You might know Dana Weiss by her other name — the Possessionista — which is also the name of her insanely popular blog. The Possessionista is a place where lovers of TV and fashion become one; it tells readers where to find clothes worn on their favorite show. Want to know where to buy the sweater that Juliette was wearing on last night’s Nashville? Dana knows. It’s the kind of blog that makes you say, “Thank PRADA this and Dana Weiss exist.” She also covers interviews with a ton of TV costume designers, and provides TV style guides for the fashion novice.
Before fab fashion, Dana was a journalism major at Indiana University. She worked at CNN and FOX and then she moved over to PR for hotels and restaurants. As a mom of two, Dana now works solely as the Possessionista. We caught up with her to discuss whose TV character’s closet she’d love to raid, if The Bachelor franchise will ever die, and what it’s like to be an entrepreneur.
How did you come up with the idea for the Possessionista?
The whole thing was organic. It was 2009, I’d just had my second son, and had decided to become a stay-at-home mom. During naptime, I found myself catching up on TV shows and Googling the clothes the characters were wearing. At the time, no one was covering it, so I just started posting things I found, and surprisingly strangers started finding the site. I didn’t know anything about blogging or coding, so it’s been a trial of hits and misses.
Were you always interested in fashion?
I don’t know if I’d say I’m interested in “fashion,” but I’ve always loved clothes. As a kid, you’d always find me playing dress-up and I would never get tired of shopping. I’d wear my new shoes out of the store. But I’ve never been someone who is into fashion shows, or designer labels. I love a good sale or a discount store much more than following trends set by designers.
What is it about clothes that you love?
I love the fantasy of it all. I love that something so simple, like a new pair of shoes, can change the way you feel. You can tell when someone loves her outfit. She walks a little taller. She smiles a little bigger. It’s not the cure-all, but it’s an easy way to make your day a little better.
What are your favorite shows in term of style?
I really loved the clothes on Girlfriends Guide to Divorce. I think in terms of personal style, it’s probably the one that falls closest to my own taste. But I’d cherry pick from all the shows. I will love a tee shirt from Pretty Little Liars, or a sweater from Revenge. I want all of Olivia Pope’s coats from Scandal, and all of Mindy Kaling’s jewelry on The Mindy Project. I think what’s great about TV fashion is the ability to see it all on real people.
Whose wardrobe would you love to raid?
Purely from an art standpoint, I think anyone would say Carrie Bradshaw. But if we’re talking about clothes I’d actually wear, probably Zoe Hart from Hart of Dixie. It was a really smart wardrobe, with a lot of wearable pieces and really cool texture mixing — lots of tweeds and leathers, blazers, shorts, jeans, and silk blouses. It’s probably the closest to what would work in my life.
Are you surprised by the massive response that the website has received?
Beyond surprised. I honestly can’t believe this is my life and this is what I get to do. I am so lucky. I have the best readers. And I have the best family; they are my biggest advocates.
Was being an entrepreneur something that you aspired to be? Or did it happen by chance?
I would have never considered myself an entrepreneur. I’m a really creative person, but sometimes the execution is where I get tripped up. I think I fell into blogging at the right time, where I still had a buffer to make some mistakes. Now, when people start blogs they expect to have, like, three million readers in the first week. I had six years to figure it all out.
What do you love most about your job?
Honestly, the best part of what I do has to be the interaction with my readers. Think about it. These people who don’t know me feel like I’m their best friend. They take time out of their day to read what I write. To comment. To email me. I don’t take that lightly.
You're known for your obsession with The Bachelor franchise. What is it about The Bachelor that fascinates you so much?
Originally I watched The Bachelor because Trista was on the first season. She was in my sorority, and I was hooked. I love the whole psychology of it. The way you can confuse love with winning. Watching the people interact, the social complexities . . . who am I kidding? I like watching pretty people make out.
There's always a lot of talk about The Bachelor being misogynistic and sexist. I'm a big Bachelor fan myself, and I often find myself at odds with its blatant sexism while watching. What are your thoughts on its controversies? And why do you think it's so addicting (despite "knowing better”)?
I definitely see this side to it. And, it’s weird that it’s 2015 and, if anything, the show has gotten even more sexist. This season of The Bachelorette, there are two bachelorettes and the guys get to choose who stays? There’s a lot about The Bachelor that I struggle with besides just sexism: There’s race and class issues, there’s the idea that we live in a society that rewards people for doing nothing at all; there are people out there who will humiliate their families, friends, and selves for 15 minutes. But, at the core of it all, it’s a fairy tale. You know, it’s Cinderella and she gets to go to the ball and maybe instead of two evil stepsisters, she’s got 24 evil roommates, but everyone deserves love.
From the time you started your blog to now, what's the biggest difference you've noticed in terms of growth?
I think two major things have changed. The first is the sheer number of blogs today. Technology grows so fast and, like I said, I have no background in it, I just teach myself as I go. In the next generation, this is all a first language. I see other blogs who understand the technology better than I do. The other thing is that I think blog readership is waning. I think we’re a society that wants more, quicker, faster. I’m not being self-deprecating when I say this, but, at 39 I’m one of the oldest people doing this and blogging is a young person’s game.
You have quite the substantial Twitter presence! Does tweeting/social media come naturally to you? Do you find it a natural(ish) extension of yourself and/or brand, or is it just "work" for you?
For me, Twitter is purely fun. It’s like taking the filter out of my brain — the one that keeps me from saying everything that comes to mind — and put it on the Internet? That would be my twitter account. If something pops into my head and there’s no one around, that’s where Twitter comes it. It’s also like my conscience. If I write it down and then I hesitate, I know I probably shouldn’t say it. About 98% of the time I don’t press send.
What are your future plans for Possessionista? Anything currently in the works?
Right now I’m playing around a lot in the beauty sector, doing some partnerships with beauty brands and creating some funny how-to videos for people like myself who love makeup but don’t know what to do about it. I still think it would be fun to cover home decor and men’s fashion, but I’m only one person and I can only watch so much TV.