Celebrity watcher shows true colors with his Pink blog
Trent Vanegas is a star of the blogosphere because he can't keep his eyes off of celebrities. And he knows the rest of the world can't...
Detroit Free Press
Trent Vanegas is a star of the blogosphere because he can't keep his eyes off of celebrities.
And he knows the rest of the world can't, either.
Vanegas is a 31-year-old former teacher, TV fan and Britney Spears buff who lives in a suburb of Detroit. He launched a Web log a few years ago to brush up on his creative writing.
Now his pet project, Pink Is the New Blog (www.pinkisthenewblog.com), is getting a million-plus visits a month from fans across the country and overseas.
On his blog, he runs photos of the hot stars of the Hollywood youth pack. To spice things up, he superimposes funny headlines on them (in pink) and adds his own pithy commentary (also in pink).
It's a mix of adoration and sarcasm that's caught the attention of some of pop culture's movers and shakers.
Vanegas made Blender magazine's Hot 100 list in October and has taped a guest segment on VH1's "Best Week Ever."
Britney Spears: She's Trent Vanegas' favorite celebrity to dish. "I always lead with Britney," he says, "and that includes her sister, her family and her crazy husband, who I don't necessarily like that much."
The it girls: "Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Lindsay Lohan, Ashlee and Jessica Simpson. They're always going out. They're always being photographed by the paparazzi. They don't shun their fans. ... That's the kind of people I like to talk about."
Cameron Diaz: He finds the camera-shy star annoying. "You don't want to be photographed? You don't want to be known? Then you don't need to be out there peddling movies."
Jake Gyllenhaal: "I have to tell you I'm very impressed that he and Heath Ledger stepped up to the plate and decided to take on 'Brokeback Mountain,' a sweeping, serious love story between two guys."
Kimberly Stewart: The daughter of Rod Stewart recently apologized for calling Jennifer Aniston homely. "I think she's trying to be shocking and mean to get attention. ... I talk about her, but only because I think she's vile."
Not too shabby for a guy who used to teach computers to high-school kids. And who insists he'd continue blogging even if nobody read him.
"It's really weird, thinking that people are paying attention to what I'm saying," he admits.
Vanegas is tapping into a market of young, media-savvy people who share his passion for celebrity gossip.
For young consumers, celebrity-watching is a way to keep up with fashion and lifestyle trends, according to Tina Wells, CEO of New York-based Buzz Marketing Group, which advises companies on trends that matter to young buyers.
The celebrities who are hot now are the ones who seem accessible, Wells says. "Jessica Simpson, Mischa Barton, Nicole Richie, they're very paparazzi-friendly girls. And every time they're going out, they look great, even if it's flip-flops and a sundress. Nicole Richie was shown all through the summer with $2 flip-flops on. She may have a Balenciaga bag, but some of her look is attainable."
At a time when many publications are struggling to maintain their readerships, circulation is growing for celebrity magazines like Us Weekly, Star and In Touch, according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations numbers.
Pink Is the New Blog covers the same territory, but it has a style all its own. Vanegas, an upbeat, outgoing gay man with a fondness for most of the celebrities he covers, maintains a tone that sounds like a chat between hip friends.
"I always say not everyone has the benefit of having a stylish, witty, snarky gay male in their life," says Joe Fitrzyk, a friend of Vanegas and a creative director at Solomon-Friedman Advertising, sharing his theory on the blog's success.
Vanegas follows actors, musicians and camera-loving rich girls like Paris Hilton with a zest that's not vicious, yet not drippy or fawning.
OK, he does fawn over Britney Spears and even keeps boxes of her perfume, Fantasy, on display in his living room.
"Britney is my favorite person to talk about, because she's insane, crazy," he says. "She's always doing something, whatever it is, good or bad."
He avoids content that's too racy, although that's a challenge in a world where celebrities do the darndest things.
"I try to keep it, like, at a PG-13 level," he says. "There have been occasions where I've used actual expletives. I think one day Britney came out wearing a scrunchie, and I was like, 'What the ... !' But I really try to keep it as tame as I can."
Vanegas, who is also doing some freelance writing, thinks he could turn his blog into a full-time career. He carries some advertising now. "If I went all out with the advertising, I could live comfortably here," he says.
He's also been fielding certain offers, but he won't go into specifics.
Friends of Vanegas say they're happy for him and they're wondering what happens next. "It's kind of overwhelming," says Sarah Stanley, a former roommate who works as a production analyst at Ford. "I'm so excited for him and nervous for him at the same time."
Stanley knows firsthand how popular the blog has become, because she's frequently mentioned on it. "I've had people come up and say, 'Are you the Sarah from Trent's blog?' " she says.
But success is also bringing new worries for Vanegas, like the realization that the stars he pokes fun at may actually be reading him.
So far, so good, he says, recounting what happened when he met Hilary Duff, who found out about him through her boyfriend, Good Charlotte's Joel Madden.
"She was so sweet," says Vanegas, who still sounds dazzled. "The first thing she said was, 'I'm such a big fan of yours!' "
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