to Atlanta, “The Walkin Mannequin” Wants You To
Remember That Celebrities Are Human… Just Like Us
According to her biography, Philly native Lex Chappelle,
Founder and Blogger behind the celebrity entertainment
website, “The Walkin Mannequin”, “wants to live in a world
filled with innovative businesses, short emails, and where
Chipotle burritos replace salads.” It’s not only this candid
humor that draws readers to her blog, which is certainly one
to watch, but also the fact that she refuses to profit from
the negative aspects of celebrity news culture. Her
celebrity tea is much more humane than the ones found on a
variety of other entertainment blogs. Urban/Suburban
Magazine caught up with Chappelle to find out why.
Urban/Suburban: Thank you so much for
doing this interview with Urban/Suburban Magazine! Could you
please tell us a little bit more about yourself and your
background in writing and blogging?
Lex Chappelle, of “The Walkin Mannequin”:
It sounds so cliché, but I grew up thinking that I was going
to be a big star and that I was going to be somebody. I was
a bubbly child. You know those parents that say, “Oh you’re
too grown!” to a child? That was me!
I always enjoyed music. I used to write
music and sing. Then I got into fashion- I thought I wanted
to be a fashion stylist at one point. But, I always had a
passion for writing. In the 8th grade I went to a university
seminar for journalism, specifically fashion journalism
during this camp. I soon found out that fashion journalism
was not quite right for me, but I was lucky. There are some
people in their 30s and 40s and begin to realize what they
really want out of life. I figured this out at an earlier
age, yet I always knew that writing would be the basis of my
I did the college thing [at Neumann
University, then transferred to the Art Institute of
Philadelphia] and didn’t finish. But I always wrote. So,
with my passion for writing as well as fashion and music, I
decided to jump into blogging. I also didn’t want to work
for anyone, even though when you have your own business,
you’re going to have to answer to someone. But as far as
someone watching me work over my back, I didn’t want to deal
with that anymore. I left a job, [working at JC Penney as a
manager], making the most money that I had ever made in my
entire life, but I was so miserable. I felt like the job
turned me into a horrible person; I wasn’t my normal self.
I gave my two weeks, but I didn’t have a
plan, at all. I took a part-time job as a waitress and wrote
during my free time. My lease for my apartment during this
time was up and I moved into my cousin’s place for a year,
but afterwards made the decision to move to Atlanta.
That’s pretty much how “The Walkin
Mannequin” got started!
Urban/Suburban: Ahhhh! So you live in
Atlanta now! How long have you lived there for?
Chappelle: It’s OK! Being in Philly for
23 years, I came to know all of the hot spots and where to
go. Here in Atlanta I’m still getting used to everything.
It’s a different city, a different pace. I have to learn
everything over again and sometimes that can be hard. But
it’s a dope city. There’s always something going on.
Urban/Suburban: Do you find that Atlanta
is the better city for you to further pursue your blogging
Chappelle: I think that Atlanta is great
and thriving for entertainment. It just makes sense. Since
I’ve been here I’ve made a lot of connections and have been
to a lot of events. I’ve made a lot of business moves that
would have been a lot harder for me to make in Philadelphia,
unfortunately. I love Philadelphia as a city, but as far as
entertainment…it has its own little cliques that I did not
want to be a part of.
Urban/Suburban: “The Walkin
Mannequin”….where did this name for your blog originate
Chappelle: Besides the fact that I am
into the fashion, the whole concept comes from knowing that
people idolize celebrities like they’re not human. You go
and shop, look at mannequins in a store and say to yourself,
“I want everything they have.” But you don’t know what it
took, from the visual merchandiser to the store manager to
put that outfit on the mannequin together. I think that a
lot of people look at celebrities in the same way- “I want
their life”. But you don’t know the struggle or what goes on
behind the scenes to get that finished product, the brand.
That’s where “The Walkin Mannequin” came from- celebrities
are like mannequins to me, in a sense. They’re so perfect to
everyone’s eye, but there’s so much that goes into putting
their whole image together to be displayed.
I’m trying to tie in celebrities’ issues
that tie into greater social issues we can relate to.
Urban/Suburban: Having said that, where
do you see yourself and your blog fitting into the
oversaturated entertainment blog landscape? What do you
think about Perez Hilton’s “Kardashian Kleanse” and Necole
Bitchie’s declaration to step away from her
celebrity-focused blog to write more about issues affecting
women and more inspiring, positive news?
Chappelle: What makes me stand out, as
far as a blogger, is that I want to humanize celebrities; I
want to show the stories that they and my readers have in
common. It’s funny you mention Perez’s “Kardashian Kleanse”
because the two questions that I’m always asked are, “Who is
the person that you write about the most?” or “Who are you
tired of writing about?”, and I always say “The
Kardashians”. [laughter] They are always in the tabloids and
it kind of does get tiring. I was just telling someone the
other day that I’m not going to go on a Kardashian Kleanse,
but I did say that I was going to slow down on [writing
about] them. Sometimes, I’m reading over my blog or
reviewing its Google Analytics and I think, “Okay, two weeks
ago you wrote too many posts about the Kardashians”. So when
Perez said that he would go on his “Kardashian Kleanse”, I
thought, “Yes, good for you!” They are everywhere and
sometimes it gets quite annoying! You don’t want to feel
like you’re being negative all the time, in regards to
Necole Bitchie’s case, either.
Now it seems as though a lot of bloggers
are coming out and thinking about how they can get quick
fame. Some of these other bloggers might have a bigger
following than me, but I did not want to get introduced to
the world as not only a horrible blogger, but a horrible
person. That’s hard to bounce back from. I even went on an
audition for the “Bad Girls Club” [an Oxygen television
show] and got to the next round and I thought to myself
about that is not how I want to present myself to the world!
Urban/Suburban: Do you ever feel some
sort of pressure to write certain stories to stay on the
pulse of current trending topics?
Chappelle: I used to feel pressure to be
the first one to report something or say something. Now it’s
all about creating quality content. Even if I write a story
about a popular topic, my readers are still going to come to
my site to get my unique take on it.
Urban/Suburban: Who are your favorite
celebrities that you love to blog about? Current favorite TV
Chappelle: Hmmm…I’m not going to knock
Kim Kardashian. I like the hustle of that whole family. They
are marketing geniuses and I will always stand by that,
point blank period. They all won. The celebrities that I
like to follow are candid and down-to-earth. I’m really
obsessed with Karrueche [Tran, Chris Brown’s famous
ex-girlfriend]. She’s an awesome individual and her Snaps
[Snapchat] are hilarious. Also, Nicole Richie. She doesn’t
have a lot going on, as far as gossip, but I love her. I
like to celebrities who are funny and relatable to me! I’m a
goofball; I’m just extra and loud. I’d rather laugh all day
then hate all day. That’s just me.
Urban/Suburban: Where do you hope to see
The Walkin Mannequin and your career in five years?
Chappelle: I would love to have an office
here in Atlanta. I want to be tri-coastal, to have a
presence in L.A., Philadelphia, and Atlanta. I would love to
do TV. In my head I’m a serial entrepreneur. Eventually I
would like to dive into the restaurant and makeup businesses
as well. I love makeup! A dream of mine would be to do a
campaign with MAC [Cosmetics].
Urban/Suburban: Have you ever received
any backlash from information posted on your blog? If so,
what were the steps you took to combat this?
Chappelle: All the time! There are the
fans who think that because they follow celebrities from the
start of their careers that they can just come at me
sideways, especially when I post a picture on Instagram! I
honestly don’t understand the hardcore fans, because I’ve
never been someone that’s starstruck for another person who
wouldn’t even give me a dollar or two. These celebrities are
human like you and me.
Urban/Suburban: What are your thoughts on
anyone who says that bloggers are not real journalists and
should not be taken seriously?
Chappelle: I think people that say that
are threatened. Some blogger don’t spellcheck, no shade, and
just say what they want to say. But I feel that they should
be left alone. You have television shows now that are based
on bloggers. Bloggers have taken over. It’s like Uber within
the taxicab industry. You can what you want to say, but at
the end of the day you have to adjust to the advances of
technology or you will get left behind. The numbers don’t
lie. Blogs are getting more hits than websites created by
major publications. Just follow suit- that’s all!
Urban/Suburban: Do you have any exciting
events or news that you are covering for The Walkin
Mannequin for the rest of 2015?
Chappelle: I basically want to hit the
floor running with my blog for the rest of the year. Here in
Atlanta I will be attending the BET Hip Hop Awards [in
October] and I will be going to Miami for the Revolt Music
Conference [in October] as well I’m just going to continue
putting my face out there and making it happen!
To follow The Walkin Mannequin for
celebrity and entertainment news and exclusive
behind-the-scenes footage of events, interviews, and more,
read www.thewalkinmannequin.com for more information! You
can also find The Walkin Mannequin through the following
social media links: