Latina/o Studies pres.
Manufacturing Celebrity: Latino Paparazzi and Women Reporters in Hollywood
In Manufacturing Celebrity, Vanessa Díaz pulls the curtain back on Hollywood, tracing the complex power dynamics of the reporting and paparazzi work that fuel contemporary American celebrity culture. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, her experience reporting for People magazine, and dozens of interviews with photographers, journalists, publicists, magazine editors, and celebrities, Díaz examines the racialized and gendered labor involved in manufacturing and selling relatable celebrity personas. The predominantly male Latino paparazzi can face life-threatening situations and endure vilification that echoes anti-immigrant rhetoric. On the other hand, celebrity reporters, most of whom are white women, are expected to leverage their sexuality to generate coverage, which makes them vulnerable to sexual exploitation and assault. In pointing out the precarity of those who hustle to make a living by generating the bulk of celebrity media, Díaz highlights the profound inequities of the systems that provide consumers with 24/7 coverage of their favorite stars. Highlighting the highly visual nature of Manufacturing Celebrity, this talk explores the main themes and theoretical frameworks of the book while engaging with several of the images that fill its pages.
Vanessa Díaz is a multimedia ethnographer and journalist whose work focuses on issues of race, gender, and labor in popular culture across the Americas. Grounded in her experience as a red carpet reporter for People magazine, Díaz’s first book Manufacturing Celebrity: Latino Paparazzi and Women Reporters in Hollywood focuses on hierarchies of labor as well as racial and gender politics in the production of celebrity-focused media. Díaz is a co-author of UCLA’s 2017 Hollywood Diversity Report, director of the film Cuban HipHop: Desde el Principio, and the media editor for Transforming Anthropology. Her research has been profiled in such outlets as the Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times, and NBC News. Díaz is an assistant professor in the Department of Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies at Loyola Marymount University.
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