WALL STREET JOURNAL: Julia Allison of Miss Advised Does Yoga to Stay in Reality
Julia Allison of “Miss Advised” Does Yoga to Stay in Reality
The Wall Street Journal
By Katherine Rosman
October 1, 2012
Julia Allison, 31, approaches appearing on a reality television show similarly to how she embarks upon practicing yoga.
Before Allison started shooting “Miss Advised,” a Bravo series about three women hunting for boyfriends, she set her intentions. Which are, she says: “Be authentic”; “Don’t take yourself too seriously”; “You can make a lot of mistakes and still be happy.”
It has long been Allison’s intention to get famous, as she herself would tell you, or at least to get a reality show. Living in New York after graduating college—she went to Georgetown University and while there wrote a dating column for the student newspaper and built a website about herself so her family could read her columns–there was nary a media-industry party she didn’t attend or wish to and hardy a camera she wouldn’t smile for. “I was active in social media before social media was called social media,” she says. She parlayed it all into a career as a writer (Cosmopolitan magazine) and TV spokeswoman (Star magazine).
But she was best known for the fact that, among a certain techy Web world, she waS known. In 2008, Wired magazine put her on its cover and published a story titled, “Internet Famous: Julia Allison and the Secrets of Self-Promotion.”
And, yet, she wasn’t happy. She was ripping through boyfriends. Her relative fame was eclipsed by that of a dozen others who’ve seen theirs eclipsed by thousands more. In 2009, Allison spent nearly a month at an ashram in upstate New York and began to realize she was disenchanted with the Big Apple. “I was getting insecure and cynical,” she says. She traveled for 14 months and realized that she longed to live in a community that didn’t value thinness and career success above inner-beauty. She moved to Los Angeles.
A few weeks ago, she returned to Manhattan for a visit. It wasn’t her first trip back but perhaps her most triumphant because she was toting with her the long wished-for reality-show cred and a new boyfriend to boot. Still, by the end of the week, she was ready for a little yoga.
As a vegan chef prepared snacks for Allison and her boyfriend Devin Stetler to enjoy after the practice at the apartment of a friend they were crashing at, we ambled up to the roof of with Aarona Pichinson, a friend of Allison’s who is a fabulous yoga instructor. Stetler, a technology entrepreneur, joined us. He was sporting short-shorts and was being a very good sport, even asserting that it didn’t make him squirm to hear his girl friend tell a reporter that she knew by the second date that he was The One.
It was a glorious September day: sunny but not blinding, hot but not in the shade. At first we were oriented such that our views of the park were to our left. But we all moved our mats so that we could do Tree Pose while gazing over the treetops, finding stability in imagining our leg rooted into the ground, finding grace in imagining our arms as swaying branches.
We did a lot of heart-openers: poses that require a certain amount of back-bending. Allison is a graceful yogi and she has excellent balance. She looks serene and focused as she practices—even with a video camera trained upon her. But that is her natural habitat.
The heart-openers were apt: Allison is clearly a woman with a very open heart. Currently, it’s open for Stetler with whom she was set up on a blind-date for May 9. Earlier that day, Allison’s grandmother died. Even in grief, she didn’t cancel. “I lost her in the morning and I found him in the evening,” she says.
As the months roll on, she finds him increasingly perfect. He meets so many of the 88 items on the list of must-have-attributes which she wrote a few years ago and then published on Bravo’s website. They include “loves me unconditionally,” “talented lover” and “will be on TV with me without throwing a massive fit.”
So, it is all coming together for Allison: the boyfriend, the not-(potentially-not-yet)-renewed show and a column for Elle.com. Also, she is writing a book. “It has to do with transformations and it focuses on how I’ve transformed myself and it will help others transforms themselves,” she says.
I didn’t find the session transformative, even though I loved Pichinson’s manner and the practice she moved us through. The difficulty in doing yoga with a reality TV personality –or, probably, in doing anything with a reality TV personality – is that her very being is a distraction. What is her reality, really? Is she the product that she markets or the creator of a product that she markets?
Either way, it’s a lot to think about when you’re trying to balance on one leg.