As CelebMix celebrates its fifth anniversary, we as a team have found ourselves feeling all kinds of nostalgic, as we look back and reminisce on everything we have achieved together over the last 5 years!
Whether it be re-reading some of our past interviews, reflecting on the reasons why we love our favourite celebrities or re-calling all of the incredible events we have been fortunate enough to attend, it has truly been a magical ride so far…
To commemorate this milestone occasion, we sat down with the man who made all of this happen – the founder and creator of CelebMix, Jack to talk about the sites beginnings, his love of all things celebrity and pop culture and his hopes for CelebMix in the future…
Can you cast your mind back to the day the site launched, and remember how you felt as CelebMix went live for the very first time?
I can! I’d already launched a site called JackCrute.com and had enlisted the help of a couple of other celebrity enthusiasts to write content and update the social media pages, but it felt weird that they were writing for a website under my name. I decided that JC needed a new name and played around with different ideas; one was Gossip Bubble, which I’m glad we didn’t stick with as CelebMix isn’t really about gossip – we only share news and positivity.
What was your initial idea/inspiration in wanting to create a entertainment based website?
I’ve been building websites and writing articles since I can remember; back when I was 12 years old I had a few websites and I’d blog about my life. CelebMix was born out of my love for writing and celebrity culture, and also because I was studying Journalism at University and it was a great way to hone my craft. I figured pretty quickly that if I wrote news articles every day, lots of other budding writers would want to do the same, and encouraged people to join me.
Growing up had you always been into celebrity and pop culture?
Always! I joined Twitter in 2008 and I think that definitely got me hooked on celebrity culture – with musicians like Lady Gaga using digital to launch their careers. It was an exciting time to be a fan – every tweet or YouTube video gave a hint at a new song or performance. I’m kind of an old man now; I don’t really follow the charts or pop culture as much as I used to, partly because I’m older and partly because I’m too busy to sit and watch 12 hours of celebs doing interviews every day (interviews are my favourite), but I still dip my toe in with CelebMix.
CelebMix was born out of my love forJack on the inspiration behind his decision to launch of a brand new
writing and celebrity culture!
pop culture website back in 2015
In the beginning, did you have a team of people to help you run things?
I started JC on my own but quickly recruited a few volunteer writers to help me write news articles and ideas. I always remember when I was starting out with celebrity news, I found a leaked version of Cher Lloyd’s Swagger Jagger and shared it on my site. Within a few hours I’d had thousands of new visitors and hundreds of new followers on Twitter and it got me really excited about reaching people and building a brand. That’s what inspired CelebMix.
Can you remember the first article you wrote or interview you did, and can you tell us a little bit about it?
My first “proper” interview was with one of my favourite bands, Alphabeat. I was too scared to do it over the phone or Skype so I sent them my questions via email, and when they got back to me I was so excited. Before that, I was reaching out to small independent artists and bands to interview them and feature their music, which really helped me get to grips with working with PR companies, speaking to musicians, and being able to get into the mindset of their fanbase pretty quickly. Sometimes you have to interview people you don’t care about, but every question has to be relevant and right; you have to put in the effort or it’s pointless.
Alphabeat – Fascination | Official Music Video
Was there a turning point where you’ve thought ‘wow, we’re really onto something here!’
I think when CelebMix started growing within the first few months of its launch and we were posting upwards of 50-100 articles a day and attracting 100,000s of visitors; it exploded at the time when One Direction were on their fourth album campaign. And being able to build a team of editors and writers who help keep the site running smoothly; they’re the people who do the hard work and have made CelebMix what it is. Some are celebrating their fourth or fifth year this year on the site, and I’m always inspired by their passion and commitment.
Do you have any standout moments from over the last 5 years, when you’ve almost been taken aback by either an event the site has covered, an artist that’s been interviewed or a particular exclusive the team have managed to secure?
Every mention from a celebrity or retweet from someone famous is a standout, but for me, seeing CelebMix show up on a TV advert for Busted’s new album was a real “what the hell” moment. Having Cheryl and Little Mix acknowledge us and tell us they love what we do and our positive stance on celebrity news was lovely, too.
Something else that makes me really proud is when our writers go on to work in celebrity journalism; we’ve had people go to the BBC, ITV, OK! Magazine, Refinery29, and more. The truth is that CelebMix is always going to be a passion project and something we all do on the side, but when it helps people pivot towards a career in journalism, that’s really exciting.
I’m also super proud of our work with The Cybersmile Foundation – being able to partner with an organisation that shares the same values as us is so important.
Cliche question, but which artist/celebrity would you LOVE to interview?
As a group, we’ve ticked off some amazing names, but I’d personally love to interview Lady Gaga, as I think CelebMix shares a lot of her values – and she’s my favourite! As a site, I’d love it if we could chat with some of the 1D boys; a lot of our writers started out on CelebMix because of their love of 1D, so it would be full-circle to have one (or all!) do an interview for us.
5 years in, how would you describe your role within the world of CelebMix now?
I’m a lot more “behind the scenes” now than I was. I work in marketing so I spend most of my day writing articles and find it hard to do the 9-5 and then write for CelebMix on top. It’s a goal of mine this year, though, to get back into celebrity writing and be a bit more hands-on.
What do you hope to achieve with CelebMix over the next 5 years?
I want us to keep going, bring in more budding celebrity journalists who want to develop their skills and enjoy the perks of writing for us, like doing interviews, getting freebies, attending premieres and listening parties. It’s so sad to see great youth brands like Sugarscape, Now Mag, Maximum Pop and Buzzfeed News go; it’s really hard to monetise journalism when everything’s available for free. As much as I’d love it, I don’t think CelebMix will ever become a profit-making business or have its own office, but that’s okay – as long as we keep going!
I also promised an editors meet-up – we’ve been working together for five years and I owe them a drink! We’d planned a trip to London to see a show, but coronavirus hit and I can’t imagine anything will happen this year. Maybe aim for a big CelebMix party in 2021!?
Dear Jack, on behalf of everyone at CelebMix, past and present, we would like to thank you for everything you have done to provide us with this incredible platform that allows us to do what we love! CONGRATULATIONS to you on FIVE AMAZING years – here’s to the next 5…