Patricia Krentcil — the “disturbingly tan mom” who burned her 5-year-old at a tanning salon, then clung to fame with songs, bikini pictures, and public intoxication — is now a domestic lifestyle blogger. After an apparently successful stint in rehab for “alcohol and Xanax” abuse, Krentcil launched Tips From Tan Mom, featuring pictures of homemade brownies, elaborately staged meals, and home-decorating projects.
Whereas she once grabbed attention by being extreme, Tan Mom now holds it by showcasing the mundane. Consider her life an object lesson on the attention economy. From it, we draw three core principles for the modern professional attention-seeker:
1. Even the Most Fleeting Fame Can Get the Ball Rolling
Tan Mom’s initial fame was a visual punch line. Seeing her super-tan face next to the headline “Mother Charged With Taking Daughter to Tanning Salon” was surreal enough to signal “the Jerseypocalypse.” That punch line was enough to get Tan Mom’s foot in the door; she gave interviews, defended her parenting techniques, defended tanning. That she had a natural “_____ Mom” moniker sealed the deal. She was memorable enough to stage paparazzi shoots, which meant she was memorable enough to make money doing so.
2. All Fame Can Be Monetized
Once the fame ball is rolling, you don’t need a reality-TV show to monetize your mere existence — just a willing attitude and, perhaps, an agent. With the help of Octomom agent Gina Rodriguez, Tan Mom did basically anything that would land her on TMZ or in the National Enquirer, from nightclub appearances to topless ocean romps. Each act of fame amplified the next. Even if any particular run-in was not profitable, it would still raise her profile, thereby increasing her earning potential for the publicity stunts that do pay.
Even Krentcil’s stint in rehab seemed tied to her career. The clinic she attended, Lukens Institute, is Gina Rodriguez’s client, too. A former porn star who turned “mistresses” into stars during the Tiger Woods scandal, Rodriguez also represents tabloid figures like Sydney Leathers, Octomom, Michael Lohan, and Farrah Abraham. Lohan ushered Krentcil to the clinic, posing for paparazzi en route. There she met Abraham, who was rehabilitating simultaneously. “Sources” told the media that Tan Mom and Teen Mom fought in rehab, allowing the Lukens Institute to appear as a “high-end rehabilitation center” in several gossip reports.
This is not to say Krentcil’s rehabilitation isn’t genuine. She appears to be healthy and sober, insofar as such things can be judged from a lifestyle blog. Not that Krentcil isn’t still angling for tabloid stardom, even with that: “This is for the Enquirer they need to use NEW pics of my ‘in shape’ body! #SoberLife,” she writes next to a picture of herself in workout gear. Surely there’s a fitness endorsement to be had somewhere, too.
3. When You Run Out of Ideas, Take Pictures of Your Food
Even the most inventive tabloid star can’t manufacture publicity stunts every day. Though Krentcil is a uniquely entertaining human (has anyone stolen so many spotlights with so little material before?), she still has moments of relative calm. So, like every other celebrity and Internet personality, she defaulted to domestic lifestyle blogging to keep her personal brand alive.
The advent of “what I ate today” as a “personal brand” is the greatest thing ever to happen to boring people. Even if you’ve never had an original idea or exceptional talent, surely you eat three meals a day. Surely you can arrange your silverware just so, photograph it, and be a DIY domestic goddess? (Can’t cook? Photograph restaurant meals and you’re a “foodie.” Can’t afford restaurants? Go to a food truck; they’re trendy too.)
But Patricia Krentcil is not boring. She will never be boring. After years of the abnormal, Tan Mom normalcy is downright riveting. How could a tabloid train wreck transform so thoroughly into a neighborly, health-conscious mom? Anna Krentcil, the fair-skinned daughter who suffered a burn while standing near her mother’s tanning bed, is a recurring guest on Tips From Tan Mom. She wears a pink outfit on the school bus, doodles with magic markers, and hugs her mother. Everyone is normal on Tips From Tan Mom. In that sense, Patricia Krentcil’s lifestyle blog may be her greatest feat yet.