Curating and Clout Chasing with @StarterpacksofNYC
This is SEARCH HISTORY, your deep dive into the online habits of our favorite creatures of the internet. From preferred stalking platforms and private browsing habits, to the social accounts we should all know about, we slide into the DMs and ask all your burning questions.
Sasha Mutchnik is an Insta-anthropologist with an Ivy League pedigree and a finger on the pulse of what makes a certain set of very online of New Yorkers tick. Her account, @starterpacksofnyc, features sparse collages that define niche downtown archetypes like the “Trustafarian Exploring the LES” and the “Slavic Sweetheart,” as well as NYC icons like Anna Delvey, the infamous grifter, and Ludwig, the notorious bouncer at Paul’s Baby Grand. To find out how Mutchnik feeds her followers, we asked her to sound off on curating, clout chasing, and gatekeeping.
CAITLIN LENT: A/S/L?
SASHA MUTCHNIK: 25, female, NYC.
LENT: What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
MUTCHNIK: I’d be lying if I didn’t say check my phone.
LENT: What was your AIM screen name?
MUTCHNIK: Sashibear2…really not great.
LENT: What were your last three Google searches?
MUTCHNIK: “Mary Kate & Ashley hair,” “Mia Goth 2010,” and “Vogue Italia October 1999.” I was looking for, respectively: inspiration pics to show a hairstylist, references for bleached/nonexistent brows done well, and a picture of an Elaine Constantine spread to use for a party flier.
LENT: So fab.
MUTCHNIK: Those all sounded fake, I have receipts I swear—I just happened to be searching chic things yesterday.
INTERVIEW: What’s your online stalking platform of choice?
@STARTERPACKSOFNYC: Instagram is the easiest, but sometimes a good old Google search gets you further.
INTERVIEW: Which starter pack got the most love?
View this post on Instagram
LENT: Which one got the most hate?
@STARTERPACKSOFNYC: I’m very lucky…I don’t really get hate. Maybe saying that will mobilize my haters. But this one provoked some strong reactions, I think everyone in New York has been wronged by a restaurant wine guy at one point or another.
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LENT: What’s the @starterpacksofnyc starter pack?
MUTCHNIK: A white button down, my cross-body iPhone strap & wallet (very mom-core), chunky black loafers, terribly manicured nails, and a text bubble about how I’m at some very cringe event getting a ton of content.
LENT: Gaslight, gatekeep, or girlboss?
MUTCHNIK: Never gaslight, occasionally gatekeep, always girlboss.
LENT: What are you gatekeeping in NYC?
MUTCHNIK: For a while I worked at the door at a popular nightclub, so I was quite literally gatekeeping.
LENT: Obsessed. Can you describe your private browsing persona in three words?
MUTCHNIK: Nonexistent (which is to say I never private browse). I’m shameless.
LENT: What does your TikTok FYP look like?
MUTCHNIK: I don’t use TikTok. My only point of reference is Leia Jospé’s @favtiktoks420, which is exactly what I hope my FYP would look like if I had one.
LENT: What’s a website everyone should know about?
MUTCHNIK: Not a website exactly, but I would encourage everyone to subscribe to Dirt. It has short essays by smart, usually very funny people about tech, art, culture, and all the other stuff we’re inundated with every day online.
LENT: How many unread text messages do you have?
MUTCHNIK: I have zero unread texts. I am a very responsible texter. Emails and voicemails are another story though.
LENT: Read receipts: on or off?
MUTCHNIK: Off! No one needs to know my activity in real time.
LENT: Choose one: money or clout.
MUTCHNIK: Money. It’s actually unhinged if someone picks clout. That’s not even a red flag, that’s like…a huge neon red sign with a dumb phrase on it.
LENT: Print or digital?
MUTCHNIK: Print! As revealed by my recent searches, I am big into magazine archives. I love that so many publications have their past issues digitized now, that rules. But there’s nothing like paper.
LENT: What’s your password?
MUTCHNIK: Nice try, but I just completed my company phishing training! I know better now. 🙏🏼