An Open Letter to Blake Lively's Publicist
Inept, yet skillful. Wholly transparent, and yet just subtle enough. Not working quite as well as your client perhaps hopes, but working just well enough. Such are the ways of Blake Lively’s publicist, the Michael Bay of “making some pretty chick happen.”
When your client first entered our worldview, we knew her only as the blond one from the movie about the pants, and the sister of the girl from Teen Witch, a film I’ve only mentioned as an excuse to post this:
Then, she landed herself the role of a Lifetime Network as Serena Van Der Woodsen on Gossip Girl, better known as the attractive mass of flesh who takes up screen time while we wait for Blair and Chuck Bass to come back.
Her relegation to supporting role on what is supposed to be her own television show could not have been easy. I imagine she felt a lot like Johnny Galecki, Kate Hudson’s brother and the entire Winslow family on Family Matters. So you gave her what any enterprising publicist would—a romance with a co-star. Unfortunately, you chose Penn Badgely, a gentleman of the Adam Brody mold who doesn’t seem particularly engrossed in Hollywood culture and therefore will not give you much in terms of photo ops and gossip.
Obviously, this relationship was doomed from the start.
But then! But then! Through sheer magic and witchcraft, your client was cast in The Town, the highly anticipated directorial follow-up for Ben Affleck after his excellent Gone Baby Gone. Alas, your client would be appearing in the same film as proper actress Rebecca Hall, and give the film’s quality, as well as a cast vastly more talented and respected, your client would be quickly ignored and forgotten.
That is, unless you utilized the gossip mill. And, this time, you’d give her much more scandalous peppercorns than that of Penn Badgely.
Ah, yes, the classic “rumors of an affair with your married director/co-star.” A fairly standard approach, but it always seems to work, particularly when the co-star in question has a playboy past. Never mind the wife or small children. Fame is on the line here, people. Make the calls to Star and InTouch, and, dammit, be quick about it!
And it worked! Your client was now on the cover of fucking Vogue for crying out loud. And now she’d been cast in The Green Lantern with Ryan Reynolds! What excitement! Surely she’d become a national sensation, the likes of an Angelina Jolie, finding herself the default cover of every tabloid barring the event of actual news! Huzzah and hoorah!
Except…it didn’t. News of Blake Lively quickly fell from who she isn’t sleeping with to who didn’t cast her in what movie. Not that she was ever actually under consideration for The Great Gatsby or Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men follow-up, Gravity. But you certainly got the word out there enough that it seemed almost factual. That was pretty impressive. Like when people really thought Jessica Biel was up for Lois Lane in Snyder’s Superman reboot. Do you work with her, too? TV girls really are cute, aren’t they?
Anyway, so all that didn’t work. And the Affleck rumors were losing steam, despite your better efforts. With The Green Lantern nearing and anticipation relatively lackluster, and even then only Ryan Reynolds receiving interest, you knew you had to go big.
And you did. You’ve had a busy couple weeks.
First, the Leonardo DiCaprio romance. That’s a good one. Very newly single, Leo was the perfect target, and you pulled this off with aplomb, with a Cannes photo op that rings of every teen girl fan picture circa Titanic. And that’s all it took. Then you just needed her to be seen at the same hotels, and BAM. People buy this. It’s good. Textbook, but good.
But that wasn’t enough, was it? You had to pull out the big guns.
Leaked. Nude. Photos.
This is where you crossed the line from transparent, but working, into desperation. Really? Leaked nudie pics? That’s so…Disney. And you didn’t do it right at all. You’re supposed to wait for the photos to blow up and actually get attention before you launch your denials, otherwise it’s WAY too obvious you’re the source. When we learn from you that these photos exist, AND you namedrop which sites people can find these on, Jesus Christ, are you new? And, hello, obscure her face a little bit if you’re going to open with “it’s clearly not her” over “she was young and a bitter ex leaked them.” Have some dignity, man.
That said, so far it’s working. I mean, it’s working in the way it works for Jennifer Aniston to magically appear in bikinis or get a new boyfriend or announce the months’ old death of her dog THE DAY OF a Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie premiere, in that it’s totally obvious, but our moms don’t get it, but it’s working.
You’re not the best at your job. But you’re pretty damn good. I salute you.
Sorry she’ll never be A-list. I look forward to her sassy ABC hour-long in two years, though.
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