Brave New World

Do you know the difference between a niche celebrity and a micro-celebrity? Do you even know what either one is? Sarah Austin, a niche celebrity herself, took to the streets of Manhattan recently to ask people if they knew the distinctions, with not much success. Most of the people she asked didn’t seem to know the definitions, nonetheless the difference. As media continues its gradual shift into ever increasing digital territory, creating spaces for micro-communities based upon shared interests, not only will more people most likely be able to answer the question, but undoubtedly more people will know who Sarah Austin is. Raised in Northern California, Sarah got her start crashing tech and venture capital parties in Silicon Valley and posting her exploits on YouTube. For a random example that I like, check out this video of her at the McDonalds drive-through wearing an Optimus Prime helmet and pearls. Today, her hijinks are more refined as she hosts web series where she discusses all things tech-related (and sometimes not) for both Pop17 and There are also over 200 videos covering various subjects on her socialcam profile. In addition to all that, she is one of the stars of Bravo’s new reality show Start-Ups: Silicon Valley documenting the tech culture in the Bay Area. Here, Sarah gave us some advice on advice on how to fashion a successful internet personality.

Katherine Krause: How has the experience been so far starring in Startups: Silicon Valley produced by Randi Zuckerberg?
Sarah Austin: She’s someone who knows what it’s like to see a startup from birth to IPO, as she did with her time at Facebook, alongside her brother Mark. I wanted to be documented as part of a cultural movement and startup culture exploding in Silicon Valley right now and saw this as a unique opportunity to work with a woman in tech I admire, Randi, supporting other women in tech. As the show began filming I learned there’s so much more to it with Bravo in the mix and that cat fights were much more the focus than the actual startup process. It’s a shame that we couldn’t have filmed deeper content of women actually supporting other women in business because there was much more of that going on that wasn’t captured.

Katherine: What are your top three tips to Instagram?
Sarah: I’m a huge fan of documenting my every day because my friends can follow my life through pics. I like to take a snap on my way the office, shopping at the farmers market, or when I’m out with friends. The first thing I like to do is try a mixing different angles, close ups and long shots. Mix it up and snap every other pic with a new approach. Second, follow other people. Try to follow and interact with at least 200 people that inspire you. Try to spend more time being interested in others and less time trying to look interesting. And finally, take photos with hot people. Like that one time I took a photo with Lana Del Rey; all people like to look at sexy people.

Katherine: What’s your inside trick to Facebook, besides being close to Randi Zuckerberg?
Sarah: When keeping up to date on Facebook with followers and friends, it’s important to stay current and change up my profile picture often. It’s not easy having the perfect facebook profile, but with a few tricks you can look irresistible to more people checking you out. First, try to take photos at a distance. Have you ever noticed how much more attractive people look through a lens from afar? Avoid the Myspace high angle close up bathroom shot; they were big a decade ago and no one on Facebook posts them anymore. Try to get sweet lighting in your photo- it’s when the light is directional at a vertical angle instead of overhead like the sun. Best natural light is in the morning at sunrise and at sunset.

Katherine: Are you upset with Randi Zuckerberg for portraying you in a negative light on TV?
Sarah: You know, we are collaborating on something that’s documenting a cultural movement as Silicon Valley collides with Hollywood. I’m pretty excited to expand my reach and be part of something unique at a moment in time that’s captivating Bravo programming. I decided to join on and do the TV show in order to expand my reach beyond Pop17. It was an experience! If Mike Judge and HBO came to me and asked me to star in their new TV comedy, Silicon Valley, I’d say yes.

All Images by Mark J. Davis Styling: Jen Michalski. Hair/ Make-up: Ananda Khan

Top Image and bottom image:Dress by Eva Franco, Sweater by 525 America, Belt by Sonia Rykiel, Ring by Pamela Love, Cuff by Stephen Dweck, Earrings by Stephen Dweck.

Middle Image: Top by Rag & Bone, Jeans by J Brand, Shoes by Missoni, Necklace by Stephen Dweck, Ring by Stephen Dweck


  1. Posted January 4, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Love the photos! Well done. xo

  2. Anon
    Posted January 4, 2013 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    Where was this photoshoot?

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