The Celebrity Profile, by the Celebrity

Neil Patrick Harris graces the cover of the new Entertainment Weekly for a story written by, well, none other than Neil Patrick Harris. In the seven-page spread, NPH traces his own Hollywood story, from his days as a child actor playing Doogie Howser to the hilarious Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother. This isn’t a first for EW in terms of having a celebrity write their own profile. Ryan Reynolds penned the June 24 cover story, “Why I’m Obsessed with Ryan Reynolds, by Ryan Reynolds” and the magazine received gushing letters from readers. But the real question is: Is this a smart move for the magazine? Are these articles better stories than the ones EW writers would have crafted?

Well, it’s hard to compare the two, since magazine writers only have a limited amount of time with the subject. And with limited access, they’re working with less material than the celebrity who writes their own story. Having profiles like these also adds variety to the voices in the magazine, which is always a good thing. So long as the magazine continues to select celebrities who are good writers, it fulfills the brand’s mission of providing readers with unique access to Hollywood and its many faces. Both NPH and Reynolds delivered smart, witty pieces that readers could connect with. Let’s just hope stories like these don’t turn into self-promotional drivel.

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