A Suicide Girl’s Stories at The PSFK Conference Los Angeles

George Parker interviews Missy, the founder of Suicide Girls, to understand how she took a different route to create a well loved modern brand. Click To Play KEY POINTS: About Suicide Girls – Suicide Girls started in 2001 as an experiment art project. After the dotcom burst there was nothing to do. I went back […]


KEY POINTS:
About Suicide Girls
- Suicide Girls started in 2001 as an experiment art project. After the dotcom burst there was nothing to do. I went back to school in Portland and started photographing my friends. What we found was that where most models had a vacant look, these girls had a point of view. We decided to take these girls with something to say and put them on the web and give them a platform. We always believed that we should pay the girls if they were on the web.

- With the Suicide Girls, it’s about how they feel so incredible being themselves. Our girls can do anything from the dishes to being tattooed – they have the same confidence than the classic pin ups of the 40s and 50s. We thought it would be popular in Portland (Portland has the most strip clubs and book stores than anywhere else in the world). When we got an email from a bike rider from Spain who made a homemade T Shirt of his bike we realized that its popularity might spread further. Today, we get a million unique visitors a week. Now we have girls on every continent – even Antarctica. We also do a show – Neo-Burlesque. It brings a sense of the Suicide Girls imagery to real life.

- Everything that we’ve done has been selfishly motivated – because we wanted to do it. We first started the interviews because I wanted to give a band I loved more attention. Since then, we interviewed lots of people including Woody Allen.

- There’s an emphasis on content. We always ask if it is good content? We also have two correspondents in Iraq – a reporter that’s reporting back on the issues going on – it’s amazingly to read the real versus the filtered journalism we get on TV. We also have a soldier and we hear his experience and reaction to the views back home.

About community
- The girls keep their own journals. Members keep their own journals and they can upload their own video. And they can create their own groups. They get to gather in real life too.

- We also have a million fans on MySpace and we let them know when we have good content to check out.

Extending the brand
- We moved to LA because we put out our first tour DVD and book and both of the companies working with us were in Los Feliz. We also have clothing (e.g. hoodies) and a magazine – we just self published our second issue. There’s so much of the girls personality on the web and it was a challenge to translate it into print – a medium that is so final.

About advertising
- We want to be selective. We’re adamant. We’ll accept advertising only from brands that the girls are proud or choose to wear. We offer banner ads and news stories but we prefer to work strategically with them.

And the name?
- The name Suicide Girls was inspired by a term used in Chuck Palahniuk’s novel Survivor. Missy says the term describes the girls who are featured on the site who have committed social suicide by deciding to live and look an alternative lifestyle. These girls also dye their own hair, she added.

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