Sam Kilgard —
Prior to Matt Bellassai’s March 30 visit at the University of Wisconsin–Stout, staff writer Sam Kilgard had a chat with the former BuzzFeed star to discuss his come-up story.
It’s not everyday that one gets the chance to talk to a social media superstar. I was given the privilege to interview Matt Bellassai, comedian and creator of BuzzFeed’s famous Whine About It series, about his meteoric rise to internet fame.
Matt attended Northwestern University where he graduated with a degree in journalism and political science.
“Initially I wanted to go into law school, but after further consideration, I realized that journalism is where my passion was,” he said. “Many people told me to study something else and to write on the side as a hobby, but once I showed up to Northwestern and realized how hands-on their program was, I knew that writing was the right choice for me.”
After graduating, Matt moved back to his hometown of Chicago, where he found a job to keep him busy while he looked for other careers.
“While looking online for other jobs at companies like CNN and Time, I came across BuzzFeed. At the time it wasn’t an overly well known website but it was gaining in popularity.” Matt applied to BuzzFeed and was accepted to the company.
Matt joined the BuzzFeed team as a fellow editor in training in September of 2012.
“I started off doing random stories that interested me. For example, my first October with the company, I went on a pumpkin cleanse where all I ate was pumpkin themed food and drinks,” he said.
Due to the popularity of Matt’s posts, BuzzFeed asked him to create his own page, but he had some trouble initially getting things started.
“Along with my Facebook page, I had a blog called Literally Matt where every day had a different theme: Tipsy Tuesday, Wine Wednesday and so on. The blog wasn’t doing well so I decided to switch up my approach.” That’s when Matt started to create short videos for Facebook.
Matt’s short videos had a much better reception than his blog did.
“I took the best parts of my blog and elaborated on them, which is where Whine About It came from,” he said.
Whine About It is a successful series of comedic videos on BuzzFeed in which Matt drinks wine and then complains about all of the things that drive him up the wall. Where did the idea for Whine About It come from?
“Honestly the idea came from one of my good friends who hosts a wine Wednesday every week. When I was brainstorming ideas for videos, she offered the idea of a wine Wednesday. Also, the pun was too perfect to pass up,” he said.
After a successful three-and-a-half-year run with BuzzFeed, Matt decided to part ways and venture into the open waters of the entertainment industry. Matt has since joined the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and has been working on a number of new projects.
“Since leaving BuzzFeed, I have been focusing on putting out weekly videos, visiting colleges, doing live shows, working on my book proposal, and a shorter scripted digital show,” he said.
He has accomplished a great deal in his time in the realm of entertainment and had some words of wisdom to share for those wanting to follow similar footsteps.
“Always be posting,” he stressed. “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to post your writing or work online. You can’t hold yourself back if you want to be noticed.”