Betches' Aleen Kuperman on explaining new media to immigrant parents—and not wanting to write about 'The Bachelor' again
Aleen Kuperman is co-founder and CEO at Betches Media. The company has grown from a blog created in a dorm room at Cornell in 2011 to a sprawling media network including nine podcasts, New York Times-bestselling books and millions of Instagram followers.
In this episode of the “Ad Block” podcast, Kuperman talks about growing up as the child of Russian immigrants who escaped the Soviet Union in 1988, a year before the Berlin Wall fell. In particular, it was a struggle to explicate what “Betches” was to her parents, who had always had high expectations for her future.
“I had to explain to my parents, ‘I’m not going to medical school next year,’” she says. “I was terrified to have that conversation. They were like, ‘What’s a blog? How are you making money? What are you talking about?’”
As with many new media startups, the business model evolved quickly, and as soon as she had gotten her parents on board, things would change. “They had just figured out Facebook, now they have to go learn Instagram,” Kuperman says. Tangible successes helped, like the book deal the team landed while still in college. “To my parents, that’s legit. A book, they understand.”
Kuperman grew up hearing the stories of the family’s journey out of Russia, living in Vienna and Italy off the personal possessions they could sell before eventually being allowed into the U.S. and settling on Long Island. “Only now, I think back to all the things they instilled,” like her strong work ethic, she says. “It makes so much sense now.”
She also talks about the joys of Café Bustelo instant coffee, the pressures of planning a vacation and the relief she felt when she was finally able to hire someone else to write about "The Bachelor."