Witness the Rise and Fall of Socialite Celebrity in ‘Queenmaker’ Doc Trailer
A new doc, Queenmaker: The Making of an It Girl, examines the rise of socialite celebrities like Paris Hilton and Tinsley Mortimer in the mid 2000s — and the subsequent blogger backlash to the phenomenon. The film, by director Zackary Drucker, features interviews with socialites including Mortimer and Olivia Palermo, as well as photographers, publicists, and bloggers. It premieres on Hulu on May 17.
“All these photographers, I just remember thinking, ‘I want to be part of this,'” Mortimer says in a trailer for the film. “This looks cool.” Other talking heads include a photographer who claims to have “invented” the Hilton sisters by teaching them how to pose and a publicist who told Mortimer, “it’s all about being in the right dress at the right time.”
In addition to covering the rise of Perez Hilton and likeminded bloggers’ catty coverage of socialites, the doc will feature on Park Avenue Peerage, which positioned itself as a unique source for insider info among the jet set. By avoiding snark and salacious gossip, the site won the confidence of celebrities who would send in exclusive photos of themselves. The person behind the site turned out to be James Kurisunkal, who, according to a 2007 New York Times profile, was still an 18-year-old University of Illinois student. His unveiling is central to Queenmaker.
“Queenmaker: The Making of an It Girl takes place at the intersection of salacious fun and juicy pop culture during the rise of the often-vicious early aughts blog culture, offering a candid insider perspective on the toll this seemingly glittering lifestyle took on the women who lived it,” Drucker said in a statement. “Through a prism of firsthand stories from women like Tinsley Mortimer and Olivia Palermo, told with some time and distance, the era’s ruthlessness comes fully into view. The film is a platform from which we can celebrate complex, powerful women who have maintained a confident sense of self through all the noise.”
By the end of the trailer, some talking-head bloggers seem to come to terms with the psychological toll they took on the socialites. “There was no sense I was writing something that would affect someone’s actual life,” says one.
“Well, that’s America for you,” says another interviewee. “They bring them up, and then they bring them down.”
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