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MySpace to make Web series ‘Freshman 15’

Kathryn Robinson had The Talk with her boyfriend this week.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Kathryn Robinson had The Talk with her boyfriend this week.

A breakup was inevitable: They are separated by thousands of miles. Robinson, who hails from Tacoma, Wash., has just started her freshman year at a liberal arts college outside of New York City; her high school sweetheart remains on the West Coast.

"I don't want to be committed to anything," Robinson said Thursday in a phone interview. "It just doesn't make any sense when you're in college and you're just meeting so many new people."

And in Robinson's case, she's "meeting" far more new people than the average freshman.

The aspiring music journalist/actress/obstetrician is documenting her first year at the State University of New York, Purchase College, for the new Web reality series, "Freshman 15." The program, launched this week by Seventeen magazine and, follows 15 girls as they experience the first taste of university life and its various pressures, from studies to long-distance relationships.

"It's the first time in your life that you are living alone, you're on your own," Seventeen Editor-in-Chief Ann Shoket said. "I mean, that is the most exciting moment ever."

More than 1,000 teens applied to be on "Freshman 15," Shoket said. The magazine selected girls with diverse personalities, outside interests and backgrounds to more fully represent the teenage rainbow.

There is someone for everyone: The devout student trying to stay sober while her peers party and canoodle with the opposite sex late at night. The girl who comes from a strict family and wants to let loose. The bisexual teen dating girls for the first time.

Each has an individual MySpace profile, which features regularly updated content, including blogs, videos and photos. They'll also impart collegiate wisdom to Seventeen readers in upcoming issues. The October issue, on newsstands Sept. 18, features their tips on how to get into college.

"You're sharing every single thought, every single detail, all the emotional stuff, all the embarrassment, all of the trauma, all the crazy parties, all the regrets, all the excitement ... you're sharing ALL of that wonderful delicious emotion with the world," Shoket said.

Even if Mom might be reading.

"I know! See, this is what I'm worried about," said Robinson, with a laugh. "What I'm writing on my blogs, I gotta be careful because I know my parents are gonna be reading what I'm talking about. Like, `I'm not staying up at 2 a.m. when I have school the next day' — what?"

Shoket called the profiles a "service" to help prospective students get an idea of what college is really like. And with the popularity of MySpace — which boasts 70 million unique users — the word should certainly get out.

"MySpace is such a strong brand and they have such tremendous reach," she said.

While magazines such as Teen People and ELLEgirl have folded in recent years, Seventeen continues to be the best-selling teen magazine with a readership of 13 million.

Todd Dufour, MySpace's director of strategic marketing, said MySpace was sold on "Freshman 15" by the idea of giving users "unprecedented access to the college experience." The site is streaming the girls' videos on its video-sharing channel,

"MySpace is all about self-discovery, connection and expressing yourself," Dufour said. "I think this program really sort of hits those three emotions very well."

Robinson seems well on her way to making it through her freshman year. She loves her new roommate — so far.

"We're like made for each other!" she gushed. "She's right here laughing at me, actually. We're both vegetarian; we both like the same music. We're so lucky that we get along so well."