Derek Blasberg has been called the “Truman Capote” and “Gatsby” of Instagram by New York magazine and The Guardian, but today the former editor-turned-television personality is taking the reins at a different platform: YouTube.
He’ll be heading a new fashion and beauty content partnerships division, tasked with forming relationships with brands, influencers and industry pros to encourage them to use YouTube effectively. The news comes on the heels of Instagram’s announcement of its new long-form video app, IGTV, suggesting that the Google-owned platform is ready to defend its turf against the competition.
Blasberg is a savvy hire for both his industry connections and his experience in video. For the past two years, he’s hosted “CNN Style” on CNN International; before that, he worked with Vanity Fair on several popular web series as the magazine’s “man on the street,” enlisting friends like Naomi Campbell, Gigi Hadid and Karlie Kloss to co-star in episodes. He has also been a regular contributor to publications like Harper’s Bazaar, V and Vogue, and published several books, including a best-selling etiquette guide called “Classy: Exceptional Advice for the Extremely Modern Lady.”
His role at YouTube will likely be similar to the one that Eva Chen holds at Instagram, where she leads a team that regularly meets with brands, publications and others in the industry to educate them about the app’s new features and drum up engagement, along with coordinating original content around events like Fashion Week, the Met Gala and awards show red carpets.
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YouTube has a particularly robust community of beauty influencers, and some fashion luminaries, like Kloss, have built impressive followings on the platform, but fashion brands have so far mostly gravitated to the image-sharing medium of Instagram. Nike, for instance, has 803,000 YouTube subscribers and 78.4 million Instagram followers. Blasberg will no doubt be responsible for bridging that gap.
“I’m looking forward to bridging the world of YouTube creators with the global style and beauty industries in this newly created role and department,” Blasberg said in a statement.