Drew Barrymore is growing her resumé. The actor/producer/director/beauty entrepreneur/businesswoman has most recently started veering towards the Gwyneth Paltrow lifestyle guru route. Though instead of launching her own site, she’s developing columns for others, building her personal brand with a little editorial work.
Refinery29 announced Thursday that Barrymore would be joining its large editorial staff as an editor-at-large. “We originally reached out to Drew and her team because we were looking to bring a few new, less-expected voices to Refinery29, and thought she could be an incredible addition and complement to our team of editors,” Refinery editor in chief Christene Barberich wrote to us in an email. “Through previous coverage on our site, we knew that Drew had a strong impact for our audience — they really respond to her — so we thought, why not create a direct channel to them.”
Of course, editor-at-large is one of the vaguest job titles in the biz, but we’re told it will entail Barrymore writing how-to pieces and op-eds, with no real constraints around the topics she’ll discuss, as long as they relate to her own life.
“It could range from everyday stuff, like organizing your closet, to larger world issues about which she feels passionate,” said Barberich. For instance, Barrymore’s first piece, which went live today, is titled “The Drew Barrymore Breakfast Sandwich You’ll Want Every Morning“. And while we can all probably agree that three pages is too long for a breakfast sandwich recipe (the first two detail her failed attempts at learning how to cook, and include phrases like “treat yourself to a morning moment” and “cheese, which I eyeballed in my fridge when this sandwich lightbulb went off”), it does sound like a pretty good sandwich. The piece is also very well-produced, with professionally styled photos that make us wonder how involved Barrymore actually gets — after all, who has the time? But apparently, she’s pretty in the mix.
“Drew’s a great collaborator, and really cares about every little detail of her features, from the photography and prop styling to headlines. It’s important to us that each post really feels like an easy conversation with her and a true expression of her style,” Barberich explained, adding that Barrymore will also “take into account [readers'] feedback as she advises the brand and develops content for the site.” Which we guess means if there’s anything you want to see on Refinery29, put it in the comments section. Barrymore is on it.
The news comes just three months after it was announced that Barrymore had joined Brides as the magazine’s first celebrity beauty columnist. Her column, “Ask Drew” — which is on newsstands now in the February/March issue — allows readers to get her advice on wedding beauty conundrums. (You can email her at [email protected] if you have some.)
Barrymore seems set on coming across as down-to-earth and relatable. “I’m not fabulous,” she declares in her sandwich story. And this is likely part of a larger brand-building strategy. She’s put a lot into her mass-market beauty line, Flower, and perhaps wants to round that out by establishing herself as something of a fun, relatable expert in the lifestyle realm. She’ll also likely be promoting her products through those channels. Barberich says that there “may be instances where she may reference her own line in her beauty-specific posts as well as other beauty products.” Of course, Barrymore could also have a genuine interest in writing — let’s not discount that.
In a larger context, we wonder how far this celebrity-as-digital-editor trend will go. Miranda Kerr now contributes to PopSugar, Blake Lively recently announced that she was working on a lifestyle site of her own and Gwyneth Paltrow practically has a full-on e-commerce business growing on GOOP. Lauren Conrad also contributes to Refinery, and Barberich said she would not count out hiring more celebrity contributors in the future. In an age when everyone wants to be a blogger, and when blogging can be quite lucrative, we guess it makes sense. And it’s likely pretty easy for certain celebrities — already admired for their style, with plenty of access and a pre-existing fan base — to get into the game.