Go Fug Yourself
Published Apr 1, 2010 9:20 AM
When Jessica Morgan '97 and a friend started a blog to skewer celebrities' sartorial missteps, the idea was to entertain friends, not build an empire. Six years later, luck, sharp writing and poorly dressed stars have made their site the phenomenon known as Go Fug Yourself, providing the blogging duo with full-time paying jobs and 4 million unique visitors, with 6-8 million page views a month.
A tasteful sample of how the Fug Girls go about covering fashion from recent postings.
The Gen-X twosome attracted a loyal fan base with their snarky wit and inventive metaphors, criticizing red-carpet choices such as a "dress made entirely out of doilies" and suit sleeves resembling "very formal water wings." Their success led to two book deals, a regular column for nymag.com and a gig covering the Big Apple's biannual fashion week for New York magazine, and a flood of free-lancing opportunities.
"The idea behind the site is that if I were, say, Jennifer Aniston, and I had my own trainer, chef, personal shopper, yogi and all the money in the world, I would look great all the time! So why doesn't she?" says Morgan. "These are people who have chosen to put themselves in the public eye. We would never fug your average Jane."
Morgan and co-blogger Heather Cocks began GoFugYourself.com in 2004, playing off the word "fugly," meaning — at least in a family magazine — "fantastically" ugly. Though they make a living off catty comments, it's their approachability that attracted fans. Sarcastic but never caustic, the fug girls often digress from rants against leggings, "formal shorts" and the occasional "blue-sequined, Hammer-panted jumpsuit" to consider which of their fug victims would be the most fun to hang out with over a Diet Coke. Their personable writing style reminds readers of gabbing with friends, says Morgan.
"A lot of our readers feel like they know us," she adds. "We think the site is like the online version of watching the Oscars with your friends and making fun of people on the red carpet."
People-watching has always been a passion of hers, even as a little girl. "I remember entertaining myself looking at people's outfits when I got bored in church," she says with a trace of guilt. She's stepped up her game with Fashion Week in New York — "the ultimate people-watching" — which presents a treasure trove of red-carpet gaffes.
But Morgan insists she's no style expert and adds that sartorially, it was no help to attend UCLA in the fashion-challenged '90s, when she earned her degree in English specializing in American Studies. "We wore bodysuits and overalls every day," Morgan says, exaggerating (hopefully). "For GFY, UCLA was much more valuable to me from a writing perspective."
But UCLA is the first place she fugged someone, she recalls with glee.
"I will never forget being in Ackerman Union when along comes Mayim Bialik — you know, TV's Blossom — wearing a Girl Scout uniform, with her hair dyed bright green, and she's pulling her books in a little red wagon," Morgan says. "I'm thinking, 'What is Mayim Bialik wearing?' I ran and told everyone what a crazy outfit she had. Now that's my job."
Can't get enough of the snarky stuff? Don't try this at home, but see who fashion tragedy has targeted recently by viewing the girls' work at www.gofugyourself.celebuzz.com