Courtney Stodden, 18, may not have the reality television platform that made the likes of Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian household names, but for some head-scratching reason, this barely-legal blonde manages to attract a perplexing amount of media attention for well – not a lot. Or at least for not wearing a lot.
The notoriously scantily-clad paparazzi subject managed to use her flesh-flashing for a good cause last week, posing in a lettuce bikini to promote vegetarianism on behalf of the People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
"I am honored to be a spokeswoman for PETA and I love my animals so much," she stated. "Also I would like to thank Pink's for making this veggie dog for us today. Also I love being in the green on such a beautiful day."
Those edible clothing snaps managed to make their way across the mainstream media spectrum – landing everywhere from E! to Yahoo! News. But for Stodden, having her picture blasted all over the news is almost a daily occurrence, as she seems to have created an attention-grabbing brand that most other aspiring–or even already established– stars or reality stars could only dream about.
“Courtney continues to exhibit outrageous behavior, which is often a big ‘draw’ in the press once you’ve elevated to celebrated status,” explained Hollywood talent agent Alec Shankman. “Fame is definitely a different thing these days than it was in the past and it can be achieved in many new and different ways outside of the traditional methods. Many folks are using YouTube and social media to accomplish the goal, and Courtney’s use of the gossip sites and tabloids clearly works well.”
Even several years after Stodden first hit headlines as the infamous teen bride – tying-the-knot with “Lost” actor Doug Hutchison when she was just 16 and he was 51, she has managed to stay relevant despite having no known talents or promotional platforms beyond social media and appearances on VH1’s “Couples Therapy” with her husband last year.
But if it weren’t for the odd marriage to a much older main with some acting credits, no one would care much for the “star” – irrespective of her wardrobe selections.
“Indeed, even for her trashy look, she wouldn’t be receiving this much media coverage, if she was dating a 25 year old,” said Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR and author of the PR book “For Immediate Release.”
The equation is as old as Hollywood itself.
“Combining a teenager who presents herself as she does with the marriage to a much, much older man is a novel hook for the tabloids. It’s simply and unfortunately a train wreck scenario that continues to unfold –and just as we thought it was winding down, she went and had some over-the-top plastic surgery to perpetuate the story,” explained Shankman. “As out of the gate, her hook was teen bride (to and older man). Without that, she wouldn’t have popped.”
Stodden’s Twitter account also boasts over 130,000 followers – who over the past week have been greeted with tweets such as “Good morning,” “Church day!” and “sending a smooch to all my followers!”
But there is nothing non-calculated about this young lady’s personal publicity campaign. We’re told that Stodden, likely strikes deals with photo agencies to arrange distribution for “seemingly chance” encounters with photographers, and then splits the money made on distribution. So when Stodden struts about the town in teeny tiny shorts with teeny tiny tops, chances are the girl is making bank.
However, it seems her self-orchestrated body-baring business has yet to go to the next level.
“When one wears fishnet stockings and marries a 50-something year-old man, eyeballs follow. That said, people also watch car wrecks on the highway regularly as well,” observed Torossian. “Don’t confuse the attention on Stodden with corporate dollars. There is nary a brand who would want to be anywhere near the type of media attention which she receives.”
A rep for Stodden declined to comment because the former teen bride “doesn’t do live phone interviews.”
Danielle Jones-Wesley contributed to this report