A new documentary on Hulu, titled “Queenmaker,” sheds light on an unlikely mover-and-shaker of Manhattan’s Socialite Era. James Kurisunkal, a high-school student from Illinois, became a sensation after he began covering socialites such as Tinsley Mortimer from his bedroom. Under the pseudonym Morgan Olivia Rose, Kurisunkal launched the blog “Park Avenue Peerage” in 2007, which quickly became a hit and caused quite a stir when it was revealed that the author was a Midwestern teenager.
The documentary, which is based on a chapter of Ben Widdicombe’s memoir “Gatecrasher,” reveals the sometimes-shocking latter years of Rose, including her transition. Rose is now living as a gorgeous, glamorous woman reminiscent of Ms. Mortimer herself. In the film, Rose states that “Now that I’m older, I see how two different people existed. One that was James, and one that was me. It just took some time, and some pain.”
The Trauma of Post 9/11
Widdicombe, a gossip grandee, offers insight into the frothy moment of the mid-2000s, which he believes was related to the trauma of post 9/11. According to Widdicombe, people were desperate for something fun and uncomplicated in the newspaper. Although it may seem frivolous in retrospect, at the time, it was a welcome respite from darker events.
A Compelling Postscript
The story of Morgan Olivia Rose is a compelling postscript to the Socialite Era. It reveals the impact that a teenager from the Midwest had on the gossip columns of Manhattan during a time of great trauma and uncertainty. The documentary “Queenmaker” offers a unique perspective on the life of Rose, and will undoubtedly be of interest to those who were fascinated by the Socialite Era.