This paper will examine former supermodel Tyra Banks as a contemporary “celebrity entrepreneur,” focusing on Banks’ recent shift from television persona to multimedia icon within a neoliberal popular culture. I argue that our contemporary new media environment, marked by convergent media texts, self-branding, and interactivity, provides an ideal space for Banks to produce and globally circulate her postfeminist star text. Through her websites, Facebook, and Twitter confessionals, Banks is able to successfully navigate the contradictory discourses that insist female celebrities be both “authentic” selves while maintaining a disciplined, hegemonic femininity that becomes legitimized and naturalized. I conclude that while Banks’ mobilization of a hypervisibility and sense of individual agency generates an authenticity that may resonate with her fans, she remains contained by the neoliberal and postfeminist discourses that allow her to have such a prominent Internet presence. Consequently, this paper serves to raise unexplored questions about the relationship between celebrity culture, postfeminist and neoliberal subjectivities, and new media.
- new media
- convergence culture