An Internet It Girl? Molly McAleer’s Molls Show

[show=mollsshow size=large]The “It Girl” label is one that pops up when no one can quite put their finger on what makes a person worth caring about, despite the fact that her popularity is seemingly effortless. So, how should we define the Internet It Girl? Is she a podcast’s talking head? A startup employee who photographs well? Maybe. But if the whole point of the It Girl’s celebrity isn’t her employment but her public persona, then there’s probably a more direct analog. Truth be told, the Internet It Girl is probably a vlogger.

There is a big ol’ Internet full of young women using video to share their insights with the world, and so it’s noteable that Molly McAleer has gotten the attention of some major web entities — first, the now-defunct Defamer, where McAleer did videos on a wide range of pop culture topics, and now Justine Batemen’s, which is executive producing McAleer’s new official show, The Molls Show.

Beyond a snazzy Tumblr layout, there’s not a lot to differentiate The Molls Show from any other vlog, except that McAleer is a lot more mobile; in tightly-edited segments, McAleer responds to questions, goes on field trips, and in general exposes herself to the outside world. If The Molls Show consisted of nothing but McAleer parading down Hollywood Boulevard in a vagina costume, it might get tiresome, but the stunts are balanced out by more thoughtful pieces — critiquing bad advice books or offering tips on where to find boyfriend-quality boys. She’s comfortable on camera, has a sharp and self-effacing sense of humor, and is unashamed to admit that she wears hair extensions. It’s a nice mix.

It’s easy to imagine disliking McAleer — she’s got a big personality and a little dog and to any Angeleno that’s a red flag for trouble. But, really, Molls Show‘s only major flaw is a lack of consistency. To put it bluntly, the videos she shoots when she’s visibly sober are much better than the videos she shoots when she’s visibly drunk. The advice book video is an example of her at her quick-witted best; this David Holmes interview is much less coherent and fun.

The initial email I got regarding The Molls Show pitched its star as “Edie Sedgwick meets Barbara Walters.” I guess the Sedgwick comparison isn’t baseless, as McAleer was recentlyfeatured in an art film now screening at LACMA. But neither Edie or Barbara got their start as vloggers, or had complete ownership of how their public face was depicted — which is what’s charming about the online presence that is Molls.

If the Internet is there for self-expression, McAleer is en vogue, but it’s not because of the clothes she wears or the parties she attends — it’s the work she does that gives her that je ne sais quoi. Because whether you like her or not, you can’t say you don’t know her.