Tag Archives: celebrity

Celebrity spokespeople

Dear T

It’s a Friday night and there I am scrolling through my Instagram feed without really looking at it when I suddenly realise that a lot of people are posting about the same thing: Before the Flood – a documentary by Leonardo DiCaprio on climate change. I love a good documentary and as it’s free on YouTube via the National Geographic channel I thought I might as well give it a watch. And I’m very glad I did; it’s eye opening, beautiful, terrifying, thought-provoking, all the words that should be associated with a documentary that keeps a 23 year old inside on a Friday night.

However, there are some people who are not so flattering about the documentary and this is mainly due to the fact that a Hollywood celebrity is at the centre of it.

‘Why should we care what Leonardo DiCaprio thinks about climate change?’, people ask. ‘He’s an actor. What makes him an expert?’ (This is a nice version of some of the things I’ve read)

Do they have a point? In all honesty, probably. Yet I only watched the thing because I love watching Leo on the screen. Would I have watched it if it was presented by a climatologist who I’d never heard of? In all honesty, probably not.

I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, though. Millions of people have now been educated on a world threatening issue and know how they can make a difference and Leo has enabled that. He might not be an ‘expert’ – he’s the first person to admit that he has a lot to learn – but he’s certainly passionate and willing to put himself out there.

But why, despite this huge accomplishment, are many of the reviews telling Leo to get back to his day job? Why is it so offensive that he should have a passion besides acting? Well, from what I can tell, once one is branded a ‘celebrity’ they must never speak about non-celebrity matters henceforth. No. Shh. You are a celebrity shell, only good for looking pretty and having relationships with other celebrity shells. You are not a person; stop acting like one. (I feel like there’s a Black Mirror episode in here somewhere.)

Take Lily Allen and Gary Lineker for example. They had the nerve to talk about the blatant demonisation of refugees that is constantly being projected across the press. Allen received death threats when she visited the Calais camp and apologised on ‘behalf of [her] country’ for the way the refugees are being treated (see her article on Vice for more). Instead of reacting with compassion and sympathy for these victims the main consensus was how dare she speak for me!!! How dare she speak for MY country.

I mean, these are actual suffering humans being treated like the scum of the earth. But still. The real issue is definitely Lily Allen. She’s a singer, not a human rights activist!!! She should stop chatting shit and get on with singing.  

Similarly, when Gary Lineker disagreed with the masses by tweeting

the treatment by some towards these young refugees is hideously racist and utterly heartless

the Sun declared that he be sacked from the BBC. Well what did he expect? He’s a former footballer/presenter. He has no right to be honest, to voice an opinion on something really earth-shatteringly important.

(I really hope my sarcasm is coming across here.)

Should celebrities even have opinions? And if they have to shouldn’t they just keep it to themselves?!

How ridiculous these questions seem to me.

Because these celebrities are more than their jobs, just like the rest of us. They are people. I’m allowed an opinion. I don’t get told to hang myself for posting these blogs. Nobody tells me to leave my job. I’ve never been accused of not being an expert in something I’ve tweeted about. Passion is for everyone, no matter your job, race, age, gender. So why are celebrities being fought against everyday for being human?

I don’t know the answer to this.

Sophia Bush, an actor and supporter of Hillary Clinton wrote this, which is everything I’m trying to say today and more:

For everyone who has taken to the Internet to call me names today, and every day that I have ever shared my personal opinion on my personal page, way to reinforce the hatred and bullying and constant demeaning of people that you are saying doesn’t exist. 

To all of my conservative friends who’ve said, “we may not agree but we love your passion and your desire to fight for what you believe in,” thank you. And to everyone who does align with what I’m saying who has taken time out of their day to say “keep it up,” or “thank you for not hiding,” or “thanks for the articles that actually fact check,” you mean a lot to me in the constant onslaught of hate that is the Internet these days. 


My job is not who I am. It is my job. The person who does it — the person I am when I wake up and when I talk to my mom on the phone — clocks in and out every day. The person who you are telling to “commit suicide” and save you a split second to scroll past on instagram, who you are calling a “dumb cunt,” who you are saying “should see what sexual assault feels like,” and who you are just straight up saying you “used to love but now hate,” or you’d “still fuck despite my political views” (PS never happening, bro) is an actual person.

I think the deep rooted question that stems from all this is: should society dictate celebrities?

And when it’s put like that this whole thing seems rather silly.

Jesse Tyler Fegurson, (aka Mitchell from Modern Family aka my spirit animal) sums the issue up well in this instagram post (he was called out for having an opinion on politics).

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Sometimes I think it would be beneficial for society to remember:

people are people are people are people

whether they’re celebrities, refugees, employed, unemployed, black, white, male female, outspoken, shy, etc etc etc

Everybody is just trying to get through life.

Lots of love, big fat human love

Alex

xoxo

Lemonade

 

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Screenshot from Lemonade Trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BB5zLq1zcdo

Dear T

Let’s talk about Beyonce for a second. Her name is everywhere right now. Why? Because when life gave her lemons, Beyonce made Lemonade (and made a real song and dance about it too).

Before I carry on I need to say something. I imagine I’m going to make myself a few enemies here. I will be banished from the Beyhive for eternity to infinity and beyond. But alas I will say it anyway.

I don’t love Beyonce.

I don’t hate her either, by the way. I just wouldn’t tweet a ‘What would Beyonce do?’ meme or *crown emoji**bee emoji*. I’ve never got the Queen B buzz (lol) and I don’t have time to try. I’m wary of the craze. But first…

The reason the world is so obsessed with Lemonade right now seems to be what it’s not so subtly saying about Beyonce’s marriage to Jay Z. One song – I didn’t (want to) listen to them all – titled ‘Sorry’ accuses Jay Z of an affair with ‘Becky with the good hair’. As soon as Lemonade was splashed all over the industry carpet the finger was pointed, and not even particularly at Mr Queen B, Jay Z. The first of the accused was fashion designer, Rachel Roy. Then everyone was up in Rita Ora’s face. As I’m typing this the media is claiming that ‘Becky’ is a composite of women Jay Z has cheated with. By the time this has posted we’ll probably be suspecting Mary Kate Olsen or Sarah Lou off of Coronation Street or Fiona Bruce. Who runs the world? Not girls, but the media and gender frameworks. *Blame the woman!!!*. Hey B maybe you should be careful about what you sing before some innocent lady gets their house egged or their face plastered all over the Daily Mail. (Obviously I don’t think this is Beyonce’s fault. She is just the face of a much larger problem.)

Speaking of the Daily Mail, Piers Morgan wrote a truly hilarious article about how Beyonce was ‘playing the race card’ in her new visual album. Morgan cleverly writes how he preferred Beyonce when she didn’t have a political voice and pretended to be white. “The New Beyoncé wants to be seen as a black woman” part was my favourite. She wants to be seen as a black woman. A black woman wanting to be seen as black. How ludicrous!! You’re right Piers, all black women should go back to wanting to be white again!!!! We should definitely wipe out the entirety of the world’s racial progress and Beyonce should get back in the kitchen and make Jay Z a sandwich. That guy is so funny.

Oh apart from this was a genuinely serious article; Morgan wasn’t trying to be funny and no-one is laughing. Everyone’s worst Loose Women panelist, Jamelia, certainly wasn’t laughing when she wrote this. She basically makes Morgan look like a prize racist idiot (who knew?):

You are a middle aged, British white man. You have no idea, I repeat: NO IDEA what it is like to be a black woman, and furthermore the sacrificial, struggle-filled, tongue-biting, mask-wearing fight it is to become a successful one.

Right on Jamelia, you’ve bumped yourself up into the top quartile of my Loose Women panelist rankings.

So now Lemonade isn’t B’s voice or artistry. Lemonade is about Becky with the good hair and the QueenB prototype of woman and whether or not Beyonce wants to be seen as black(?!). It questions why Jay Z decided to internationally expose himself as a love rat, whether he knew what he was signing up for or whether he’s using it as some form of career tactic. Despite all of this, for all the wrong reasons Lemonade puts Beyonce on an ever ascending pedestal that no amount of adultery or publicity can knock down. And I don’t mean Beyonce the person, I mean ‘Beyonce’ the brand.

My feelings about B aren’t informed by her music. Her songs are fine. I would sing my heart out to them in a club (although I would do the same to the Pokemon theme tune so that isn’t saying much.) My issue is with ‘Beyonce’. She isn’t a real person. She’s a creation of many minds, an image, a project, a worldwide symbol of what a woman should be. And I don’t buy it. However real Lemonade may be, Beyonce isn’t; she’s an ideal. She’s married with a child, she’s gorgeous, she donates millions to charity. But don’t forget she’s also Sasha Fierce: ‘sassy’ and strong and feisty. She seemingly never has a bad day; even when her sister punched her husband, ‘Beyonce’ was left virtually unscathed. The media constantly pushes her brand of femininity as a goal for all women. But hi, femininity isn’t real. It’s a totally made up thing that men projected onto women of olden times to make them behave subordinately. It’s scary that the person so many call ‘Queen’ isn’t a person at all, but a brand, a puppet. Beyonce shouldn’t be ‘goals’. You don’t have to be Beyonce. Even Beyonce isn’t Beyonce. Do what you want. Be who you want. You’ll never be Beyonce. I don’t blame Beyonce or her lemony fizzy goodness. After all, she’s just the face of a brand, the commodity used to sell the brand.

I blame her puppet master.

(Hope this wasn’t too intense and I hope I still have friends! Like I said, my issue isn’t with the lady herself, it’s the dishonesty/danger/delusion of mainstream media.)

Lots of love

Alex xoxo

 

When two become one

Dear Alex,

I will forgive your blogging absence if not only because those photos are stunning and I’m proud of you for facing your fears 😉

In your absence I actually wrote 3 blogs! Of course I posted zero of them and I thought it would be a bit too much to post all three so I have combined two out of the three into one. That is why it is a bit lengthy this week and explains my blog title – borrowed from the title of the song by the oh so talented Spice Girls.

What have I been up to? Well, I have spent the last few weekends experiencing more of Spain. Two weeks ago I went quad biking with some of the teachers here. The views were amazing and I LOVED riding a quad bike. I’m really getting a taste of Asturias too as we had traditional Asturian food for lunch in front of this Roman bridge and glorious sunny weather. I had Fabada (like a bean stew) and ‘Escallopines con Cabrales’ which is meat with an Asturian cheese sauce – it’s lush.

  
Plus, this weekend I learned how to make ‘Churros’ which made the fat kid inside me jump for joy. I will have to make them for you when I return.

  
In other news, being the massive movie buff I am, have been avidly following the recent film awards including of course, most recently, the Oscars. I look forward to this time every year. I have always believed films trigger a particularly cathartic response, transport you to another place, visually astound you and have the power to make you think about larger issues. For these reasons, I love movies and of course why not celebrate it? Biggest news of the Oscars is of course Leo – after waiting almost the length we have been on this planet, he won the most coveted award among actors. Being a huge fan of Leo, this made me very happy and I also fully enjoyed the amount of Memes that littered the Internet following his win. I also loved that Brie Larson won, I have not seen her performance in ‘Room’ but I love that an independent film can trigger an Academy Award win. I’m also pleased for Alicia Vikander, who I just think is an amazing actress.

However, the extravagance of the Oscars and Leo’s, slightly short sighted, although carefully worded, speech made me pause for thought. As much as I love film, and Leo, I wonder if he considered the amount of energy it takes to make a movie when planning to address climate change in his speech. That in order to find snow for his latest film, they had to fly to Argentina, moving the whole production there, or that they had to drive 5 hours each day to location. That the Oscars as a production, including all the after parties use a huge amount of energy in lighting, sound, and electricity. That he flies on private planes and charters luxury yachts and I would bet good money he didn’t car share to the Oscars. He is right in that it is of course prudent that we listen to leaders who support humanity, but I couldn’t help feeling the innuendo of his speech was ‘Don’t do as I do, but do as I say’.

Although, I perhaps considered his speech more because I have been thinking a lot recently about the environment, my time in Fiji and natural disasters after the devastation of Cyclone Winston. A company very close to my heart, Think Pacific, have been raising money and delivering aid to all the islands they have a connection with and helping them deal with the aftermath. I learnt that only four houses stand in their entirety in Daku, the village where I lived, and the kindergarten we built is completely destroyed.
 I feel so sorry for the Fijian people who are so lovely and generous and have to deal with the destruction. Although I am wholly glad that bighearted companies like ‘Think Pacific’ exist to help in tough times. It is their kind of charity that makes me consider whether we are praising actors too much and the people that really deserve it too little.

Love T xx

(I have attached the link to this blog post in the hope that you or some of our readers may be interested in finding out more about the aid they are trying to provide and may want to help)

http://fijicyclone.thinkpacific.com

 

Celebrigods

Dear Alex,

I couldn’t agree more, especially about the Ellie Goulding – I too have judged. Celebrities have become the new deities. I think it honestly is because a lot of society has has become disillusioned with the concept of religion. New scientific discoveries have made people more inclined to question the existence of God and when once going to church on a Sunday was commonplace, I don’t know anyone who goes now.

I always put ‘no religion’ on forms because religion doesn’t play a large part in my life. It is true that religion has started a lot of problems in the world. But I do agree with the values religion teaches. Respect, kindness, generosity, to put yourself in another’s shoes. There have always been famous people, instead they used to be people who had done great things for the benefit of humanity – religious icons like Mother Theresa – not found fame for sex tapes or dropping a successful album (my god is Justin bieber’s new one catchy).

I think our obsession with celebrity has arisen through a lack of a belief in something bigger. We hold them up to be Gods because we don’t have anyone else. Nor do we have a concrete belief system to guide us.

This isn’t an excuse in anyway – I agree that how people act towards celebrities is bizarre and unacceptable. But perhaps this provides a possible explanation for the madness.

On another note, I’m sitting here on the bus drafting this (perhaps futilely as I’m seeing you in a few hours!) and feeling happy. It is beautifully Christmassy in London, I had a great week at work – had my first copy published on the website, a lovely catch up with one of my besties this morning, and I’m heading to Cardiff – one of my favourite, memory-filled places ever – to see some more of my favourites for an early Christmas reunion.

Life is good.

Love T xxx

What is fame and where did it come from?

Dear T

You saw Jim Broadbent! I’ll always think of him as Slughorn from Harry Potter.*

*Side note: I suddenly felt extremely sad yesterday as I was shelving Harry Potter books in the book shop. Because it dawned on me that there’ll never be more Harry Potter. Obviously they’re still marketing it for all it’s worth but there will never be that fresh, new material that used to make me giddy and I would read cover to cover in one sitting. I wonder if a book will ever have the same effect on me again*

I don’t think you’re weird for not speaking to Jim Broadbent. The whole *celebrity* notion, in my opinion, is SO strange. Especially because in today’s society the celebrity label can be stuck overnight. And as soon as one is declared famous all social norms are thrown out of the window. It’s suddenly ok to camp outside the hotel of Lady Gaga just so you can watch her leave and get into a car. It’s normal to scream in the face Harry Styles and grab at his limbs. It’s alright to follow Justin Bieber (who you don’t know), take thousands of photographs of him doing everyday activities, and make money from the resulting images. It’s acceptable to know all about and discuss in great depth the love life of Ellie Goulding, despite not knowing her at all or her alleged flames. I am terrible for that last one. But if a stranger followed me round with a camera I would call the authorities.

So why is this life for specific people? And they are just people: they watch tv; they get hiccups; they poo. It’s like we need celebrities for one reason or another. We put them on pedestals or kick them down into the gutter. We don’t know them, but it’s ok. Doing it makes us feel better about ourselves. Or else it gives us something to be, to aim towards. Magazines help us to be more like flawless celebrities and less like those featured in the circle of shame pages. The media has the power to decide who deserves the glory and who should be exiled.

But obviously the A-listers the media portrays are not real people. They’re social constructions of an ideal. Does anyone look at Beyonce’s Instagram and truly believe it’s her real life? Is her hair always perfect? Is that seriously how she naturally sits/stands? Does she always wear clothing of that standard? Why isn’t her greasy hair piled on top of her head like mine is right now? Why is she never in her sweats and dog-chewed slippers like I am right now? Why aren’t there any chocolate stains on her clothes from when she accidentally sat on a miniature hero? I manage to get chocolate on my clothes most days; I don’t even get confused anymore when I see chocolate on my jeans but know for sure chocolate hasn’t featured in my day.’Beyonce’ has to create an image of herself that isn’t necessary for me to create myself. The world is watching *celebrity*; the world isn’t watching me. And thank god it isn’t. Because if it was it would feel very sick by what I think is acceptable to eat off the floor.

Alex xoxo

PS. I can’t wait to see you tomorrow for Christmas in Cardiff!!

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Cardiffmas: the most wonderful time of the year

Culturally cursed

Dear Alex,

I remember when I was learning to drive I was afraid to go above 50mph, it felt like I was flying – why go any faster? Now if I’m stuck behind someone going 50mph in a 60mph I wonder why they are deliberately trying to slow down my day.

So I saw someone famous today – this is still somewhat of a novelty to me – despite it seemingly being a common occurrence in London.

I never understand people who go up and say something to celebrities. I always wonder whether it is someone who in fact just looks like someone famous. It never occurs to me that it could actually be them. Today I knew it was Jim Broadbent (a colleague had already confirmed it) but instead of being like “Hi Jim – loved you in Bridget Jones”, I just pretended like I was very busy and didn’t even notice his presence.

I would count myself as a friendly person, but I am also definitely very British. By this I mean, I don’t make eye contact with anyone on the tube, I don’t speak to people I don’t know unless they speak to me first and I say ‘sorry’ at every opportunity. Obviously these kinds of traits were not uncommon in our house – in fact I think this shared realisation is how we became friends in the first place (although the last one is most definitely a characteristic unique to me).

I genuinely believe this is a cultural oddity though. One of the girls at work is French and she does not have this issue. Every day for lunch we go to the canteen and she gets her food and waits for me to get mine. In that time she makes about 5 friends. I always find her chatting away to someone she has never met before like they have been besties for years.

When I brought it up she said she thought it would be weird if she didn’t make conversation with someone who was stood near her. I don’t think it would be weird at all. But I wish I did.

Am I normal? Please say it’s a cultural curse and not just me.

Love T xxx

Dream#1

Dear T

I completely agree with your frustrations. I’ve applied to what feels like HUNDREDS of jobs and would feel extremely pleased with a rejection email instead of the radio silence I’m currently receiving. I suppose it doesn’t help that I don’t exactly know what I want from my career.

What I do know is this:

I really want my own book signing

I realise this sounds strange seeing as I don’t have a book but I’ll explain. As you know in October I did some work for the Cheltenham Literature Festival. One of my favourite things about Cheltenham is the number of festivals that run here throughout the year – music, science, jazz, and literature. Any and all of them would definitely be worth the trip over.

Anyway, during this year’s literature festival I was based in one of the book tents where many authors and celebrities would come after their events to sign books. I think this calls for a photo opportunity!

Here I with the lovely @carriehopefletcher (I’m in the cat skirt):

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And the WONDERFUL Steve Backshall:

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It was my job to stand at the front of these queues to make sure that everything ran smoothly between author and reader. Standing in this prime spot allowed me to chat with the authors (including THE Sir Terry Wogan) and publicists, but also to witness interactions between authors and fans. It got me to thinking – how absolutely lovely and inspiring and overwhelming it would be to have a queue of people who love my writing so much that they’re willing to spend their time waiting in line to have it signed. I think I would cry every time.

So that’s why I want my own book signing.

Next time – why I want my own tour bus. (I’m kidding.) (Although I do desperately want my own tour bus.)

Alex xoxo