In Celebrity Obsessed Culture, Tawdry Gossip Turns To Gold

Mario Armando Lavandeira Jr., better known as Perez Hilton, the self-proclaimed “Queen of All Media,” is on the front page of Sunday Styles today–a place normally reserved for the characters he writes about on his top drawer entertainment blog.

With his shameless self-promotion and buffoonish appearance, Mr. Lavandeira, a childlike bear of a man, has become a hard-to-ignore Hollywood player.
One day he was a struggling actor, paying bills with nonglamorous day jobs (publications manager for a gay organization; publicist for trade shows; a reporter for Star magazine, which fired him).
The next, he was an orange-haired pop culture phenom: a blogger whose infantile but easily digestible style of scrawling crude commentary on celebrity pictures has helped him triple his traffic in the last year alone, earn enough income to employ his family members, and, most crucially for the Perez Hilton brand, score his own television show on VH1.

Some of the “dirt” the Times dug up on Hilton: He studied acting at NYU; grew up in Miami, where he was taunted for being large and gay at his all-boys Catholic school; is fighting off at least two lawsuits; typically works 17 hours a day; and makes $9000/week for a single ad placement on his site.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.