‘Your eyes match your sweater’: Amelia Dimoldenberg, the pop journalist who has made flirting her weapon of choice

The host of the YouTube talk show ‘Chicken Shop Date’ will be the social media ambassador and red carpet correspondent for the Oscars. She’s discovering why Hollywood loves her

Amelia Dimoldenberg
Actor Paul Mescal and Amelia Dimoldenberg.

The #AskHerMore movement pushed reporters to change the typical questions directed at actresses on the red carpet, which generally focused on fashion. At the time, many wondered what the new rules for these mini-interviews would be. While figures like Joan Rivers once made cruel irony the norm when it came to questioning celebrities (she once ridiculed Mariah Carey about her weight during an interview prior to the Oscars in 1999), we’re now witnessing the return of the classic sense of humor. And, in the English-speaking world, the power of laughter has been brought back by an icon of the digital universe: British YouTuber Amelia Dimoldenberg.

Amelia Dimoldenberg, interviewing Margot Robbie at the European premiere of 'Barbie' in London in July 2023.
Amelia Dimoldenberg, interviewing Margot Robbie at the European premiere of 'Barbie' in London in July 2023.Neil Mockford (FilmMagic)

Fooling around, frying, awkwardness and laughter

10 years ago, the Londoner created Chicken Shop Date — a YouTube show that could be defined as a kind of “first date,” in which the presenter meets celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence, Rosalía, or the Jonas Brothers. She tries out fried chicken with her guests in different enclaves of London while interviewing them. Tired of seeing that the questions that many media outlets ask celebrities are practically identical, she decided to interview celebrities as if they were on a date with her.

The reason for fried chicken shops being the meetup spots? Someone recommended that she choose a place where she would never go on a date… and she thought a fried chicken restaurant would be the ideal setting. The rest is history, with fries and a lot of humor.

People love to watch how celebrities deal with Dimoldenberg’s bizarre attitude. The famous figures, accustomed to handling straightforward interviews, have to answer her unusual questions, confront her shameless flirting… and keep it together in the face of awkward silences, one of the biggest nightmares in front of the camera. It’s as disturbing as it is attractive.

Celebrities such as Sean Paul, Ziwe, and Jack Harlow are among the interviewees who have been willing to poke fun at themselves as part of the show. Over the seasons, Dimoldenberg has managed to achieve a voice of her own that has equally captivated both celebrities and fans of her format. Clearly, good vibes are a new way to conduct interviews.

“Chicken Shop Date, as it’s pronounced, is the name of the YouTube channel that I started during my first year studying fashion journalism at Central Saint Martins (University of the Arts, London). It was the cause of both my tutor’s continual annoyance [with me] and my intense workload. I went on my first chicken shop date when I was 17. The show started life in 2011 as a column in a makeshift youth magazine called The Cut. I would ask a friend to come along and take photos while I did deadpan Q&As with London grime artists,” Dimoldenberg wrote in The Guardian six years ago.

“It wasn’t until three years later that I made the leap to video. I chose YouTube as my platform because I liked that there was no paywall or subscription — anyone can watch. Over the next couple of years, the show gradually became more popular. I could tell because people kept telling me ‘you’re the chicken shop girl’ on campus.”

Her show is so popular that Dimoldenberg is also a regular reporter on the red carpet at the most exclusive events, where she’s made her sense of humor as omnipresent as the big brands. Her two interviews with Andrew Garfield went viral: the complicity between them was so palpable and striking that social media took charge of analyzing each frame. Everyone was wondering if the fooling around was just part of the performance, or if their interviews together are just the romcoms we need.

Are we really watching famous people flirt? Is Dimoldenberg’s channel a window through which we can see celebrities on a date, without filters or scripts involved? At the 2022 GQ Awards, it was Garfield himself who approached her to show his admiration. “You know who I am?” she asked in surprise, before telling him that she had been trying to go on a date with him for some time. At the Golden Globes, the flirtation continued, to the point that the two ended up discussing the compatibility of their zodiac signs.

As expected, brands have already noticed her (she’s been an ambassador for Coach and Olay) and her YouTube show has been tested out by various television channels. However, the British entertainer prefers to have her own production company — Dimz Inc. — to ensure that she has absolute control over the content.

Channel 4 wasn’t interested in the program, BBC Three wanted to take over the rights to it, while a third channel barely offered her $500 for the rights. She rejected both proposals and didn’t let Channel 4′s “no” affect her.

“At Dimz Inc. we are allergic to being generic in any way. We make original films that subvert familiar narratives and show subjects in a fresh light. Pop culture obsessed, we put our audience first and make what they are searching for. Exploring all facets of life within our catalog of content, we hope there’s something for everyone,” reads the production company’s website, where we can see all of Dimoldenberg’s work, from her iconic red carpet interviews to her cooking show (Amelia’s Cooking Show). In addition to having her own production company, she even has an agency in the United States.

The content creator confesses that she’s in the middle of a WIP (Work In Progress) to stay faithful to her character during interviews. Sometimes, it’s not easy for her to maintain her pose as an edge and cheeky character when, deep down, she wants the interviewee to like her. This is a common problem among entertainment journalists… and one that she’s solving under the watchful eye of her channel’s more than two million subscribers.

She’s writing some scripts and learning the ropes of narrative. And she’s also confessed that she’s been sending out tapes in response to casting calls, as she auditions for various comedic roles. But until these potential career paths come to fruition, her next big moment is coming up very soon: Amelia Dimoldenberg will be the social media ambassador and red carpet correspondent for the Oscars.

As the Academy’s own digital magazine, A.frame, explains, this position has been created for someone who “has strong links with the entertainment industry and social media.” The British YouTuber is perfect for this role.

“I’m so excited. I really, really cannot believe it and can’t wait to get to Los Angeles and do some amazing interviews,” Dimoldenberg told the outlet. “To be doing this for the Oscars itself is really… where do you go? It’s all downhill from here!”

“I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself,” she continued, “but I also just want to do a really, really good job. So, I’m thrilled to have been asked… and I’m even more excited to get these interviews out so everyone can see them.”

The queen of DIY is building her own career after having shaped both the YouTube channel and the content with which to build a career focused on fulfilling her dreams, transforming interview formats and (why not?) flirting with the most desired celebrities in Hollywood. She’s doing all of this without losing her own voice. In the process, she’s moving away from the figure of the talkative and complacent reporter of yesteryear who, today, has been displaced by irreverence.

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