A Midwestern teenager who became a major player in New York high society in the 2000s after starting an anonymous blog that documented the lives of Manhattan’s elite has come out as a trans woman.
Morgan Olivia Rose, who was designated male at birth and was known as James Kurisunkal, talks about her time running Park Avenue Peerage, which she started in 2007, in Hulu’s Queenmaker: The Making of An It Girl and reveals his transition after years of ‘pain’ according to page 6.
“Now that I’m older, I see how two different people existed. One who was James and one who was me,” she says in the documentary according to the publication.
On his Facebook account, Morgan wrote after the news broke: “The cat is out of the bag!” Or should I say, I’m finally free to be me.
In 2007, Morgan Olivia Rose (pictured now), named male at birth and known as James Kurisunkal, started Park Avenue Peerage in 2007 as a college student.
The blogger is pictured here with Tinsley Mortimer in 2007
“Years and years ago I lived in constant pain, turmoil and disgust – to the point that suicide was a daily desire because living in my skin as someone who wasn’t ‘me – through years of transition, I emerge as Morgan Olivia Rose.
“It wasn’t a transformation per se, but a transition from being dead but alive…to now, fully alive and truly myself.”
Earlier in her Instagram Stories, she also shared a May 14, 2021 memory of her time filming Queenmaker.
After being revealed as the blogger behind Park Avenue Peerage, she went to work as a paid summer intern for New York magazine, according to a 2007 article in The New York Times.
During this time, Morgan was a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and was a sophomore evaluating a major in English or sociology.
“I’m really a freshman at the University of Illinois updating this website from my bedroom,” she wrote on her blog at the time after her identity was discovered by a reporter from a New York magazine.
“I live next to fields of corn and soybeans and my office is open with celebratory photos of Anchor and Marquee. I know.’
Alongside Morgan, former Real Housewives of New York City star Tinsley Mortimer and socialite-turned-fashion influencer Olivia Palermo also appear in Queenmaker.
On his Facebook account, Morgan wrote after the news broke: “The cat is out of the bag!” Or should I say, I’m finally free to be me’
Morgan (pictured) appears alongside Tinsley and socialite-turned-fashion influencer Olivia Palermo in the documentary
In the documentary, Tinsley breaks down in tears as she talks about the dark side of early 2000s socialite culture.
“At the time, New York was very booming, and it was just this crazy, overdone world,” she recalls. ‘All these photographers, I just remember thinking, ‘I want to be a part of this. That looks cool.”
Tinsley, now 47, followed in the footsteps of heiresses Paris and Nicky Hilton, who were just teenagers when they were dubbed the ‘littlest socialites in town’ in a profile published by The New Yorker in 1999.
In the trailer for the documentary, famed photographer Patrick McMullen takes part of the credit for turning the socialite sisters into celebrities.
“I kind of invented the Hilton sisters,” he says, adding, “Well, I taught them how to pose.” People realize the power of the image.
While running Park Avenue Peerage (photo from blog screenshot), Morgan was a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
A number of socialites, photographers, gossip bloggers and publicists were interviewed for the documentary, including famed publicist R. Couri Hay.
“When I met Tinsley Mortimer we were at a party,” he recalls.
“I said, ‘It’s about being in the right dress at the right time. “”
In a 2017 City & Country profile, the publicist details how he helped her become an It Girl by having her quit her job as an event planner and join committees at the American Museum of Natural History and the Central Park Zoo.
Tinsley, who was married to oil heir Topper Mortimer at the time, is described as ‘[dropping] on stage like a bomb” by a person interviewed in the documentary.
“It was fun until it wasn’t fun anymore,” she says of her socialite status.
In 2007, Tinsley was constantly photographed in New York. She had designed a line of handbags for Samantha Thavasa and had her own shade of gloss for Dior: Tinsley Pink.
Queenmaker: The Making of an It Girl premieres on Hulu on May 17.