BEIRUT, Lebanon: More than 100 movers and shakers in the city’s social media scene crowded the Le Gray Hotel’s rooftop terrace Tuesday night to witness the unveiling of one of their comrades, who for nearly three years has been blogging anonymously. Ivy’s Big Reveal was a debutant party for Dana Khairallah, the name behind ivysays.com, a lifestyle blog that pokes fun at celebrity fashion catastrophes, offers sex and dating advice and documents an endless hunt for the perfect burger.
Lebanon’s blogging community has in recent past shown its cattier competitiveness, which is why the supportive turnout Tuesday night was a testament to Khairallah’s success. Of course, drinks, canapes and co-organizers Vero Moda and RagMag – who’ve proven of late to be exemplary party planners – had a hand in luring out top bloggers and Tweeters.
And in response to her less supportive peers – one of whom outed “Ivy” hours before her planned debut by publicly posting her name – Khairallah proved she can take a jab just as well as she can dish one out.
“I’m gonna find you and I’m gonna kill you,” she said jokingly to the crowd of guests.
The 28-year-old freelance reputation and social media manager started blogging anonymously in order to tackle controversial issues freely: things like sex, her own dating life and relationship problems.
“But then there was this kind of personal desire – it gets frustrating being anonymous, these are my friends, but I can’t ever see them,” she told The Daily Star after the event. “Now, I feel really relieved.”
Coming out will also allow for bigger collaborations and projects that her anonymity had previously inhibited. For one thing, she can do TV interviews and actually meet the brands which she’s worked with through her blog.
As for her sex and dating advice column published on Beirut.com, Khairallah said she was unsure how naming herself would affect her writing. But the people who matter, namely her work clients and friends, will support her no matter what, she said.
“If you want to talk about other people and the way that they perceive me, that goes back to their mentality,” she said, shrugging off her critics.
A number of her posts have inflamed readers, particularly her dating columns, in which she has around 200 words to give a troubled lover advice about his or her relationship woes. Her straight-talking advice doesn’t always go over well with fans, but their rush to respond shows that she’s doing something right, she said.
One of her older posts continues to attract regular comments as it tackles perhaps the thorniest issue for the country’s lovers: interreligious relationships. “The story was of a Christian girl who was going to marry a Muslim,” she said. “It ignited this huge discussion about marriage and different religions.”
Putting a face to the blog might also give more weight to her fashion commentary, which she uses to applaud and chastise local celebrities’ fashion decisions. Such pop stars tangibly affect beauty and fashion trends – think Maya Diab’s honey brown hair or Haifa Wehbe’s face – so pointing out when they’ve gone way wrong is in many ways a public service, she said.
As someone who works with celebrities, she added, she knows they’re listening.
“Absolutely, you always care about what people say about you, fashion bloggers in particular influence and shape what celebrities do. We’ve only kind of scratched the surface here of the potential of what bloggers can do.”