At the time of our interview, she had not yet launched her style blog, Fated to be Hated. Most of her fame had stemmed from appearances on the satirical website Hipster Runoff as an ironic muse of sorts for the site’s blogger, Carles. After her initial correspondence with him, she realized she was the type of person he was actually making fun of in his posts.
Kelley Hoffman: So your natural voice was his jokey voice.
Bebe Zeva: "What he was making fun of, that was me being one-hundred-percent serious. My profile song was 'Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa' by Vampire Weekend. And then the more I read the blog I was like, 'Wait a second, I’m not supposed to like Vampire Weekend, what’s going on here?' And then I was just like, 'Oh my god, this is satirical. What’s happening?' And I just had this huge epiphany of self-awareness."
When you say “personal brand,” is that with any tone of irony? Do people your age really say that?
Bebe: "No, not at all. I feel like I’m comfortable saying it because most of the people who listen to me and interact with and know me are familiar with where the term even comes from... sort of like Internet-oriented people, they all have personal brands. People I talk to are generally Internet-orientated. If I say it to someone, who like, I don’t know, I went to middle school with, I put it in scare quotes because I don’t expect them to understand. But I mean if it’s somebody who reads Hipster Runoff and then contacts me through Facebook, then there’s no level of irony, it’s a pretty serious term. It’s just a fusion of my taste, my style, how I write, my speaking brand, my mindset, my lifestyle, everything."
What has been exciting for you from you being on the site?
Zeva: "I guess the main groups of people I’ve been affiliated with from Hipster Runoff are Hipster Runoff fans and the Muumuu House community. And then The Cobra Snake and his community. So, these are pretty much the three main fields. I recently launched a LookBook presence, completely unrelated to Hipster Runoff, so now there are a lot of people in that community, and they don’t know anything about the others. They are girls like 13 or 14, really interested in fashion blogs. The whole Tavi thing."
What do you think of Tavi?
Zeva: "I think she’s awesome. I am so jealous of her. When I was 13, I was wearing Bebe, like the actual store, and was into newsboy caps and rhinestones, and I wore those socks that you fold over and go up to your ankles, which are totally out of style and were out of style in 2005, so I probably just wore them because my mom made me. At her age, she was interested in high fashion and real designers, and she really knew what she was doing and was completely independent. I've been really dependent on other people my whole life. I envy that about her opportunities, and now she has this great life ahead of her and everything settled. She has nothing to worry about really, college is going to be a breeze for her. She's so sure of herself."
What do you think of Sea of Shoes?
Zeva: "I actually don’t read it very often. I read it like two or three times, just to familiarize myself with what the fashion blogging community expects. Impressive, awe-evoking... I feel like I can never do that. I don’t think of myself as a fashion blogger. I’ve thought of myself as a writer. And so lately on Lookbook, those people have been seeing me as a fashion blogger, and it's really weird and it came really fast, and I’m still trying to transition into it, and I don’t know how to appease both of these crowds, and people who expect my being snarky—because a lot of fashion people don’t get the jokes."
Do you think branding and writing are your strongest points?
Zeva: "Yeah. I’m trying to find some sort of career where I can do both. I really wanted to do what Tao Lin did for awhile."
What has your interaction with him been like?
Zeva: "It used to be really strong. But lately, he hasn’t talked to me at all. A lot of people have grown distant from me. People just come and go. I still read his stuff. I lounged by the pool today reading Brandon Scott Gorrell’s "During My Nervous Breakdown I Want to Have a Biographer Present." It was really good. What I think I liked most about it was it was kind of like salting ice cream—its so angsty, and I was by the pool relaxing in the sun. So, I’m having this dark, gloomy book, and then I’m just tanning and doing my life. Being glamorous."
- 1 of 2