Bonnie Fuller is one of the biggest names in American print media. Well, in fact, it would probably be more accurate to say that Fuller has made even more of a name for herself in the world of digital media. Anyone who works in the field of entertainment, film, or television journalism knows her name. She has served in several high-power positions at some of the most popular and widely recognizable publications in the world.
Bonnie Fuller was born in Toronto, Canada from an upper-middle-class family. Her father was a real estate lawyer, her mother an elementary school teacher. Fuller graduated from Jarvis Collegiate Institute in 1974. From there, she went on to attend the University of Toronto, where she achieved her B.A. in 1977.
It didn’t take Fuller any time at all to begin making waves in the world of entertainment and style reporting. One year after graduating with her B.A., Fuller landed a job as a fashion reporter at the Toronto Star. And only two short years later, she became the editor of the sportswear section of Women’s Daily. By 1983, Fuller had landed her first editor-in-chief position, at Flare magazine – where she only stayed for three years.
After Flare, Fuller went over to YM magazine, also as editor-in-chief. And this is when her career really started to ignite. From there, she created an American version of the popular British publication, Marie Claire magazine. Then, in 1996, Fuller became editor-in-chief at the infamous Cosmopolitan magazine. From ’98 to ’01, she was an editor at Glamour magazine – eventually becoming editor-in-chief at Us Weekly, where she conceived of her signature columns: “Stars are Just Like Us,” “The Buzzometer,” and “Who Wore it Best?” The latter column has been emulated by nearly every entertainment publication since, whenever there is a red-carpet event.
In July of 2003, Fuller was appointed the executive vice president and chief editorial director of American Media Inc. Here, she oversaw 16 weekly, biweekly, and monthly periodicals, such as Star magazine, Shape, Natural Health, Country Weekly, and Men’s Fitness. It is safe to say that Fuller is an ambitious woman.
Her impressive resume and track record of putting out quality tell the tale of someone who never can seem to quite settle. Throughout her career, she wanted more and more, to climb higher and higher. And this resulted in her being asked by a very powerful media magnate to run her very own online publication.
In July of 2009, Jay Penske (of Penske Media) approached Fuller to invite her to relaunch Hollywood Life, a then defunct Hollywood news site. Fuller happily agreed and is, to this day, the site’s president, editor and chief, and a Penske Media Corporation senior advisor. In addition to her duties as editor and president of the online publication, she also hosts the Hollywood Life podcast, available on iTunes.
Fuller has still not let her journalistic spirit die down, though. She is also a frequent contributor to various media outlets, such as Huffington Post, Advertising Age, the Today Show, Good Morning America, Good Day New York, Access Hollywood, Nancy Grace, Fox Digital News, CTV News, CNN New Day, Nancy Grace, Inside Edition, and WPIX. Plus, on Tuesdays, she appears on Sirius XM Radio’s Cosmo Radio. To say that Bonnie Fuller is a busy woman would be an understatement. She just might be the busiest person in the entire entertainment news industry.
Hollywood Life, I would say, looks the part of celebrity-focused entertainment news (bordering on gossip rag) online magazine. I don’t want to be misleading … Hollywood Life is not a tabloid. Far from it. It doesn’t deal at all in blatant falsehoods printed as truth. It does, however, verge on the speculative a bit, the gossipy. And, therefore, the splashy, flashy, hot pink/white / black theme of the site feels appropriate.
The layout, too, seems to work for what Hollywood Life is. The site is not overly text-based, the way that many other news sites tend to be. Instead, the site relies heavily on images of celebrities with short and quippy headlines beneath them – not much text at all, actually, to be found on the home page. This site, at least in its current iteration, clearly caters to the ADHD generation. Even the articles are short and sweet – maybe a few paragraphs tops.
I am not a huge fan of the site’s design, mostly because it is so cluttered and chaotic. The eye has no idea where to land. There is just too much jam-packed color and vibrancy all over the place. I wish the site would simmer down a bit
As I sort of already touched upon, the content varies quite greatly from article to article. Some pieces are merely speculation or gossip regarding the otherwise private lives of celebrities. Others concern politics, opinions, actual entertainment news, etc. So, there is a pretty broad range of what kinds of content can be consumed on Hollywood Life. I can’t imagine many people visit this site, though, to catch up on, say, the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump. Therefore, the majority of the content is geared toward celebrity gossip and what I would call more vapid celebrity news.
Mobile and Desktop Experience
Having just given a breakdown of why I dislike the in-browser site experience, I am happy to report that there is an alternative to be found in the Hollywood Life mobile app. Although it is equally flashy, it is at least slightly less chaotic, a bit more soundly organized and easier to navigate. Everything, every article, is clearly delineated into its own separate section, not too much text is bleeding into the images.
For a primarily image-based site such as Hollywood Life, it would seem as if the app format caters to it much more appropriately than an in-browser site. Click on an image to quickly open a short article, get push notifications on the latest in celebrity news. The app is perfect for Hollywood Life. It would appear as if I am not alone in this opinion either, seeing as the app has received an average rating of 4.7 stars on the Apple App Store.
Pricing and Plans
Hollywood Life does not traffic in the subscription service game whatsoever. So, if you love Hollywood Life, I have great news for you: enjoy it whenever you want to your heart’s content without ever having to pay a dime. Sure, there will be ads, but, hey, nothing is ever truly free, right?
Suggestions that I have for Hollywood Life
I would like to, first of all, see Hollywood Life give their site a bit of a makeover. It is too chaotic, too hard to navigate, too distracting in my opinion. I would suggest that Hollywood Life scale this back a little bit, give us a cleaner, maybe more minimalist approach to reading up on entertainment news.
Also, although it is convenient that you don’t have to register as a user to use Hollywood Life, maybe it wouldn’t hurt to offer some sort of upgrade option. Say, exclusive content, ad-free reading, anything at all. I have a feeling that people who really love Hollywood Life would probably be willing to shell out a few bucks a month in order to get some kind of exclusive, VIP, “red-carpet” treatment.
All in all, Hollywood Life may be just the online publication you’ve been waiting for, so long as celebrity gossip and speculation is your wheelhouse. They have tons of articles, many of which are quick reads – this site is perfect for the celebrity news junkie who, like Bonnie Fuller herself, is always on the go. I am not a huge fan of the flashy and chaotic site design, but maybe that’s just me – after all, the taste is purely subjective. I have a feeling that a lot of people will really love this site, even if it wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea.
And if you just can’t get enough of the inside scoop from the Hollywood Life site and accompanying app, be sure to check out the Hollywood Life podcast, hosted by the one and only, Bonnie Fuller.