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Be it from admiration, jealousy or just pure shock value, is there anyone who doesn’t secretly judge the beauty and sartorial decisions of the stranger sitting next to us? Now a new Web site, Beautifulstranger.tv, looks to tap into your innermost voyeuristic tendencies. The brainchild of former beauty editor Melissa Fedor and former TV producer Abby Wallach, the site stops random taste makers on the streets of New York and asks them everything from who cuts their hair to what they are wearing to the sounds they’re listening to on their iPods and the skin care products they use. Posted as both a streaming video and a still photograph, pop-up links in each interview display where the trendsetter got her gear. “It’s entertainment, but also an opportunity to interact,” says Fedor. “We’re informing people about what’s new and what’s hot, but also trying to inspire them. [The strangers] are all unique characters and even if they are wearing the same things they’re wearing them differently.” In December Beautifulstranger.tv teamed up with YouTube and MySpace to distribute the vignettes on both sites; within a few weeks, MySpace had garnered over 35,000 page hits. An e-mail blast with a new stranger goes out three times a week, while Fedor and Wallach plan on expanding into more cities and, eventually, countries. Says Wallach, “This started as a viral marketing strategy but it’s really about the power of the brand and the beautiful strangers themselves.”
This story first appeared in the February 8, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.