Thursday, 1 October 2009

Let Me Be Your Fantasy

Fantasy Ride is one of those blogs which entertains and educates at the same time. Founder, Michelle Owusu manages to take topical issues such as video vixens, weaves, diversity on TV and swagger and dissect them in a way that is both intellectual yet relatable. Michelle calls the blog her personal take on the entertainment and creative industry and the effect it has on society. Created in 2008, Fantasy Ride is the like the Big Brother of the entertainment world where everything is noted, observed and then reported right back at us. I took five with Michelle to find out more about her fantasy ride.  

What made you start blogging?
I started reading blogs about four years ago when I went away to university - it was my way of staying in touch with what was happening in the world of entertainment. Blogging was something that I watched from the sidelines as I never really thought of what my place would be within it. My friends and I always had debates that lasted hours about things that were going on in the entertainment world and they were always very entertaining as they often got quite heated. So I decided to take the debate to the blogs...and so Fantasy Ride was born.

Describe the concept behind Fantasy Ride?

Well as mentioned, I like all things entertainment whether it's music, film, television and even celebrities. What I find even more interesting is how this industry has such a large impact on culture and society. Celebrities are role models, music artists start trends, and films can bring an issue into the limelight and mainstream news - they all create a public debate so the influence of the entertainment industry is very powerful. The Fantasy Ride title evolved from the idea that the industry is considered to be so glamorous. There are talent shows full of people trying to get into it but often the reality is much darker than most expect, so it's like a fantasy world full of ups and downs. So that's what I try to get across in my blog. I highlight both the joys for example, the positive changes made to diversity within television as well as the not so great issues such as the effect of video vixens on the perception of women. 

How do you think bloggers have made an impact on the media?

In my opinion, the impact is huge. Personally, I go online for most of my news and information so will find out the latest way before it comes on the television and in the newspapers. Bloggers are often considered journalists so the challenge for traditional media now is how to deal with the advantage blogs have with disseminating information in real time. However, I do think that the US appreciate the power of bloggers more than the UK but I feel that we are catching up, especially in the world of public relations where blogs are becoming a larger part of communication strategies. I think that the corporates and consumer brands definitely need to take more initiative when it comes to blogs as consumers are more likely to buy a product or service based on recommendations from friends, family and even the comments underneath a blog post rather than if it was advertised on television.  

What do you do when you are not working on your blog?
I love dance, especially hip-hop/contemporary styles so I'll probably be dancing a piece of choreography in front of a mirror somewhere. I also watch a lot of internet television and uploads on YouTube, mostly U.S shows such as The Hills, The City, America's Next Top Model and The Rachel Zoe Project. Other than that, I'll be on Twitter, reading someone else's blog or out to lunch/dinner with my friends getting into a heavy debate about entertainment's latest hot topic.

Describe a typical day in the life of Michelle Owusu.

At the moment, my day is not so typical. I was working at a public relations company for the last year after graduating from university in 2008, but now I am preparing to start an International Marketing Masters programme. So right now, I'm juggling some freelance marketing and public relations work as well as getting ready for the study nights and early library starts that are about to come my way. 

You are always wonderfully opinionated in Fantasy Ride is this something you set out to do?
As mentioned, Fantasy Ride was born out of the debates that I often have with my friends so I try to include the same attitude in the blog. I try not to force my own opinion across but I will state what I think as well as welcome alternatives. I love hearing what other people think as they might highlight something that I haven't considered and that might change my own view. Sometimes when I start a post, I might not even know which side of the fence I stand, so often they are just written transcripts of my thought process so by the time I've reached the end, I know where I stand.

Where do you source your stories from?

I think my blog is different to other entertainment blogs as it's not a news/information site; it is more a commentary on something that most people have already read about or seen. That's probably why there is no real pressure to deliver timely information. A subject has to pull at me and make me want to go deeper into the topic; this may be something I have read on another blog, seen on television or read in a newspaper. For example, my most recent post was about Tyra Banks revealing her real hair on her talk show. I had heard about this on E News and even from the lady herself as she posted the news on her Twitter. So I decided to talk about this hair issue, what is means in society and critique some of the thoughts and ideals that accompany it.

What are your favourite glossy magazines?

My favourite is Glamour magazine as it is the perfect mix of celeb interviews, news, career advice, love stories and both high street and luxury fashion.

Name five blogs that you read religiously

Five!!! That is way too little a number so I might go over. The first blog I began to read daily was Concrete Loop. Other dailies include The YBF, Sandra Rose, The Musings of Ondo Lady, The Cocoa Diaries, Pbleepd, Mad News, The Wider Perspective and Diary of a Fab Black Woman.

How do you see Fantasy Ride evolving over the next two years?

Good question, I haven’t really thought that far ahead. I do it for my personal enjoyment so as long as I love it, I'll keep doing it. Hopefully the following will grow as I love to hear what other people think and contribute to the post through the comments. Possibly some guest writers in the future - anyone interested, get in touch!

You can follow Michelle on twitter here.

1 cool comments:

Janice aka Miss Mad News said...

Really good interview! Keep up the good work Michelle!