Making Her Way on the Internet Today: Dannielle Owens-Reid
Originally published at cherrygrrl.com, September 6, 2010 – Read the full text here
When something goes viral… It’s a blessing, and a curse. But more often than not, a blessing. Just ask Dannielle Owens-Reid, creator of Biebians.com, a.k.a. the online phenomenon, Lesbians Who Look Like Justin Bieber. She also offers advice via EveryoneIsGay.com, a site started with her buddy Kristin Russo, AND was recently a runner-up for MTV’s first TJ, where the winner would earn a six-figure salary and the opportunity to tweet about MTV for a living.
Cherry Grrl (CG): Dannielle, thanks for talking with us. Can you tell us about where the ideas for your projects spring forth? What came first, the Justin Bieber parody or EveryoneIsGay.com with Kristin?
Dannielle Owens-Reid (DO-R): First, came Lesbians Who Look Like Justin Bieber [LWLLJB] in March, and that sort of, blew up, quickly. People started becoming interested in me as a real person and asking questions on Formspring (the famous Q&A site). This lead to people asking for advice. I finally said, “Hey Kristin, do you wanna do this thing?” and boom. EveryoneIsGay.com.
CG: What reactions or emotions are you trying to evoke from people who visit your sites?
DO-R: With LWLLJB, I mainly want people to LOL. With EveryoneIsGay, I think there’s something more. I truly think we have the ability to help people, teenagers especially, in a way that no one else is helping them. I like that. I like that we can communicate with them and make life make sense for a little while.
CG: How did you get involved in social networking and when did you really see the appeal?
DO-R: I’ve always been into it. I like connecting with people. I started on tumblr a little over 2 years ago. I loved photo-blogging and following my friends’ blogs, and that’s really when I became slightly obsessed.
CG: Are you a technology nerd? Do you own any crazy gadgets, or do you tend to stray from technology?
DO-R: I’m obsessed with my iPhone 4 and I have an iMac, which I’m obsessed with also. If I had any money at all, I would have a lot more technology. I’m not really into having a lot of STUFF, but clothes and technology I can definitely get behind.
CG: How important is Twitter? What do you like about it as a social media tool?
DO-R: I think it’s important, right now. People love to have a closer connection to the world of celebrity. They see it from afar so often, that I think they enjoy being able to actually TELL Justin Bieber he’s a total hottie. For me, personally, its nice because I have a lot of busy friends who go on tour/work all day, or what have you, and it’s awesome to just see what they’re up to throughout the day. Or see a picture they’ve posted of a ridiculous truck. I love it.
CG: Do you think it’s important for the LGBTQ community to find each other on sites like Twitter and Facebook?
DO-R: I think everyone wants to be connected. I don’t think the LGBTQ community is any different from any other group of people. Everyone wants to connect in whatever way possible and watch the world together. Social media makes that possible.
CG: What were your experiences with the MTV Twitter Jockey (MTVTJ) contest? Gabi Gregg has since won. Was it ever competitive or cut-throat?
DO-R: It was never anything but fun. I think that’s why the five of us were chosen. We weren’t about the competition aspect as much as we were about creating connections with people and having an awesome time. It was an incredible opportunity and we all just felt super lucky to be involved. I literally talk to Gabi every day. We’ve basically become besties.
CG: What would you like to see Gabi accomplish as a TJ, and is there a place in the industry for someone to get paid for tweeting about music or news?
DO-R: I think there is. Tweeting is a different talent. Gabi is really good at blogging and making people interested in what she’s doing, so she’s pretty perfect for the job. Tweeting and keeping your tweets interesting is a hard thing to do. It’s not like every other form of advertisement or update, it’s different. It’s simple, and you have to communicate in a more direct way.
CG: Through your sites, some would say you’re giving away an experience (comedy, advice, etc.) that you could, ultimately, make money from or charge for. How important is it to have free creative outlets?
DO-R: I think the Internet lets us do a lot of things you wouldn’t think about. So many forms of entertainment are free because of the world wide web. It’s crazy to think about. I don’t know a single person who has cable, yet everyone I know is up-to-date with Mad Men, True Blood and Glee. I think that’s great. I think the more free entertainment we can get, the better! That doesn’t necessarily mean the people who put in the work don’t have to make money. Anna Paquin still makes bank, and has a steamy husband… But where are MYmillions and steamy husbands?! Just kidding. I’m not going to stop doing it just because I’m not getting paid. That would be dumb.
CG: What are some other projects you’re working on?
DO-R: I’m really getting back into my film-making, which rules. I’m about to shoot a music video with Bess Rogers and hopefully, soon after I’ll be working on one with Lelia Broussard.
You can follow the very funny Dannielle Owens-Reid in various ways on the Internet. There’s her Twitter: http://twitter.com/dannielleor, her tumblr:http://dannielle.tumblr.com/, LWLLJB: http://biebians.com and don’t forget to read her advice site with the equally funny, Kristin Russo: http://everyoneisgay.com.