Once simply a celebrity mega fan, Evan Ross Katz is now a writer, podcaster, go-to Hollywood influencer, social media star and, as The White Lotus creator Mike White christened him, the “most valuable hype man in the history of television.” On Instagram, where his bio also reads “Daddy designator” and “Sarah Michelle Gellar historian,” he has 341,000 followers, including Channing Tatum, Olivia Wilde, Jeremy Allen White and Jennifer Aniston. His Substack — Shut Up Evan: The Newsletter — has more than 17,000 subscribers, and his Shut Up Evan podcast lands of-the-moment guests, from Jenna Lyons to Greta Lee.
From Paris, where he was attending the Loewe FW24 men’s show, Ross Katz dished about fame, fandom and the thing that excites him most about Hollywood today.
More from The Hollywood Reporter
When did you first start to feel you were making the transition from fan to influencer?
It’s a hard question to answer because it’s not so much a “before” and “after” in my mind. I still am a mega fan. And proudly so. I’ll always be. What’s changed is my proximity to that which I fan out over, or, as I like to say, that which causes me heart palpitations. And I’m grateful that the transition has happened at a pace that’s felt gradual. I’m lucky that the access and opportunities I’ve been afforded haven’t tainted the purity of my fan-coded brain.
What was the moment — a follow, an invitation, a job offer — when that solidified for you?
I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to say it’s solidified, but to answer the question: It so often comes back to Jennifer Coolidge — as any good story does. She sent me a very sweet message in 2021 thanking me for my devoted support of season one of The White Lotus. Never one to not shoot my shot, I took the opportunity to invite her on my podcast. We kept in touch and formed this beautiful friendship. On a professional level, her coming on the pod brought in so many new listeners, many of whom stuck around.
You’ve said that you would never want to be famous yourself. So how would you describe your place in pop culture?
There’s a way — in my experience of witnessing it — that fame taxes a person’s ability to simply be. Famous people have to be “on” a lot. They tend to command (often unwittingly) a lot of energy. They are scrutinized in a way I could never envy. I like the job of helping make people look good. I like trying to put people at ease. Connect in a genuine way. Show them in their best light. I love the task of finding and holding the center. So I would describe my place as that of a champion. I’m less interested in being (to quote Ariana DeBose) “the thing” and more interested in being that which helps celebrate or bring attention to said thing.
From where you sit, what is the thing you love most about Hollywood today?
I love that smaller, more insular or quieter films — Charlotte Wells’s Aftersun, Celine Song’s Past Lives, Andrew Haigh’s All Of Us Strangers, Ira Sachs’s Passages— can find wider audiences thanks in large part, I’d say, to social media. I love that discoverability and access continues to get easier.
And who or what in Hollywood most impresses you in this moment?
Besides Greta Lee? I’d honestly say the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), two incredibly important and powerful unions who came together to fight for what they’re owed. They did it with perseverance and determination and I don’t think we should move on so quickly from recognizing the role their members (especially their negotiating committees) played in reshaping this industry for the better.
Finally, which of your celebrity follows still amazes you most?
A version of this story first appeared in the Jan. 26 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
Best of The Hollywood Reporter