Who Are Hollywood’s Paparazzi? with Dr. Vanessa Díaz
Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness
Wed, July 26, 2023
Podchat Summary

Exploring the History, Politics, and Power of Hollywood's Paparazzi

In this episode of Getting Curious, Jonathan Van Ness sits down with Vanessa Diaz, an associate professor of Chicana and Latina Studies at Loyola Marymount University, to delve into the fascinating world of Hollywood's paparazzi. Together, they uncover the origins of the term "paparazzi" and shed light on the history, politics, and power dynamics surrounding this controversial industry.

The Birth of Paparazzi

Did you know that the term "paparazzi" was popularized by the 1960 film "La Dolce Vita"? Jonathan and Vanessa explore the origins of this term and its evolution over the years. They discuss how paparazzi photographers are often distinguished from news photographers and delve into the unique and newsworthy nature of paparazzi images.

The Role of Agencies and Power Dynamics

Vanessa enlightens us on the inner workings of the paparazzi industry. She reveals that paparazzi images are typically sold to agencies, which then distribute them to various outlets. These agencies hold significant power in the industry as they negotiate prices with outlets and control the rights to these coveted images.

Risks and Precarity Faced by Paparazzi

While the paparazzi may seem like relentless pursuers of celebrity moments, Vanessa highlights the risks and precarity they face in their line of work. From physical assault to arrest and exploitation, paparazzi photographers navigate a challenging landscape to capture those sought-after shots.

Understanding the Scapegoating and Essential Role

Jonathan and Vanessa discuss the tendency to scapegoat the paparazzi for larger issues within the celebrity industry. They emphasize the essential role these photographers play in the production of celebrity images and the complex dynamics at play.

Responsible Consumption and Future Outlook

Responsible consumption of celebrity news and images requires critical thinking about the industry. Jonathan and Vanessa explore the importance of understanding power dynamics, considering consent and privacy, and engaging with celebrity culture in a thoughtful manner. They also touch upon the uncertain future of Hollywood's paparazzi, given the impact of the pandemic and evolving dynamics in the world of celebrity.

Exploring Cultural and Political Significance

As a bonus, Vanessa Diaz shares her creation, the Bad Bunny Syllabus, a website that delves into the cultural and political significance of Bad Bunny's music and activism. This additional resource offers a unique perspective on the intersection of art and social issues.

Join Jonathan Van Ness and Vanessa Diaz as they unravel the captivating history, politics, and power dynamics of Hollywood's paparazzi in this thought-provoking episode of Getting Curious.

Original Show Notes
Paris. Lindsay. Kim. We know the celebs in paparazzi photos, but what about the people behind the cameras? This week, Professor Vanessa Díaz takes us inside the world of Hollywood's paparazzi—who are predominantly Latine men, many undocumented—and shares what this profession captures about power, politics, and pop culture in America. Vanessa Díaz, Associate Professor of Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies at Loyola Marymount University, 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 award winning book Manufacturing Celebrity: Latino Paparazzi and Women Reporters in Hollywood (Duke 2020) focuses on hierarchies of labor as well as racial and gender politics in the production of celebrity-focused media. Díaz is also the co-creator of the Bad Bunny Syllabus Project and co-author of UCLA’s 2017 Hollywood Diversity Report. You can follow her on Twitter @vanessajdiaz and on Instagram @drcrazyness, and learn more about her work by visiting manufacturingcelebritybook.com and badbunnysyllabus.com. Follow us on Instagram @CuriousWithJVN to join the conversation. Jonathan is on Instagram @JVN. Transcripts for each episode are available at JonathanVanNess.com. Find books from Getting Curious guests at bookshop.org/shop/curiouswithjvn. Our executive producer is Erica Getto. Our producer is Chris McClure. Our associate producer is Allison Weiss. Our engineer is Nathanael McClure. Production support from Julie Carrillo. Our theme music is “Freak” by QUIÑ; for more, head to TheQuinCat.com. Curious about bringing your brand to life on the show? Email podcastadsales@sonymusic.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
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