Girl Talk: Body image (again!)

Australian Miss Universe finalist Stephanie Naumoska, 19, is stirring global controversy for her thin frame and defending herself against anorexia accusations to Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America after the UK's Daily Mail picked up on the story last week (ironically, garnering more press than Rachel Finch, who won the contest).

Naumoska told Sawyer, "I've always been naturally tall [she's 5'11"] and naturally slim, so, for me, it's just normal...I've never been anorexic, never been bulimic, don't have any kind of eating disorder, I'm not malnourished, underfed...I eat six small regular meals a day and nutritional meals...I don't deprive myself of anything; I believe you can have everything as long as it's in moderation." (Note: She looks apprehensive when Sawyer shows her a plate of food).

"I feel fine; I feel great. I don't feel malnourished... if I was, my skin would be suffering, my hair would be suffering, I wouldn't have any energy to enter pageants or to be a model... I would be lying to myself if I said there wasn't pressure in the modelling industry, but I have such a supportive family and supportive friends that I would never let myself get to a stage... I think that I'm a positive role model for girls out there because I live a healthy, active lifestyle and I advocate other girls around the world to do the same... I want to defend all the skinny girls out there, all the skinny men, all the celebrities, all the people out there who get criticised [for] their appearance. I don't think it's fair because there are people out there who are naturally skinny and naturally slim like myself and I don't think it was fair that I was judged by the whole entire world based on a photo and my appearance...a role model shouldn't be judged by their appearance but rather by their actions or their lifestyle."

Amy Odell of New York Magazine notes: "It's not fair for so much attention to be placed on any 19-year-old girl. Being 19 is hard enough without the world staring at a photo of you in a swimsuit. But also, if Stephanie didn't want to be judged on her appearance, why did she enter a beauty pageant? And why is she a model? Surely she could have made a better case for herself and the skinnies she's trying to save."

My thoughts? It takes one to know one, so there's little doubt in my mind that Stephanie has an eating disorder of some description. On listening to Stephanie, my husband said, "That's just how you used to sound and defend yourself." Nicole Richie has trotted out a similar, well-rehearsed defence. Unfortunately for Stephanie, pictures do speak louder than words. Height, ethnicity, BMI, weight history and healthy food intake aside, if there's a general consensus that you are too thin – that you are not looking your best – then you probably are. And you need help.

It is unfair to judge, of course, and there are many naturally thin women who are ostracised unfairly, but Stephanie makes me uneasy: she even admits to feeling pressure to stay slim. While she may be eating, I can bet you the portions are super-small, with an emphasis on "healthy" foods (veggies, fruit, perhaps a little protein), and that she overcompensates with exercise (i.e. her "active, healthy lifestyle").

At 19, even at 5'11", a girl should be putting weight on her hips, butt, tummy and thighs in preparation for baby-bearing. She may have "always been naturally thin", but young women simply don't have the same bodies as their pre-pubescent selves. Sadly, when you work in a field like modelling (or, heck, the media), as in Hollywood, your perceptions of what looks good/healthy/normal can become warped.

What's more, by publishing Stephanie's image so widely (TV, internet, magazines,, blogs), I think the media are doing impressionable young women a serious disservice, even if there's reason for discussion. I can just see Stephanie making the next round of tabloid glossies. Not that publishing pictures of the emaciated Lindsay Lohan, Victoria Beckham and Antonia Kidman are any different. The media is certainly not doing women with eating issues any favours.

On a more positive note, Chloe Lattanzi – daughter of Olivia Newton John and a recovered anorexic – appears on the cover of the May edition of The Australian Women's Weekly with her mum. The singer tells the magazine, "I know the stigma is always going to be there. Not only am I Chloe Lattanzi, daughter of Olivia Newton John, but I am always going to be known as Chloe Lattanzi, anorexic. As proud as I am, it's only a part of who I am."

Sadly, Stephanie Naumoska is likely going to experience the same stigma. Let's hope her supportive family and friends continue to rally around her, love her... and perhaps encourage her to eat a little more food.

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel

Book Shelf: 101 Things To Do Before You Diet

When is a diet not a "diet"? And are fashion/beauty journalists qualified to dish out dietary advice? These are two questions that came to mind while I was reading Mimi Spencer's 101 Things To Do Before You Diet (Double Day; $32.95; out May 1).

I love Spencer's witty writing style, which calls to mind fellow British journalists Hadley Freeman, Camilla Morton and India Knight; the cover alone is delicious enough to warrant a look-in; and the book's premise, that dieting is pointless and, ironically, the more we obsess about it, the fatter we get (I would add dumber to that, too), really got me excited. But Spencer lost me at chapter two ("The No-Diet Dozen").

The book starts out well, with Spencer condemning our celebrity-driven dieting culture and giving a serving of to the stupidity of Atkins, Hay and the Zone. She espouses the virtues of viewing appetitie as "part of a wider picture, a realistic picture", which "encompasses body image, self-esteem, lifestyle and the regular ups and downs of normal life, and not one only suitable for Hollywood starlets, heiresses, models and people who have staff to juice their morning beetroot." Yay to that.

Spencer believes that confidence and self-belief are key to being the best (slim) you – and she is living proof: "In writing this book, I ditched the diets and started to find ways to feel better about being me. And guess what? I lost that pesky half stone." This is where things get murky, like a cold cup of Starbucks: essentially, Spencer is saying weight loss = a happier you (she wants you to be slimmer and will tell you how); but on the other hand, she wants to free us "from the shackles of thin and the torments of dieting." A contradiction, no?

Chapter one has all the good stuff – in fact, read it, then skip to the sections on style, beauty and fashion (which are wildly fun yet practical) and then to the final chaper ("Love Thyself"), while passing over chapters two, four ("How to eat petite part 1: what to put on your fork), six ("How to eat petite part 2: master the art of calorie killing) and nine ("Make a date with your metabolic rate: where exercise fits in).

While the aforementioned food/exercise chapters beef out the book, they are essentially a compilation of every magazine diet/"health" story you've ever read. Some of Spencer's thin pointers (supported by scientific – it is a well-researched tome – or celebrity evidence) include:
  • Cameron Diaz's dinner for breakfast (chicken with broccolini), Angelina's post-birth calorie consumption plan (vast morning meal, vegetable soup for dinner) and Madonna's porridge brekkie;
  • Curb carbs after 5pm;
  • Have a small supper at a reasonable time;
  • Eat more brown food, go for greens, pick purple and "learn to love the lentil";
  • Eat meals not snacks;
  • Drink more soup;
  • Drink green tea (shrink to Sophie Dahl size);
  • Think Japanese;
  • Eat grapefruit (don't go on the grapefruit diet but know that it is a "kick-ass fat-fighter";
  • Order two starters and no main;
  • Lose the sugar in your tea;
  • Give the bread basket the cold shoulder;
  • Buy only 80 per cent cocoa-solids chocolate;
  • Be the last at the table to start eating;
  • Buy smaller spoons;
  • Dining out? Sit opposite a mirror;
  • Ditch diet drinks;
  • Go for high-protein canapes;
  • Get yourself a pedometer;
  • Have more energetic sex;
  • Tape a picture of bad Britney to your fridge.
In the opening chapter, Spencer writes: "while our glossy magazines are populated almost entirely by sparrow-models and syrup-skinned celebrities, the back pages are dedicated to fat-busting fad diets, liposuction ads and essays on why five-bite meals will turn you into a glamazon in a lunch hour (as long as you don't actually have any lunch)... If the celebrity template starts to look reasonable to your eye, then stop staring. Shut the magazine. Go for a jog instead."

There are some really positive messages and tips dotted throughout, and Spencer has a wicked sense of humour, but the ultimate goal is still thinness and to get there requires adherence to the same set of rules fed to us (and legitimised/normalised) via the media. And the road to dieting hell starts with rigid rules – whether you're adhering to Atkins or eschewing carbs after 5pm.

Over recent years, a slew of seemingly revolutionary books giving a new spin on thin have entered the marketplace, and we've eaten them up (gluttonous bunch we are). From Skinny Bitch to French Women Don't Get Fat, they promise to illuminate the ultimate path to thinness. Yet the evidence continues to suggest that a boring, moderate, common-sense approach to food consumption, which aids in one's ability to function mentally, physically and emotionally (a skinny bitch is a moody bitch) and is coupled with regular (not daily) exercise, is the best way to maintain a healthy weight... your healthy weight being the one at which you function best.

So, buy the book for the writing, the beauty and fashion tips (Spencer's site Wonderstuff, which she co-edits with Camilla Morton, contains even more great advice in these departments), but proceed through the "non-diet" dieting chapters with caution.

Visit Spencer's site,, and pre-order the book here.

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel

Girl In Media: Celeste Mitchell

My own love affair with TV Hits, the youth entertainment magazine now in its 21st year of publication, started when I was 10 and Martika, Madonna and Kylie Minogue were rocking the pop charts. I'd listen to the radio on my "ghetto blaster", waiting for the songs I wanted to tape (on cassette) come on the radio, while memorising the song lyrics on the (cherished) perforated song cards, plastering my walls with the posters and covering my exercise books with celebrity stickers. In terms of reader interactivity, TV Hits was "the bomb" for a tween girl before the advent of tween-specific titles like Total Girl, K-Zone and Disney Adventures. The past few years have been tumultuous for the publication, which appears to be settling into its new millennium groove despite the proliferation of gossip and entertainment sites, dedicated fan sites, blogs, chat rooms, celebrity Twitters, and all those other distractions (MySpace, computer games) keeping the kids occupied.

After seeing circulation peak at 200,000+ in the 90s, the monthly mag (then edited by Famous' Shannon Shipley) went quarterly in 2005, with a focus on posters and quizzes, only to be revived as a bi-monthly falling under the editorship of Girlfriend editors Sarah Oakes (now at CLEO) and Sarah Cornish, while attended to by a features writer/deputy editor (Girlfriend's Odette Tonkin and current deputy editor Demeter Stamell) and freelance designer.

Now, with readership hovering around 250,000 and former rival Smash Hits no longer on the scene, the magazine has entered a new era with a new editor, Celeste Mitchell. GWAS chatted to the very talented Celeste – now a long-time Pac Mags girl and dynamo multi-tasker – about her role and career in media...

GWAS: Congratulations on your appointment as TV Hits editor. What drew you to the role? Thank you! I was given the opportunity to take on TV Hits in combination with my current role as Editor of Youth Brand Extensions (creating specialty publications for Girlfriend, Total Girl and TV Hits) and I jumped at the chance! As a teenager, my walls were plastered with TV Hits posters and to now be working on such an iconic brand is a great honour.

What do you love about TV Hits and what do you hope to bring to the mag as editor? I love that it's purely about entertainment - we have the opportunity to profile a wide range of bands, musicians, actors and entertainers, and the tone is always fun. I hope to bring more variety to the title, feature more up-and-coming artists (like our cover stars Short Stack), generate excitement with some great editorial initiatives, and we're currently working to improve our online presence, so stay tuned.

TV Hits has quite a legacy in Australia - now celebrating its 21st birthday and all. Did you read it growing up? Absolutely! Who could have gone past all the JTT and Taylor Hanson posters? I bought every issue, along with Girlfriend and Dolly, through high school and then graduated to Cleo/Cosmo when I was at uni. And I know this will sound super daggy, but two of my favourite magazines growing up were actually Dance Australia and Horse Lovers. My full-blown magazine obsession didn't really begin until half way through uni, and now I struggle to find time to read them all.

Why media/magazine journalism? What do you love about the field? I originally chose to study journalism because I wanted to be a television reporter, but about half-way through my second year of uni I did a week of work experience at Cleo magazine - coming from the Sunshine Coast, I flew down to Sydney and stayed in a hotel for a week at my parents' very generous expense. I was hooked! Even though I spent most of the week feeling completely under-dressed and doing menial tasks, like fetching coffee and opening competition entries, I knew it was exactly where I wanted to be. I love everything about magazines. Every editorial role is so creative and interesting, and each title has its own unique personality. I still think it's glamorous, even when I'm subbing a huge pile of proofs or doing fashion returns!

Take us through your media career. How did you break into mags and what positions have you held? I studied for a Bachelor of Journalism at QUT in Brisbane, and was lucky enough to score a job in my final semester at Weight Watchers magazine. Within two weeks I had to tie up all of my uni work, move out of my place in Brisbane, and move to Sydney to start work. I didn't know a soul in Sydney but I was just so happy going to work every day. And working within a small team was such a great start for me - I was there for two years and worked my way up from editorial assistant to fashion/beauty coordinator and then Deputy Editor. I was then lucky enough to score the Features Writer position at Girlfriend, followed by the role of Deputy Editor at Total Girl (under the gorgeous Sarah Cornish), where I stayed for two great years before being offered the position of Editor - Youth Brand Extensions.

What do you love about working for Pacific? Is the energy positive at the moment? I've been with Pacific for four-and-a-half years now (broken up with a six month stint overseas) and it's a really great place to work. The vibe is positive at the moment - I know there have been some doubts cast over people's minds in the industry but the youth titles here, in particular, are standing strong. We all work so hard and love what we do, and it's showing in our results. Our Mar/Apr issue of TV Hits (under Sarah Cornish's editorship) broke record sales for the year and we continue to get positive feedback from our readers.

Which mags have inspired you most over the years/why? I can't go past Frankie and Russh - their beautiful layouts and inspirational articles are always refreshing.

Which editors/media types have inspired you/why? I really look up to both of the Sarah's in my professional life: Sarah Oakes was my editor when I was at Girlfriend, and she has achieved so much in her career so far. I was even impressed with the way she interviewed me for the role! She was just so on it in every way. When she called me to tell me I had the job, I nearly fell off my chair! Over the years her advice has really helped me. And Sarah Cornish is just so lovely all the time, and so encouraging of my ideas. Other than that, there are just too many to list! I really admire the work of so many of the women in media, especially those I have had the pleasure of working with (like GWAS)!

Your latest side-project is AsSeenIn: what prompted you to create the site and what's the gist? As seen in was born out of my frustration at never being able to find all the fashion items I loved in magazines when I hit the shops! After purchasing the domain name and sitting on the idea for 18 months, I finally had the time to plan the business late last year and launched in February - at the same time I took on the editorship of TV Hits! Each day I profile items from one of the latest magazines and provide the links so readers can purchase instantly - cutting out the frustrating time spent calling stockist numbers and hunting around the shops. I eventually want it to be a one-stop shop for everything featured in magazines.

The May/June issue of TV Hits, edited by Celeste, is out now. I had the privilege of working with Celeste during my time at Pac Mags.

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel

GWAS Scoop: Bookmarking Notebook

The Pollyanna of the Aussie magazine world, an upbeat Notebook: is defying the economic doom and gloom to bring readers an innovative yet risky new production concept, replacing its trademark tabbing system with a set of five perforated bookmarks, starting with the May issue, on sale today.

It's the second major change for the magazine under editor Caroline Roessler, who left her post as managing editor of ACP title The Australian Women's Weekly last year to oversee Notebook:'s September 2008 issue relaunch, which has positioned the former homemaker title in the women's general interest market.

GWAS talks to Caroline about bookmarks, covers, circulation and reader reactions...

GWAS: Part of Notebook:'s relaunch last year was to introduce models to the cover, which was previously the domain of a vase of flowers. What's been the reader reaction? Fantastic. Initially, we did get emails because people generally don’t like change, and for many people the flowers were the distinctive thing about Notebook: and what set it apart from everything else. But it did send out the wrong message – women were thinking it was a homemaker magazine, so it ended up with the homemaker titles. By putting a woman on the cover, it’s opened it up and changed the positioning in newsagents, so it’s up with the women’s magazines. The latest circ figures from July to December 2008 showed an 8.4% increase, which is quite extraordinary given the economic climate.

Do you think that’s an indication that women are perhaps focusing more inwards and on home life and personal issues and family issues right now? It’s certainly that, but also I think we deal with these issues in a positive way – it’s not doom and gloom. It’s all about embracing the issues that do exist and talking about them in an inspirational and positive and honest way, rather than focusing on the negative, and finding ways to change your life to suit the conditions.

Also, it’s because we don’t have a celebrity on the cover. The women we have are models but they’re not your quintessential fashion model. We try hard to use models who have that girl-next-door positive energy and aren’t intimidating – we just want them to be friendly and to capture a moment in time.

In that respect, could you draw a parallel with Women’s Health’s cover strategy? Their cover models embody that wholesome, healthy, girl next door… Certainly on that level. But the other point of difference is the motif of the flower. Having a floral element to the cover each month gives it a completely different dynamic again. Keeping that floral emblem gives the covers that point of difference. It’s a strategy that we’ve had to evolve to keep the DNA of the magazine but at the same time trying to open it up to a whole new bunch of women.

Notebook: is obviously a celebrity-free zone. Do you try to infuse the magazine with personality through your contributing writers? While it’s a celebrity-free zone, we still feature women in the magazine, and talk to women, who are well known or could be considered celebrities. When we decide on the subject for the month, like friendship, we talk about what areas of friendship we’d like to look at. We generally have a story by a psychotherapist who will talk about the emotional side of the issue, then we like to talk to well-known women writers to get their take. These women are intelligent and funny and have great life experience. I, like many other women, are interested in hearing what they have to say. So what we do is set the topic first, then we determine which women would suit that topic to open up the discussion and make it more interesting. We’ve had amazing writers over the past few months, like Germaine Greer, Wendy Harmer and Ruth Rendell, dealing with issues from ageing (September), to happiness and women and food (in terms of their feelings).

The tabbing system, which divided the magazine into five sections, was well-loved. What do you think the reader reaction will be? I think it’s going to be fantastic, but that could be wishful thinking! It wasn’t a decision that was made lightly. We recently did an online survey to gauge reaction to the magazine after the relaunch in 2008. It was an interesting exercise. We found that a lot of women didn't like the tabs – they said they made the magazine too much like a manual, too heavy, and not very user-friendly, because you couldn't flip through it in a store.

When the magazine was conceptualized, it was a brilliant idea – the whole premise around it was that it was a notebook and very organised. It was a first in Australian publishing and it gave it a real distinctiveness and point of difference. I had never quite understood the tabs myself, though I grew to like them when I started editing the magazine [in March 2008]. I could see how they have the magazine a different user experience.

Certainly in this climate, and in the cultural mood, there’s very much a need for value for money and providing something different and useful. So instead of diving the magazine with the tabbed sections, we came up with the idea of having a gatefold on the inside back cover, in the same stock as the cover, and it’s perforated along the edges of the back cover and then it has four more perforations you can tear along to give you five bookmarks. Each bookmark reflects a different section in the magazine. The Calendar one has a to-do list; the Your Life bookmark, which represents the emotional heart of the magazine, has an inspirational quotation; Fashion & Beauty and Home Life will have hints and tips. Fabulous Food’s first bookmark for May is a shopping list; the one following is a quick glance at conversions and measurements, which you can keep on the fridge in the kitchen. They're something readers can use which feeds into our ethos of making the most of what you have.

In terms of production, has it been costly or does it compare with the tabbing? It’s not as costly as the tabs, let’s just put it that way. It’s not a climate in which you can throw money around. Everybody has their eye on the bottom line, in the workplace at and home.

I think it’s wonderful that in the current climate you’re using your creativity, and working within your budget, to do things that are innovative to draw the attention of new readers… The thing is, I don’t believe you can take things away from your readers and not replace it with something that’s better. If you change something in the magazine, there will be some readers who are upset; there will be some readers who’ll love it more; some won’t care. It’s very hard to keep everyone happy all the time. But if you’re going to change something – whether it’s a magazine or a vacuum cleaner – you have to replace it with something that you believe will provide a better service.

What about cover-mounting? I don’t know how you survive at the moment without giving your readers something extra – there’s just so much out there. Everyone has a tee-shirt, mascara or a lipstick or a bag, so you have to compete. For us, I’m just mindful that the cover mounts are very much on-brand, because there needs to be a certain quality and integrity around them to suit the Notebook: brand. Our production values are very high.

It sounds like you’re having a creative time on the mag when a lot of other magazine are operating under an ominous sense of doom and gloom and are playing safe as houses. That must be exciting? Well, everyone is very aware of what’s going on but the joy of being a part of a magazine team is the creativity. And I think that shows in the product. Ideas are free.

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel

Cover Talk: Stars sans slap

Usually the domain of celebrity weeklies profiteering off our not-so-admirable fondness for seeing our fellow (pretty) woman at her pimply/wrinkly/sans-Photoshop worst, French ELLE has brought refinement to the hackneyed editorial tradition of 'stars without makeup'.

French ELLE editor Valérie Toranian has given us Eva Herzigova, Monica Bellucci and Sophie Marceau sans makeup and retouching, as captured by Peter Lindbergh's lens (let's lay aside the forgiving lighting and 'they had beautiful faces to start with' arguments for a lovely moment).

Sure, companies like Dove successfully latched onto the appeal of 'real beauty' a while ago, and the glossies have dabbled in women-without-makeup features, but until now we've yet to see the concept manifest itself on an actual magazine cover (Jennifer Hawkins almost went makeup free for Marie Claire). Perhaps because said glossy covers are often funded by the likes of L'Oreal and Estee Lauder? Or maybe we actually like to look at artificial celebrities who resemble plastic dolls?

Anyway, at a time when most magazines are running 'safe' covers, cocooned in the all-too-familiar airbrushed world of celebrity and the more well-known models (e.g. Daria for UK Vogue; Gisele for Vanity Fair), French ELLE, I believe, represents the feminine Zeitgeist personified. In short: we want to cut the crap. Get back to basics. Return to something real.

Speaking to demographer Bernard Salt last week, I asked how our return to "traditional values" and the domestic arts, in the wake of the economic crisis, might reflect in the media and the glossy-sphere. It's more than about frugal living, he suggested, citing the now-hackneyed term "frugal chic"; it's about moral living. Therefore, we're more likely to eschew anything that seems overtly garish in such times (see: Paris Hilton) or completely unrelatable, and flock towards the authentic and meaningful. Meaningful magazine covers - how 'bout that?!

"There’s a shift from the excesses of celebrity culture," he said. "Paris Hilton is a product that evolved with the boom. She symbolized all the excesses of the boom: slim, blonde, ostensibly a bimbo, obsessed with the here and now and living for the moment. Paris’ star may fade during the recession because she symbolizes all the frivolity and emptiness of rampant consumerism. She’s the wrong product for the time."

Replacing the likes of Paris, perhaps, will be the more down-to-earth Hollywood beauties (Angelina Jolie, Cameron Diaz, arguably Jennifer Aniston), power-women (Michelle Obama) and stars or 'It girls' with something more to give than a new film release or fashion line (though one can hardly argue with the enduring, trend-defying power of Kate Moss, and Victoria Beckham was U.S. ELLE's best seller in 2008 – the affable Beckham clearly has an every-girl appeal).

Botox confessions appear to be on the rise, while the suspiciously wrinkle-free Nicole Kidman remains out of favour, and the gossip weeklies will be struggling to maintain relevance in an environment that demands credibility and accountability. The old "magazines are for escapism" theory might still ring true, but mags like French ELLE, which appeal to our desire for authenticity (also reflected in our predilection for the 'real people' of street-style blogs), will get the collective female seal of approval... until the Zeitgeist shifts again.

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel

French ELLE Pics:

GWAS New York News Desk

After a brief hiatus, New York News Desk's Rebecca Wallwork is back on the GWAS blog beat with a lament about the infiltration of celebrity journalists...

When I was first starting out in magazines, I interned at Rolling Stone magazine, where I hankered to write a review or feature. I also longed to interview Ethan Hawke, for any publication at all. Today I learned that Hawke has written an 11-page profile of Kris Kristofferson—for Rolling Stone. (Sadly, it's not online.)

Since I hit my earlier goals (Rolling Stone clips, interview with Ethan in the can), I tried not to have a sour-grapes reaction to this news. Still, it was a struggle. I still have a soft spot for Ethan, and enjoyed talking to him about writing (Books! Books, not magazines, Ethan!), but now he has to go and stomp all over my territory. It's hard enough to get assignments these days, and now I have to compete with actors? As the New York Observer puts it, "How much worse can things get for journalists?"

The concept of celebrity contributors is not entirely new to me—at Interview magazine I was responsible for plonking down tape recorders between many a star duo, hitting record, and watching one of them earn a byline in the process. But there, I still had a role. I edited the rambling transcripts, tacked on an intro, and still appeared on the masthead.

Now, with magazines dying, and writing opportunities shrinking all round, the stakes are a little higher. Some celebs can actually write (shocking, I know) and as they continue to take control of their own media with Twitter and blogs and reality TV shows and books, more of them may wind up writing for the glossies.

I get it. I'm guilty myself of enjoying Brad Pitt's photos of Angelina Jolie in W magazine, or wondering when the next installment of Gwyneth Paltrow's GOOP newsletter will hit my inbox (a love/hate relationship, if ever there was one.) But as much as I know that celebrity sells, I'm afraid they're about to sell me up the river.

First, it was citizen journalists I had to worry about—everyone with a camera phone and a status update can report the news and wind up on CNN these days—and then came the bloggers who leaked magazine pieces before they were published. Now I have to compete for a job with people who have a big bold name and a CAA agent on call?

Perhaps I'm being alarmist—a lot of this celebrity-penned content still requires an editor, or a ghostwriter—but it's not like I have the alternative of dropping onto a movie set just to give it a whirl. Let's add my name to the cast of the next Richard Linklater movie and see how Mr. Hawke likes it. (Um, actually, I don't think I'd like it either. Aside from the pay cheque.) My point is, the more power we give celebs—the more we let them do—the more they will take.

Even now that our love affair with celebrity weeklies has cooled, the consequences of the stuff, driven by Bonnie Fuller and her Us Weekly contemporaries, lives on. Its legacy is a bunch of pissed off celebrities who want to review, report, and rant their own media coverage, thank you very much.

Maybe taking journo's jobs is revenge for their having to sit through endless junkets where reporters asked them the same questions over and over again. But, for the most part, those journos weren't there to torture the stars, they were just trying to earn a living. Something that is becoming increasingly hard to do in this once-glamorous world of magazines and newspapers.

Okay, maybe this is all just sour grapes, and I need to move with the times. I know I'm not going to pick up a new trade tomorrow, though, so I'll stick with the media. I'll explore new tools and new channels, and try to mould myself into Journalist 2.0.

And I'll leave Ethan Hawke, the reporter, to defend himself to an irate Toby Keith, who didn't like his Rolling Stone piece one little bit.

In the Observer, Matt Haber wraps his piece by asking, "Coming soon, Russell Crowe, ace reporter?" It's a scary concept. But at least he knows how to work a phone.

Yours truly,
Rebecca Wallwork/New York News Desk