INTERVIEWS

The Interview — Allison Vanderwoude, Creator of VandyPop

Creator of VandyPop

Welcome to Talking Top 10, a recurring series in which we feature the founders, CEOs, creators, and leaders who are shaking up their industries. Ahead, read our Q&A with Allison Vanderwoude, and keep scrolling to shop her Top 10 must-haves.

Allison Vanderwoude is the creator of VandyPop, an Instagram news account that provides a daily dose of pop culture “with an emphasis on TV, movies, music, Hollywood, celebrities, and royals.” Allison’s passion for all things entertainment started at a young age and has followed her throughout her life. At the urging of friends and family, Allison launched VandyPop in February 2019 and did so from her iPhone while in bed! Just over a year later, her fresh and fun content has attracted more than 10,000 loyal and interactive followers. Allison is a self-described “TV junkie,” ”film fan,” “royal enthusiast,” and “celebrity expert“ who enjoys curating content for her followers. But that’s not all she does—Allison also has a passion for helping people make a philanthropic impact and she works as a Development Director for one of the oldest private schools in Texas. 

Allison was born and raised in Dallas and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where she majored in English and received a minor in Communications. When she’s not working as a fundraiser or creating content for VandyPop, Allison enjoys spending time with her family and friends as well as spoiling her cats, Pete and Presley. For all things Hollywood, make sure to follow VandyPop!

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April 13, 2020

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R&S

Tell us about how VandyPop got its start. You’ve always had an interest in entertainment—what made you decide to take the plunge?

Allison

I’ve always loved sharing entertainment news with my family and friends, and for years they’ve encouraged me for years to start a blog or something like that. One night, I came home after a long, rainy day and just got straight in bed! I posted something funny on Instagram about Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper being in love with Exhibits A-E in photos, and it was getting a lot of traction, so I decided, “What the heck? It’s time to start sharing this content with more people,” and thus, VandyPop was born (on a whim, from my iPhone, while lying in bed)!

R&S

You’re also a Director of Development at a private school. Is it tough to balance your career with running the VandyPop account?

Allison

I try to keep the two very separate. I pretty much work on VandyPop from my phone, usually before or after work. A lot of my posts are created while sitting on my couch, or parked in my driveway, or lying in bed. When I’m at work, I stay focused on that, unless there’s important breaking news like when Baby Archie’s birth was announced 5 minutes before I had a meeting!

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R&S

VandyPop always has the lowdown on the latest and greatest. How do you stay on top of all-things Hollywood?

Allison

I follow several news accounts and have their notifications enabled. Occasionally, when I need a bit more information on a topic, I’ll reach out to my network of friends. I was able to find out a lot about Prince Harry’s speech at the JP Morgan Summit from a friend who was there. Likewise, I knew about a famous couple’s pregnancy well before it was announced. I was sworn to secrecy, but I had my post drafted and ready to go, so the minute JustJared announced it, I was able to share my post immediately. I enjoy utilizing my network of friends and sources, and they have been really enthusiastic about being a part of VandyPop! In fact, I often receive messages from followers who are excited to tell me about their celebrity sightings in real-time. As well, through VandyPop I’ve had some unique and exciting opportunities. This year, I had the opportunity to attend an exclusive Oscars party in LA hosted by People magazine on Oscars Sunday, and I’ve also connected with writers from UK outlets like The Evening Standard and The Sun to share information and provide quotes.

R&S

Walk us through your day-to-day.

Allison

I typically check my phone right when I wake up in the morning. If there’s something particularly newsworthy, I’ll create a new post or story. However, a lot of the time, I create content after work in the evening. I use an app that lets me schedule posts and stories so my content can be spaced throughout the day. It’s an amazing world of technology that we live in! I am also an avid reader of People magazine, and I also enjoy watching entertainment news shows like E! News, Entertainment Tonight, Extra, Access Hollywood, TMZ, etc. Some of my favorite online news outlets are People, E! Online, Us Weekly, TMZ, Daily Mail, Just Jared, and Getty Images.

R&S

If someone were to visit Dallas for just one day, where would you recommend they go? Give us your ideal itinerary.

Allison

That’s a great question. I would recommend flying in and out of Dallas Lovefield Airport if possible. It’s conveniently located in Dallas proper and was recently updated with great restaurants and shops, plus it’s easy to get in and out of quickly. If spending the night, I would recommend staying at The Mansion on Turtle Creek—it’s absolutely fabulous! For meals, my top recommendations are Mi Cocina in Highland Park Village, which is a Dallas Tex-Mex staple! Other favorites are Le Bilboquet, R+D Kitchen, The Honor Bar, Javier’s, Mesero, Flower Child, and Bird Bakery, which was started by my college roommate and sorority sister Elizabeth Chambers. For shopping, there is nothing quite like Highland Park Village or NorthPark Center. Some other fun activities are walking The Katy Trail or White Rock Lake, taking in a museum such as The Perot, The Dallas Contemporary, or The Dallas Museum of Art. For a fun way to relax or watch a football game, the Katy Trail Ice House is a must!

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R&S

Tell us what you’re currently obsessed with on Netflix. Anything we need to add to our list?

Allison

Of course, I watched Tiger King. And while it’s entertaining in an “OMG” way, as an animal rights supporter, I also found it very disturbing. These types of private zoos and sales should be illegal and the people who run them should be locked up! Some other must-see Netflix shows are Cheer, Love is Blind, Planet Earth, Ozark, and You. And if you haven’t watched these series before, some highly bingable shows are now on Netflix including Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and The Crown. On other streaming platforms, I’ve enjoyed binging The Jinx, Fleabag, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Handmaid’s Tale, Big Little Lies, Younger, and Homeland.

R&S

Who’s on the guest list for your dream dinner party?

Allison

If he were still alive, Elvis Presley! I’ve been obsessed with him since about fourth grade. For my thirteenth birthday, my mom even took me to Graceland! Others would be Queen Elizabeth, Mariska Hargitay, Oprah, Conan O’Brien, Laura Dern, Prince Harry, Brad Pitt, Lady Gaga, Tom Hanks, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Aniston, Justin Trudeau, Chrissy Teigen, and Heather McDonald.

R&S

What’s the one beauty product you could never live without?

Allison

For concealer, Cle De Peau Beauté or Estee Lauder Double-Wear. The best! I’ve also worn Chanel Allure Eau de Parfum and Lancôme Dual Finish Powder since I was fourteen years old!

R&S

How about your ride-or-die wardrobe staple?

Allison

I love my Vince “Blair” perforated leather sneakers. I’m also a big fan of skinny black pants paired with “The Perfect Blouse” by NYDJ, which I have in at least 8 different colors and patterns.

R&S

What’s next for you and VandyPop?

Allison

That’s a good question. VandyPop recently reached the milestone of gaining 10,000 followers, which is very exciting! My hope is it will continue to grow and allow me more opportunities. Who knows? Maybe one day you’ll see me working for People Magazine or E! News!