Sea of Shoes’ Jane Aldridge became the subject of heated criticism last week when a Texas Monthly profile on her went viral. Certain quotes (like the one where she says “Why should I go to college?”) and certain anecdotes (like when she expressed her disdain for wearing a Splendid brand t-shirt), especially when taken out of context, had fashion blogs buzzing and commenters crying “mean girl.”
Jane Aldridge first responded to the controversy last week in a blog post, which called out NY Mag’s The Cut specifically for writing an “out-of-context” and “below-the-belt” take on the Texas Monthly profile. Now she’s spoken out again, this time to ABC News of all places.
“I don’t think NY Mag or Texas Monthly expected my response,” Aldridge told ABC News in an email. “I’m in an unusual position where I have my own platform to speak for myself. Most of their targets are not in this position.”
Aldridge was apparently unfazed by The Cut’s most recent rebuttal to her rebuttal (seriously, how out of hand has this thing gotten), which pointed out that the quotes they used, which the blogger called “blatantly made up,” were in fact taken directly from Texas Monthly, “an extremely reputable publication with a vigorous fact-checking process.” They have a point.
Still, Aldridge is sticking by her post, telling ABC news: “Following my rebuttal, there was a lot of backlash to their snarky, unprofessional tone and poor research.” She also noted that she’s since received a myriad of kind messages from supporters on Facebook and Twitter.
As for Jason Sheeler, the Texas Monthly writer who started this whole thing, Aldridge remains more sympathetic–albeit skeptical of his motives. “I’m not angry with him,” she said. “He wrote the story he thought people wanted to hear. I’m afraid he knew the story he wanted to write before I even opened my mouth.” Pretty savvy for a twenty-year-old who has never had a “real” job, nor attended college.
And that’s the thing: Aldridge, for all her faults, is pretty wise (and understanding) when it comes to all this media attention. “I have to know that these kinds of things come with the territory and I’d like to be a good sport about it,” she said. “It’s strange to have your very character called into question by people who don’t even know you, but that’s the Internet for you!” Indeed.