Tuesday, January 24, 2012
VONNY THE KEN DOLL IN THE CITY
2012 may be the year the world ends, but it's also a year Vonny The Ken Doll will end off with a bang! This year will be all about Vonny and the Vonny brand. Vonny entered this year with his own talk show, entertainment website, reality television program, and even his own production company! Here, Vonny talks about his upcoming projects, juicy celeb interviews, Lake Shore, Perez Hilton, and more! Check it out!
V.B. So, you have a new reality show: Vonny in the City. Where can we see it? Should we expect any catfights, tears, celebrity secrets? Tell us more.
V.S. Yes! Right now, we're still in production on Vonny in the City. The show's sizzle reel will premier January 23rd via my website VonnyTheKenDoll.Com. Full length episodes from the first season will be featured on a large Canadian network, but I can't comment right now. We're still in negotiations, but catfights? Yes. Tears? Yes. Celebrity secrets? Definitely! The show basically follows me and my staff, as we take over the city's media scene. It showcases a lot of the operational aspects of my company: days at the office, planning interviews; attending fashion shows, concerts, and events, arranging photoshoots, and - of course - operating my live studio talk show.The viewer really gets a behind-the-scenes look at my life, and what goes into building and operating a multi-media company. They get to see firsthand the tension and drama between a large team of assistants, photographers, website content writers, and more. They'll also get to see the negotiations between a-list artists, and myself as we handle interview bookings and joint deals. I think the easiest comparison to Vonny: In The City would be the Gossip Girl series - only more entertainment industry interaction and, of course, real life!
V.B. Who have you interviewed so far? Who would you say was your best, worst, or most memorable interview, and why? Were you surprised about anything you've learned about these celebs from these interviews?
V.S. Oh, boy. I've done so many interviews at this point. We've done everyone from MTV and Bravo Networks, to Playboy, to music and fashion. I would have to say my best interview was with Janine Jarman from Bravo's Sheer Genius Season 3 series. She's a famous celebrity hairstylist who has worked with stars like Gweneth Paltrow and Lil'Kim. I interviewed her right after her wedding, which was covered by People. She was the least favourite cast member of the show due to what some called a bad attitude, but I had a total different experience with her. We really hit it off. I love that girl and can't wait to visit her salon the next time I'm in California. I think we hit it off so well, because we're just so alike. I could understand her without scrutinizing her personality. She's just a no-apologies, upfront and in-your-face kind of person - and I can relate to that. As far as my worst interview goes, hmmm, that's a tough one. I love working and sitting down with people and artists from all walks of life, so there's never really a "bad" interview in my books. However, you do get those occasional interviewees who do nothing but give one word answers, because they're so nervous. That's always a little difficult, but I'm such a ball of energy that they tend to quickly get over that and become comfortable with me right away. I'd have to say I was most surprised by my Jersey Shore interview with Samantha K. She gave me some secret information about the rest of the Jersey Shore cast that just made me want to dig deeper.
V.B. Going back to the drama - on any one of your shows - could you clue us into any really defining moments that would make us want to watch more?
V.S. Oh yeah. For sure! Even in the show's sizzle reel, you'll get a lot of that. I think one defining moment was when I showed up late to a fashion show and had my front row seats given away. There was a whole lot of drama around that situation. You'll even see me fire one of my assistants in the promotional trailer. I generally have a rule: If I'm not front row, I don't go. A lot of people think of that as me being a diva, but it's actually not. When I go to cover an event, I bring an entourage. I travel with photographers, a camera crew, and a promotional team, who are all used to capture the best footage and interviews, as well as promote the event I'm at. Having said that, the minute I walk through the door, there is an automatic cost to my company. Not to mention I'm interviewing the artist or public figure heading the event and giving them very valuable promotion via my website and large social networking fanbases. I mean, altogether we're talking about an audience of nearly one hundred thousand. On Twitter alone, we have about 40 or 50 thousand fans and followers. So in a nutshell, when I'm doing all of these things for an artist or for an event, the least they could do is give me adequate accomodation. It's not a diva thing; it's a mutual industry respect. The press deserves special treatment. Period. No questions asked. The last thing you want is Vonny The Ken Doll at your event, being treated unprofessionally, having a bad experience, and then going back and tweeting/writing about it. That automatically ruins your reputation and damages your ability to sell yourself or product. I'm a very influential figure. I can either be a benefit or a detriment to you. You'll get to see these types of situations unfold during Vonny: In The City.
V.B. Of course, you also own VonnyTheKenDoll.com - how do you conduct your research? Without divulging any blogging secrets, what advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into entertainment blogging or journalism?
V.S. You know this is a question I get asked quite often actually. VonnyTheKenDoll.Com has an entire team of story contributors who stay on top of all of the latest gossip in Hollywood and our native city of Toronto. We have a very TMZ style newsroom approach to our web content. The contributors have weekly target meetings with me where they pitch story ideas and topics. If I like them, I write about them; if I don't, they get scrapped. There are definitely a lot of steps up-and-coming bloggers need to take if they're expecting to build a successful blog or online print source. Our world is becoming more and more tech-based each year. Did we think we'd be able to access our social networking pages through our mobile phones, five or six years ago? It would have sounded like a miracle. In 2012, over 2 billion of the world's 7 billion people will be online. Blogging is becoming the ideal career for those who want a voice, and based off of those numbers, there is definitely a clear market. But, amateur bloggers need to ask themselves, "What can I do to stand out?" It's a very competitive market, and garnering success is not as simple as creating a pretty blog and jotting down your opinions. You yourself need to be just as much of a celebrity as the people you're writing about, in terms of having a presence. That's the first bit of advice I'd give to those wanting to pursue a career in this industry, but you are very right. These tips are definitely secret, and I can't divulge too many of them. I will be writing a book soon though, so you'll have all of the tips you need at your fingertips soon enough.
V.B. Who can we plan to see on The Vonny Show?
V.S. You can plan to see any and everybody under the sun. I have very strong relationships - both locally and abroad - so no one is off limits. As much as I've interviewed public figures from large productions and labels, I would also like to work with up-and -coming talent. This is why you've seen me do an interview with someone from, say, Jersey Shore, and then a little while later, do one with a local artist or rapper. I have a great eye for talent and won't deny it when I find it. My dream interview would be Lil'Kim or Donald Trump.
V.B. Do you guys plan on producing any more shows (whether it be your own or other people's) in Vonny Productions? What kinds of content would you include? Reality shows, talk shows...what about fictional shows or movies?
V.S. Oh yes, for sure. Vonny Productions is definitely something that we will continue to build over the next few years. No matter who I sign with, I'll still be keeping my title as executive or associate producer throughout the project. I mean, to this point, we've really worked magic and have done a great job for a first project production company. However, I'm not naive and do realize the important of bringing a more experienced company on board for Vonny: In The City. There are certain elements to a production that only experience can teach, and that is invaluable. At the present time, we're just continuing work on both my live studio talk show and reality series. We just got an offer for a music video as well. Beyond that, I'd have to say let's just wait and see what else the future has in store. I do see more reality shows for us, though - as well as documentary style filming. I just have a keen sense for developing emotionally strong pieces, and I personally feel you can do that best through real life.
V.B. Artistically speaking, you seem quite versatile. You even have experience in musical theatre and musical critiquing. Tell us a bit more about that. What would you say is your favourite or least favourite genre/album/song/artist, and why?
V.S. Oh, one thousand percent! That's something I think a lot of people don't know about me. Artistically speaking, I've done everything: music, theatre, writing, etc. What separates me from the millions of other people who say they have experience in those fields is the level in which I participated in them at. A lot of people say they can sing, act, or write, but I have legitimate training and credentials in these fields. At the age of 8, I was in vocal lessons at the Royal Conservatory, and by 12, I had started acting landing principal roles in stageplays like The Nutcracker and The Lion King. That's why in my interview with 103.9, the interviewee labelled me as a "child star." I've been in the industry ever since I was a little child. I also had published literature from the poetry genre by the age of 15. It is this exact experience that qualifies me to judge music and talent, hence my doing so many of the music reviews at VonnyTheKenDoll.Com. A lot of people assume I'm just a blogger with something to say; however, that assumption is very wrong. I'm well-versed in all genres and have the experience to match. I'm a critic with a respected opinion. My favourite genre of music is - of course - pop, and second would be hip hop. If I'm judging a pop single, I'm looking for strong vocals, and of course something that is commercially viable. If it's a hip hop single, I'm looking for flow, delivery, lyrical content, and punchlines. I have no least favourite genre. Vonny The Ken Doll listens to everything (laughs). My favourite album and artist would have to be Lil'Kim and her 2000 album Notorious K.I.M. Favourite song? Hmmm. I'm going to have to pick my own theme song from the show! (laughs)Yeah, the Vonny: In The City theme song written and recorded by an artist named Mike Black. Least favourite song: I have too many to list!
V.B. You also appeared on the TV program Scare Tactics. Describe your role on the show.
V.S. My role in Scare Tactics was simple: The unsuspecting idiot (laughs). About a year ago, I was pranked on that same show by one of my cousins. I don't know what came of the actual episode, but I do know I was scared out of my witts! I ran probably about 6 blocks and left the entire production scene in attempt to get away from some the people who were chasing me. They all later turned out to be actors! I was so upset, but nonetheless, I ended up calming down and meeting all of the producers and production staff backstage. They were all very professional and showed me a great time. One thing they said was, had the situation been real, I would have survived and gotten away! They were shocked at how quick my survival skills kicked in, because I outsmarted them into thinking I had to use the washroom before fleeing the scene (laughs).
V.B. All the exposure you've attained - your website being featured in the National Post, etc. Would you say Lake Shore facilitated any of your success in a sense, or would you attribute your built fan base to your own strategy of social networking and word of mouth? Speaking of Lake Shore, what ended up going on with that?
V.S. I don't really want to answer that question, to be honest. I mean, common sense dictates that Lake Shore gave me a platform to get my character out there, but I wouldn't say that everything I have today was because of Lake Shore - because it's one thing to get your foot in the door, but it's another to keep it there - and that's what I've done. Since then I've carved out my own lane. Vonny The Ken Doll is an entire brand now, and I owe that to nobody but myself. I've hosted nightclubs and events, had cameos on other shows, appeared in papers like the National Post, have been interviewed at radio stations, etc. I even have a jewelry line coming out this Spring through an American company called NB'S Closet. I've worked hard and fought all the way to the top. I don't know what happened to Lake Shore. I heard it got cancelled, but I don't really follow news unless it's pertinent.
V.B. Would you say your comparisons to Perez Hilton are somewhat valid?
V.S. No, I don't think they're all that valid at all, to be honest. Perez is definitely someone who has created a successful pop culture website in the world, and I commend him on that. But, Vonny The Ken Doll is NOT the next Perez Hilton. I have a live studio talk show with a live audience, an online print source, as well as a production company and reality television show. What I have is a multimedia brand. I've also studied journalism in an accredited post secondary institution. My work transcends just "blogging." Not to mention, people take my work seriously; they don't just read my material to laugh or make fun of me.
V.B. Last but certainly not least, there's the drama off screen. Your personal life - family, friends? Any boyfriends or boy toys? (Hope that's not too much of a personal question). Do we see any of this on your reality show, and how "real" is any of it or how much of the reality is depicted?
V.S. Of course, how could we forget? An interview is just not complete with a little bit of the personal information, right? (laughs) You know, early on, I learned that making a presence in this industry meant bringing attention to your family as well. When I did Canada's Jersey Shore spinoff, there was a lot of talk. My family was constantly asked questions by their peers and relatives. Sometimes, that kind of attention becomes stressful or unwanted when you're simple folk. I come from a family of good ol' Canadians, so to speak. They're simple people who make livings, pay taxes, and raise their children. They don't have any desire for the spotlight. So because of that, I don't like to talk about my family too much or drag them into anything. Despite not wanting attention, they're 100% supportive of everything I do, so there's no drama in my family at all. They know this is what I want to do with my life, and they're there with me every step of the way proud. Friends are another story. Ever since my brand has taken off, I've lost and gained tons of friends. It seems as if the higher up you get, the less and less real friends you have. I can't speak for everybody else working in this industry, but a lot of my friends started to change - and I guess - showed their real colours. People become jealous easily, and jealousy has no place in a good friendship. At this point, I'm only interested in meeting genuine people who don't have hidden agendas or ulterior motives. Relationships? (Laughs). I love the way you worded that! Now unfortunately, I can't really give you much here, and that's not because it's too much of a personal question; but, it's more of the same situation with my family. Not everyone you encounter or come across is comfortable with having their life depicted on camera for thousands of people. What I will say is I am in a relationship. I am very much taken (laughs), but by someone who doesn't wish to be featured on camera. That's something that I respect and understand whole heartedly. Having said that, you won't see my personal relationships on camera, but you will see some brief day-to-day events and activities with my family now and again. To answer your last question, the show is 100% real. I mean, I won't lie; certain events are chosen for production purposes, certain locations and times etc., but the daily operations and communication between the characters are very real!