Jenny Mollen and Busy Philipps Get Candid About Instagram Addiction


“Should you want it, you make it occur,” says Jenny Mollen. “You fucking fight.” True to her words, the author and actress didn’t take no for a solution when it got here to releasing her first-ever novel, City of Likes. In actual fact, she spent the majority of the past 4 years shopping out the social media-centric satire to publishing houses, disenchanted yet undeterred by each rejection letter she received. Having released two personal essay collections prior, “I don’t think anybody wanted fiction from me,” she says. “People told me this book wasn’t what I must be writing; they wanted one other memoir, and for me to simply stay light and funny.”

As an alternative, Mollen opted for dark and outrageous. City of Likes follows an out-of-work copywriter who suddenly finds herself hobnobbing with Manhattan’s top mom influencers (aka “momfluencers”). As her own follower count begins to climb, the smoke and mirrors of her elite recent world begin to fade—and third-act revelations offer a twisted tackle the realities behind our feeds. “This book is a story that haunted me, since it’s about all of my worst fears,” says Mollen, who shares sons, Sid, 8, and Lazlo, 4, with husband Jason Biggs. “It’s something I needed to put in writing, almost as a reminder for myself. In some ways, it’s a confession of guilt.”

With City of Likes officially published and a TV series adaptation within the works (to be executive produced by Oscar winner Diablo Cody), it appears that evidently her penance has paid off. And while she faced her share of skeptics along the way in which, Mollen’s biggest fan, Busy Philipps, all the time knew she’d succeed. The Girls5eva star and Mollen first met as preteens in Arizona, and three many years later, they’re still championing one another’s big wins. Here, the 2 sit down for an unfiltered, perfectly on-brand chat.

Busy Philipps: I’m so pleased with you. I fucking love this book. It’s so good.

Jenny Mollen: It’s crazy that folks are reading it now, because for thus long it was just me and Jason, who had read it so persistently. It’s funny when people say, “This was such a fun beach read.” I’m like, “Really? Since it scares the shit out of me!” [Laughs.] It’s about something that was happening to me, and I generally tend to put in writing about things which might be happening to me. Even with those who work for me, I’m like, “You’ll grow to be a personality in my stories. Are you able to sign this NDA that claims you won’t say anything about me, but I can say anything I would like about you?”


City of Likes

Nacelle Books


BP: Wait, I feel like I’ve said that it’s a beach read… [laughs.]

JM: I mean, I get it. I’m flattered! But you see the depth to it, too. On the subject of social media, the beast and the machine of all of it.

BP: And the way tempting it may well be—especially for all of us Gen X women. External validation is our lifeblood, ? Or at the least it has been, historically speaking. It takes more work, almost, for us to appreciate that these items aren’t real.

JM: Yes. Because we had Baby Boomer narcissist parents, and all we would like is love and a spotlight. So now we’re really fucked. It’s popping up on our screen and we’re being fed all of this shit. We’re all addicts.

BP: I don’t think we’ve ever talked about this, but I’m friends with the author Ada Calhoun, who wrote Why We Can’t Sleep. It’s a non-fiction book about Gen X women and type of our general dissatisfaction [laughs]. But one thing I read that’s super interesting is that the most important, most frequent users of social media are Gen X women. Like, our generation is probably the most addicted.

JM: We’re. And I needed to call it out, because if I didn’t, I used to be gonna grow to be it. I needed to point a finger and say, “This will not be the trail that I would like.” To not spoil the ending, but it surely was really essential for me to finish on this note to my kids of, “I select you.” Like, I’m selecting you over that. It’s something that I take into consideration every single day.

busy philipps

Busy Philipps

Autumn de Wilde

BP: To be fair though, even once I consciously put my phone down for 3 hours and I’m with my kids, just undivided [attention], the minute I pick my phone up, they’re like, “Ugh, you’re all the time in your phone!” [Ed note: Philipps shares Birdie, 14, who identifies as non-binary, and daughter Cricket, 8, with husband Marc Silverstein; the pair recently announced their separation.]

JM: They realize it’s the guilt that we’re carrying around, too. They will play us like little Stradivarius [violins].

BP: It’s true. Birdie’s 14 and doesn’t even want Instagram. At a certain point, I got here up with rules for myself about social media, so once I do share stuff about my kids, they’ve approval. But it surely’s different for everyone. I began sharing Birdie on Instagram before it was even really a thing. I do know this seems like we weren’t being considerate or something, but it surely didn’t look like an enormous deal at first. What you select to share publicly is so deeply personal. I feel people get off target after they think there’s some hard and fast rule, or that they’re going to profit from oversharing.

JM: Yeah, I could never show the youngsters [on social media]. It’s just scary to me—I’m a really paranoid person and I’m afraid of lots of things. I even have friends that do post their kids, and sometimes I’m like, “Oh, well, this person lives in L.A.” Possibly I’d feel otherwise if I wasn’t in a city where you might walk right into a park and be like, “Oh, that’s Sid or Lazlo Biggs.” You will have a lot access to people in Latest York City, so when it got here to sharing the youngsters, it was a tough no from the get-go. In L.A., no person knows where you reside, you’re taking them in your automotive to their school, back into your automotive, after which back into your secure home. It’s a very different lifestyle. They’re not on the subway at two years old with a nanny and a billion people.

“What you select to share publicly is so deeply personal. I feel people get off target after they think there’s some hard and fast rule, or that they’re going to profit from oversharing.”

—Busy Philipps

BP: It’s interesting that you simply bring up the Latest York versus L.A. thing, because that never occurred to me. But you’re right, I bet I’d’ve felt otherwise [if I had raised my kids in the city]. Oh, well. That ship’s sailed. Now Birdie’s got mace of their backpack.

JM: You’d’ve been different here, I’m telling you. Like, I’m afraid of Uber drivers kidnapping me and killing me. I used to be all the time afraid of being molested. My mom would tell me, “You’re gonna be kidnapped and brought across the border to Mexico and become a sex slave for those who refer to strangers.” In order that’s where I’m coming from as an ’80s kid with after-school specials and gnarly shit like that. I can’t get that to show off in my brain. People take a look at social media as like, “I’m just scrapbooking. I would like these memories for myself.” It’s innocuous at first, after which all the sudden you grow to be a personality and also you’re like, “Wait, fuck. Now I’m selling chips? What happened?” That may be a weird thing.

BP: In the previous few years, my very own addiction to social media and the every day have to post has gone away. I don’t feel like I would like to place stuff on the market if I don’t wish to. It’s interesting because I don’t have as hard of a time with the paid stuff. I feel because a lot of acting is just selling shit, ?

JM: Yeah. Once I’m being paid, I’m like, “Oh God, I even have to leap out of this box again?!” I used to be an actress for years though, so I’m used to that. But something shifted for me as well. I don’t feel the identical pressure to overshare that I did a couple of years ago. I just think we’re all damned if we do and rattling if we don’t, to be perfectly honest. My kids will probably come to me someday and be like, “Why was there all the time a fucking flame over my head? What’s mistaken with me?” I do share stuff with Jason since it’s sort of our love language. I feel it’s fun to see him spiral out and binge on food. He’s my muse. In the midst of the night, I really like to observe him wear a beret and speak about Emily in Paris. So I do overshare other weird shit. You’d think, for those who’re not showing your kids, why are you showing your husband’s balls? But for me, they’re different. [Laughs.]

BP: They’re totally different. I do should say, I feel social media allowed us to have agency and our own voices in a way that the entertainment industry wasn’t really amenable to young women. We didn’t have the flexibility to be greater than only a two-dimensional thing, and I do know I all the time felt very hemmed in by the parts that I used to be up for and the way I used to be seen. I felt like I had so far more depth and shit to say. With the arrival of Twitter after which Instagram, I felt like I used to be in a position to take such control of my profession and the trajectory of my forward-facing life, and never be reliant on a 300-word article about me in a beauty magazine that made me sound like an idiot, ? As an actor, it was that you simply were on the mercy of the person writing the article about you. I’m a author, you’re a author. People bring their very own things into each interview—their very own ideas of who they need you to be and what the angle is and what the story is. Social media allowed me to take back my very own story and tell it myself. Things still get put into clickbait, which is so annoying. But we all know this, and the people who find themselves fans at this point, they’ll dig deeper [to find the truth]. And the individuals who don’t give a shit are still just going to read the clickbait and comment “eye-roll emoji, who is that this?” It’s like, well, why’d you read the article? Like, I don’t know what to inform you!

JM: Right. I also think that at this point in life—and I don’t know if it’s just moving through the industry or a coefficient of age—but comparing myself [to other women] has gotten me nowhere. I actually just should focus, and truthfully, I don’t have the time to match myself to anyone because I’m too busy trying to boost two human beings. In order that’s also a terrific treatment for getting you out of your individual head.

busy philipps and jenny mollen city of likes book launch

Busy Philipps and Jenny Mollen celebrating the launch of City of Likes.


BP: It is actually hard, though. Even with all the therapy and the age and the wisdom, I do still find myself occasionally scrolling on Instagram and being like, “Why is she all the time on vacation? How can I all the time be on vacation? I wanna be on vacation more.” And it’s like, “Well, she’s selecting to indicate you that.” Then I’ll see that from someone I do know and I’m like, “Wait, she’s not on vacation immediately. What the fuck?” Although up to now few years I’ve actually began holding my vacation pictures, too. Do you try this?

JM: After all. I wait until I leave the place because I’m afraid everyone’s attempting to kill me.

BP: Yeah, it took me some time to appreciate the protection component of all of it. Like, oh, perhaps posting Instagram stories of where I’m in that moment isn’t the move. But I used to be all the time identical to, “Who would even wish to kill me?” [Laughs.] Then once I began talking about abortion stuff and my abortion [at 15], it turned out that lots of people wish to kill me.

JM: I do think that we’ve got an obligation to try this, though. I do know individuals are buying sweaters that I’m telling them to purchase, so I higher fucking tell them find out how to vote, whether it lands or not. Especially now with all of this gun safety stuff, as a mother, I feel an ethical obligation to say something about what sort of fucking third world country we’ve devolved into. If I didn’t say it, I can be such an asshole fraud. How pathetic wouldn’t it be if all I used this platform for was to further my very own personal brand? I don’t wish to name names, but I’ve seen lots of individuals who don’t say anything about what’s occurring within the news after they’re in the midst of a campaign for something. They’re like, “I don’t wanna lose followers.” Meanwhile, I’m like, “Bye!” I’m able to lose followers. I don’t give fuck. I’m not gonna stop talking concerning the things I think in simply because I would like you to purchase my book. Like, don’t buy the fucking book; just vote for gun safety. At the top of the day I’m a human being who has kids on this world, and there are things which might be more essential than my fucking profession.

BP: I feel it’s really fucking weird when people do it only after they’re not within the midst of like promoting something else. Influencers do wield a certain quantity of power. You will have people seeking to you for all types of data—what you’re eating, what you’re wearing, the way you’re understanding, and the problems that perhaps we must always be taking note of. Identical to there’s an excessive amount of TV to maintain track of all the great shows, there are such a lot of pressing issues immediately on this country and all over the world. I feel people occasionally get a bit of bit lost and don’t know where they need to focus or find out how to take motion. Personally, I’ve found it helpful to follow activists who speak about actions we must always be taking today. After which if I can amplify that, obviously I would like to. Why wouldn’t I? It’s strange to me that anyone wouldn’t.

JM: Should you’re quiet, you’re complicit. End of story. All the pieces that you simply’ve been doing with abortion rights is totally astounding. It’s so obligatory and incredible that you simply’ve been willing to place yourself on the market and go to Washington [and testify before Congress in 2019]. These are things that anyone in your position wouldn’t all the time do. It’s alarming and scary, but you’re putting [the issue] before yourself and your profession. I’m sure it also impacts the branding deals you’re getting and the sort of money coming in. But it surely’s a fight value having, and it’s such a noble and selfless act. I feel it’s fucking incredible.

“At the top of the day I’m a human being who has kids on this world, and there are things which might be more essential than my fucking profession.”

—Jenny Mollen

BP: That’s really sweet. I even have to say, one thing that surprised me was that I actually didn’t have a dip in brand interest or opportunities. I assumed there could be, but there wasn’t. In actual fact, I’ve been involved in a few of these behind-the-scenes conversations with brands and agencies’ marketing directors who’re asking about activism. Brands have gotten more aware that it’s essential to take stands on things like gun violence, responsible gun laws, voting rights, bodily autonomy, and ensuring that equality is for everybody. They’re like, “How can we get into that conversation without it seeming like lip service or simply putting a flag up for the month?”

JM: Right, or putting a black square up on their Instagram and that was their contribution. How fucking amazing is it that Starbucks is like, “Should you work for us, we’ll fly you to a different state for those who need an abortion.” That’s so ballsy and amazing. I used to be like, “I really like you guys. I don’t know why I ever worked at Coffee Bean. I must have all the time been a Starbucks girl.” [Laughs.]

BP: When did you’re employed at Coffee Bean? We want to debate that. If I wasn’t me, I’d roll my eyes immediately [at what I’m about to say], but I do think we’re all storytellers at our core. Throwing a graphic up is wonderful, but for those who can tell a story and connect with people on a private level, that’s how you actually engage and alter people’s hearts and minds. There’s a lot divisiveness within the country, but one thing that was really successful—for those who can call it that—once I talked about my abortion was how easy it was. I just wanted people to know that for those who think you don’t know a one who’s had an abortion, you do. Because one in 4 women can have an abortion before the age of 40, and I’m one in all those people. It doesn’t matter why; it doesn’t matter when. I’m just saying that this affects those who and love. So I do think there’s value in going deeper than putting up a graphic. From my perspective—being an actor and a author and a podcaster and all of these items for thus a few years—I’m concerned with the non-public and the connection. It’s about how I can connect with someone who really feels a distinct way and ask them to see the humanity within the things that I’m talking about.

JM: Exactly. And I also think it’s so essential for youths to see their parents fight for things. Growing up, I felt like my parents were superheroes. My dad is a larger-than-life personality, and I used to be oftentimes identical to, “How will I ever be adequate?” I feel my kids suffer an analogous thing, just by the character of the proven fact that we walk down the road and anyone knows who their dad is. I remember what that felt like, and it doesn’t feel fucking good. Not that I’m…well, I suppose I’m projecting onto them. But with this book, once I was first rejected by six big publishing houses that I had worked with up to now, my son Sid was 4. He was like, “I’m sorry no person liked your book. What are you going to do?” I told him I used to be going to simply rewrite it, and I did. I took it out again a yr later, but then the Capitol was being stormed. It was a terrible time to try to sell a book about wealthy white women in lower Manhattan [laughs]. Sid asked, “What now?” And I told him, “There isn’t any stopping. I’m gonna stay on the horse, and you’ll too.” He has that resolve and resilience to him, too. When he falls down, I’m like, “Get back up and do it again.” He’s seen me fight so hard for this book, and I actually need to share on this moment with my kids. Although immediately, I’m able to take a break and never give a fuck what comes next.

BP: It’s so essential for youths to see that their parents aren’t just magical unicorns who all the things comes easily for—especially in a creative industry. Okay, now we’d like to go talk offline about how we can assist my kids not hate the proven fact that I’m their mom. [Laughs.]

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Samantha Simon is a author, editor, and popular culture enthusiast living in Latest York City.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Elgin Shopping Mall
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart