Lena Dunham: Actor turned media mogul signs deal with Hearst

27 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Lena Dunham Praises Her “Dream” Onesie After Critics Shame Her for Wearing Body-Hugging “Eyesore”.

Most people probably know Lena Dunham as the creator, writer, and star of Girls, the HBO comedy series that is loosely based on her life as a twenty-something in New York City.The 29-year-old Girls director, writer, and actress stepped out on the town in Hollywood Saturday wearing a spaghetti-strapped green and black patterned jumpsuit, which hugged every last curve of her body.Her candid, straight-talking 2014 memoir, Not That Kind of Girl, doubled as a self-help book for young women navigating relationships, love and career.Before “Girls” creator Lena Dunham became the latest celebrity to launch a newsletter, she hinted in September that it would eventually be accompanied by some form of advertising.

But it seems that she has her eye on something much larger than just being a TV star: Dunham just signed a deal with Hearst Media that will give the publishing giant the rights to distribute and monetize her popular email newsletter, The Lenny Letter. Although it has only been around for a few months, Dunham’s newsletter has already gotten attention not just in Hollywood but across the nation, largely as a result of two pieces it has published. Her weekend peace was interrupted when photographs of the ensemble later made the rounds on the Internet, fostering a band of critics unhappy with her most recent fashion selection. In early episodes, the sight of her unapologetically rounded form on the small screen endeared her to legions of twenty-something women whose abs look nothing like Taylor Swift’s.

In the fifth edition of the newsletter, released this morning, Dunham announced she and her team of editors are partnering with Hearst Magazines to generate revenue: We also wanted to let you know that in the next few weeks we are going to start running advertising in our newsletter and on lennyletter.com through our new partnership with Hearst Magazines. One was an essay written by actor Jennifer Lawrence, about the inequities suffered by female actors when it comes to salary negotiations, and another was an exclusive interview with senator and presidential candidate Hilary Clinton. Dunham disagreed with the flack frankly and wholeheartedly, responding to the criticism with a paparazzi shot of her own posted to her Instagram account. “What the Daily Mail calls an eyesore I call a damn dream, @marahoffman This onesie takes me from @tracyandersonmethod to brunch to fetal position and I couldn’t feel more heroic.

Dunham has also consistently used the halo of her fame to spotlight iconic female figures in both the arts and politics — legends including the late Nora Ephron and Gloria Steinem. Hearst is going to help us by spreading the Lenny word across its digital platforms like Elle, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Marie Claire, and more. (Our articles will be online a day after our email subscribers have had the exclusive look.

The revenue will help Dunham compensate her full-time staff of three and “pay our authors and artists fairly.” The newsletter, a weekly longread, features lengthy interviews and submissions from writers. She’s posted unedited photos of herself wearing lingerie, posed topless for a major fashion magazine, and has stayed true to her signature red carpet style despite endless scrutiny. “I’ve been put to bed for weeks from reading things about myself on sites that used to be considered feminist gospel,” she said in the November issue of . “I love the Internet because it helped me discover everything that matters to me. Now on its fourth issue, Lenny — which arrives in our inboxes with its long articles fully intact, in the style of first-generation newsletters — has so far been a mixed bag. There are long-form interviews and first-person essays, a bit of original fiction (including a short story by Dunham), girl-centric click-bait (“Jenny Slate Got a Vajacial So You Don’t Have To!”), and more serious how-tos — the first of which offered tips on negotiating maternity leave at a small company and applying for a job while pregnant.

Anderson wrote have traditionally been “glorified shopping portals.” By adopting a syndication model, Dunham says she will retain ownership and “complete editorial control” over Lenny Letter. Ultimately we knew advertising was the way to go so that no readers were excluded by lack of funds.” Troy Young, president of digital media at Hearst, said that the company plans to sell traditional display ads as well as “native” ads or sponsored content that will be created by the company with input from Dunham and Konner. Young said the media giant wanted to partner with Dunham because it’s “a media brand for an active, intelligent, motivated, millennial audience.” Dunham isn’t the first actor or Hollywood celebrity to start her own media company: Gwyneth Paltrow has had some success with her newsletter and site Goop, but others have not been as successful. And getting public figures to go deep on spiky subjects like pay inequality and parental leave is a credit to Dunham’s influence and interview prowess. Still, the real gold in Lenny’s celeb content resides in its ability to connect with Dunham’s young readership on the subterranean level (they trust her and come to care about what she cares about) while challenging them to ask questions about their femaleness and the state of American Womanhood.

For example, Dunham tapped Lawrence to write an essay on her feelings regarding emails in the Sony email hack that revealed her male co-stars in American Hustle earned more than she did. That was a large part of the ambivalence and the worry that I wouldn’t necessarily know who I was or what I could do if I got married to someone who was going to chart a path that he was incredibly clear about. So I was searching.” So far with Lenny, she and Konner are meeting their mission of creating “a snark-free place for feminists to get information: on how to vote, eat, dress, f—, and live better.” And as feminism continues to gain ground with women in Hollywood and beyond, Lenny will undoubtedly become one of the movement’s most compelling voices.

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