On Monday night, Alexa Chung, new in New York as of April 27, went to the Music Hall in Williamsburg to see some bands.
Her hair is growing in from last month’s radical bobbing. Then yesterday she didn’t do a fucking thing. Tired! She spent seven days here in early April looking for an apartment; she went out three days out with a broker, and partied down at the Beatrice Inn, if briefly, as she was thrown out for turning the lights off and on.
She has cried at least twice since she booked the apartment, went back home to London, and then officially arrived. Her apartment is a big lofty thing in Williamsburg with a velvet chair that may or may not be infested with bedbugs. Everyone in her building has a dog. She couldn’t figure out what “2% milk” meant at the deli. Her goodbye party, at London’s version of Bungalow 8, was a crazy-fest but now she is here on the clock: Her every-afternoon, one-hour live MTV show begins June 15.
I have been thinking about her since MTV announced her as their face of the summer last week. Mostly because I have been cringing about what will happen come Labor Day, when either she will be a smashing famous American success or, more likely, when MTV will quietly kick her to the curb.
Alexa Chung is a weird gamble for MTV but they have fallen in love with her brand. Except really, just the idea of her brand, because her brand is Europe-specific and doesn’t actually exist in America. What her brand will be is like Amanda Congdon meets Joanne Colan (who, you know, was an MTV Europe VJ before following Congdon on Rocketboom, and is represented by ICM in whatever she does now, and so Alexa has surely seen her) but less mysterious and arty and secretly goth girl and instead a bit more confessional, though she never talks about her boyfriend in public, who is in the Arctic Monkeys. Such restraint! Like for instance it is unclear whether he is already here in New York with her or not but we think “not” so far or else why would she be crying on her Williamsburg rooftop, all emo and lonely? Though in the UK there are pictures taken of them every day together.
Here she does not get pictures of her taken every day but that might change.
Is Alexa Chung going to be your friend? As your friend, she will send you (well, send all of us) little videos and will say hi and Twitter at us when she cries. But can you just import a friend-brand? Doesn’t her friendship have to be slightly specific?
Can you just tell millions of tweens that their new best friend just moved here from England and is going to be their buddy now? Don’t you have to start lifecasting this brand directly into their Barbie Dream House well in advance?
Apparently you do not, because they have five weeks until air and Alexa Chung has but 8000 Twitter followers and far fewer Facebook fans. They are going to use television to make her a digital creature, which is a new idea. Everyone else had been thinking that we would monetize digital creations and then put them on the TV, but in truth all their lifecasts have not yet been consumed up to the TV channel. Maybe then MTV is right!
Maybe everyone is thinking about this wrong.