The Trent Vanegas Interview

Today is the day to learn more about Turkish history.

Yesterday, I gently suggested that the phrase "...made me throw up in my mouth a little bit" be put to rest. I was fully expecting to have someone email me saying "You make me throw up in my mouth a little bit," but instead, I got several emails from people suggesting other catchphrases that should be wiped from the lexicon. Do you have any suggestions? I personally know I also want to punch people who say "What happens in X stays in X" but that seems cornier than the throw up phrase and hence slightly more innocuous. Anyway, send me your least favorite current (or semi-current) cathphrases and we'll run a list and revel in our crabbiness.

Today's interviewee's website is a daily visit for me. Not even just a daily visit, but I actually save it for late in the day so I don't waste it too early. Why do I like it? Because I like looking at pictures of celebrities and then making fun of them. But I'm not just talking to him because of Pink is the New Blog: this former teacher has managed to turn his site into something of a brand, which has led to him being covered in the New York Times, being on "The Best Week Ever" and meeting several of the celebrities who he covers. Before you say anything, what has your blog done for you lately?

The Trent Vanegas Interview: Slightly Less Than Twenty Questions

I'm curious about the adspace on your site: did you court any of them or did they all come to you? contacted me over the summer and I gave it a try to see what the demand would be like. Every advertiser since has contacted me. I do not solicit advertising nor do I advertise my site on other sites.

Do the ads pay enough to make Pink your job, or do you have to do other things to supplement your income?
Pink is not my job. I'm in the process of working out a project that will become my new job. It's under wraps for now. I am in the process of signing paperwork. Even so, there is a lot to work on before I'll have anything tangible to talk about.

Do you ever feel guilty pangs about spending your time blogging instead of teaching? Or is it more "Screw those kids: I met Madonna!"
Not at all. I was never meant to be a teacher. I substitute taught as a favor 5 years ago and kinda got sucked into staying. I worked at a private school so those privileged kids are fine, believe me.

Who's seemed like the most naturally cool celebrity you've met?
Joel Madden, the lead singer of Good Charlotte. He is the most down guy ever. His brothers Josh and Benji are the same way - regular people thru and thru.

Have you felt the need to scale it back a bit on certain celebrities once it becomes possible to meet them? I.e. are we going to see a lot less Spederline posting if you get to hold Britney's baby? Do you bite the hand that feeds you? (I think most of us hope you would.)
I think about it sometimes ... that's why I'm not too keen on meeting celebs. For the most part, the celebs I've met are aware of the site and my style. They get that everything is said in jest. If Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie (my Skeletwins) can be fans of the blog then I see no reason to change anything just because I meet other celebs.

Do you think you're pretty good at keeping your common sense throughout your rise and that of the blog? It must be easy to think, "I'm so great: I'm on TV, I'm meeting these people, etc" but then again, who knows when bloggers will be yesterday's news. (Which is why I think I need to stop buying diamond watches.)
Believe me ... I hear "you're so famous" all the time just because I've been on TV for prolly a total of 10 minutes. I know I am not famous. I will never be a celeb because that's not who I am. I'm just a blogger that's been getting attention lately. I think I have valid things to say because everyone has valid things to say. If people like me for who I am that's great but I only know how to be me - I can't do anything else.

Do you have any idea why in particular your blog took off so well as opposed to the other myriad gossip sites?
No idea at all. People tell me it's funny and they can relate, or that I say the things they and their friends say. You'd have to ask the readers why they like it.

Are you happy with your decision to keep your site open to commenters? People can get a bit crazy and cruel when they are able to comment anonymously on people's sites.
Generally yes, I think people like having a say as well. I do get a bit tired of hearing some of the same things over and over again (i.e. "you suck") but it just comes with the territory. Maybe someday I'll just create a forum where people can just go crazy instead of commenting on ever single post. I will never get used to the homophobic or racist comments. If I ever remove the commenting feature you can be sure it's because I don't want to allow offensive jerks the platform to express their hate.

If you were going to be like Lloyd Grove and ban one person from the blog, who would it be?
There isn't any one person I can think of to ban. All are pretty much welcome, including Kim Stewart.

Are you happy in Detroit or do you repeatedly feel the pull to move to New York?
I am very happy in Detroit. My whole life is here. That said, I wouldn't mind spending some extended time in either NY or LA.

What's been the best good book you've read of late and what's been the best trashy book you've read of late?
I absolutely love Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens. It's so well-written and insanely smart and funny. I read that book all the time, over and over again. I don't really like trashy books, I get bored and never finish them.

Amongst other things, Mark Graham from called you out for the quality of the blog. Would you ever consider a redesign or is its style part of its charm?
Oh god no. I would never let someone bully me into changing my site. It's been so successful the way it is, why would I change it? And for the record, he "called me out" for selling t-shirts - which is such a bummer because I was gonna send him one for Xmas.

What was the transition where you were just sitting at home blogging to where you were actually getting press and being asked to be on Best Week Ever and so on?
It was very gradual, you have to remember - I've been blogging since 2002. The traffic picked up in January '05 and just kept climbing. The New York Post noticed my blog in the Spring. Blender magazine noticed in the late summer. VH1 took notice as Fall was beginning. It's mainly been word-of-mouth I think.

I know Pink is not exactly claiming to be a hard-news-scooping site but based on the mini-rant from Graham on you, do you think that it's possible for bloggers to critique each other online? It always seems to dissolve into a discussion of "You're a hater," or "You're just jealous." Or is this sort of critique just a bunch of self-destructive behavior and bloggers should join together in a happy circle?
Blogs are as unique as individual people are so there is no way everyone is going to get along. I would never expect another blogger to just like me or my blog just because of the blogging similarity, that just doesn't make sense to me. Bloggers critique everything; you can prolly find a blog that focuses on almost every subject imaginable.

What do you hope to be doing in ten years?
Something fun, fulfilling and extremely lucrative.

So, if you were leading a panel on blogging, what would you advise young bloggers when it comes to turning their blog into a brand?
I'm not sure. If I had purposely set to brand myself I don't think I would've been successful. Pink just grew organically and I think that is why it's been successful. New bloggers email me for advice all the time and I always tell them the same thing. Write for yourself. Create the blog for you and no one else. If you really enjoy blogging it doesn't matter if you become successful. Chances are, if you really enjoy what you do you'll do it well and others may take notice.

Your online persona is obviously very cheery, happy go lucky, fun. What is something that you take very seriously, that you would never joke about? (I'm thinking about your personal life in some part, since you do feature family/friends on the site.) Or is pretty much everything open?
I don't have a blog persona per se, I write the way I would talk to my friends. But I suppose I'm not like that all the time. I can't imagine railing against anyone (famous or not) by calling them a whore or a slut or anything like that. I try to stay respectful when I crack jokes but it's hard sometimes. The weight issue jokes sometimes come across as mean, but I do my best to keep it fun and not mean. Concerning my friends, I don't really talk about their lives in any detail. I feel it's not my place to air their business -- it's not like they are public figures. I don't always disclose things about my life either. I could seriously work on the blog 24/7 if I wrote about everything that happens in my life in addition to my daily goss posts ... and I seriously don't want to work on the blog 24/7.

How does it feel to be the 138th person interviewed for
Pretty damn cool, I'm very flattered to be interviewed at all.

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