When Tila Tequila first popped onto the scene, she was the harmless, if ugly, face of fame's grim seduction. In the wake of "fiancée" Casey Johnson's death, she now represents everything wrong with our modern era.
Casually tossing words like "worst" around is one of the unfortunate clichés of the current talky-head, bloggy media culture. But Tila Tequila, through her desperate attempts to latch onto and enable an heiress who was dealing with some serious addiction and psychological problems, has done enough for her to secure legitimate claim to the title in some category. Internet creation? Famewhore? Person in the World?
The final straw in a career's worth of despicable behavior came, fittingly via Twitter posts about meeting Johnson's family, and her extraordinary display of causing a ruckus while Johnson's long-time friends came to rescue her animals are obvious attempts to capitalize on the publicity surrounding the death of a person she has known only since early December. Tila is either extraordinarily unwell herself or the most desperate attention-starved slug that the Celebrity Industrial Complex has ever spewed forth from its cogs.
By the time she and Johnson took up together and announced their "engagement" on December 7, the only reason we cared was because it was so obviously desperate and sad. Tila had latched onto the only person that would have her and the only person she could exploit for her own ends. Once being a busty, stupid thing on MySpace was enough, but now she was a gold-digging enabler whose only "shot at love" was a drug-addicted socialite cut off from her fortune. It was like Grey Gardens with a love connection, WiFi, and a webcam.
Now that Johnson is gone, the flurry of press coverage has been a boon for Tequila in her own mind, and a blight for the rest of us. Like a case of herpes, she keeps coming back to torture us just when we think we're cured. For instance, here is what she had to say recently about the Johnson family.
A few days ago, Tequila's Twitter ramblings got to the point where Jasmine Lennard, the British model who had Johnson arrested for grand theft, felt the need to issue a response over her own Twitter account:
You NEVER even knew her. You have known her for a total of one month you took advantage of someone in her weakest moment. You enabled her death and prevented her getting the help she SO DESPERATELY needed for YOUR OWN selfish purposes. She was a classy woman who would NEVER have had ANYTHING to do with you had she been in her right mind. You took advantage of a sick girl and YOU killed her. Shut your mouth back the fuck off and have some respect. Let her pass with dignity now not attached to ur smutty name. Stop taking drugs and clean you act up. Disgusting little girl.
Though Tila Tequila (nee Tila Nguyen) had been kicking around as a Playboy (rather Playboy.com) model and reality show contestant early in the millennium, she came to national attention in 2006 as the queen of MySpace when it was in its prime. At the time she had 1.5 million friends on the doomed social networking site and her profile had been gawked at a record 50 million times. Tila was truly the epitome of internet-based fame: young, scrappy, self-made, more than a little bit tawdry, and something that our parents would never understand. We all giggled at her silly songs and aspirations to be a serious musician, but we were in on the joke. Having Tila as one of your MySpace friends, even ironically, showed that you understood the power of the digital age.
With online notoriety came the trappings of real fame, like a book deal and a reality show. In 2007 MTV launched A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila, her entry into the online dating show genre which differentiated itself by having both men and women compete for bisexual Tila's heart. The winner was doomed to fail, because her heart was set only on one thing: attention. Season two winner Kristy Morgan must have recognized this, because she turned down her "shot at love" when it was offered to her. Through this whole ordeal, we played along with the Tila persona, gasping at the insane antics she instigated on television, but after two seasons, we were already sick of playing this game. Like everything on the internet, Tila learned that her trashy variety of fame—one that had no talent to back it up—was fleeting indeed.
This is when things really started to get desperate. Instead of being cool for being gross, Tequila just became gross. Instead of the treasure that you pulled out of the dumpster and made presentable, she was just the dumpster with all of its stench and ooze. The hosting gig on Shot of Love was given to a pair of bisexual twins, the latest hottentots to come down the pike. Say what you want about Tila, but she has always been easily replaceable.
When all that was gone, Tila used the only thing she had left, whoring her body out to the tabloids with a series of high-profile connections. She took up with Courtney Semel the Yahoo heiress and self-appointed "lesbian Don Juan" who also has a romantic history with Casey Johnson. That was good for a few rounds in the gossip news cycle. Then she went out with Billy Corgan.
She later started dating NFL star Shawne Merriman, and when that turned sour she had him arrested for allegedly choking her. The San Diego DA dropped the charges because they could not be substantiated.
At this point, the collective unconscious tried to expel Tila like a pesky hair caught in its mouth, but, like that hair, Ms. Tequila wasn't going to be extracted easily. She injected herself with a fresh dose of internet life blood, making strange and shocking videos on her website in the modern day version of jumping up and down and waving her arms while screaming "Look at me! Look at me!" We were no longer amused.
There seems to be no way out of this. Is it possible to ignore a celebrity — internet-created or otherwise — to death? It looks like Tila is about to find out. No one wants to like her anymore, ironically or otherwise, now that she has proven herself to be both a liar and depraved conwoman. For those same reasons, no one will hire her. She has few skills or assets to fall back on, other than her notoriety, and that will only be marketable if she continues to ratchet up the drama. However, at this point, no one is going to believe her self-created psychodramas, so even that will quickly lose its currency. Face it, Tila, the world has logged out. It's time to sign off and get your life together, and please do it quietly and privately.
Tila Tequila is the world's worst person. She actually warrants the title.
[Image via Getty]