Thursday, January 31, 2008

My Inner French Girl in the New York Times

Yup, I've been outed. Granted, it was voluntary (I mean, anyone with a lick of sense could have figured out who I was with the few hints I threw around in my blog, and who really cares?), but for the first time in my entire freakin' life, I'm in the New York Times.

Sadly, my name is not gracing the bestseller list, but give it time, give it time. Rather, I'm in the Fashion & Style section in an article about beauty blogs. Funny, non, that I'm not even a beauty blogger. But apparently, the French Girl theme appeals to some companies (notably, Lancome) interested in reaching out to readers like you. (Except maybe you, Randal.)

I'd love to hear everyone's comments about the article, particularly what you think about the subject of beauty swag in general. As you know, beauty reviews make up a fraction of my site but is apparently a very popular column on my blog. However, I'm interested in knowing if you don't read my reviews specifically because you know that I received some of the items directly from the company at no charge.

Hmmm. I wonder when I can get to send me some free stuff?


Debbie in NYC said...

Well congratulations Marjorie. Maybe it's not how you'd hoped to be mentioned but it's still cool.

And I'm with you - I had no idea how much freebies beauty bloggers get. It will really change my attitude about their "independent" reviews. ;D

Randal Graves said...

And all this time I would've assumed you'd have ended up in the Grey Lady for your role in drafting torture memo after torture memo. ;-)

Congratulations on your newfound famousness. And thanks for the complimentary backhand. :)

Sasha Manuel said...

Can you believe how surprised I was when I came across your name (and blog) on the article? Good thing you wrote this post!

I also keep an Asian Beauty Blog ( and I can't say I've received any loot from any beauty brands. Some try, though but gives up the idea when they find out where I'm from. LOL. But I do tend to buy the stuff I want to try and just tell the readers about the experience, good or bad. :)

Cassoulet Cafe said...

OH...MY...GOSH, Marjorie!!!!!!!! That is so cool!!! And I can say "I knew you when!"
This is wonderful news, and I think you have some amazing things headed your way.
Will you still read my blog? ;)

La Belette Rouge said...

You must be totally over the moon. Congratulations!!! Next, your book will be reviewed in the NY Times!

Christina H. said...

Hi Marjorie, I feel so talked out on this whole subject as I feel like that is all I've been dealing with all day! Maybe you feel the same way.

But I'd like to echo the comment that you made on my blog -- if nothing else, it's introduced me to some new great blogs. And I for one am so glad to have been introduced to yours. I will be reading. :)

Dragonfly said...

I think it's fine if the beauty companies send you products, but you should be up front about it with your readers. Otherwise, your writing will have the same condescending, artificial tone that beauty magazines have. Don't sell yourself out -- keep your integrity! I know how vicious the beauty industry can be -- i worked in Beauty PR in NYC for many years and could write a blog myself on the unethical/shady things that go on.

Last but certainly not least, congratulations on the NYT mention!

My Inner French Girl said...

Dear Debbie in NYC bonsoir and thanks for visiting my site! Yeah, it's pretty cool, although I noticed that it's become a pretty controversial topic in the beauty blogosphere.

I personally think that as long as the bloggers are obviously open and honest about their reviews, I couldn't care less if they get first class tickets to Australia. I see it as akin to book or film or theater reviews -- the critics always always always get free swag, whether in the form of free books, DVD's or passes, and that's standard for those industries. Why have different standards for bloggers? I suspect that there's a misogynism at play here -- since the beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar market, and its customer base is almost all women, there's a sense that it's one big pyjama party rather than a serious business. The idea that only a few are invited to the party rankles some of the more conservative elements of the community.

Anyhoo, it's all good. I'm just tickled pink I'm in the Times!

Randal, ya think I'd admit it if I were doing that? You'd just click on my link and find that I'm no longer updating my site. I would have just...disappeared.

What I find funny is that I think I've done way more interesting stuff than this blog, and yet this is what I get in the Times for.

And you're welcome! You're my favorite token male reader. ;-) Without your snark, who would you be?

Dear Sasha, bonsoir!!! Thanks for visiting my site, 'cause you know I love love love yours. You have one of the most unique fashion senses I've ever encountered in anyone, and you have the body to pull it all off. I still want that green purse, by the way. ;-)

Chere CC, awwww, you're so sweet. I love you! And of course I'll read your blog. I do several times a week and am a faithful subscriber!

In all honesty, I expect traffic to drop considerably over the next few days as other news occupy people's eyeballs. But it's nice to have my 15 minutes. And all because of a small part of my site!

LBR, I hope so! 'Cause you know that that's going to be one big headline here: My Inner French Girl is a bestseller!

By the way, I'm still waiting for Hermes to send me a free Birkin. Alligator skin, thank you very much. Partly 'cause I hate reptiles.


My Inner French Girl said...

Dear Christina,

Thanks for visiting my blog! Yeah, I've read a bunch of the other blogs out there, and people are obviously not happy. I think I've commented on most of them, all with pretty much the same theme.

I really am glad to have found your blog. Your enthusiasm and writing remind me of Nadine/Jolie in NYC! Plus, you're a fellow Asian beauty blogger, and that makes you one of my new favorite blogs already.

I think the press will turn out to be good for everyone. I've already seen a huge increase in hits, although I'm realistic enough to know that it'll all taper off considerably over the next few days. But I'm enjoying every moment that I can.

Thanks for stopping by! I'm very honored.


My Inner French Girl said...

Dear Dragonfly, thanks so much for your comment!

Actually, if you read my beauty reviews (weekends), you'll find that I did mention the fact that I received the Lancome products for free directly from the company. I mentioned it several times, making sure that people understood that I was not going to change the way I review a product merely because it was "comped."

I don't consider myself a beauty blogger anyway. Not sure really what to call blogging? Culture blogging? I do beauty reviews weekly as part of the whole French-inspired lifestyle, but I actually spend the majority of my time on the book and film reviews. My personal favorite? The book review, hands down. I'm a total book geek. ;-)

In any case, again, for the record, I have received free products from Lancome. I have been contacted by other publicists after the NY Times article broke. I will never change the way I write, nor will I compromise the integrity of my blog, simply because of free "swag".

And, uhm, for the record, if Chanel offers me a free trip to Paris, I am so there.


savor said...

This is really fascinating to read, as a beauty products creator (I'm a soapmaker).

I love blogs -- and I love bloggers! I haven't run across any greedy ones although I am sure they're out there. I've been blessed with really positive interactions.

Blogging is a really neat way to interact with people, and I think it's a very valuable tool -- for consumers, reviewers and product makers!

Colleen said...

Congrats on the NY Times famousness! I love the quote they used, "i'm not a beauty whore!"

For me, I'm not a big product fan and really don't buy outside of my Aveda line. If there came a time when I wanted to change to a different product, I would be more interested in product evaluation.

As for the swag, I don't mind. My hope is that free stuff cannot sway a person's judgement of the product.

My Inner French Girl said...

Dear Savor, merci for your comment! I agree -- blogging is one of the best things to come out of the Internet. I think it's wonderful that "ordinary citizens" such as you or I can create our own communities with like-minded souls, regardless of our interest!

One of the things that most annoyed me about the article wasn't so much the way that bloggers are portrayed, but rather the comment by the PR at the beginning of the article: "It didn’t seem fair that anyone could say whatever they wanted about a product and have an audience."

Uh, lady, why not? We know you guys get paid to shill these products, so why shouldn't we build an audience based on our unbiased opinions of the merchandise? Where else are we going to get honest reviews? The women's magazines, where you pay for placement? That was insulting.

In any case, it was still good press, and my hit rate exploded within hours after the article went online. So as another blogger said elsewhere, all press is good press.

I love blogs as well. So glad you came to mine!

Dear Colleen, bonjour, mon amie! Merci, merci. Yeah, as soon as I wrote that quote in the email interview, I thought, Yup, she's gonna use that one. Journalists are such sound-bite whores. ;-)

I'm not very loyal when it comes to products. Four years ago, I was all about Origins. Then came Neutrogena and Clean & Clear. Now I'm into Olay and Lancome. Hmmm. Maybe I am a beauty whore!


Anonymous said...

Hey congratulations on the NYT mention! Since I don't read any of the beauty bloggers, it doesn't concern me if they're honest with their reviews or if they're laced with a little bias. I think you have kept your "honor" with the Lancome reviews as there were some items you weren't fond of. So for me, anyone who mentions Paula Begoun (sp?) and raves about a $2.99 Himalayan face wash is as truthful as one can get.


By the way, Berkeley has a plethora of Indian stores selling saris and such. I have yet to see one selling beauty products but as soon as I come across one, I'll buy this cleanser (I too have oily/combo skin). Ciao...

Betty C. said...

First, I just think it's great you got mentioned in the article! That must be one great feeling.

Second, it doesn't bother me at all that you got some products to review for free. Blogging is fun, but it's a lot of work too. You keep up a great blog that brings readers back. If you can get a few perks, more power to you! Especially if you're playing the game by reviewing them on your blog!

Not that I'll be reading about the beauty products, though, as I've mentioned before. My cosmetics purchases are pretty much limited to Monoprix when I'm in France and Target when I'm in the USA...but to each her own!

My Inner French Girl said...

Bonjour, Joanne!

I know, isn't it cool??? I'm still psyched about the experience. Definitely made my week.

Er, does it make me immodest to be dancing around my kitchen and yelling to the world, I'm in the New York Times!?

Anyway, I really appreciate your feedback. Frankly, I like to think I provide a service, and a fun one at that, just like most other beauty bloggers. I love beauty mags as much as the next girl, but with the exception of a handful of Allure write-ups, their beauty reviews leave a lot to be desired when it comes to objectivity.

And I love Paula Begoun!

I have yet to find an Indian shop that sells Himalaya products. There are tons in Dallas, but none of them sold beauty products. It may be different now, though. The last time I checked was about five years ago. You can get good prices online at IndoUS Plaza, and the delivery is pretty quick.


My Inner French Girl said...

Dear Betty, bonjour! Hope you're enjoying your weekend!

Yeah, it really is a lot of work putting together a quality blog, as you know. And you have three!! I don't know how you do it. I run several but have only been able to regularly post on this one, my favorite.

I'm slowly getting more publicists contacting me directly since that NY Times write-up, but so far only Lancome has sent me samples. 99% of everything I review, I bought myself. I'm actually hoping that will change, as I get more products to review from the companies or their publicists -- it's getting to be expensive doing the reviews, and I really want to have greater depth of coverage. Like you, the vast majority of the stuff I use comes from Target. They have the best selection that I've found anywhere outside of Sephora!

Thank you thank you thank you for your compliments!


Colleen said...

I used to work at, we got free stuff all the time. But you can't have rules. ;-)

Betty C. said...

Hi again Marjorie -- Yes, I keep up three blogs but sometimes I wonder if that is the right approach.

Anyway, my heart lies with La France Profonde.

maitresse said...

nice NYT mention! when I read it I sat up bolt straight-- "oh my god I know her!!

I'm jealous of the swag, but if it's free books you want, just start blogging about books. publishers will start sending them to you!

My Inner French Girl said...

Colleen, damn! I wish I knew you when. would be my crackhouse. Quelle dommage!

Dear Betty, bonjour! I'm about to get a full-time job, so I think I might just stick with this one blog. I love all of your blogs, of course, but I can see why France Profonde would capture your heart.

Bonjour, Maitresse! Pretty cool, huh? I don't think I've ever known anyone who was ever featured in the NY Times, even briefly, so it was soooo awesome to be the one with her name within its august pages. You should see the reactions among beauty bloggers, though! Every single one of the bloggers mentioned in that article was appalled by what they saw as an insulting, condescending piece that belittled all the work they put into their blogs. I happen to agree with them, but if nothing else, my traffic definitely spiked like crazy after it came out it!

As for the swag, well, I'm not exactly showered with stuff. Only Lancome and a couple of other smaller publicists have approached me. Perhaps more will come, but I'm not worried. Right now, I'm just focused on providing content. Maybe in the future there will be better exposure.

I do review books -- every Wednesday -- as well as films -- every Friday. I've yet to hear from publishers! But then again, it's only been about three or four months since I really got into updating this on a near-daily basis, so hopefully the time will come when I can review books other than those I buy out of my own little pocket or (more often) get from my library.

Merci for your comment! Hope Japan is treating you well!


Lucy said...

I just found your blog from that NYT article - and love it! Great site and great links to others sites, like the street photos! More reasons to live on the web (but that isn't very French, is it? ah, a paradox - now that is French).

Lucy said...

Also wanted to say - about swag - that I think you should mention when you've been sent it by the company vs. you found it yourself

My Inner French Girl said...

Dear Lucy, merci beaucoup for your very kind comments! Actually, I think it's very French to go on le Web. They seem to embrace technology as fervently as we do, albeit with a healthy dose of skepticism for its often overblown claims.

Of course, living on the Web may not be very French, as you said. But oh well. If that's the closest I get to living la vie francaise, I'll take it. ;-)

And re: comped products. I will do so on every product that's provided to me by publicists and the companies themselves, as I've been doing all along. Hopefully that will dispel any notion that I'm somehow beholden to them rather than to you.

Merci for stopping by!