Remember when an actor was just an actor, and a singer was just a singer? Me neither, really, but I’m pretty sure it was a thing once.
Now every celebrity has her own fashion line, or cookbook, or blog empire. It started with Goop, Gwyneth’s (divisive) website/weekly newsletter dedicated to telling regular women how to live as fabulously as she does (spoiler alert: it involves trips to Marrakesh and $90 t-shirts and weekly blow-outs). Heidi Klum followed suit, with Heidi Klum on AOL, “a little bit of everything that I love, including fashion and beauty, fitness and nutrition, lifestyle, entertaining, recipes, parenting and more.” Jessica Alba wrote The Honest Life. Cameron Diaz wrote The Body Book. Just this week I learned that Drew Barrymore is the new editor-at-large for the style website Refinery29 and Rashida Jones is the new relationship columnist for Glamour.
Any celebrity who wants to stay in the fame game, it seems, has to have her hand in the “how to be fabulous” business.
I’m not against this, I don’t think. I subscribe to Goop. I own that Jessica Alba book. I’ll basically do whatever Jennifer Aniston or Kristen Bell or Mindy Kaling tell me to. And I really like Drew Barrymore, so I’m perfectly happy to learn more about her favorite breakfast sandwich. I believe that their lives are more fabulous and exciting than mine, so who am I to turn away from advice, or reject a peek into their daily rituals. If I want to be more like them, that seems a good place to start.
On the other hand… I do wonder what qualifies Gwyneth and Jessica and Drew et al as experts. Just being famous? Having money? Granted the whole “lifestyle expert” title is pretty all-encompassing (I define it as “person who exists”), so really it can be tacked onto just about anyone. Celebrities live really well because they have access and moolah. They have help. And thus they have time. And maybe it’s not exactly fair for them to be telling us how we should live, when most of us are short on the access and the moolah and the help and the time.
But back to that first hand…We are [I am?] hungry for celebrity everything. We devour Us Weekly and People. We watch the Kardashians (did you know that after Kourtney named her son Mason the name shot up to #2 in the most popular baby names for boys? Number 2!). We tweet at Lena Dunham. If there’s a market for their lifestyle advice, isn’t it ok for the starlets to capitalize on that?
And yet, to that second hand again. I love Rashida Jones. I really do. She’s funny. She rallied against pop-star crotch shots. She also happens to be stunning. But still, what makes her a relationship expert? She’s not married or in a long-term relationship, as far as I know. (I think maybe she’s dating this guy?) She’s not a therapist. She’s just a really smart, funny, beautiful woman. Which isn’t nothing, and maybe qualifies her to give her thoughts about relationships as much as anyone, but when I hear “expert” I want credentials. Maybe that’s just me.
Clearly, I’m torn. At first I was all about the celebrity-as-lifestyle-guru, since I’d like the confidence and togetherness and altogether fabulosity of my favorite celebs. I want to walk down the street and ooze cool instead of my current I-wore-these-sweatpants-to-bed-what-of-it? state. But the market is getting saturated. Now that any beautiful female celebrity can double as a connoisseur of, um, life, I’m getting over it. I mean, how many green juice recipes does one girl need? Just put the kale in the blender and be done with it.
What do you guys think? Do you flock to this sort of celebrity lifestyle content? Is there one celeb in particular who deserves the lifestyle guru title? Or is it all BS? These aren’t rhetorical questions, I really want to know. Do tell!