Hey look, here I am posing with a bunch of awards that don't belong to me. Their rightful owner is Greg Lansky, the Instagram-famous porn director I profiled for Rolling Stone, but over the years I've racked up a few awards of my own (they're just not as cool looking — oh, and also they're for journalism, not porn). My reporting on "Dirty Girls," a high school documentary that went viral on YouTube decades later; "Dancing Man," an average dude who became an Internet celebrity after being bullied online; and The Pistol Shrimps, LA's weirdest, funniest — and for a time, its only — women's recreational basketball league, have all earned top honors at the LA Press Club's Southern California Journalism Awards.
Maybe it's because I'm from LA, but I've always been fascinated by fame and celebrity — not necessarily the tabloid stories, but the more unusual, trickier stories about what happens when an otherwise unknown woman becomes famous for rejecting Jon Hamm, how a tiny hamster transformed into a bona fide YouTube star, and why a couple of Australian reality TV stars decided to sell their house and live in a van. A former staffer at LA Weekly, LA magazine, and LAist.com, I write frequently about subcultures and about fandom: furry fandom, Weird Al fandom, beauty salon fandom, OJ Simpson fandom, and — yes, this is a thing — Sears department store fandom. The Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association even gave me an Ursa Major award for my VICE investigation into a chlorine gas attack at a furry convention.
My reporting has taken me to the far reaches of the Mojave Desert and the Angeles National Forest, where I interviewed locals with names like Trash and Moldy Marvin (their stories were just as great as you might expect). I'm interested in investigating all of the ways we live — and can barely afford to live in Los Angeles — as cab drivers and sex workers, and as puppeteers and psychedelic integration coaches. Occasionally, editors have hired me to profile celebrities you've probably heard of — Ruby Rose, Moshe Kasher, Aloe Blacc — and maybe some others you haven't, including more than a few porn stars. But in case any of that somehow sounds glamorous, here are some other things I've done in the name of journalism: danced at a club at 6:30 am, stuck an IV in my arm to cure a hangover, biked 17 miles to the Emmys in a cocktail dress, spent the weekend on the shores of a toxic lake, and dissected armpit smells in a t-shirt sniffing class. And those are just the highlights.