Sorority rush season is in full swing at colleges across America, and freshmen girls are racking their brains on how to make the best first impression. So we decided it was time to catch up with “deranged sorority girl” Rebecca Martinson, whose now-infamous viral email changed her life—and led her to a new career as a writer.
Martinson is currently the associate editor at men’s entertainment site BroBible, and she’s become something of a spokesperson for Greek culture: She covered the introduction for Taylor Bell’s juicy sorority novel Dirty Rush, on sale now.
How do you feel about being referred to as “the deranged sorority girl”?
The phrase itself puts a great image in your head: a college-aged girl who’s the spitting image of Betty Draper from Mad Men, with her hair in perfect curls and wearing a prim little dress… running around wrecking shit and roundhouse-kicking people in the face. How can you not laugh at that?
It doesn’t bother me, honestly, and I actually think it’s pretty funny. No one who knows me actually thinks I’m deranged (at least as far as I’m aware) which is all that really matters to me, so when random people try to throw it in my face like it’s an insult, I’m like, “OK. And your point is?”
Do you have any regrets about sending that email back in 2013?
Currently? No. Back then I was upset that I’d made my chapter look like a bunch of losers, but as far as I can tell, nothing really “bad” happened to them from that email. They’re still on campus, they took a full pledge class last spring, and they’re not on probation or anything.
It was honestly a blessing in disguise. I was an English major who had no idea what she was going to do when she graduated, aside from live in my parents’ basement and eat mac-and-cheese all day, ’erry day. So the fact that I not only got a job out of the whole thing but also got to be involved in Taylor Bell’s Dirty Rush? Best-case scenario right there.
Everyone’s favorite term you added to the lexicon last year was “cunt punt.” What was the inspiration behind that phrase?
Dude, like, I have no idea. Whenever I’m pissed off and writing, my brain just goes into overdrive, and whatever comes out, comes out. I don’t necessarily sit there and think about what would be fun to say; it’s one of those cases where all you can do is shrug your shoulders and say, “I dunno, guys; shit happens.”
Are you still in touch with any of your former Delta Gamma sisters?
One of the great things about that email was actually that I got to learn who my friends really were. I’m happy to report that everyone I considered a friend was still my friend afterward. It’s not like the minute I sent that email, I also simultaneously burnt roughly 140 bridges all at once. I burned 70, repaired 30, and to the other 40 I was basically Satan.
How does your family feel about your claim to fame?
At first they were mortified, which was understandable. Giant family dinners were kinda tense for maybe about a month whenever someone said the word “email,” even if it wasn’t in reference to me, but no one really cares anymore, and we all kind of laugh about it. My aunt currently lives in Germany, and last summer she gushed about how she mentioned to a friend that I’d gotten in trouble for sending an email that went viral. The friend replied, “Wait, your niece is Rebecca Martinson?” The whole thing has become the family joke.
Did you always want to be a writer? And were you afraid your notoriety would hurt your job prospects?
I had no idea what I wanted to be; my only requirement was that I didn’t hate it and that I made enough money so that I wouldn’t have to eat McDoubles each meal for the rest of my life. Literally, I was every university career center’s worst nightmare: no idea what I’m doing, no idea what I want to do, and not a whole lot of motivation to figure any of it out ahead of time.
As for my job prospects being hurt, I wasn’t really that concerned. I knew that after time passed it wouldn’t be such a big deal anymore, plus the email was so polarizing that while some people hated me, other people thought I was the friggin’ Pope or something. For one thing, I got hired about two months after my email went viral as a freelancer for BroBible, and while I was still in college I got hired at Echostage, an EDM concert venue in Washington, D.C. It was purely because the managers there had read my email and thought it was hilarious. Every job application had a 50-50 shot as to whether the hiring manager already hated me or not. Basically it’s been the only reason I’ve gotten hired anywhere so far.
What’s it like to be a woman blogging at a site called BroBible?
The same as blogging anywhere else, I would assume. As long as you “get” who your audience is and they like your work, I don’t see why it matters whether you’re male or female. Personally, I “get” the college-aged male demographic more than I get the female one, so BroBible is a better fit for me than most other websites.
You contributed to Taylor Bell’s new book Dirty Rush. How did you get connected with that project?
One of the cofounders at Total Frat Move, Ryan Young, sent me an email asking if Dirty Rush would be something I’d want to be involved in. As I’m sure you can already guess, my answer was yes.
What would your advice be to young women about to embark on their first sorority rush experience?
So rush straight-up sucks. Do you have any idea what rush entails? It’s you running around to however many sorority houses you have on your campus and having the same fucking conversation at every house until you want to blow your brains out and switch majors, because telling 15 different people about what made you decide to be a comms major is exhaustingly awful. Depending on where your school is located, it is going to be cold, it is going to be repetitive, it’s going to seemingly last forever, and you’ll probably want to quit halfway through out of pure exhaustion.
But it’ll be worth it.
This interview has been edited for length.
Photo via Rebecca Martinson