Beauty bloggers slammed as hairy armed copy cats: UK magazines show their true colours

By Aisling | December 22 2011 | 128 Comments

A beauty blogger prepares swatches

Ah she had to be having a laugh didn’t she?  Otherwise it was an absolutely incredible unprovoked attack on beauty bloggers.  The venom that was released in this  post from makeup artist Kay Montano showed a serious lack of understanding of how social media works and the democracy of blogging.

It wasn’t the story she was telling which was fairly mundane.  Apparently a PR agency sent out incorrect information in a press release about some work she’d done which was then replicated around the web.  Big deal.  Get over it – it happens all the time.  Not the bloggers fault – blame the PR agency.

And then there was some ranting about going to launches and seeing – horror – bloggers at it!  Getting free stuff!  Well again. Get over it.

They provide tons of coverage for brands.  Mountains of it.  That’s why they’re invited.  Sorry if you don’t like it.

The most hilarious part of the post  was the patronising and superior way in which she divided beauty bloggers into two camps.  (She had stupid names for them both)  One is better than the other apparently – because one set writes for magazines.  The other set swatch lipsticks onto their hairy arms – and who would want to see that?

Who would want to see an un-photoshopped view of an eyeshadow or lipstick shade on real skin in natural light?  Literally millions of people it would appear, from the traffic we get collectively.

Now here’s the thing.  Traffic to beauty blogs is huge and growing every day.  Magazine sales are declining.  Magazines recruit bloggers to write for them.  No magazine website or blog has ever been able to come close to the success of the best beauty blogs despite pumping huge money and resources online.

It’s not happening.  But it got worse.  Comments and tweets agreeing and sneering at bloggers followed thick and fast by the magazine industry.  Only a month before Cosmo had run Bloggers Awards “Aimed at celebrating the crème de la crème of the blogging community”: however who did we spy wading in but the beauty editor of Cosmo, Inge van Lotringen @cosmobeautyboss, retweeting her agreement in response to the following?  When the beauty editor of Hello magazine (not actually noted for its beauty coverage) and Beauty presenter of ITV’s This Morning, tweeted “Kay is not only a very talented makeup artist – she speaks the truth”, she began a smug little bitchfest among magazine eds, leaving a really really bad taste in many peoples mouths.

It reminds me a little of the time Alexa Chung showed her distaste for fashion bloggers in Vogue – the very people who had arguably made her so famous.

Irish magazines are a bit different thank goodness.  They don’t go in for this wholesale nasty crap that the whole of the UK media is infested with, so we’ve been able to sit back and watch the drama unfolding.  It’s a shame really because it could have been so different for Kay Montano.  She could have launched her blogging career by doing what she does best – makeup.  Raised her profile, gathered thousands of new fans and taken the opportunity to learn how to engage.  Instead she has alienated with her arrogance.

Oh well.  Another one bites the dust.

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128 Replies to "Beauty bloggers slammed as hairy armed copy cats: UK magazines show their true colours"

  • Well said, Aisling. I read this piece with sheer disbelief at Kay’s snobbery and her perceived entitlement to that snobbery.

    It was both offensive and hypocritical for her to accuse the majority of beauty bloggers as illiterate scroungers, while going on to make up her own offensive adjectives but then to insinuate that everyone that disagreed saw themselves as being attacked?

    What a deluded, arrogant woman. I especially enjoyed Jane’s comments on the article.

    I do think, though the following support by magazine editors and people of ‘influence’ is even more worrying. Do these people not know that they’re working in an ailing trade?

  • Kirstie says:

    Yes, I agree. I would have known Kay Montano’s name as an editorial makeup artist and been very interested in her new blog as a result, hoping that she’d be a new Lisa Eldridge, someone who gets it oh-so-right.

    But you can’t enter someone else’s sphere, castigate them for what you think they do wrong, and try to pull the ladder up after you – it just doesn’t work that way, and you’ll swiftly find out why.

    I also think Ms Montano did have an axe to grind from day 1 and before this unfortunate post appeared, if you read her bio it’s quite apparent. I’d been reading the site before the unfortunate www post anyway – and had the same feeling. Like she wanted to ‘show us how it was done’. By all means, please do, we can all learn and strive to do better – but this isn’t the way to go about it.

  • fififinx says:

    I think the mag eds know full well they’re in a failing industry – and they are well aware that the reason their circulation is dropping is due to blogs and social media. There are several reasons for this: Magazines assume everyone has huge amounts of disposable income and time to go buying the products of whichever house is giving the sweetest kickback that month; they are not updated very often; they cost a lot to buy if you’re only interested in 1 or 2 articles; they generate a lot of waste; bloggers are more accessible and interactive; bloggers understand that real women are not a size 0 who has nothing better to do than have facials and pout in perfect lighting conditions all day. They also tend not to descend to bitchiness the minute they feel their oh-so-perfectly-preserved selves are under threat.
    After all, how can one afford a facelift a year if one’s sinecure disappears?

  • legalyblonde says:

    I cant read the original post at all…

  • 100% Fifinix, 9 times out of 10 if I’m thinking of making a purchase I’ll check out swatches and reviews on blogs on vlogs – semi naked models, dry humping jaguars in editorial shots just don’t have the same honesty I find.

  • ArtDonatella says:

    The link to Kay’s post gives an error, just to let yous know :)…

  • Kirstie says:

    fixed now – apologies!

  • Aisling says:

    Oh that’s just SO typical of bloggers! To be getting link error and all that – obviously we are no good at cutting and pasting either!

  • I was just so bewildered that she actually hit publish on the fecking thing. Come on, what was she thinking?

    And as you’ve said Aisling, Kay’s original issue should’ve been with the PR agency that sent out the wrong information.

  • ~Thalia~ says:

    Hmm, couldn’t finish the piece, it’s so badly written.

    I can only speak from personal experience, I never buy ANYTHING without
    Mucho research on the interweb, most of it blogs a d you tube videos of real ordinary people reviewing the product, hairy arms and all :)

    In truth she sounds like a frequent flyer on the bitter bus.

  • ArtDonatella says:

    @Aisling – Haha, tell me about it – and mind you, you’re one of the great kind who writes books & appears on the telly!

    All I want to say is, and I’ll be totally honest here….I know who Christine from Temptalia is for example, but who the heck is Kay Montano??? :O

    Now I know who she is, cause I googled her & all, but this kinda shows you what REAL people really want, and that is REAL reviews and REAL swatches on ‘hairy arms’…:D

  • Hazie says:

    I think she has spent more time trying to clarify her remarks (ie back-pedal like fck) than she did writing her original post.
    If I were you, girls, I’d remove that link altogether, don’t be sending your traffic to that miserable cow’s site.

  • Stephcie says:

    I read that post the other night and was really shocked at the arrogance and sheer snobbery portrayed by the author. Personally I love reading blogs and the honest and transparent reviews a good blog will provide – most of my research is done through reading blogs and taking a persons opinion on a product or brand – I have said it before that I am in awe of bloggers who dedicate so much of their time to blogging in addition to busy work and family lives – providing genuine and valuable feedback for consumers and brands alike. The advent of social media has provided a platform for people to voice their opinions and essentially this author has the right to do so also – no matter how much it irks people. But the upside of this is that the author has outed herself as elitist and narrow minded and is in essence the author of her own downfall. The positive responses she received from peers in her industry only goes to prove that industry that they once knew is changing for the better and unless they move with the times and embrace and value the new forms of citizen journalism that exists through blogging they will become extinct – they would want to be careful or one day they might find themselves the subject of an advertising campaign looking for people to donate a few pound to stop the extinction of the endangered species that is an old school beauty editor/journalist.

  • Tuttifrutti says:

    I have to agree with kay…There are some truly terrible blogs out there. Both in the grammar and info sense. If people think that attending beauty launches automatically thinks that this entitles them to beauty editor/journalist/artists standard…they are wrong !

  • luberachi says:

    God, that was a frustrating read.

    Not only for her snobbery, but creating the names ‘blaggaz’ and ‘blogeoisie’, which she undoubtedly guffawed about for days on end.

    I’m not a beauty blogger but I am a writer and I know too well the stick you can get with some miniscule error (in this case, the PR company was at fault). But as bloggers, the income wouldn’t allow to pay for the services of a ‘fact-checker’, which she rates so highly.

    With the majority of beauty magazines, they praise the high-priced products because of a professional relationship with a PR company.

    That’s why most or all of my beauty advice would come from the likes of or a lot of Irish magazines. They have a realistic view on price and what ‘normal’ girls are like.

    Well done, Kay on slating the people that will be taking over your job in the next year or so.

    Misjudgment can be forgiven, we’ve all done it, but belittling people for your own snooty needs will be remembered.

  • Lorrrrrraine says:

    Oooh, aisling, well said! You’re like one of those teachers that doesn’t give out often but when they do it’s scary and everyone’s quiet for the rest of the day.

    I didn’t pay too much mind to this, it just seemed like she was pissed off and needed at rant – no idea she was even a bit well known. I feel sort of bad, I’d say she regrets it now.

  • Tuttifrutti says:

    @luberachi: “but creating the names ‘blaggaz’ and ‘blogeoisie’, which she undoubtedly guffawed about for days on end”

    Im pretty sure that the ladies have create many names which are more or less equal to ‘blaggaz’ and ‘blogeoisie’

    testy broader is a prime example where we all here have ‘guffawed’ at the ‘testy broader’ artists orange complexion. The top dogs laugh at us bloggers and we laugh right back at them. Why all the aggro here about it ?

  • gossipgal says:

    Have to say I would much rather read a blog/vlog (video blog???) With up todate info about makeup I can afford/locate/wear than a glossy mag.

  • Aisling says:

    Lorraine – ha! You must be joking, I’m always giving out.

    Seriously these are great comments and it’s really interesting reading everyone’s different take on it.

    To everyone who’d never heard of Kay before – I hadn’t either

  • luberachi says:

    @Tuttifrutti I’m not guffawing about her work. She may think that some people are only in it for the freebies but unfortunately, with those nicknames, she has lumped everyone that writes a beauty blog under the same category.

    It was a bad move for her to alienate a large portion of her fanbase. She’s hit out at the underdog and if The Mighty Duck trilogy taught us anything, we know that that is never the best decision, because like ducks, bloggers fly together.

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