Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand roundly admonished TheLadders CEO Marc Cenedella yesterday following a New York Times story about content pertaining to women, sex, and drugs on his personal blog—or at least a blog that featured a giant photo of him and the tagline “The personal blog of Marc Cenedella.” As politics wonks will note, Mr. Cenedella, an anti-tax activist, is a likely Republican challenger to Ms. Gillibrand’s seat in the Senate.
A spokesman for TheLadders quickly responded that the posts in question, such as one that advocated for a holiday where women offer free oral sex along with a steak dinner, were not actually written by Mr. Cenedella, calling it a “staging site [that] contained testing content from a wide variety of sources, including spam from automatic spiders.”
Nonetheless, it wasn’t the first time that the Cenedella family has been in the news for its personal blogs. A source informed Betabeat that Mr. Cenendella’s wife Angela Cenedella, née Angela Kim, is the author of the popular lifestyle blog Vie Society, known for its unapologetically girly take on the luxe life and coining terms like “moopig” and “amazeballoons.“
Betabeat reached out to both Vie Society and TheLadders for confirmation yesterday afternoon and have yet to hear back. But it’s not hard to find links between Mrs. Cenedella and Vie Society online, such as an application for a trademark for “Vie Society” made by Angela Kim in 2011 and a mention outting Mrs. Cenedella in the comment section of GetOffMyInternets from back in 2009.
Vie Society was also the name of a female social club launched at Harvard Law School in 2005. Its first ever cocktail party, “featured pink champagne and ‘princess chic’ attire, including tiaras,” the Harvard Crimson noted through gritted teeth. Mrs. Cenedella, then a second-year at HLS and a member of the club, is mentioned in the article.
At the time an op-ed in The Record, the law school’s weekly paper, quipped, “‘Vie Society,’ by the way, wasn’t the group’s first choice for a name, but ‘Aspiring Trophy Wives Association’ was deemed too hard for future members to pronounce.” In actuality, Mrs. Cenedella, who is 11 years her husband’s junior, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard undergrad and also holds a master’s in real estate development from Columbia. According to her public LinkedIn profile, Mrs. Cenedella, has worked as an attorney, a partner at Imedra Partners, her father’s commercial real estate firm in Los Angeles, and currently as an operations analyst for the Thompson Hotels.
Update: We’ve also unearthed some photographic evidence to support our source’s claim. In Mrs. Cendella’s New York Times wedding announcement, Brian Dorsey Studios is credited as the couple’s photographer. Here’s a photograph from a (now deleted) Vie Society blogpost about the author’s honeymoon from 2009 and a markedly similar photograph from the website for Brian Dorsey Studios of a woman who looks not unlike Mrs. Cenedella in the same Monique Lhuillier gown. “PS The photo? Me and the amazing Monique Lhuillier… as she fit me into my super-rushed custom dream wedding dress,” says the Vie Society post.
For years, Vie Society, which appears to have deleted all of its content on Tumblr, blogged anonymously about “wondrous vacations, fashion fabulosity, technogeek adventures, her niece Baconbit, and, of course, sugary treats,” Guest of a Guest wrote in a Q&A with Vie Society back in 2010. The site’s mysterious author, wrote Guest of a Guest, seemed to come from “a privileged life outside of the public eye.” In the interview she explains the origins of moopig: “‘Moopig’ is my nickname from Husby – He’s alternatively enraptured and repulsed by how much I eat.”
Vie Society caught the public’s eye back in 2009 for blog posts about a pricing snafu at Gilt Groupe. (Vie Society publicly criticized Gilt for claiming a cashmere scarf retailed for $300 when it sold for $195 at Neiman Marcus and the response was covered by nymag.com’s fashion blog, The Cut.)
As Betabeat noted back in October in a post about layoffs at TheLadders, Mr. Cenedella previously worked with Gilt Groupe CEO Kevin Ryan at Hot Jobs. Mr. Ryan also invested in a $7.25 million series A round that TheLadders raised in 2004. The two companies also share a venture capital investor, Matrix Partners. Nick Beim, a general partner at Matrix, sits on the board of directors at TheLadders, Gilt Groupe, and formerly, BuyWithMe. As we reported previously, BuyWithMe laid off nearly half its staff before being acquired by Gilt City, a division of Gilt Groupe. Yesterday, Gilt Groupe confirmed to Betabeat that it recently let go of 90 employees, or 10 percent of its 900-person staff.
In that Guest of a Guest interview, the Vie Society author was asked if she had any advice for fellow bloggers. “Don’t censor,” she responded. “It’s just infinitely more interesting – to you and to any potential visitor.” On that note, we hope to see Vie Society’s return to the blogging world. We have a feeling it could offer some unorthodox insight into the upcoming Senatorial race.