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How to Build Your Pop Culture Persona

Branding is all anyone can talk about these days. It’s how celebrities stay famous. It’s what Twitter is really for. It’s even what the last season of America’s Next Top Model was all about (besides Tyra Banks’s book, we mean). This week saw famed Bright Lights, Big City author Jay McInerney’s birthday — the renowned playboy is 57 years old, if you can believe it. Inspired by the persistence of the McInerney legend even after all these years, we thought we’d give you a brief outline of how to build a successful pop culture persona using two demonstrative models: the aforementioned Jay McInerney, poster boy of ’80s excess, and Lady Gaga, Queen of overblown contemporary pop. Click through to pick up a few helpful tips on how to build your pop culture persona based on these two tabloid legends, and make sure to send us a postcard from the top when you get there.

1. Come onto the scene with a little salacious controversy.

You have several options on this front, depending on your existing skill set. But whether you write a novel, drop a hit single, or debut in a film, make sure there’s some scandal attached. For instance, if you decide to write a novel, you should make sure that the main character is almost identical to you, that he is consumed with cocaine and the party boy lifestyle, as Jay McInerney did with Bright Lights, Big City. It will help if you have a posse already, so you can look even more like one of the popular kids. If you’re a musician, make sure you’re wearing something so ridiculous no one can look away or shut up about it, like Lady Gaga — in this case, it will also help if that outfit makes it unclear whether or not you secretly have a penis. Now people are paying attention to you. You may proceed.

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