Confessions of a Celebrity Blogger

by Charlotte on April 29, 2010 · 43 comments

It all started with a dubious website for underemployed writers and a post that can best be described as the Internet equivalent of a casting call for a Valtrex ad. “Writer wanted for popular celebrity blog. Style must match exactly. I need to take a break for personal reasons and want to keep posting continuous for the readers. You will post under my name only. Send two sample posts to xxxxx@hotmail.com. Pay good.”

It was the last bit that snagged me. I needed money and I don’t have a lot of pride. I also don’t have a lot of knowledge about celebrities so I went over to the site and checked it out. It was your basic celebrity blog: paparazzi pic, 100-word snarky description and hundreds of venomous commenters. I could totally ghost this. So I practiced my typos, snagged a couple of (probably copywrited) pictures off another blog and sent it in.

The reply was immediate via an obviously faked e-mail account. “I’m putting your posts up. If the readers like them, you’re in.”

The readers liked me. Or at least my slightly better grammar (I couldn’t help it!) didn’t tip them off that I wasn’t Madame herself. Although technically it could have been Monsieur. Throughout our entire time together I never was exactly sure whom I was speaking to or what exactly the crisis of a personal nature entailed.

The job description was straightforward: There was a morning push and an afternoon push. I needed a minimum of four posts in each push. The pay per post ended up only being “good” if I could do each push in under an hour. Four posts of 100 words? Easy peasey.

My first day, I blocked out an hour before the morning push was due and started scanning the photo sites Madame had sent me for a usable picture. Sifting through pages of blurry camera phone shots (if only Big Foot were considered a celebrity!), irrelevant and thankfully indiscernible nudie pics and thousands of inane comments took me forty five minutes and left me with an undated picture of Rihanna on a beach and an Angelina Jolie promo shot from her latest movie. But they were of a decent quality so I downloaded them and dutifully started the posts. Blankness. How was I supposed to know what Rihanna does at the beach? Sweating now as I watched the clock tick by, I hastily googled her, hoping to find some story that would give me titillating information to attach to the otherwise bland picture. Still nothing.

Timidly I e-mailed Madame, who responded promptly from her Blackberry, “Don’t worry about the story. Just get good pic. Write something. Love sources.” Well, that was the gist of it anyhow, minus the punctuation. I gulped and finally wrote some inane blather about her unflattering bikini and athletic thighs. As soon as I hit post, I knew I’d betrayed my gender. And my own thighs. And intelligent folk everywhere. I hastily edited it to add a line about her “glowing skin.” All better. Right?

The commenters eviscerated me. The picture was apparently over a week old, had already been discussed ad nauseum earlier, and how did I not remember that her thighs were fat, not athletic. One more-observant-than-normal person wrote, “Madame, are you sick? Is this even really you?”

Madame was furious and let me know it short, grammatically challenged bursts. What I took away was that I needed to, duh, check the archives before I posted and also check the archives of every other celebrity blog on the Internet to make sure they hadn’t already covered it. If they had, I had to either scrap the post or come up with a better angle. Slowly I realized that this was going to take me a lot longer than fifteen minutes a post. There are only so many angles on Angelina Jolie, and I’m not just talking about her collar bone.

I stumbled along through the rest of the morning push, coming out with several inoffensive, mostly incoherent, but at least current, posts. There was Liv Tyler. And something about Lindsay Lohan (isn’t there always?). I had to kill the Angelina Jolie story because, frankly, I couldn’t think of a single new thing to say about her.

Madame checked in with me before the afternoon push. I asked her how she knew what celebrities ate (or didn’t) and watched and did in their spare time. There wasn’t even a pause before I got her reply, “I don’t.” And that was the missing piece. All that time I had spent researching my story? Unnecessary. The direction was implied: just make it up. With this new knowledge I flew through the afternoon push and the next couple of days. Just as I was beginning to think this job was going to work out (when I bothered to think about it all, which I tried not to do because then I had to pay attention to the Jiminy Cricket drowning in the fountain of bile in my stomach), a celebrity struck back. I had felt safe in my electronic nowhereville, hadn’t even imagined that the people I was writing about might actually read what I had written and, heaven help me, have an opinion about it.

Michelle Williams tripped me up. Heath Ledger wasn’t dead yet and so she was still a middling celebrity. But she made the mistake of wearing a blousy shirt and getting photographed at an unflattering angle so I did what any good first-time celebrity blogger would do: I cried pregnancy. I even cited a “source” confirming the happy news, that actually linked back to an interview with Williams in which she discussed nothing even remotely close to children or pregnancy or even Heath. It was no bigger a lie than any of my other posts (and probably nicer) but, strangely, the celebrity blogs went haywire with it. The link was posted on numerous other sites, corporate media ones even, all citing me (well actually Madame) as the source. Apparently none of them bothered to fact check my post. By the next day, it was everywhere. Williams’ rep even issued a statement vehemently denying the rumors.

Madame was giddy. I was horrified. How angry was Williams when she when read my post? Was it possible she could sue me? I’d been a celebrity blogger for all of three days and suddenly I was facing possible legal action? Madame comforted me by pointing out that celebrities don’t have time to sue everyone who writes crap about them. Plus Williams got tons of free publicity out of it, so she probably secretly liked it. Great, now I’m a literary rapist.

If Michelle Williams was the beginning of the end, then Posh Spice was my undoing. Like every Gen-Y’er, I could tell you what I want, what I really, really want. Even if that thing was the incoherent “zig-a-zig-pie.” But I had made the mistake of not keeping up with Victoria Beckham as she dropped the rest of the dollar-store dried parsley and transformed from merely a condiment to the whole spicy meatball – not that she would eat one.

So when I heard on the early radio gossip show which I only listened to since becoming Madame’s flunky in the vague hope it would be able to make up for 10 years of cultural laxity, that “unauthorized” pictures of Posh had surfaced, I didn’t know enough to drop my scrambled eggs and run for my computer. Apparently the pictures showed a small unidentified growth under her right armpit that the host insisted was evidence of her plastic surgery. Because we need evidence? But I jotted down the website anyhow.

Eventually when I made it onto the web, I typed it in and sure enough there were a few of the most unshocking pictures of Ms. Spice-Beckham I’d ever seen. (Seriously, if you caught the August 2007 cover of W then you’re already 10 steps down the skank path from these pics.) There was no explanation other than a melodramatic “See these pictures now before her lawyers get to us! They won’t be here long! Tell the world!!!!” Tell the world what, exactly? That Posh has a huge skin tag? Cancer of the armpit? A too-tight shirt and a phenomenon women around the world know as “armpit boobs“?

Still, I was becoming accustomed to the minutiae of Celebrity Blogging and besides my morning push started in a mere hour. Plus the pictures were high-res and in my book that was reason enough to use them, even if they had been, say, Madeleine Albright in a bikini. Armpit boobs it was.

Suddenly, shaming lazy abusive boyfriends everywhere, Madame’s pre-dawn stalker e-mail arrived, wanting to know what I was working on. Her “crisis of a personal nature” obviously didn’t involve her fingers, retinas or perfectionism. I told her about the radio show only to be interrupted with “U got scooped by RADIO??? Our readers go to US first!!!!” – thereby making up for an entire week’s worth of omitted punctuation.

I didn’t bother pointing out that a) I’m not psychic and b) none of the other celeb-sites were reporting it either. Somewhere a radio reporter was cackling gleefully. Radio: 2 Internet: 8,234,987,201 (in 2.3 seconds) I threw the post up and e-mailed her the source link, feeling a teeny bit excited that we were the first site to report it. An uncharacteristic silence reverberated from her BlackBerry. I took that to mean she was proud.

I would be wrong.

Madame: WHAT HAVE U DONE

Me: Ummmm

Madame: Am taking it down

Me: Why?

Madame: Obv faked

Me: If using photoshopped pics is off limits, we’ll have to retract 70% of our posts, including every magazine cover you’ve ever ran. I didn’t add, “If honesty were truly a virtue then there goes the remaining 30% and you’ll have to go back to selling beanie babies on E-Bay.”

Madame: Lawyers (the “idiot” was implied)

Me: I thought we didn’t have to worry about that (See Williams, Michelle).

Madame: Idiot (no longer implied)

Me: Thank you?

Madame: THIS IS VICTORIA BECKHAM

Me: Yes, we’ve established that

Madame: $$$ = LAWYERS

Me: Which is why we never cover Tom Cruise?

Madame: Look… this isn’t working out

And then I knew what was coming. A brief flare of indignation.

Me: Are you firing me?

Madame: Your morning push is late

Me: But I HATE this job! You at least owe me the dignity of QUITTING.

Madame: Don’t owe you anything

Me: Crap. Does this mean I’m not getting paid?

It did.

(Note: In writing this post, I did go back and try to find the original Posh Spice Underarm Growth pictures. Not that I tried very hard, but I did google at least seven different search strings, and nothing came up. As far as I can tell the original site was pulled and no other celeb blogs reported on it. Apparently the lawyers got us.)

Anyone else had a job they are too ashamed to tell their family about? What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? (Unless it’s hooking, I win.)

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

charlotte April 29, 2010 at 4:30 am

Testing my hopefully unbroken comment system.

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charlotte April 29, 2010 at 4:30 am

Woohooo! It lives!

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AndreaClaire April 29, 2010 at 4:56 am

Thank you for confirming what I already knew but didn't have actual confirmation on: celeb bloggers make it up.

I can luckily say that I've never had a job that bad but I did get hired by a well-to-do family to tutor their son in German. After two weeks of him doing nothing and feeling guilty about taking their money (I was still a young and impressionable university student with morals) I decided to talk with the mom. I still remember her getting all persnickety as she said "my son's an idiot; we all know that. We hired you so he'd pass grade 11 German. If that means you write all his assignments, so be it. He's going to [expensive University in Canada] regardless of his marks, so just do what you have to do." I quit then and there.

Stupid morals; that family paid well.

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Amber Rose April 29, 2010 at 6:10 am

Good grief ! How long ago was this ? I don't read celebrity blogs, 'womens' magazines (and as a woman I'm pretty much offended by the description) or anything like that so I can't even wonder if I read something you wrote. I hope you got paid something for the days you'd already worked. If not I wonder if it's a standard trick madame uses, not that I'm a cynic or anything :)

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Deb (SmoothieGirl) April 29, 2010 at 6:13 am

OMG that's fascinating. I honestly must live in a bubble b/c I didn't know they make it up. And I didn't know about your job- wow. Craziness.

Worst job was at Nature Mart in Los Feliz (it still exists). I was always a few cents off and got hell for it. Then I was held up at gun-point. (Yay LA). Finally when I was off by about $20 they fired me. THEN I became a dentist- ha- which was worse!!??

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Kristen April 29, 2010 at 9:24 am

Worst job: 2am-6am shift at the campus library closing doors.

My first job at the library was to sit there at the wee hours saying "ID please" to every weary eyed student walking in, but 2 semesters in, they installed a card swipe system. You swipe the card, the door automatically opens. Problem was, the doors never closed fully. My new job became to get up and manually close the door whenever anyone walked in.

I'm not ashamed to tell my family, but it's by far the worst job I've ever had.

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charlotte April 29, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Oooh – I was a tutor for a similarly idiotic rich kid too! Fortunately they didn't ask me to do her homework. I was just a glorified babysitter. It's sad how many rich kids have tutors do their work!!

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charlotte April 29, 2010 at 12:23 pm

I'd never thought of that! I would not have put it past Madame at all. It's been a couple of years but the site is still thriving;)

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charlotte April 29, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Wait – YOU'RE A DENTIST? How did I miss that?? And you got held up? So scary!

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I'm Not Superhuman April 29, 2010 at 12:24 pm

So, um, which site was this? Can you tell without risking LAWYERS!!!!! I think the text on the celeb blogs is the best. It's always so random and boring, like "Angelina Jolie and her newly highlighted hair stood on the street and looked both ways before crossing!" Wow, those stars are just like us!

Sorry you had such a crummy experience.

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charlotte April 29, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Hahah! That's hilarious. And really sad. When you first wrote "door closer" I thought it must have been a typo but no…

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Kara Thom April 29, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Funny I just outed this job on FB this morning–my first job, I worked for a urologist, who specialized in male health. I was 22 and had to attend seminars on impotence.

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marathonmaiden April 29, 2010 at 1:52 pm

what?! this is CRAZINESS. at least you have a story to tell about it though. and i guess i'm very lucky to have never had a bad job. sure i've not liked some of them but they've never been terrible

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bjbella5 April 29, 2010 at 2:22 pm

I always thought those "quoted sources" were phoney baloney. Great story Charlotte! It is sad that the $$$=lawyers equation is the only thing they care about. Maybe Angelina Jolie should hire Posh Spice's lawyers ;-)

Before I had kids, I had a job at a non-profit organization that worked at preventing STD's among high risk populations. My duties were more in administration, but (lucky me) I was the only one in the office when a hooker came in looking for supplies and information. That was an interesting conversation!

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Emma W April 29, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Considering they didn't pay you, I think you should be outing the site that hired you!

I think my worst job was door to door health insurance salesperson (yes really). I don't know what I was thinking as I'm NOT the natural sales type. It was entirely commission based and most of us in my group were fairly crap at it. I remember one guy saying he'd worked out his hours and commission total and it resulted in an hourly pay of 50p. I had the good sense to leave after a few weeks!

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Amy April 29, 2010 at 5:28 pm

I worked for ColdStone Creamery for six months. Did I mention I'm lactose intolerant?

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Primal Homemaker April 29, 2010 at 5:52 pm

This was hilarious. I am not sure if it was meant to be, but I laughed my ass off.

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Quix April 29, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Hmmm… my bad jobs were pretty normal. I managed one of those accessory stores right out of high school in a sleepy mall and spent most of my days feet up on the desk doing my nails on the phone eating free "spillage" candy from the Sweet Factory my friend managed (I can write the tutorial on how to gain 20 lbs in one summer!!) since we never had customers. I also did cold calling surveys for 3 months and wasn't good at it. If someone told me they didn't want to I thanked them for their time and hung up. You were supposed to try to keep them on the phone. To this day, I totally try to take any phone surveys I can.

I also had some horrid, horrid bosses at restaurants but that's a whole 'nother story.

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azusmom April 29, 2010 at 7:38 pm

Oh, man! I used to shop there! I lived right around the corner!
I'm glad you're OK.

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azusmom April 29, 2010 at 7:43 pm

I answered a job ad for "acting teachers" only to discover that I'd be expected to go to high schools, scope out the "hot girls," and try to convince them to take modeling and acting classes through an agency, with the (pretty much empty) promise that the agency would then sign them. I didn't take the job. Silly me, I was looking for a job where I'd actually teach kids to act and to have more confidence, regardless of how "hot" they were.

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chariander April 29, 2010 at 8:23 pm

I think I'd better stay mum on the site name. I'm still afraid of Madame even 2 years later… lol.

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chariander April 29, 2010 at 8:23 pm

But that would be the BEST job ever!! ;)

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chariander April 29, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Ah, you've still got time girl!

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chariander April 29, 2010 at 8:24 pm

All the same, it sounds like a good thing you were there! I bet you have some stories to tell….

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chariander April 29, 2010 at 8:25 pm

YOU WIN! Door-to-door sales of anything has got to be the worst job alive. I lasted exactly one day selling magazine subscriptions. Eeek.

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chariander April 29, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Well I suppose they didn't have to worry about you eating up the supplies! Did you have to sing all the songs and do the cheers anyhow?

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chariander April 29, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Then my work here is done.

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chariander April 29, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Isn't it funny how we try to compensate for what we went through when we meet others in similar situations? I worked retail for years as well as waitressed and to this day I'm super polite to all store clerks and tip well at restaurants!

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chariander April 29, 2010 at 8:29 pm

So funny you should say this – just last weekend we were at a fair type thing and there was this woman approaching random teenage (ish) girls and telling them they "have the model look" and giving them her business card. It was so funny because she was dressed like a $50 hooker in the middle of a super-relaxed family event. I bet she had that job!

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Jody - Fit at 52 April 29, 2010 at 9:59 pm

What the F… creaziness! I applaud you Charlotte for surviving the little time you did & man, this post was too much!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)

I never had any crazy job like this but I did try that stupid multi level stuff way back when…. what was I thinking! If I don't believe it, I can't sell it. I tried but my morals took over! :-)

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Pubsgal April 29, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Worst job was probably working the college cafeteria dishroom. Nasty. But on the other hand, dishes at home never again looked daunting. Ah, what love-lorn college kids did to pay the phone bill back in the days before Twitter and Skype.

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Pubsgal April 29, 2010 at 10:27 pm

On the other hand, your celebrity blogger gig sounds horrid. My sympathy!

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chariander April 30, 2010 at 3:19 am

I know! My college days feel like they were from another century, they were so low-tech. (Oh wait – it WAS a different century.)

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Amy April 30, 2010 at 3:19 am

Every. Single. Humiliating. One. And I had to work for my boss, "the money-grubbing Rodrigo," as I called him. But now at least I have moved on to bigger and better (and less vomit-inducing!).

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chariander April 30, 2010 at 3:20 am

Multi-level marketing is the one thing I've never done. I've never been able to suspend my skepticism long enough for them to finish their pitch. I'm glad you got out of it Jody!

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chariander April 30, 2010 at 3:22 am

Wow – every time we go there (it's hubby's fave place) I always wonder if they really enjoy singing all those idiotic songs or if their faces are frozen in a perma-grin hoping that tip jar will fill up. Glad you moved on and up!!

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azusmom April 30, 2010 at 4:23 am

I bet she did!!!!!!
Scary!

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MizFit April 30, 2010 at 10:38 am

why have I still been unable to comment.

*taptaptap* is this thing on?

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VaMomof2 April 30, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Worst job was working weekend closing shifts at the deli in college – everyone wanted to be out and we got extra pay so I did quite a few. Not sure whether waiting on the drunk students that came in before 2am or cleaning the grill and grease pit once we closed at 2. I was the tallest so always got that fun job. I would head back to the dorm smelling like burgers and fries and I hate to admit that on many nights, I was just too tired to shower (yuck)!

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chariander May 1, 2010 at 5:05 am

Your comment went thru!

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chariander May 1, 2010 at 5:06 am

Eww!  Nothing stinks worse that old frying oil.  And that smell does NOT come out. 

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F. Lex May 2, 2010 at 6:19 am

Whatever the reasons are, the solutions are uncomplicated and clear-cut. If you would like to lose weight, then exercise and diet are your only possibilities. Unless of course you want to have that stomach surgical procedure, but that's pretty expensive, extreme, and painful. For most of us, exercise and diet are our only possibilities. But how do we exercise? What is the best way?Well, just like it took a while to put all that weight on, it is going to take a while to burn it off. So don't expect any overnight miracles. Gradual and constant is the best way. Eating and exercising are ordinary parts of the human condition, and in order to have a permanent change in these areas, it's best to bring in these changes slowly.And one of easiest, most useful, and most recognized ways to do this is through easy walking. Yes, that's right. You don't need to join a gym, or buy a thousand dollars worth of tackle. You don't even need to buy particular shoes. The shoes you are wearing right now are good enough. The only thing that you need to do is get out there, and put one foot in front of the other for about twenty minutes a day. Once you make that a regular routine, get ready for the magic that will immediately renovate your life.

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G. Taller July 6, 2010 at 8:27 am

Interval exercises:This is a combination of slow exercises and fast exercises. This exercise increases your metabolism makes the body burn calories faster and for a longer period. You combine a fast exercise and slow exercise for any type of exercises, both indoor and outdoor. Two minutes of slow exercise followed by two minutes of fast exercise, increase the muscle mass in your body. The increased muscle mass consumes the fat stored in your body, as fuel for maintenance.Jumping rope:Jumping rope exercises, improves your overall body condition, and burns a lot of calories, helping you to lose weight. It improves the condition of your heart and strengthens the muscles of the upper and lower part of your body and helps you to keep fit.

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