Have you ever wondered why some celebrities bring in more money when they are dead than when they are alive? Or how much an Academy Award is really worth in Hollywood? And what about if it is ever possible to predict the future value of an American Idol?
Being a celebrity is big business. There’s nothing new in that. We hear about the business of celebrity and see it subtly (and not so subtly) every day. But we never get the chance to peek behind the scenes and witness the true inner workings of the business of being famous. Until now.
In Celebrity, Inc.: How Famous People Make Money, former gossip columnist and seasoned journalist Jo Piazza--currently writing for the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, and more--takes us on an insider’s journey into how fame functions as a business model. But make no mistake, this isn’t your ordinary business book and it’s not just a tabloid tell-all either. Celebrity, Inc. showcases Piazza’s in-depth knowledge and appreciation of both worlds, making it entertaining, informative, and the perfect read for the celebrity-watcher, the journalist, and business-person alike.
After reading it, we were curious to know what prompted Piazza to take on Hollywood. Her answer . . .
"I spent about six years as a newspaper gossip reporter in New York City writing for the New York Daily News. During that time I hid in a potted palm during Eli Manning’s wedding, caught Nick Lachey in a compromising situation at the Super Bowl, hung out in the hospital when Britney Spears was committed and when Suge Knight shot himself, sat in the back of the court room through Christie Brinkley’s divorce, partied with P. Diddy (too many times to count), sat in a superbox with Richie Sambora’s grandmom, and got called a bitch by Lil’ Kim in the middle of Harlem (not undeserved)."
"I went into my job blind, straight from grad school, knowing very little about celebrity culture. I got a crash course. Being a celebrity reporter teaches you to be a little bit dirty. Some of your sources are less than savory characters, but they get it right. The nights are late, and often boozy and smoky, and the thanks you get the next day is an ear-rattling lecture about how you are a complete jerk from the publicist of someone famous. I did love it for a long time."
"When I left the paper I had a wealth of celebrity knowledge and a phone full of contacts. I didn’t want to keep dishing dirt though. I had spent enough time with celebrities that I was immune to their charms. I could barely watch television or movies anymore because I had seen the wizard. I knew how the machine worked and it deflated the fun factor by 100%. A lot of people wanted me to write a book about all the celebrity dirt I couldn’t write for the newspaper (we were relatively family friendly); I wasn’t interested. Years earlier my long time mentor, Joanna Molloy, who wrote the Rush & Molloy gossip column for the Daily News told me the best way to find a celebrity story was to follow the money. If you figured out who was paying whom for what, then you would have a good story. . . . That's the book I wanted to write."
"And did. Writing Celebrity, Inc. was this gossip columnist’s rehab. I was able to dissect the industry from an analytical point of view. I stripped the wizard bare. And somehow through that process, even though I understood the machine better than ever, I actually began to enjoy celebrity culture again. Now I watch the Kardashians on T.V. and see movies at least once a week. I am a huge Tim McGraw fan and I bought his fragrance as a gift for my dad last year. But since writing Celebrity, Inc., I’ve become a savvy celebrity consumer. I know what I am paying for and who I am paying when I buy a Jessica Simpson shoe--and that’s what I want this book to do for my readers: educate them. Fans should know how famous people make their money. They should know what they're getting when they buy into a celebrity brand. This book is where the undercover economist meets the backseat paparazzo for a rousing cocktail party discussion. I feel better about buying celebrity brands after writing it and I think you all will feel better after reading it.”