Thursday, March 27, 2008

Marlise Kast--The 'Tabloid Prodigy' Who Sold Her Soul


For a girl who grew up in a conservative home as the daughter of missionaries, ASW member Marlise Kast seemed an unlikely character to wind up a tabloid journalist working for the Globe. But after she finished studying journalism with the dream of becoming a respected journalist, that’s exactly what happened.

Aged 21, fresh on the scene and eager to please, Kast went to incredible and undignified lengths to prove her worth at the Globe, which involved reporting on highly scandalous celebrity stories. Of her work she says, “I wasn’t proud of what I was doing but I was young, aggressive, I loved the adrenaline rush and I was addicted to the business.”

In her recently published novel, Tabloid Prodigy, Kast reveals all the tricks, manipulation and deceit she used to break over 200 stories during her three years as a celebrity reporter. In the novel she describes disguising herself as a jogger to get the scoop on Sharon Stone’s wedding from the security guards, paying off waiters and maids at a hotel to garner evidence in an attempt to prove Leonardo Di Caprio’s bisexuality, and posing as a bride at Barneys to find out whether Jennifer Aniston’s wedding dress was designed by Vera Wang.

Through her novel, Marlise describes coming to the realization that she was “…drastically affecting the lives of people through [her] pen.” She uses the novel as a form of redemption and explains, “I wanted to return to my roots and find my true identity.”

While Marlise has expressed regrets about some of the outcomes of her stories, she explains that she gained a great deal from the experience. “The deadlines were tight, the demands were high and the experiences were unique,” she says. “Every challenge served to strengthen me as a journalist and as a person.”

Marlise no longer works for the tabloids and has redirected her energy towards action sports and travel. Instead of getting her adrenalin rush from exposing the secret lives of celebrities, she gets it from riding a wave or snowboarding down a mountain.

Of the tabloids today, Marlise says, “The most drastic change that I have noticed is the openly symbiotic relationship which now exists between the tabloids and the celebrities with regard to the buying and selling of photographs.” She also comments on the fact that the tabloids are targeting a younger audience, “…featuring younger faces, controversial celebrities and names… that have little to do with show business.” And while Marlise’s memoir,Tabloid Prodigy, reveals her contempt for the methods and objectives of a tabloid reporter, and for what she became, she openly says, “I would do it all again!” But she also qualifies that, “In the end, I found happiness and contentment by getting out of the industry.”

—- Laura Jakobovits

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