The other day an article caught my eye: 'The 25 Hottest Socialites In NYC: 2017 Edition'.
I obviously clicked. And the whole thing blew my mind.
I live in New York. Also, I've watched Gossip Girl. I've watched my fair share of Real Housewives of all cities. Also, I've been alive at the same time as Paris Hilton. But for some reason didn't think "socialite society" was still a thing.
I mean, I know we have Insta-famous people (to say nothing of the word "Insta-famous"), but I thought that was different: more business than politics, if you will.
This appears to have been extremely naive. I was saying as much to a friend, who dutifully directed me to this amazing 2007 piece from New York Magazine. Read it. Please read it.
But if you have better things to do with your time (and honestly, I'm sure you do), it basically follows the rise of Olivia Palermo into New York's elite social circles; her sudden fall after Socialite Rank (a site that at its peak was exactly what it sounds like) published a fake letter from her; and her rise again after her powerful dad got involved and turned things legal.
I did not realize Gossip Girl was real-life. I thought it was made up.
And I know, all of New York, I know. I'm very late to this (very fancy) party. But I am so fascinated.
It's the most luxurious internet rabbit-hole I have ever been down. We're 10 years on from Palermo-gate (an event I now know far too much about), but apparently the only real thing to change—aside from the fact no one would now be caught dead in a peplum waist—is the faces. And maybe the apps are better.
An hour or so—and thousands of Instagram scrolls—later, I returned to that original 2017 list, to see who is "hot" this year.
There's Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis, a literal German princess who takes very #realperson happy snaps with team Valentino. (I mean, same?)
Then there's Lauren Remington Platt, who runs an on-demand beauty booking service—"a true gift from God," the list tells me.
There's the woman I'm calling my Blair Waldorf: Nell Diamond. (Which if I'm honest, would be my number-one pick if I got to choose my own heiress name.)
To shout out a favorite designer, she regrammed a shot of the time he custom-fitted her dress. Cute.
Hayley Bloomingdale (yes), is one of my favorites on the list. Like a lot of these women, she seems to be killing it business-wise (also like a lot of these women, in the fashion world).
But she gets extra points for taking lots of photos of friends posed artfully around fake cheetahs. I mean, why else even bother being rich?
Ariana Rockefeller has a beautiful horse perfectly matched to her ponytail.
Indre Rockefeller is expanding my definitions of "#startuplife" to include palm trees and bespoke leather.
Kick Kennedy, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. lives her best life on rooftops.
I mean, these aren't the Met Steps, but they may as well be.
Though Alessandra Brawn, on the other hand, apparently has a "Cinderella story" instead of famous elders (just sub in "restaurateur" for "prince").
It's all very surreal. I had never heard of any of these people before today. And yet I can't look away.
I get the cult of celebrity. I get the appeal of reality TV. I understand there are rich and powerful people, and that a lot of them are talented, hardworking, and doing cool projects.
It looks very shiny, and very fun. But it's also very weird, to consider the massive amount of cultural power and influence swirling around in what's basically a glamorized high-school clique.
I don't know if there's any dramatic conclusion to be drawn here. But I have a pretty strong feeling I'm going to keep on scrolling anyway.
H/t: Guest of a Guest