Julia Allison at mb Branding Panel: ‘Either I Have Balls or I’m Delusional’

Is there joy in being a stalker/hustler? Ask Julia Allison.

Internet personality Julia Allison earned her billing last night at mediabistro.com’s panel discussion “Personal Branding Redefined.” That’s not to say the other headliners — Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV and 1938 Media’s Loren Feldman — didn’t deliver, but they were no match for ubiquitous talking head Allison. Held at Manhattan’s new 92Y TriBeCa, the event drew more than 100 attendees: some wannabe brands, some suits seeking marketing pointers.

Festooned in a bright pink top and substantial black heels, Allison — when she wasn’t sitting with her white lapdog slung across her — embodied one of her main tips of the night during her presentation: “Walk with purpose,” she said. “You can get away with just about anything.” Such as?

Fashioning yourself as a media world celebrity, apparently. The former mb intern (she used to set up chairs for events like this one) came prepared with a PowerPoint slide detailing how she transformed herself from a receptionist into the self-proclaimed “Paris Hilton of journalism” in a few short years. Whether this was a worthy endeavor or not is a topic for another panel.

Allison’s weren’t the only words of wisdom, however. Vaynerchuk’s guided guests on realizing your ambitions, no matter what — “I can’t write for shit; I have a book coming out.” Vaynerchuck, who turned his immigrant father’s liquor into a full-fledged media brand with daily 20-minute Webcasts, emphasized passion and work ethic above all else and reminded the crowd that, in the age of social media and Web 2.0, “the gatekeepers are gone. They’ve lost all their power.”

It was Feldman who threw a curveball, though, asserting that personal branding doesn’t exist. “It’s a made-up term,” he said, positing that, although individual reputations sometimes precede corporate identities, it’s the latter that really matters. Did he realize at which event he was speaking? Perhaps not. In any case, he didn’t mind reminding the crowd that he could “call any media CEO in the country and have them answer the phone. Now that’s juice.” Or is it personal branding?

Adam Auriemma