In-between cutting off school buses on her Vespa and publicly debating her bikini line, Gwyneth Paltrow has been awful busy lately promoting her new film, Thanks for Sharing. One place she won’t be appearing though is Vanity Fair. Despite having graced the cover several times, Mrs. Martin got her Hermes panties in a twist over the magazine’s increasingly critical coverage of her fellow A-listers — resulting in this “alleged” eye-roll-inducing email blast she sent to her friends and colleagues:
“Vanity Fair is threatening to put me on the cover of their magazine. If you are asked for quotes or comments, please decline. Also, I recommend you all never do this magazine again.”
Besides the fact there are worse indignities in life to suffer through than being on the cover of a highly regarded publication, her boycott called into question the relevancy of the supposed omnipotent power of these storied media outlets. While publicists say the era of air-kissing Graydon Carter’s butt and other editors is over, other industry players like Harvey Weinstein still believe an endorsement from Vanity Fair is the ultimate stamp of approval.
It strikes us odd that the publicists are the ones playing down the importance of media coverage — considering it’s their job to secure that kind of coverage in the first place. If celebrities didn’t need journalists and splashy covers and only required an Instagram to gain and retain their fan base, then would they need publicists at all? The reason why celebrities even have public images is the first place, is because there is a team of people that are paid to maintain that. Strip that away with Twitter and other social media and it’s not always the most polished prose.
The celebrity fluff piece feels like a dinosaur in this digital age, where scandals break in seconds and unendorsed interviews is what drives sales. Celebrity profiles are like reality TV. We know what we’re reading is a carefully orchestrated version of the celebrity’s personal narrative — but still like the “idea” of transparency. Beyoncé knows how to do this, given the fact she produced her HBO documentary and outsold the first lady when she appeared on the cover of Vogue. What feels like an intimate reveal is actually painstakingly produced.
We will always be intrusive. The whole celebrity mechanism is designed that way. Reading a GOOP newsletter is never going to be the same as six-page profile on Gwyneth Paltrow — for those masochists who enjoy such a thing. Celebrities have multiple platforms of which to convey their “brand” but at the end of the day, a glossy cover and one-on-one interview is what intrigues people the most.