Video, down toward the bottom.
This is Allison Stokke.
The content is a video for GoPro as part of “Two Roads”, an 11-part original series that follows eleven athletes and one coach who have made the commitment to pursue greatness. Each episode will showcase an athlete’s unique journey within their sport, and truly define the life-changing moments that led them to the path they currently walk.
The series features the stories of athletes Bob and Mike Bryan, Paul Rabil, Britney Henry, Kristian Ipsen, Carlin Isles, Trenten Merrill, Casey Patterson, Allison Stokke, Miles Chamley-Watson, Meagan Martin, and Coach Liang Chow.
This is about Allison Stokke. We all remember Allison Stokke, right?
She was probably the first, holy-shxt!-that-chick-is-smoking-hot girl that I remember from the internet that was always in the related content or side panel ads that are now ubiquitous online.
But no one knew, in the general public at least, in the beginning, who she was.
This is the image I’m talking about if you don’t remember.
I’m sure there were other chicks, but she’s the one that really sticks out in my mind from back when all that was just starting.
I, and I’m sure most of us who’d seen the image, had no idea the girl was in high school at the time. Interesting to put all of that in perspective now.
I might need to do a deep dive for my own personal mind just to know how that all originated and how she, or how that pic, became what it became. Was it just some local newspaper photog that caught the perfect shot? Was it a family member who took it and posted it on facebook and it caught fire? Anyways, that’s neither here nor there.
Just an awesome video series from GoPro, as I’ve already watched a few of them, and kind of a really good idea to lead off with Stokke. She’s box office. I do however have so many more questions and comments that I’ll reserve for the end of this post.
Ok, so we’ve watched the video and I’ve done the
wikipedia’ingdeep dive, and have some information, all this I adapted from her wiki page:
Images of Stokke competing in New York in early 2007 were taken by a journalist for a Californian track and field website and placed online. In May, the image was then reposted by With Leather of the eighteen-year-old Stokke under the heading “Pole Vaulting is Sexy, Barely Legal”.
Long story short, within a few weeks,the photos had went viral and their were think pieces written about her and the photo both nationally and internationally. There was even a segment on CBS’ television news coverage, using her story to highlight the dangers of the internet being used to publicly sexualize young people.
There was a whole bunch of hullabaloo of her trying to control the situation, her dad and parents speaking with media consultants, and lawyers and all kinds of stuff like that, but basically, she was a legit viral star but there was a lot of unwanted attention by a girl who was really smart and really talented, who also happened to be incredibly attractive.
She ends up earning a scholly to Cal Berkeley. She went on to break some school records, placed in the Pac-10 Championships, received conference all-academic honours at Pac-10 and even got an honorable academic mention by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
She’s worked campaigns for Nike, Athleta and GoPro. The GoPro videos have received over six million views on YouTube.
Lots to work with here but this is just me mind working it all over.
When we look the through the lens of “right now” it seems like almost nothing right? There are about 100 million 18 years olds in the United States alone that would love to have a picture of them go viral, and then they would immediately try and cash in. We see it daily.
But, back in 2007, that whole economy was unheard of.
Any person in th planet who says that this whole social media famous for being attractive thing was on our minds back then is lying to you. Arguably the most famous, famous for being famous and on social media person out’chea right now Kim Kardashian was an unknown then. Ironically 2007 is when that tape came out and started the whole ting off for her. Not bringing that up or saying anything is bad about it, but just putting it into perspective that back then, we didn’t have social media driven stars.
Even KK (and by KK I really mean KJ because Kris Jenner is the one who really figured it all out) was about 5 years from figuring that out.
It really was a perfect storm, in the bad way and the good way. Good as in the idea of it all and being one of the first persons or case studies of going viral. We now knew what that meant. Bad in that it was totally unwanted on her part. Can you imagine being her at 18? Especially given the fact that she was smart and had some real talent as we can see. I don’t care what school it is, Universities aren’t just giving out college scholarships. Especially to the privileged. She comes from a little bread, the area her parents lived in ain’t cheap. They might not be rolling in dough but they’re comfortable, trust. But that has nothing to do with this really.
The real point is I wonder how much this all really affected her.
We actually know because there have been some pieces written about her and she’s talked about it in a Washington Post article. Speaking about creepers and internet trolls (not a term at the time) but we are familiar with them now:
“Even if none of it is illegal, it just all feels really demeaning. I worked so hard for pole vaulting and all this other stuff, and it’s almost like that doesn’t matter. Nobody sees that. Nobody really sees me.”
Now we think of the situation and its easy, right?
This happens. She finishes high school. Then that summer she immediately starts traveling and taking pics and learns how to edit to get her followers up and has a crazy ig and snap and youtube page all to sell Fit Tea and fitness gear and body jewelry. But back in 2007, there was nunnahdat.
Crazy to me the timing of it all because back then when we didnt know about this social media economy and what it can be and what it can do for and to people, she was one of the biggest tings out and it probably scarred her a little bit mentally. If it happened now, she might not even be a blip on the radar to be honest. I disagree with that actually because she’s still hot af and there are plenty of folk that would add her all over social media.
I always think about this stuff you know. I think about, what if Backstreet Boys or N’Sync or Cher or Madonna or Michael Jackson or Britney Spears or Elvis or the Beatles or Dolly Parton or Garth Brooks or whomever we knew were massive fvcking stars back then, produced that same content and had youtube pages, what it would look like.
Justin Bieber and Rihanna and One Direction and all of those new school folks have racked up billions upon billions of video views, but can you imagine the number that Thriller would have put on the board? Like A Virgin? Bye Bye Bye?
They’ve all sold hundreds of millions of $20 cds and albums that cost real money….what the fvck would their videos have done on a platform that is free!
All super interesting stuff to me and for all of the ideas in my head about how and what she had to deal with, she actually seems really in a good place and content with how things all played out. I’m sure at the time it was hell and she would have wanted a lot of things to happen differently, but for what its worth she seems cool with and in life now.
Thats great to see, I’m rooting for her. Maybe being a sociology major helped a lot. A good family certainly helps.