Celebrities such as Kanye West (posing here with Kim Kardashian) have been the focus of a Boston College student’s summer blog series.
Jenna LaConte recently warned Kanye West to steer clear of a romantic relationship with Kim Kardashian. She separately pushed rageaholic R&B singer Chris Brown to move past his feud with rapper Drake.
She also told Justin Bieber to plead guilty in court and accept jail time for assaulting a photographer — stemming from an alleged incident in May — in order to finally earn the “thug status” that comes with spending time behind bars.
Bieber, Brown and West did not ask for LaConte’s advice, but that did not stop her from dispensing it.
“The Unsolicited Celebrity Advice Column” is a weekly summer blog series published by The Gavel, a progressive student newsmagazine at Boston College. LaConte, Gavel‘s culture editor and a junior English and communication double major at BC, has a four-fold aim with the half-serious, half-satiric feature.
First, she is using the column as a vehicle to indulge her celebrity and gossip news urges.
She is also seeking to provide a fresh, real-world perspective on the Hollywood bubble. In addition, she is helping to keep Gavel blog content fresh during the summer doldrums, when many student media websites are so stale their homepages sport weeds.
And she is occasionally reminding readers that other individuals are involved in bigger celebrity stories, not just the A-list celebs.
As she wrote him, “Don’t let the lack of brain activity in Hollywood drag you down. Please reconsider this grave mistake. You’re better off having everyone laugh off the short-lived engagement than going down in history as yet another failed celebrity marriage.”
In the Q&A below, LaConte lays out the scoop behind “Unsolicited Advice,” including how she selects the celebs and the advice she offers them.
Q: How did the column come about?
A: I write for The Gavel. We pride ourselves on being progressive politically and technologically, meaning we’re able to update online all the time. So as the year came to a close, we were all thinking it would be fun — just as a summer project — if individually we each took on a blog. So, for our next meeting, we were all told to present an idea. My mind instantly went to celebrity news.
In some ways, it’s a little bit embarrassing because it isn’t of course the most intellectual topic. But if I’m browsing the Internet, I find myself reading celebrity gossip websites. We’re surrounded by it. We’re all sort of familiar with it. Reality TV right now, we watch it for the train wrecks. It’s just how I like to unwind, I guess, to read about the train wrecks in Hollywood.
I then decided the typical kind of news writing form could easily get boring — both for me and readers. So I just thought, “Since we turn to celebrities so often for the train wreck aspect, why don’t I take that and turn it around on the celebrities and pose solutions to their unimaginable problems that we’re always reading about in the headlines?”
Q: How do you decide who to advise in each post?
A: The way I look at it, you have people like Lindsay Lohan, whose life is falling apart every day. I could write to her, but I’d end up doing it every single week. So I decided instead to go looking for some of the more hidden celebrity gems, coming up with things that aren’t right out there in the forefront of the news or taking something that’s really popular and putting a different spin on it. For example, with John Travolta’s marriage falling apart, I wrote to his wife instead of him.
Also, I like to stay as current and relevant as possible. I like to be on TMZ [the night before writing each post] so I can have something that’s a bit more recent. Some of the more interesting ones are those you aren’t necessarily thinking about all the time or aren’t all over the radio like the Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes divorce.
Q: How do you determine what advice to give? Is there a theme or general set of principles?
A: The strongest theme flowing through most of the posts is trying to ground people in real life. With a lot of celebrities, the biggest thing we all say is, “Come on, go back to the real world. Try to get a grip on yourself.” For example, I wrote to Chris Brown after he brawled with Drake and was involved in a few other things. And I really don’t like Chris Brown as a person and it bothers me he’s still in the spotlight and thinking he’s the best rapper alive. So it’s really just trying to put people back in their place.
Miley Cyrus gets engaged at 19. It’s like, you have to be kidding me. I’m 20 years old. You’re younger than me and because you live in Hollywood, you think you can get away with this. I guess the biggest theme: If you were not in the bubble of Hollywood, you would not be in the situation you are in.
Q: Do you feel as a student you have a perspective worth sharing — apart from, say, Perez Hilton or People magazine?
A: I do. That’s sort of the point of it being in the real world and outside the confines of Hollywood. I think a lot of what I say people will agree with. I’m not trying to really shock anyone. I’m not trying to give a perspective that’s totally out there. I’m not trying to turn anyone on their head. There are some that are definitely more satirical and therefore not good advice, but at the same time there are some where I feel the opinions I’m expressing represent what college students and people beyond Hollywood are thinking.
I also feel that so often when you read something, you take it for granted. So when you read about John Travolta, and Kelly Preston sticking by his side, you just turn to the next page. You almost always just look at them like they’re still in a movie or they’re simply a singer and produce art and that’s it. But then I think, “Well, if it was someone I knew or it was something going on in my hometown, someone would really want to sit down with them and figure out what’s happening.”
So for the blog, I try to figure it out or at least think about things as more than just news items. I’m fairly aggressive in the way I write it. I don’t hold back and I don’t have any shame about what I’m addressing. I purposefully put in the word “unsolicited” because my whole point is, “This isn’t just an advice column. This is me coming at you with what you should do. But hey, it’s unsolicited. If you don’t want to hear it, you don’t have to.”
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