The Making Of Julia Allison

Wired magazine's special issue on micro-celebrity includes a cover profile of Julia Allison, the college dating columnist who's garnered such internet fame. (Well, actually, the cover of Wired is about as much attention as she's ever drawn, so the article is self-fulfiling.) Anyway, I didn't remember the reported anecdote of my "meeting" with the then-editor of Gawker to demand coverage of this protostar; a trawl through the archives was called for. Here-in email, blog posts and comments-are those fateful days in late 2006 that gave the web Julia Allison.

From: Julia Allison <julia@juliaallison.com>

Date: October 26, 2006 9:16:58 PM EDT

To: Nick Denton <nick@gawker.com>

Subject: Halloween Party



Am bringing Brooke Parkhurst, of Belle and the Big Apple blog fame.

Acceptable?



Also, am bringing 200 condoms.



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From: Nick Denton <nick.denton@gmail.com>

Date: October 29, 2006 6:53:12 PM EST

To: julia@juliaallison.com

Subject: last night



You were much admired, by a friend of mine.



Nick



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From: Julia Allison <julia@juliaallison.com>

Date: October 29, 2006 8:30:45 PM EST

To: Nick Denton <nick.denton@gmail.com>

Subject: Re: last night



Oh really? Do tell.



Attached is a photo I'm sure you'll want to frame. ;) Along with a few I'm

sure you won't.



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From: "Nikola Tamindzic" <nikola@ambrel.net>

Date: October 30, 2006 12:41:31 PM EST

To: "Chris Mohney" <cmohney@gawker.com>, "Lockhart Steele" <lock@gawker.com>, Nick Denton" <nick@gawker.com>

Subject: Saturday Halloween photos



Here are the three batches of photos — post as you like, I sorted them by party, and I'd suggest three posts out of this, milking the bitch dry, Gawker-style.



www.ambrel.net/temp/halloween-robotrock.zip — Robot Rock party at Movida. No particularly interesting names, other than #08, of Merlin Bronques / Lastnightsparty.com, me, and Nicky Digital / Radar / Nickydigital.com. My gallery is at www.ambrel.net/2006/1028-movida



www.ambrel/temp/halloween-ratedx.zip — the usual insanity at Rated X, The Panty Party. Hosted by Michael T and Theo (ex-Lunachicks) — they're in #10 with some zombie dude, and Theo is with Tricia Romano (as Madonna) in #09. Some NSFW stuff. My gallery is at www.ambrel.net/2006/1028-ratedx



www.ambrel.net/temp/halloween-nick.zip — and finally arriving at Nick's around 4am, to find only the most hardcore people remaining, and Julia Allison all condom'd out. My gallery is at www.ambrel.net/2006/1028-nickdenton



Have fun — I'll see you guys tomorrow at the shoot, n.



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From: "Ricky Van Veen" <ricky@connectedventures.com>

Date: October 30, 2006 10:21:07 PM EST

To: "Nick Denton" <nick@gawker.com>

Subject: julia allison



I'm getting a lot of people asking me about her today (obv from her pic at your party).



Do you know her?



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Team Party Crash: Pre-Halloween Weekend Triple Play



4:10 PM on Mon Oct 30 2006

By Chris Mohney



The Making Of Julia AllisonS
Dating columnist Julia Allison, wearing condom armor to Nick Denton's party, proves that there is life after commenter execution.



This past Saturday night, Gawker lensman Nikola Tamindzic worked like a slug in a salt mine to gather the best in Halloween party zoological photography. Thus, we have three different galleries of hipster degradation to thrill your loins. First, there's the Robot Rock party at Movida to get you in the mood with generic costumery and tomfoolery (Nikola's full gallery here). Then, fully aroused, it's time for the Rated X Panty Party, which sports a few most definitely NSFW shots (full gallery here). Lastly, our very own Nick Denton throws a shindig for the few and fortunate, and don't you wish you got to lounge around on those famous couches (full gallery here). If you like, you can review all three galleries' worth of photos simultaneously for maximum 'weenage. More to come of course, but this should keep you in ass cheeks and garter belts till Tuesday.



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Harold Ford's Ex Finds Fame on the Web



by Jeff Bercovici, Radar



Republican smear ads notwithstanding, most Americans born since World War II would agree that black Democrat Harold Ford didn't do anything shameful when he dated a white woman.



Where Ford, who is running for Senate in Tennessee, did go wrong was in his choice of white women to date: He picked a blogger. Worse, he picked a blogger who writes a first-person sex-and-dating column for AM New York, in which she discusses such matters as her desire to have a threesome. Worst of all, he picked a blogger who loves publicity and is given to posting scantily-clad photos of herself on her site.



Her name is Julia Allison.



Ford's relationship with Allison first became news in 2003, when it was reported in the Washington Post's Reliable Source column that he was dating the then 21-year-old Georgetown student. (In that article, she was identified as Julia Baugher; she later adopted Allison as her professional name.)



It made headlines again two weeks ago, when the National Republican Senatorial Campaign issued a press release about "Ford's Fancy Fling." Allison responded with a post on her blog, filled with photos of her and Ford on a ski vacation. The post caught the attention of conservative radio talker Rush Limbaugh. On Monday, Limbaugh read from Allison's blog on the air, citing it as evidence that a controversial Republican National Committee ad implying Ford likes Caucasian women was based on fact, not innuendo.



For her part, Allison-who also wrote about Ford, without naming him, in the July issue of Cosmopolitan-says she considers the attacks absurd. "My whole point is that he didn't do anything wrong," she tells Radar. "I really didn't think it was relevant, and it shouldn't affect anything."



But while Ford would no doubt rather his ex disappear for a while than defend him, that's not looking likely. "I was sort of annoyed that the New York Times didn't interview me," she says. "I'm the only person who has been publicly linked to him, ever. I'm sort of surprised no news producers have called me yet."



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From: Nick Denton <nick.denton@gmail.com>

Date: November 1, 2006 11:46:21 AM EST

To: Chris Mohney <cmohney@gawker.com>

Subject: Re: I'm really pissed we didn't have this, or even mention it for the party crash report



oh, come on — Balk knew the backstory. And the backstory required no reporting. Wasn't like a party reporter was going to ask Julia Allison about her dating history.



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Field Guide: Julia Allison



by Chris Mohney



"I was sort of annoyed that the New York Times didn't interview me ... I'm sort of surprised no news producers have called me yet."



That's amNew York sex columnist (or "effing sex columnist" as one source describes her) Julia Allison in Radar, lamenting the insufficient media attention she's received lately. Specifically, Allison figured she'd get more ink from her 2003 relationship with one Harold E. Ford, who happens to be running for a Senate seat in Tennessee. Their thang came back to the surface as part of a Republican smear versus Ford regarding his past attendance at "Playboy parties" and supposed penchant for white chicks (Ford is black). Rather than go for potential Mandingo-mongering, the Republicans actually used a hilariously tawdry TV commercial bit with a sexed-up (white) woman imploring Ford to call her. So anyway - as that imbroglio fades back into the pre-election churn, let's turn our attention back to Julia. For someone who's merely a columnist at a free paper, many New York media types know her - and have a few things to say about her.



When we ran a party photo of Allison earlier in the week, we immediately received the following in the tipline:



"Ew, please, do not give that attention-seeking girl any more of the coverage she so desperately seeks. We (Georgetown journalism students) were thrilled when she was suspended from the Hoya and given an F in our journalism course for plagiarizing one of her columns. Haaaate that she's screwed her way up here as well."



A (further) trip down memory lane is in order. Julia Allison used to be Julia Baugher, a sex-dating-relationship columnist for the Georgetown paper Hoya. Way back in December 2002, she wrote a listicle detailing holiday gifts for your lovah, and what those gifts secretly mean. Unfortunately, it appeared that most of the gift ideas (and some of the prose) had been cribbed from iVillage, of all places. Despite complaints about this, Baugher wasn't kicked off the paper; she recalls the paper's internal review as concluding that "I did not plagiarize in any way." The haters were just trying to advance a "personal agenda" of some kind.



Baugher soldiered on, and it was in April 2003 that Lloyd Grove (then still at the Washington Post) wrote her up as sharing a table with Harold Ford. Mini-media celebrity began to accumulate almost immediately, with sex- or politics-commentary (or both) in various national outlets. In July 2003, Baugher (according to Post reporter Frank Ahrens) attempted to get out of paying for grapefruit at a hotel by throwing the Post's name around, claiming she worked for them. Confronted, Baugher said she was actually (and inscrutably) name-dropping the Hoya. In reality, Baugher had some early discussion about contributing to the Post's free Express tabloid, but nothing was set up yet. Regardless, after a few more laps around the media appearance track, Baugher quit the Hoya as of January 2004, supposedly because her sex column (in a Jesuit university's paper) couldn't be graphic enough to suit her tastes. Not long after, Julia Baugher became Julia Allison, decamped to New York, and began writing another sex column for another free paper.



And she's been riding the grapefruit train ever since. (Though it hasn't helped her get recognized by event photographer Patrick McMullan, who couldn't ID her for the pic at right.) In New York, Allison has a whole ecosystem of media industry horny toads to romp among, as opposed to those charming but rather conflicted political types. Eligible men are her favorite playtoy - and eligibility is very generously interpreted. Her habit of purring and flirting with taken or married men frequently brings the claws out from those menfolk's significant others. For a time, she even enjoyed a public companionship and rumored private dalliance with none other than Lloyd Grove. If you happen to be one of the few people who doesn't know about her affair with Harold Ford, she'll certainly fill you in - all the while wondering aloud if she really should go on Fox News again. And don't even get her started about when she dumped a guy in a Jamba Juice, after supposedly stealing him from away from his wife.



Allison's easy to spot at most any media party of consequence - she's everywhere, it seems - and she's famous for laying it on thicker than a toddler spreading peanut butter. She's so excited to see everyone she meets, she just loves you, you're so great, she really wants to be best friends, and so forth. All this is delivered along with self-deprecating complaints about her own bad habit of relentless self-promotion, but no matter how unsubtle the hint, she's not getting the message that she herself is sending. Who knows, perhaps dialing it down a bit might make that longed-for threesome happen sooner, or make that Silver Bullet finally obsolete.



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Comment by Nick Denton at 07:05 PM on 11/01/06



Um, what's the point here? Okay, okay, so Julia Allison seeks attention. She's a sex columnist, for god's sake; she's supposed to promote herself. And JA doesn't just seek out attention; she gets it. Mainly because, surprisigly rare for a sex columnist, she's extremely attractive.



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From: "Alex Balk" <alex@gawker.com>

Date: November 1, 2006 9:32:48 PM EST

To: "Nick Denton" <nick@gawker.com>

Subject: Julia Allison



That was an incredibly douchey comment to leave, considering you essentially dictated the item. Chris can pretty much defend himself, so I'm not writing this for him, but if you're going to demand coverage of something you need to fucking talk to us before you ream someone out in the comments for essentially doing what you asked. Congratulations, Nick, you've finally managed to piss me off.



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From: Nick Denton <nick.denton@gmail.com>

Date: November 2, 2006 3:57:55 PM EST

To: "Alex Balk" <alex@gawker.com>

Subject: Re: Julia Allison



Didn't want you to think I was avoiding your email. If you think that comment was a ream, you're more sensitive than I thought. I held myself back. Yes, I thought that Julia Allison warranted an item, and I was dismayed that we hadn't drawn that Harold Ford connection. I also thought that the field guide was, as all too often in articles on Gawker, lacking in generosity.



Random IM, from five minutes ago...



ps—dont even get me started on julia allison gawker post

mean and undeserved, really, even though she is crazy and it was mostly true

are they just going to pick random people and rip on them?



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From: "Alex Balk" <alex@gawker.com>

Date: November 2, 2006 4:03:35 PM EST

To: "Nick Denton" <nick.denton@gmail.com>

Subject: Re: Julia Allison



That's fine, and I probably overreacted a bit in the e-mail in the first place. I just feel like we're working extra hard and rarely, if ever, refuse to cover specific items, and I'd prefer to be addressed directly about it rather than through the comments. But, you know, Chris' item anyway. Thanks for responding.



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From: Julia Allison <julia@juliaallison.com>

Date: November 3, 2006 2:26:03 PM EST

To: Lockhart Steele <Lock@gawker.com>, Nick Denton <nick@gawker.com>

Subject: Alternatively ...



I was thinking of posting this photo on my blog with the subtitle "Gawker, Kiss My Ass!"



But then they'd never be friends with me.



xx



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The Making Of Julia AllisonS


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From: Nick Denton <nick.denton@gmail.com>

Date: November 3, 2006 3:29:37 PM EST

To: Julia Allison <julia@juliaallison.com>

Cc: Lockhart Steele <Lock@gawker.com>, Nick Denton <nick@gawker.com>

Subject: Re: Alternatively ...



Oh, but you should! Is that outside our offices?