I used to be the airhead in the bookstore making a beeline for the magazine counter. Browsing tabloids was my secret guilty pleasure and I shared it with all those other ladies who had their noses buried in them. Who could resist? Famous people balancing a cup of Starbucks in one hand, their latest mobile in another and a Birkin on their shoulders seemed so glamorous.
All those illicitly taken photos of celebrities doing ordinary things like buying the groceries. Somehow we preferred seeing them captured in their natural state rather than all glammed up on the red carpet. Those predictably posed shots from a favourable angle were getting so boring. It was comforting to see them looking – not so hot. No makeup, pimples exposed or even better, lumps of fat sticking out of their bikinis. They were still gorgeous, just not perfect. I guess we were fed up with heavily made-up and photoshopped versions of celebrities in the mainstream magazines like Vogue and Vanity Fair. Buying these magazines we were collectively cheering “Yeah, show us the real thing!” Something we could aspire to, not some ethereal, anatomically impossible superhuman. I used to wonder why my pores were so ugly when celebrities had no pores, wrinkles or cellulite. I had no idea about hours of make-up and photoshop.
Bookstores started wrapping up their magazines in plastic but then came our holy grail. The gossip blogs which exposed all the secrets. Not only were blogs free, they brought you the news so fresh that they would only hit the tabloids a day or two later. It seems awful to confess this but it was great to have the heads-up on the latest break up. It allowed us to gloat about our own stable relationships while tit-tutting over their hollywood ones. The first gossip blog I read was by the infamous Perez Hilton. No matter how much celebs loathe him for exposing them and the paparazzi agencies hate him for stealing their photos, I became an instant fan. I thought he was nice, because when I wrote him an email he actually wrote back cheekily signing off “stay warm in Singapore, love P, xoxo.”
Today I am ashamed to admit we virtually stalk toddlers as well, with the blogs focused on celebrity spawn. It’s hard to deny that we’re the ones keeping the paparazzi in business. But who can resist those adorable tikes who make our ovaries sigh. Heading the list is the Brangelina rainbow family of six and toddler fashionista Suri Cruise who in her heels and lipstick can outdress an adult anyday. I’m embarrassed to say I google ‘Suri Cruise’ quite frequently to see what new outfit she’s got on. Her wardrobe is to die for and she’s only 4!!
I have tried going cold turkey but it’s hard when you get bombarded by images everywhere even in the mainstream media like CNN and BBC. This is a guilty habit that’s hard to beat. It’ll be interesting to see what Suri Cruise get’s up to in ten years. I predict she’ll be a an Oscar winning movie star and it’s fascinating to see how someone’s life pans out from birth. It’s similar to the recent reality TV boom, but it’s even more enticing when we can enter the lives of famous people, uninvited.
Gorgeous, charity focused celebs like Angelina Jolie have filled the hole left by our obsession in the 80’s with the equally charitable and doll like Princess Diana. It may all be clever marketing of her image on Jolie’s part but for now we are all totally captivated. Clever celebrities control their image and let us see what they want us to see but having said that, I am totally ‘team Jolie!’ (It has been reported that the Brangelina family carefully hides their army of nannies who work behind the scenes.) Angelina is now more powerful media icon than even the ‘big O’ (Oprah).
Right now I have reduced my habit to two blogs. D-listed and Celebrity Baby Scoop. D-listed is written by a cute interracial gay guy who has introduced many fabulous words into the urban dictionary. Before there were gossip bloggers I had no idea what MILF, camel toes or cankles were. Guys close to me shake their heads and say this is all useless information but somehow we girls get off on it. Your English teacher would shudder, but it’s fun to have cool “new vocabulary” that only we understand. I’m sure other similarly afflicted girls will get what I mean.
Recently it’s even become fashionable for celebs to appear on magazines without makeup – aka Jessica Simpson. It’s also improved body image issues with celebs willing to put on a couple of pounds and show us they can look just as fabulous. And that’s something positive that’s come out from all that nosy-ing.