From A Very Potter Musical to Kenya: The Origins and Future of BuzzFeed’s Ladylike
At SMWLA, the incredible women from BuzzFeed’s Ladylike discussed their show and what being “ladylike” actually means.
On Thursday, June 14, the incredible women from BuzzFeed’s Ladylike joined us at Social Media Week Los Angeles to discuss their show and what being “ladylike” actually means The show’s creators, and stars, Kristin Chirico, Chantel Houston, Devin Lytle, Freddie Ransome and Jen Ruggirello spoke with BuzzFeed’s Senior Talent Manager Megan Moeller about the origins of the show and how they all came to join BuzzFeed, who they look up to, what they hope viewers take from the show and where they see the show going in the future.
The Origins of Ladylike
Reluctant, or unexpected, stars was the way Jen Ruggirello put it. None of the ladies on Ladylike planned to be on camera, but the way that casting is done at BuzzFeed, “hey we’re making a video and you’re a warm body, be in it,” they just sort of fell into the project. Prior to BuzzFeed, Freddie Ransome and Jen started out on the more “traditional” film and TV track, however both found the structure and what goes on within the industry, to be distasteful, especially the casting process. Devin Lytle took a slightly different path, beginning with the YouTube viral hit A Very Potter Musical before moving to LA to pursue an acting and modeling career. After a few years, she took a break before joining BuzzFeed.
Chantel Houston joined the BuzzFeed team through a family friend and immediately began to breakdown what the word ladylike meant – what falls into and out of the stereotypes associated with the word – and realized that there is no one definition, it’s unique to each individual. Social media, according to Kristin Chirico, is the reason that shows, and ideas, like Ladylike are so successful, as we are in a “really interesting time,” a time where social media had democratized the types of stories we can tell and where you can actually be yourself.
While their personalities might be very different, the shared morals and values among this group of amazing women ensures that Ladylike can be a success, even if the show doesn’t conform to “normal” entertainment industry standards – which they don’t mind at all.
The Makings of Ladylike
From role models, to fans, to the Internet, a number of different factors come into play regarding the structure of Ladylike. Akin to the way most of us currently feel about our favorite Hollywood stars, Jen noted that a number of her role models have let her down, while Freddie emulates one of her role models, Issa Rae, by speaking her truth.
Fans play a major role in the direction and structure of the show. From immediate feedback, to the shared human experience, the ladies from the show feel as though they are not “alone in the woods” when it comes to the structure of their show, their fans are along for the adventure with them. The makeup of which, to some, might not be what you expect. As Kristin notes, at least 13 percent of her audience alone are men – women are not the only ones who are allowed to be feminine. This is just a small sample size of the diversity and inclusion that is such a large part of the show – not just in front of the camera either.
The inclusion and unity of the show is important for today’s digital media landscape. As Devin describes it, the Internet is where everyone’s free time is and when you present people with something new, they want to tear it down – people don’t like change.
What’s Next for Ladylike?
Ladylike’s creators hope that they will be able to show everyone that we need to stop seeing women’s content as niche and end the need for women to keep explaining to men why things that affect women are important – something they have to do daily. They also want their viewers to see that being yourself will make you stand out – although they don’t always say it, people care about you being yourself.
Moving forward, following the success of their trip to Kenya, the group plans to feature more travel content. However, focusing on individual pilots to support their brands is the current focus. There will still be group content and collaborations, however. Group chats are still common practice amongst the group when brainstorming ideas for content. Whether it’s a collaboration, solo effort, or group video, keep an eye out for the latest though-provoking, hilarious and entertaining content from the ladies of Ladylike at BuzzFeed!
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