Diablo Cody

Diablo Cody

Diablo Cody was born Brook Busey, in Chicago, IL. Nothing in her suburban Midwestern upbringing indicated the wild self-invention that was to come. She attended a Roman Catholic high school and graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Media Studies. She took creative writing courses in college, as Iowa was known for having one of the country's most celebrated graduate writing programs, but had no particular ambition to become a famous writer, or a famous anything for that matter. After graduating, she relocated from Chicago to Minneapolis. She quickly grew bored of her job in advertising, so to amuse herself, started her first blog, "Red Secretary." Starting her pattern of identity reinvention, Cody used her blog to recount the adventures of a fictional secretary living in Belarus, although the material was based on her own life. It had a small readership, but "Red Secretary" was still a revelation to Cody. It gave her the opportunity to not only flex her writing muscles, but also try on the life of a fictional character of her own creation. It became a pattern she continued over the next few years and eventually rode to fame.After marrying a musician she met on the Internet, she became Brook Busey-Hunt. She also started writing a new blog, "Darling Girl," that described her married life and adventures exploring the cultural hotspots of Minneapolis. One of those hotspots included a strip club where, on a whim, she entered an amateur stripping contest. She lost the contest but gained a newfound passion. With the approval of her husband, she quit her day job and dedicated herself to a life of lap dancing. New identities followed, as Cody stripped under the names "Bonbon," "Roxanne" and "Cherish."Stripping initially empowered Cody; it allowed her to shed once and for all the safe, little Catholic girl label and assume a wild, salacious persona. It also provided loads of material for her new blog, "The Pussy Ranch," which traced the exploits of professional pole-dancers. But the adrenaline rush faded over time and Cody began to see that most of the women she worked with were not empowered but undervalued. To stay sane, Cody blogged about popular culture world for City Pages, an alternative Twin Cities newspaper. Finally, after seeing one-too-many girls groped, she quit stripping for good. She had not made much money taking off her clothes - $800 on her best night - but the experience was soon to make her a fortune.When a Hollywood literary manager, Mason Novick, contacted Cody about turning her "Pussy Ranch" blog into a book, she was so unsophisticated about how the film and book publishing industries worked, that she thought he was a cyber stalker. Novick eventually convinced her he was for real and found her a publisher, Gotham, for her memoir, Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper (2005). The book embraced the same self-deprecating humor and risqué tone of her blog, garnering excellent reviews and solid sales. Cody appeared on "The Late Show with David Letterman" (CBS, 1993-2015) to promote the book, where it became the inaugural inductee into "Dave's Book Club." Besides giving a boost to the book's sales, "The Late Show" appearance also gave Cody a platform to showcase her quirky personality and humor. Hollywood immediately took notice.Although she had never written a screenplay, Novick convinced his client that her offbeat perspective and skill with dialogue made her a natural screenwriter. Most working screenwriters toil for years, churning out script after script before selling something or getting a chance to write something on assignment. Not Cody. She was so green that she went to a bookstore to buy the scripts for "Ghost World" (2001) and "American Beauty" (1999) - two of her favorite movies - because she had no idea what a screenplay actually looked like on a page. To her credit she learned quickly. With no restrictions or guidance from anyone in the industry, she decided to write about a very smart, very verbal, geeky high school girl who gets pregnant after sleeping with her nerdy best friend. Although "Juno" was not Cody's life story, it certainly captured her offbeat writing voice. Still living in Minneapolis, she sent the script off to Novick and went back to blogging.The "Juno" script caused an immediate sensation when Novick circulated it around Hollywood. Director Jason Reitman, hot off the satirical comedy "Thank You for Smoking" (2005), came on board and it quickly went into production. With Hollywood being an industry built on "buzz," Cody became busy as the proverbial bee. Relocating to Los Angeles, studios and networks swamped her with assignments. Although she had never written for television, Steven Spielberg hired her to write a pilot for "Showtime." Amazingly this was before "Juno" was even released."Juno" provided Cody a dazzling start to her career in movies. She received numerous accolades for her first screenplay, winning the prestigious Best Original Screenplay Award from the National Board of Review, and was nominated by the Golden Globes, Writers Guild, and Independent Spirit Awards as well. In addition, she landed a gig as newest Backpage columnist, joining regular contributors Dalton Ross and the iconic pop horror author Stephen King on a rotational basis for Entertainment Weekly magazine. But her biggest coup came when she landed an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay which she not surprisingly won.