What's the gloss? Grazia, OK!, Woman's Day
Keeping an eye on those naughty glossip magazines and the microcosm of life in the celebrity fast lane.*
It was a week in which we saw Australian aircraft grounded by confounding volcanic soot, battle-weary New Zealanders go into aftershock, rains pour down on northern NSW, and a tough-stance Queensland budget released after the Maroons copped a State of Origin flogging. But what, you ask, did the glossips have to say?
Over at Woman's Day, editor Fiona Connolly found herself confounded by questions about Bec Hewitt's kids, Kate Middleton's wedding dress and Posh Spice's baby name predictions at Mission Australia's homeless women's shelter in Sydney. "We all lost track of time gossiping and for an hour or two the ladies has escaped the heartbreaking reality of their situations," writes Connolly.
The 'Your Say' letters page reveals readers are similarly taken with The Day's updates on the lives of its cast of celebrities: "I felt happy for Dannii Minogue when Kris Smith came into her life," writes M. Johnston of Boronia, Vic. "Then came little Ethan, making a picture-perfect family – it looked like she had it all. It must be difficult living your life under the spotlight. Hopefully Dannii and Kris will look at their priorities, make time for each other and raise young Ethan – who they both obviously adore – together."
Beautiful Winners & Losers star Mel Vallejo and her groom, Matt Kingston, appear over a baby-pink, six-page spread in all their newlywed glory with requisite gushing story. "As the sun dipped below the spires of the distant St Patrick's Cathedral, guests couldn't help but feel as though they were witnessing something special as Mel stepped out onto the terrace towards married life." More goodwill comes care of Erica Packer's 'Gift of Love', a recount of the model-mum's trip to Laos as an ambassador for UNICEF (we can pick up the August edition of Harper's Bazaar to read more). Is Erica becoming our Angelina?
The Duchess of Cambridge is the royal subject of near-weekly updates now that she's in full swing. In this edition we get pictures from the Epsom Derby race day and a confirmation that Kate and Wills will soon move into Kensington Palace in London, along with royal insider Andrew Morton's prediction that the duchess will fall pregnant within the next few months. "I've looked at this statistically – and the future sovereign, after they've got married, their partner would be pregnant within three months," he says, adding, "I expect her to have a girl because helicopter pilots traditionally have girls and I expect the baby's name to have Diana in it." There you have it, ladies.
Kate is the style queen of Grazia magazine, which is more interested in she shops and works out than the creation of any royal progeny. "If anyone knows how to pull off an entrance, it's the Duchess of Cambridge," declares the fashion weekly, as we take in in pictures of the statuesque brunette "stepping out of a Jaguar limousine wearing a pearlescent rose Swarovski crystal-embellished gown from British designer Jenny Packham's S/S 11 runway collection, [drawing] gasps of admiration from crowds vying for a glimpse of the new HRH."
A window onto the world of women living in the hyperbaric glossy fast-lane, Grazia's last page reads, "Oh goodie!" but all I can think is "Oh no!" as I page through its fashiony pages: all's not well and dressing up in 'Fab Finds' , felt hats, spritz of fragrance (p68) or logging onto a fabulous style blog (see 'Greatest Hits', p46) isn't going to make it go away... though they might do the trick temporarily.
The AFL St Kilda schoolgirl scandal, an anorexic Allegra Versace lamenting, "I wanted one thing – to be no one, to not be recognised, not be hunted down"), followed by Hollywood's "Fat Whisperer" on the next page ("she claims she can talk to fat cells and as a child wanted to 'heal like Jesus'"), the baby-food diet spread (saved by a health expert who recommends, "you need to feed your body the nutrients it requires"), and the story of a widower turning to casual sex after her husband died from skin cancer just make me want to weep.
"In hindsight it wasn't my proudest moment," writes Amy Molloy, one of Grazia's new columnists, of finding her way through her grief. "I've read the self-help books and know a good widow is not meant to be promiscuous. But I was 23-years-old, dejected and alone. I'd been mature enough to nurse a man through terminal cancer but, ironically, was too immature to deal with the aftermath." But, we learn, she is now to be married. Happy endings... to be continued in her column each week.
Elsewhere, Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks says, "I suppose the thing that annoyed me more than anything else is that everyone thought I was a ditz, but I went to college for five years. People thought I was high all the time and so I was regarded as a stupid blonde. I really hated that. Now people know who I am a little more, and I like that a lot."
Further on, it seems Bridesmaids' Rose Byrne is no Kate Moss either. Asked about her 30th birthday, Byrne admits, "I organised a party at my house and it was the worst experience of my life! Of my life! I had such a terrible time. What a bad idea to throw myself a party. I was so stressed the whole time. It was just terrible." Her own worst frenemy (see 'Are women better friends than men?' p 22), the self-deprecating Byrne also admits, "I think Australians innately find humour in things, but I'm not like, 'Get Rose for a dinner party, she'll bring the house down!'. That's not me."
OK! magazine's 'Shrinking Stars' may attract "Just have a few big meals!" remarks, but that kind of snark isn't going to get us anywhere, but nor is comparing ourselves to the skinny-minnies "Too stressed to eat" pictured in the magazine's cover story spread. In the mini OK! Extra supplement within, Selena Gomez also talks about the weight of great expectation: "My life is so stressful right now," the young star says. "I take two or three days at a time to just relax, be by myself or be with friends to refuel... I am very sensitive. My mum pushes me to be tougher. I don't know what I would do without her – she's the driving force behind my success."
Inside OK! celebrates the nuptials of Lily Allen in the tiny English village Cranham. As stunning as she looked in her vintage Delphine Manivet lace gown, "all eyes were fixed on the tiny bump the 26-year-old singer was already sporting," reports OK!. "On the biggest day of her life, Lily had double reasons to celebrate with her 105 wedding guests, as Sam proudly announced that his new wife was four months pregnant." In other wedding news, Kim Kardashian is reportedly having her beau-to-be sign a pre-nuptial agreement.
The upwards/downwards trajectory of Christina Aguilera and her body are recorded on pages 26 and 27 along with her career comeback: her role as a mentor to singing hopefuls on hit new show, The Voice. "It's a ray of hope for Christina, who not so long ago bungled her high-profile Super Bowl performance, followed by a wobbly performance at the Grammys," reports OK!.
Delta Goodrem and Nick Jonas's relationship is also cause for speculation ("there have been cynical whispers that it's a romance all for show") as is model Estella Warren's morbid fascination with the Manson family after being cast in Manson Girls, but it's Bad Teacher's Cameron Diaz who elucidates something we can learn from on page 46: "At the end of it all, I think her lack of self respect comes from the fact that she wasn't given the skills to recognise what she has to offer, who she is and to really value herself. What I do appreciate is that there's something in her that wants other people to understand that about themselves – that's her gift."
*... albeit occasionally, and hopefully not inadvertently perpetuating the cult of celebrity obsession. Better to cushion the habit in critical thought, right?
Girl With a Satchel