Friday, January 26, 2007

Say Hello To Alpha Kitty:

"What I want to do is gather my tribe"—yes, Rubenstein actually says things like this—"the ones reading Seventeen, and the ones who were, and grew out of it." This tribe is 13 to 30, female, thoroughly digital, and, in Rubenstein's view, lacking an "alpha kitty" addressing their concerns and sensibility. What she brings is her big-sister, geek-gone-glam persona. She honed this act editing Seventeen and teen title CosmoGIRL, and now shows it in full plumage in her MySpace blog entries, which are a riot of excessive capitalization and estrogenic display. The ultimate shape of Atoosa Inc. is inchoate, but Rubenstein is certain of one thing. "The next Oprah will not be born on TV," she says. "I left to launch my brand."

These days Rubenstein's parent company is her own Big Momma Productions, which explains the enormous ring that emblazons "big momma" across three fingers, (a gift from her husband, she explains). In a meeting, she says about her audience, without apparent irony: "They are unborn to me, but they're mine." Still, her sense of ownership and her furiously fashionista exterior is often punctured by glimpses of the homespun and deeply idiosyncratic. At a meeting with potential investors she skips PowerPoint in favor of construction paper decorated, grade school project-style, with a crazy-quilt of colored pencil notations. Her first offering may be what she terms her "art project," Psychic Kitty, a series of psychedelicized videos on her MySpace page. They will star her cat Thurston spouting, in Rubenstein's electronically processed voice, brief inspirational tidbits. Rubenstein calls Psychic Kitty "the cat in the family," and she's mum on a debut date: "You know how it is with cats."

11:30 AM