Wired posted its profile of Julia Allison, the Time Out New York dating columnist and onetime protocelebrity (now in the process of crossing over into the real thing). Yes, the cover story (preceded by the cover itself) retreads much that Gawker readers already know about Allison, and many of you will, no doubt, find the piece altogether too friendly, a celebratory, rather than judgmental, distillation of her techniques for self-promotion and attention whoring. But there is news. Confirmation, for one, of Allison's long-rumored reality TV show for Bravo, IT Girls. Wired said the deal was signed in June, though it's clearly been in the works for much longer. Then there's a terrifying new wrinkle to Allison's new "lifecasting" Web venture, Non Society:
She signed up [reality show partners Mary] Rambin and [Megan] Asha to act as cofounders of the site - nonsociety.com - and began developing content: lip-sync videos, a talk-show series modeled after The View, and the collected musings that the trio were already posting on their own blogs.
(Emphasis added.) There's no doubt that after four years of fameballing her way around the New York media and Web startup scene, Allison will be able to drum up some decent guests for her talk show. But will she and her co-hosts be able to host any conversations worth listening to? Allison's hardly had occasion to develop interview skills, what with her decidedly non-journalistic work as a sometime society chronicler, dating columnist and stint as Star's official talking head for television.
Talk show aside, between the Wired cover, Bravo show and deepening roots in the tech/media investment community, Allison is clearly revving up to take her act national, a point the Wired profile neatly crystallizes. Here's how it recasts her West Coast forays, which have seemed like nothing so much as shopping excursions for geek talent and VC money, as part of a national expansion of the Allison machine:
In July 2007, having conquered - and perhaps oversaturated - the Manhattan media market, Allison set her sights on a new target: the Silicon Valley startup world. In a flashback to her Gawker breakthrough, she flew to the Bay Area to attend the annual TechCrunch party thrown by influential blogger Michael Arrington. Dressed in a flattering Diane von Furstenberg dress, Allison made an immediate impression among the blue-shirt-and-khaki-wearing attendees. The next day, Arrington posted a video on his site of Allison cooing for the camera, telling her audience that she had a thing for geeks, and urging them to call her. Soon Allison had become a Valleywag staple, befriended the likes of CNET's Caroline McCarthy and Sequoia Capital's Mark Kvamme, and - like Jack in the Box opening a new crosstown franchise - introduced her brand of ignore-me-if-you-dare provocation to the Web 2.0 startup world.
Other noteworthy points from the story:
- Former Gawker managing editor Choire Sicha says Allison's fame happened "in a way that seemed seamless and kind magical."
- While an undergraduate at Georgetown University, Allison wanted to date med students, so she got a job in the medical school library and did, well, did her thing. She became known as the "Medstitute" — and a fixture at med school parties, even shown in a slideshow at med school graduation.
- Allison debuted on Gawker when Nick Denton "demanded" Chris Mohney write about her.
- Gawker writers, "facing an unrelenting 12-posts-a-day workload, couldn't resist the easy productivity of a quick Allison item." True!
- Allison had a "burgeoning relationship" with Digg founder Kevin Rose, but it was "killed" by Valleywag's very early coverage.
- Allison talks to Rambin like "a mother comforting a child after a deflating T-ball game:" "I thought that Gawker post about you today was very nice."
- Non Society in a nutshell: "Two C-list starlets can get together and make one B-list couple."
Finally, a tipster notes that Platon Atoniou's photo of Allison for Wired's cover (assuming he shot it — he is credited with the inside shots) borrows heavily from his earlier shot of Italian actress and model Monica Bellucci (on the left):
Is there a suggestion here that Julia Allison is anything less than a total original?? Heaven forbid.