An anonymous writer for a “trashy” celebrity magazine has revealed what truly goes on behind the glossy pages we read.
The writer admits that from their high school days, they had always dreamed of being a published celebrity reporter. There was always the expectation to work on “frivolous gossip” and “silly interviews” but the writer was shocked when most of their pieces didn’t’ have an ounce of truth.
“Beyond excited to be assigned my first story during my first week, I was pretty surprised when I realised that stories weren’t commissioned based on what was newsworthy—or even true,” they wrote.
Watch Amy Schumer slay women’s’ magazines. (Post continues after video.)
Their first article centred around Victoria Beckham, and rather than being an article, it was more like a work of fiction.
“That week, I found myself writing a story about Victoria Beckham almost as fiction, occasionally pausing to rip off quotes from interviews she or her husband David had given in the past 18 months, then peppering it with details emailed over by a senior editor about life ‘chez Beckham.'”
Unlike we would all like to believe, celebrity reporters don’t live the high life, regularly having cocktails and cheese with A-listers.
In fact, the budgets are so tight that the magazines can never afford to send their reporters to events, so most research was done online.
“Gossip was often emailed over by media agencies, complete with quotes from sources. They had a network of contacts, and they would email daily round-ups of what their little birds had been telling them. Some were personal trainers or actual friends, but much more often it would be someone who once worked on a film with the celebrity as an extra.
“In the story, the quotes would be masked as having come from “a friend close to the star.” Dutifully, I would then pay the agency or tipster up to £500.”
Check out some Magazine covers: are they just pretty on the outside? Images via Facebook. (Post continues after gallery.)
So, that “close source” who KNEW Jenifer Aniston was pregnant was probably just someone who saw her at the gym.
Much like the sources used in these celebrity articles, the stories themselves were fictional.
“Once the editors had settled on whatever batshit theme they wanted, you would cook your story to be whatever your boss desired. Much as with supposed rumours of Aniston’s pregnancy, a picture of a size six celebrity looking slightly bloated in a bikini would be met with ideas for a “my baby joy” article. “She’s definitely pregnant!” the editors would crow. (She wasn’t.) Or a frowny photo would be accompanied with a “love on the rocks” article. “Can’t be long now till they split!” the editors would say. (As usual; wrong.)”
While the writer learned to make non-stories into best-selling covers, they also found the power of never getting into legal trouble. In fact, it was “the main skill I learned”.
“We were told that—perhaps wrongly—that under English law, publications could use single quote marks even if the celebrity never said the line in question; think of all those ‘Why I Can’t Wait for Baby Number Three’ headlines, for instance. We would only get into dubious territory if the statement was in double quotes, even though the average reader would never distinguish between the two. Our editors could make a celebrity say pretty much anything on the cover of a UK magazine.”
Yes, that’s right.
If they put quotes in single quotation marks, then it doesn’t have to be true.
Note the careful use of single quotation marks. Image via Facebook.
Remember that, next time you're looking at magazines at the supermarket.
Despite the dubious fact-checking, the concoction of fake stories, and savage mentality of magazines, the writer was able to survive all of that.
The part that forced her out was the 'faux-feminist' spin the magazine tried to place on articles.
"Rather than doing a tried-and-true "celeb wants a baby!" or "looking fat in swimwear!" story, we'd have to write it in a psuedo-empowering way. For example: "Poor [insert name of sad sack celebrity here] is depressed because she doesn't have a baby. She's a strong, independent woman with the world at her feet, but pals say she's secretly yearning to get pregnant."
After just six months, the writer left the industry and now works where their sources are far more stable, and their subjects aren't written about so condescendingly.
The writer does ask just one thing: remember the celebrities who are victims to these lies, but also those forced to write it.
"Spare a moment's thought for the people who write this shit. We're all cogs in the same machine; some of us are just smaller and more insignificant than others."
You can read the writer's full essay here.