When bloggers become the subject of other people’s blogs, they know they’ve made it. Media stars are the new rock stars and moguls. It feels like half the time people are at work, they aren’t actually doing work, but reading up on the latest celebrity gossip, fashion trends, news stories or about someone else’s way more interesting life. Here are ten bloggers that have turned a simple blog into a big empire. Some of these bloggers set out to make bank from the beginning. Some just needed an outlet for their frustrations with life. One of these bloggers started her blog at the age of only eleven. Whether you agree with their opinions or lives, these bloggers prove that even without connections, sometimes, if you are really talented and put it out there, opportunities will arise.
10. Cat Marnell
Cat Marnell is the kind of blogger that every writer drinking booze and blowing lines of cocaine wants to be when they grow up. She was a beauty writer who was addicted to just about every pharmaceutical ever synthesized. Her articles for XO Jane such as “Gonna Wash That Angel Dust Right Outta My Hair: “Miracle” (Uh-Huh) Treatments to Help You Pass Those Follicle Drug Tests, Naughty Nancys!” uniquely incorporated Marnell’s two expertise, beauty products and drugs. Needless to say, Marnell’s writing style made her infamous, but the parent company of XO Jane forced her into rehab. She came back to the site, but quit shortly thereafter because she, “couldn’t spend another summer meeting deadlines behind a computer at night when I could be on the rooftop of Le Bain looking for shooting stars and smoking angel dust with my friends.” Marnell briefly worked for Galore Magazine and Vice, where her “Amphetamine Logic” columns about her crazy Adderall-addled life made headlines. Simon and Schuster offered Marnell a book deal, giving her advance of $550,000 for her upcoming book How To Murder Your Life.
9. Tavi Gevinson
When Tavi when only eleven years old, she started a blog called Style Rookie, where she took pictures of herself in various outfits and mused about fashion. Pretty soon the site was getting 30,000 hits daily and Tavi was interviewed by the New York Times. This lead to invitations to Fashion Week in both Paris and New York. She received tons of media attention for being a little fashion phenom and traveled the world. In 2011, Tavi stopped writing about fashion exclusively and founded Rookie Magazine, which is a joint venture between her and Say Media. It is an online magazine written primarly by and for teenage girls, with a number of celebrity guest contributors including Lena Dunham, Paul Rudd, Judd Apatow and Miranda July. She also became an actress with a supporting role in the independent film starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini, Enough Said. In 2011 and 2012, Tavi made the Forbes 30 Under 30 Media List. Tavi is a huge inspiration to creative girls and women alike.
8. Tucker Max
Tucker Max is the kind of blogger all college (and post grad and beyond) frat boys aspire to become. In 2000, because of a bet, Max started a website where women would fill out an application to date him. After graduating from law school in 2002, Max decided instead of becoming a lawyer, he would write full time, but his work was rejected by just about everyone. Instead of throwing in the towel, he started his first eponymous website, TuckerMax.com, where he shared his stories of drunken hook-ups and debauchery. By 2003, the world took notice and MTV made a documentary about him, which lead to a TV development deal, then a book called I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell. The book landed on The New York Times bestseller list, where it stayed for four years and a movie was made. In 2009, Max made Time Magazine’s Most Influential list ranked at twenty-four, which was above The Pope and Dalai Lama. Since then, he has published three other books, all of which have become New York Times best sellers. In 2012, he officially retired from the “fratire” genre and began to focus on other ventures.
7. Harvey Levin
In 1994, former attorney Harvey Levin was a legal reporter for KCBS in Los Angeles, covering the O.J. Simpson murder trial. He then created and produced the television television show Celebrity Justice from 2002-2005 . In 2005, in Levin launched TMZ.com, (which is actually owned by AOL). TMZ stands for the Thirty Mile Zone of studios around Los Angeles. Today, TMZ isn’t just a blog, it’s a game changing media tour-de-force. Since TMZ has been able to break news stories faster than traditional media, it went from tabloid to legitimate news organization. TMZ now has three television shows, TMZ, TMZ Live and TMZ Sports. There are even TMZ Bus Tours in Los Angeles and New York.
6. Nick Denton
In 2003, British journalist and editor, Nick Denton founded Gawker.com. It was a gossip site about Manhattan. A not so accidental businessman, Denton created a magnet for controversy with his wit and snark, drawing in loyal readers and a number of investors. Denton then created and acquired several other blogs including Defamer, Deadspin, Jezebel, Lifehacker, i09, Gizmodo, Kotaku, and the blogging platform Kinja. Denton used to own, and has since sold off, several other blogs including Fleshbot, Wonkette, Consumerist and Idolator. Unlike Perez Hilton and Harvey Levin, Denton mostly stays out of the limelight himself, which seems to be a good strategy for him as he has seen much success.
5. Perez Hilton
In 2004, Mario Lavandeira Jr, started the gossip site, Pagesixsixsix.com. Coincidentally, six months in, the website received the dubious honor of being “Hollywood’s Most Hated Website” by The Insider. Lavandeira changed the name of the site to reflect his own moniker, Perez Hilton. What set Perez apart from the other sites was his creative use of Photoshop, which allowed him to use unlicensed photos due to parody law. The site has expanded to include Perez’s unique take on fashion, children, pets and fitness. Hilton himself has become a celebrity of sorts, hosting and appearing on television including his own reality show, Glee, and Law and Order: SVU.
4. Jen Lancaster
Jen Lancaster is one of the wittiest women in “chick-lit” today. In 2000, Jen Lancaster was a rising star in technology sales, earning a high salary and burning through it on Prada bags. Two weeks after 9/11 she lost her job and she started blogging about her unemployment troubles, of which there were many. She landed a literary agent and released her first book, Bitter Is The New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office in 2006. The brilliantly hilarious Lancaster is no longer as bitter and has written an additional nine books as of 2014.
3. Karyn Bosnak
Karyn Bosnak was a talk show producer who worked on The Ananda Lewis Show and Jenny Jones. After work, she loved to go shopping and ultimately shopped her way into over $20,000 of debt. In 2002, Bosnak started a website, SaveKaryn.com, asking strangers in cyberspace to help her out of her mess. She also learned from her mistake and blogged about better financial strategies. Bosnak was the first notable person to crowd fund on the Internet, although the term back them was “cyberbegging.” This lead to a book deal and Save Karyn was published in 2003. In 2006, she published the novel 20 Times A Lady, which became the feature film, What’s Your Number, starring Anna Faris. So, ultimately, Karyn became the blogger who saved herself.
2. Nik Ritchie
Hooman Abedi Karamian aka Nik Richie started the website dirtyscottsdale.com, which evolved into TheDirty.com, in 2007. The Dirty makes fun of ordinary people as well as celebrities in a rather mean-spirited, but humorous manner. Since then, this purveyor of celebrity gossip has become the subject of much gossip himself. Married to Lorenzo Lamas’ daughter Shayne since 2010, just eight hours after they first met, they appeared on the Vh1 show Couples Therapy in 2012. His book, Sex, Lies and The Dirty was released in 2012.
1. White Girl Problems
Babe Walker, a fictional socialite from Bel-Air has a lot of white girl problems. She ran out of Adderall. She hates lunch. She hates you. Actually, Babe Walker aka @WhiteGirlProblem is a parody Twitter account, which is written by Tanner Cohen, David Oliver Cohen and Lara Schoenhals. In 2010, Tanner sent a tweet from his personal Twitter account and hashtagged it #whitegirlproblems. He then created the namesake handle and began to tweet from it. The account began to have a life of its own and garnered many celebrity fans including Emma Roberts, Jessica Alba and Nicole Richie. Babe was offered a book deal and in 2012, White Girl Problems became a New York Times Best Seller. Her secondary effort Psychos was released in April, 2014.