For the past week, Marissa Casey Fuchs’ 178,000 followers have been dutifully tuning in to watch the fashion influencer’s elaborate marriage proposal play out in real time.
When Gabriel Grossman, Fuch’s investment banker boyfriend, invited her on a mysterious, surprise engagement that will ultimately span two countries and countless outfit changes, Fuchs wondered online, “WHAT IS HAPPENING?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
But a leaked pitch for the stunt first published by The Atlantic and viewed by The Daily Beast on Wednesday has many wondering if Fuchs has known the answer to her own question all along.
The document is titled “#LoveAmbitionist” (a play on Fuchs' Instagram handle, @FashionAmbitionist). The 13-page PDF bills her journey as “A one-of-a-kind proposal experience for a one-of-a-kind female ambitionist.”
Fuchs currently works as Goop’s director of brand partnerships. The proposal described its leading lady as “a well-placed fashion blogger who has helped grow some of the world’s best global media and marketing publications.”
In a footnote, the deck is quick to specify that, “This blog is a personal passion project of [Fuchs'] and not affiliated with any of her prior/current job experiences. All content is her own.”
A source at Goop who requested anonymity confirmed to The Daily Beast that the team had “no prior knowledge” of the viral caper. The written pitch begins with a “New York City Kick-Off” that began at 9am in the Goop offices.
The deck first breezes through Fuchs and Grossman’s love story. The two met when they were both 10 and growing up in Hewlett, New York.
“While vaguely aware of each other, they did not grow close until college,” the document explains. “Despite attending different universities, a friendship formed; from that friendship sprang a relationship, from which love fully bloomed upon reuniting in New York City upon graduation.”
For the past five years, the couple has been “official.” The deck states, somewhat dramatically, that “Marissa and Gabriel devote themselves entirely to each other, and after years of loving one another they consider themselves life partners.”
As the logic goes: What better way to honor this “commitment” and the “physical and emotional journey” of the pair’s mutual devotion than for Gabe to “propose to Marissa in a way that incorporates Love, Adventure, Fashion, Friends, Family, Travel, and her ability to share it with her extended family, her Fans?”
It appears that the purpose of this PDF is to woo advertisers into sponsored partnerships. As the pitch's (unknown) writer(s) offer, “We’re pleased to offer your brand the opportunity to align with this momentous occasion and the beautiful cities she will be visiting along the way.”
Different opportunities for product placement are presented in the timetable. For instance, a note after Fuchs’ scheduled breakfast at Gurney’s Resort in Montauk reads, “IG Short Film Next Stop Post.” When Fuchs is due to stop for a “private dinner with FL” friends in Miami,” there is another “IG Long-Form Video Next Stop Post.”
As Taylor Lorenz notes in The Atlantic, “there have been only minor discrepancies between the pitch deck and Fuchs’ posts.” If Fuchs’ wide-eyed, sometimes-filtered Instagram stories are to be believed, and the influencer truly has no idea what’s next, then she is following her friend’s plans extremely well.
Ultimately, Fuchs and Grossman should end up in Paris, where on Friday afternoon Fuchs will finally get a ring. First, she’ll have to sit through a “Flash Mob & Proposal” on the steps of the Louvre.
When the pitch leaked, Elicia Blaine Evans, a former Michael Kors employee and friend of Fuchs, took to the influencer’s Instagram stories in an attempt to manage the derailing narrative.
“It was a logistical plan,” Evans explained. “The whole world has found out. I am stealing Marissa’s phone for the next god knows how long. And we’re going to get through this. Bye!”
"The best part about this is the entire deck that has been circulating—that it’s not how it [the wedding proposal] ends. Oh well."
Earlier that day, Fuchs had given “social media queen” Evans a shoutout. “I just want to say that I’m blessed to have Elicia here,” she said. “For those of you that don’t know, Elicia ran social media for Michael Kors and Audi. She’s also looking for a job, so if you want to hire her afterwards, she’s available.”
“In LA,” Evans clarified offscreen.
As Lorenz noted in her piece and eagle-eyed followers of Fuchs’ serpentine posts are sure to have spotted as well, Fuchs has not disclosed any sponsored products or ads on her Instagram stories.
In one such post, Fuchs wore a dress by LoveShackFancy. A representative for the New York-based clothing line told The Daily Beast over email that the brand “leant” the influencer samples.
“Her friend pulled them - and we are by no means compensating her or have any paid relationship,” the email read.
Grossman gifted Fuchs a monogrammed key necklace and chain from the jewelry line Jade Trau. When The Daily Beast asked Jade Lustig, the brand’s founder, if Fuchs had been paid for the post, Lustig replied over email, “No way.”
“[Grossman] is a friend and a colleague and an amazing person,” Lustig wrote. “I adore her and couldn’t be happier for her. She deserves every iota of love she’s receiving.”
When The Daily Beast reached out to Fuchs via email, we immediately received a bounce-back vacation reply. “Thank you for your email,” Fuchs’ wrote. “I am currently out of the office getting proposed to!”
She directed inquiries to her publicist, who declined to comment to The Daily Beast on the record.
Beca Alexander, the founder of Socialyte, an influencer talent agency, told The Daily Beast that these exhaustive stunts have become the norm in content creation-land.
“More influencers are starting to try and come up with their own types of PR stunts to stand out from the rest of the influencer ecosystem,” Alexander said. “Everyone is so desperate to make sure that their success continues. They’re finding ways to try and keep virility around their own life moments—engagement, pregnancies, or births—to keep amassing a following.”
Alexander also suggested that it is not out of the realm of possibility to consider that Fuchs not only knew about the pitch, but purposefully leaked it, too.
“We saw it at the office, and it got circulated to everyone at the team,” Alexander mused. “Was that part of the plan? Was it part of the moment, to get this more press-worthy or for it to go viral? You really don't know—but one thing I do know for sure is that they wanted people to talk about this.”
Conspiracy theory aside, the pitch’s author remains anonymous, though it is hard for many to believe that Fuchs—who took off work for this extravaganza—is as clueless as she’s posturing on Instagram.
While sitting on a (“Delta!”) plane on Wednesday, Fuchs explained why she and her soon-fiancé want to eschew the traditional wedding calendar.
“I don’t want to inconvenience my friends,” Fuchs said through her Long Island accent. “I don’t want to make them spend any money. I want everybody to just celebrate me for a day, or two I guess, or maybe even three, but then it’s over. I guess we’ll find out!”
Of course, in the pitch deck, Fuchs’ “surprise adventure” lasts exactly three days.