I loved this piece and strongly recommend you read it. Like this piece about Dr. Oz, this interview allows the subject to come off as herself and you, dear reader, can read between the lines. I’ll help with some interesting points I found.
Susan Miller of Astrology Zone is hot in the fashion industry and online.
Miller is like any niche celebrity, in that if you’ve heard about her before now, you’re probably a fan. She’s an astrologer whose website,AstrologyZone, attracts 6 million visitors per month with free horoscopes. She’s published nine books, presented at the Apple Store in Soho, and has columns in ten international fashion magazines, including Elle. The fashion world is Miller’s specialty. She collaborates with brands (suggesting colors for Calypso St. Barth sweaters, doing in-store classes at Furla) and counts designers, stylists, and editors among her most ardent devotees. An anecdote I heard from Emily Barnes, a stylist, characterizes it well: “I discovered her when I was shooting a campaign for Bloomingdale’s in New York. It was the first of the month, when Susan puts her horoscopes up, and the studio literally didn’t start shooting until everyone had read their Susan Miller.” At parties hosted by publicist Kelly Cutrone, an attendee told me, “the best seat in the house is always the seat closest to Susan.”
Thanks to Miller, plans are changed and deals stalled.
When asked why she’s so successful in the fashion world, Miller puts on her reading glasses (they instantly fog up, seemingly from the energy she emits) and sets down her tea sandwich to speculate. One reason she offers is that she stays busy: “I was born with more energy than anyone I’ve ever met.” (Seems true.) A second reason, she suggests, is that she is detail-oriented. (Also true. Miller often says things like, “My average sentence has 23 words.”) A third reason is that Miller feels deeply for her readers: “I’m not trying to be Queen Bee. I’m trying to be the reader’s best friend.”
And people are addicted to her. But take a look at how she does it. Just like every other psychic these days.
She pulls out her laptop, opens a computer program (Io Edition: state-of-the-art charting for your Macintosh, starting at $195), and enters the time, date, and location of my birth. A chart appears. “Do you have trouble with your ankle, by any chance?” Miller asks.
“You’re going to have a new moon right on Uranus the day after tomorrow. Right on Uranus. That’s in-sane. The angels wanted you to know.”
She leans closer to my chart, which looks like a pizza. “Do you have any problems with water in your house?”
“You should look into flood insurance from the people upstairs.”
I don’t have upstairs neighbors.
The author notes that the long horoscopes are a mix of specifics and vague “advice”. Also exactly what you expect to see. Some of the specifics will be lucky hits and the vague advice will be molded to your needs. The astrological references are just dressing for the “personalized pep talk”.
The writer of this piece, Molly Young, is lovely and I sense the skepticism but openness to her. She says that her notes from the interviews are “intercut with panicky scribbles like I have no idea what she’s talking about.”
I tend to think that is very much on purpose. Miller sounds like a go-getter, gregarious, curious person. This is what makes her good at what she does.
Another point from this piece is the idea that astrology is coming back into vogue. That’s concerning.
Today’s New York is full of people who will tell you that they never expected to believe in astrology before finding their lives minutely foretold on AstrologyZone.
She says that around 73 percent of her readers went to college or graduate school, and 38 percent earn above $150,000.
Yeah, kind of hard to live in NYC and not be highly educated. Especially if you have time to devote to this interest. Also, more and more people are college educated. It’s not that impressive; smart people believe a LOT of nonsense.
Miller says “No astrologer believes in astrology before she starts to study it — you just don’t think that it could possibly work.” She shrugs. “It’s counterintuitive. But so is getting on a ten-ton airplane and going across the country or eating penicillin.”
Except that we can demonstrate rather efficiently how airplanes fly and how penicillin works. Can’t say the same for the ancient divination of astrology. One of the comments to the article is also revealing: Astrology is a very complicated science – you have no idea how complicated it is. I’ve been studying for 15 years and every year, I’m introduced to a new concept.
Indeed. It’s so complicated that you can just
make up discover new things. You use that word “science”… Nope, astrology is not a science.
Finally, one quoted fashion insider remarks how fashion people loved to be obsessed with something. When you surround yourself with people like that, give them what they want to hear and keep them interested, you’ve got it made. Astrology seems to fit for those who enjoy dressing up life and experiences. It’s a good show.