VIVIAN LIVINGSTON GOES TO HOLLYWOOD
Byline: Peter Braunstein
NEW YORK — If pre-fab boy bands, botox injections and publicist-contrived puff pieces have you meditating on the artificiality of celebrity, factor in this development: Next Model Management has just signed on Vivian Livingston, the animated 25-year-old woman who inhabits Vivianlives.com.
Vivian, the fashion-savvy avatar whose every move can be followed online via “viv-cam,” joins Next’s celebrity list alongside “real people” Adam Sandler, Eve, Parker Posey, Edward Norton, Monica and “surreal” actor Harvey Keitel.
As a Next client, Vivian can partake of the modeling network’s strategic partnership with Los Angeles-based talent agency Endeavor, an alliance aimed at exploring business and endorsement opportunities and potential entertainment projects for its clients. “For Next to recognize Vivian as a viable and lucrative persona is the ideal way to kick off our second year,” said Sherrie Krantz, founder and chief executive officer of Forever After Inc., the parent company of Vivianlives.com.
“Vivian has become a pop-culture icon in the past year, making her a natural fit for Next and for future promotional and marketing projects,” contended Mia Lolordo, vice president of Next’s celebrity division, who first heard about Vivian from Heidi Klum’s publicist. “I immediately saw Vivian as a TV show,” Lolordo said. “In fact, I thought it was already a TV show.” While scouting out a development deal that could make Vivian into a virtual Mary Tyler Moore, Lolordo plans to generate more page hits, buzz and sponsorships for the already hyperactive avatar.
Vivian has cascaded into celebrity-hood at a breathtaking pace: since the launch of the Web site in December 1999, Vivian has landed a cross-marketing deal with Marie Claire magazine, done stints as “celebrity guest editor” of Styleshop.com — where she has an e-commerce strategic partnership — and has become an “official guide” to Yahoo! Shopping.
Asked by WWD to rate Vivian on a celebrity reality scale where, say, an earthy Sean Penn registers a 10 and rhinestone-like Christina Aguilera a three, Krantz gave Vivian an 11. “People know Vivian’s not real, but they don’t care because Vivian’s life is quite literally an open book,” said Krantz, alluding to Vivian’s online diary, where she pours out her innermost thoughts and feelings to her Web following. “Real celebrities are worried about their image and about privacy,” Krantz added. “Vivian doesn’t care about those things.”