While Hollywood’s images present a veneer of fantasy for some, the work to create such images is far from escapism. In Manufacturing Celebrity: Latino Paparazzi and Women Reporters in Hollywood (Duke University Press, 2020), anthropologist Vanessa Díaz examines the raced and gendered hierarchies and inequalities that are imbricated within the work of producing celebrity in Los Angeles, CA. Díaz’s ethnography follows reporters and paparazzi to examine their everyday practices of work and labor that bring celebrity images and stories into being on the pages of celebrity magazines. Grounded in media workers’ perspectives and everyday life, this book carefully situates Latino paparazzi and women reporters in relationship to the particular vulnerabilities that they face. For example, Díaz traces a shift in the demographic of the paparazzi from white men to Latino men, and with it a significant shift in the tone of insults levied against them. Women reporters remain vulnerable to sexual harassment and other dangers in carrying out their work. Hollywood presents itself to its audience through its carefully crafted films, images, and stories. Díaz’s work troubles this facade by centering the work and challenges of the everyday laborers who produce it.
Vanessa Díaz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies at Loyola Marymount University.
Reighan Gillam is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Southern California.