binge.

Not to mention that if you swear too frequently, it loses all its power.  If we want expletives to really MEAN something, we need to preserve them.

“Save the swear words!”  Perhaps it could be Fonda’s new campaign.