Monday, December 29, 2014
These days, there are plenty of people who are famous for not really doing anything, so it only seems fitting that someone could become a celebrity without ever actually existing. Allegra Coleman was a fake starlet invented by journalist Martha Sherrill. As part of a large-scale media hoax, in 1996 Sherrill wrote an article for Esquire declaring Coleman to be “Hollywood’s Next Dream Girl.” She even got model Ali Larter, not yet famous, to pose as the “actress” on the magazine’s cover. The article contained all the usual celebrity hi jinks, from battles with the paparazzi over supposed nude photos to a rocky relationship with actor David Schwimmer. Sherrill intended the article to be a satire of the “puff pieces” that fill so many gossip magazines, but it was also telling about the way Hollywood works: even after the whole affair was revealed to be a hoax, publicists and agents were still frantically trying to sign Allegra Coleman to their agencies, and the whole episode ended up jumpstarting Ali Larter’s acting career.