Question: Will gossip culture become a worldwide obsession?
David Haulieb: Well I think, America is in a very interesting position right now. Americans do not care about celebrities from other countries. Other countries care about celebrities from America. And I think since the dawn of Hollywood that has always been the case because this country has really embraced and groomed that industry, and exported it. It’s a commodity at this point. What I think is probably the most interesting example of the reverse happening is with David Beckham and Posh, and how they’ve really been able to transplant themselves from the UK where the tabloids Hello, and Okay, and the Mirror over there care about them, but we couldn’t raise our eyes to read a story about them.
And that’s changed. They’re over here now and they’ve made a big splash in LA. He’s an underwear model here and he’s getting a lot of attention. I’m not sure he’s yet cover worthy. I’m not sure that Star magazine is ready to replace Britney Spears with Dave and Posh, but he’s definitely on that route. And that’s really the first example of a foreign celebrity becoming mainstream here.
Question: What will it take to internationalize the culture of celebrity?
David Haulieb: Lots of money and great publicists. No. One thing that I think point blank is a problem is skin color and the way people look. It’s very clear that tabloid magazines prefer pretty White people. And even Black celebrities will not be played up as much in the States as their White counterparts.
I think it’s going to be very difficult; whether it’s a Saudi Arabian celebrity, or you know a Korean celebrity to try and make a go at it here in the States when, you know, we’re very visual. And I’m being very blatantly honest here. Magazines prefer to put White people on their covers. And I think it’s going to be really hard to import that. I think the reason that some of these people are famous also is going to be to their detriment.
And in making the jump here, we don’t watch their cinema. We don’t necessarily watch their sports. And after those industries, where are you going to look to generate that fame so they can come to the States? I think it’s a very difficult arena for the idea of globalization of celebrity.
Question: Are you looking to redefine celebrity media abroad?
David Haulieb: We won’t talk too much business here, but certainly those ideas are being explored. Again I still think there’s so much to do here. And my company is not just in the business of celebrity and media gossip. We do other things also.
But there is so much ground to tackle here. I absolutely think there’s a market for abroad – especially in Western Europe – that I don’t think has necessarily been tapped yet. And if so, it’s definitely not saturated yet.
January 23, 2008