Emma Diamond + Julie Kramer
Founders of Comments by Celebs
Business of Friendship
They’ve entered the chat. Emma Diamond and Julie Kramer created Comments By Celebs with a sharp eye for Instagram drama and the sneaking suspicion that social media could be a big business for Hollywood bystanders. Now with over 1.6 million followers and a wildly popular podcast, the former sorority sisters are nearly as famous as their red carpet subjects, and have experienced the journey of taking a hobby and turning it into a lucrative business.
Here’s how they did it, and what they want you to know about leading with honesty, saying “no” as a form of empowerment, and what Martha Stewart and Rihanna have in common. (Besides… you know… money.)
It’s easy to sense when someone should be your friend. But how did you know you should be business partners?
EMMA: I didn’t choose Julie as a business partner because she was a friend. I knew for this idea to succeed, I needed someone with the same fascination with pop culture who’s also easygoing. We have a similar sense of humor, which is huge. We’ve learned through the process just how well we work together. But we knew we should pair up because we had a mutual interest and used the same language to talk about it.
What have you learned from each other about your job?
EMMA: That there’s no such thing as “too many perspectives” before a piece of content goes out. We try to be really conscious about being sensitive, looking at [celebrity drama] from all angles—we’re very much on the same page about that. But what I really admire about Julie is that she always wants to take that extra minute to make sure things come across as clearly as they can. She’s also so adaptable, which is really amazing. Things are always changing when it comes to social media, and nothing phases her. It’s a real talent.
JULIE: Emma does such a good job of keeping things really organized, to be honest. Emma is the one who keeps everything on track—and to have one person setting the tone and also the calendar is so helpful and so important.
What have you learned about money since starting your business?
EMMA: We weren’t profitable for a year and a half. I knew [Comments By Celebs] would be big, but in the beginning, I wasn’t financially motivated. I was more excited to get it off the ground. But honestly, we drive the most power from learning to say “no.” A lot of opportunities come, but you can’t do something that doesn’t feel like it’s a fit. It’s very empowering to say no. It’s very empowering to say, “We can’t do business together because you don’t align with us.” And you’ll never regret that. The payoff down the line is bigger… But in the beginning, it’s really scary to say, “No, we won’t work with you,” or “No, we’re not able to do a partnership unless it’s for this amount of money.” But now we understand our time is valuable; our perspective is valuable.
JULIE: For both of us, in terms of loving what we do, we also acknowledge how much work it is to do what we do. It’s not easy. It’s not a 9-5 situation… We’re in constant communication, from the time we wake up to the time we go to bed. We talk more than people in romantic relationships, I swear! And because of that, we have a real understanding of just how much of a commitment it is to run the business… Sometimes, women aren’t taught to value their time right from the beginning. But time is one of the most valuable things you have.
You’ve been close friends since college. What happens when you have a disagreement?
JULIE: We’re so on the same page about the big stuff. We think very similarly… Something we always say is, “There’s a comfort here. There’s no walking on eggshells.” And so if one of us does disagree about something, we’re just honest! That’s the only way to be.
EMMA: Before the business, we care about each other’s emotions and well-being. I think that’s always come first, and will always come first. So if Julie needs to say something, or I do, we listen. That’s the only way it works.
Does working in celebrity media make you want to be more or less famous?
EMMA: Oh noooo! The last thing we wanted to be was personally famous. That’s something we’ve been on the same page about from day one. We don’t do video. We don’t have public Instagram pages. We love the podcast because it’s audio; it’s not like someone would see us in the supermarket and say, “I know you.”
JULIE: This job has absolutely cemented the mindset that we do not want to be famous. It comes with so many benefits, but you really have to be built for it. There’s so much toxicity in it. Having this account just solidified that!
How has the nature of fame changed since you started your business?
EMMA: Years ago, the real top A-listers didn’t need social media. It was almost looked down upon. As social media has grown, and as having a large social media presence is necessary to even get certain roles, you’re now seeing Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston—real A-Listers who aren’t considered “above it.” But celebs have to walk a fine line… Their ability to recognize their ability to be flawed has risen to the surface. And not “fake-flawed.” They realize they have to be actually human.
JULIE: What fans want has also changed over the years. In the early 2000s, people just wanted celebs to exist purely as their entertainment. Their personal life counted as entertainment. Now, people feel emotionally connected. They humanize them in a way where they hold them even more accountable for their actions. People hold celebs to a higher standard now.
Who’s going to be really famous by next year?
JULIE: Olivia Rodrigo. Her song is famous, but she herself is somebody to keep an eye on. I think her career is going to be amazing. She’s going to be one of the biggest pop stars.
EMMA: I would keep an eye on the comedians whose short-form content really took off during quarantine, like Jordan Firstman and Benny Drama and Heather McMahan. I think they’re going to make their way into mainstream fame quickly.
Which celebrities look like the most fun people to be friends with?
JULIE: We appreciate Rihanna’s bluntness and humor so much. I think I would love to be friends with Rihanna and also with Martha Stewart. They both understand sarcasm, and seem like they know how to have a genuinely good time with their friends. They’re both great.
EMMA: Zoë Kravitz should be my friend! She’s so cool. I would love to hang out with her.