I'm seeing stories today about the fame Ashley Alexandra Dupre is facing in the wake of her involvement in the Eliot Spitzer scandal. The question of whether she should embrace and encourage that fame is a no-brainer given what we know about her. She wants to be famous, she should seize the opportunity.
The better question is how she should do it. What model should she follow? Is it just a matter of cashing in on whatever is offered or can she construct a public identity?
I agree with Larry Flynt in the article linked above that right now she probably doesn't have to resort to nudie pictures in magazines, but how much should she embrace the sexpot image? She could probably milk the idea that she's some kind of fatal seductress, destroying men with her irresistible appeal (or something like that). Maybe she can market one of those tattoos she has or whatever phrase that is on her belly. (NOTE: It's the NY Post, but probably shouldn't be on your work screen.) (FIXING: Looks like her lawyer scared the Post into pulling the photos. Both of the shots I link to in this paragraph happen to also be on this page, not yet cowed by a takedown notice.)
But is there a higher road she could take? I'm sensing a nascent respect for her in the public mind. She's a survivor with a troubled past who does what she has to do to achieve her dream. Her friends and family are sticking by her. She doesn't seem to be suffering the stigma of "home wrecker" the way a mistress would.
Does that make her a prime candidate for a reality show?
Should she play the redemption angle and maybe meet with Mrs. Spitzer and make some kind of statement about the importance of girls getting a good education and keeping away from drugs?
Or should she go the "empowerment" route and become a spokesperson for good sex and good times. Maybe pick up some kind of host gig on one of those "Wild On" shows or Mtv's Spring Break. She may not be desperate enough to deal with Penthouse and Hustler but could her eventual agent get her a spread in Maxim or one of those lad mags as a springboard to national pin-up status?
What should she do to ensure that the movie they eventually make about her has a triumphant ending and isn't just another cautionary tale?
One thing she doesn't have yet is a catch phrase. She needs something sassy that can be printed on too-tight baby tees and the backside of sweatpants. "Get paid" or something like that. It's a struggle to keep from looking to Paris Hilton as the example to follow. This Spitzer scandal is Dupre's equivalent of Hilton's sex tape (possibly even less humiliating) and while she obviously doesn't have the same financial backing for pet projects like her own perfume line, surely some of the same tricks of celebrity apply. We can at least expect that if she ends up drunk and making a spectacle of herself at a New York City bar her behavior will be reported in tabloids.
We still have yet to hear her speak. That'll probably determine a lot of her options. Is she wise beyond her years? Does the charm that earned her such a high rate as a call girl translate to the TV screen or the stage?
What actually got me thinking about this whole question was the middle portion of the article above in which her chances of signing with a record label are explored. Signing with a label might actually be the worst thing she could do. Right now she's getting 70% of her song sales on AmieStreet.com. There's no way she'll get that from a record label and she doesn't have to give up the rights to her music to do it. (The Daily News does some speculative math here. I don't see anywhere on Amie Street that shows actual sales numbers.)
Right now a crappy bootleg slide show video of her song is close behind the new Britney video on YouTube in terms of numbers of views. If you were able read any of her MySpace page before it went down you'd have seen some of her musical friends commenting and looking forward to working with her again. The kind of music she makes is easily produced with consumer or "pro-sumer" level equipment. I'm sure she needs an agent of some kind to help her market herself, but signing with a record label in this day and age, given the advantage she already has, would be a step backward.
I think there's also an interesting lesson in all of this in terms of how well basic Web tools prepared her for fame. She had photos available, some personal statements on MySpace with a few findable friends who were quickly booked for TV shows, two songs recorded and uploaded to a revenue-sharing service... If the lightning bolt of fame struck you tomorrow, would you be this prepared?
Speaking of suddenly having a story to tell, "Then Jason P Howe discovered that his girlfriend Marylin was leading a secret double life ? as an assassin for right-wing death squads in Colombia's brutal civil war."
"Plans are being drawn up for a 'Doomsday ark' on the moon containing the essentials of life and civilisation, to be activated in the event of earth being devastated by a giant asteroid or nuclear war." I predict the arc will suffer a navigation malfunction and crash into a Genesis planet whereupon the sample genetic material will spill into a lake of incubating primordial soup and a rival, parallel human race will rise. They'll use the cheat sheets provided in the arc to accelerate their technological development and return to Earth years later to seize their birthright in a bloody space battle.
50 people looking for solar image of Mary lose sight - It's like some kind of weird mean joke. Like the ones with punchlines like "put them in a round room and tell them to sit in the corner."
TravelPod isn't new but I looked at it for the first time today. "TravelPod's free travel blogs let you chart your trips on a map, share unlimited photos and videos, and stay in touch while you travel."
Congratulations to Jason for ten years of blogging at Kottke.org.
"Malwarez is a series of visualization of worms, viruses, trojans and spyware code."
Incredible Hulk sequel trailer - If it's anything like the first one, watching this trailer means you've seen all the good parts.
Lost Boys sequel trailer- survey says? BZZZZ (I'd sooner re-watch Underworld.)
Speaking of movies, "Affluenza is a fascinating look at one of the greatest social maladies of our time: overconsumption and materialism." This is nearly an hour of video. I didn't watch it all but I am curious what more there is to it since the point is pretty clear from the opening minutes.
50 bucks for a 9-year-old girl -that is, to own one. It's a fascinating conflict between the urge to "save" and not wanting to contribute to that business.
Here's a cool idea: The site lets you mark text on a web page with a highlighter and then gives you a URL so you can send the page with your highlights to someone else.
I sent my name in for beta access to Dropbox. It happens all the time that I have lots of photos to share and no good way of sharing them privately. What do you do with those 30 really big photos you took of the night out bowling with friends if you're not interested in sharing the spectacle with the entire Internet?
This "awareness test" may be familiar because it's based on a pretty famous psychological experiment. It also makes a pretty effective advertisement.
Barack Obama: On My Faith and My Church - Obama makes the strange choice of the Huffington Post to respond to the questions raised by critics of his minister. Surely his campaign doesn't think of the Huffington Post as a mainstream outlet. I wonder if they think the only people paying attention to this kind of scandal are the wonkish types who read the Huffington Post.
London Tube Smartcard Cracked - Often hacking articles go over my head but check out the video he's linking to. Could it really be that easy or are they doing a MacGyver editing job?
"64 percent of kids go online while watching television — and nearly half of them do so "frequently," from three times a week to several times a day." It's rare that I watch TV without a computer in my lap. I used to think Wifi deserved all the credit for this but lately I realize that I actually do a lousy job of juggling both things and generally tune out the TV for what I'm doing on the computer. So what really makes my "multitasking" possible is the DVR that lets me rewind when I look up and see the main character in the movie I'm watching lying on the ground dead and I missed how it happened.
Snow Day: Toss freeze balls into clouds to keep your timer running. I played until I finally broke 1000.
Want something more challenging? Try breaking the curse. The instructions are pretty brief so the first couple of tries go to figuring out what's going on. I managed to solve it in the first go 'round with just one try left. I had to turn the TV off to concentrate though.
I still use SeeqPod for quick, top of the head song cravings but Mp3gle offers something SeeqPod doesn't: a download button. My one criticism is that they should display more search results on the page. I think SeeqPod gives better results too, but hey what do you want for free mp3s? Sheesh.
Speaking of a whole lot of mp3s, Six-Word Reviews of 763 SXSW Mp3s