So we have more tastefully nude pics to add to the portraits of Maria Menounos and Debra Messing we saw yesterday, from Allure‘s “Naked Truth” issue. Heidi Klum, Taraji P. Henson, Leslie Bibb and Morena Baccarin also stripped down for the breathtaking black-and-white photo spread. And because Allure is not Maxim, these photos are supposedly meant not to titillate but to make women feel better about their bodies. Huh? Actually, they just made me put aside the sleeve of Girl Scout cookies I was about to eat for breakfast. We learn in the accompanying video featuring everyone but Heidi that the ladies did feel slightly nervous about dropping trou for the shoot. Some even — gasp! — admitted to dieting.
“I told my friends [about the shoot], mostly because I’ve been starving myself for three weeks. And so when they ask me to go out to dinner, I have to preface it by saying, ‘Well, I’m actually not eating now,’ ” Homeland star Baccarin said. “Part of me wanted to say, ‘I don’t diet.’ But I do, and I work really hard to look the way that I look. I think that that’s comforting for women to know the truth.”
We’re not sure we can be objective about More Like Her, the new novel from author Liza Palmer. That’s because she’s family — a writer for VH1′s Pop Up Video. So rather than review the book, we invited her to write a guest blog about it, the world of celebrity and which celebrities she dreams of casting in the movie adaptation.
I’ve been writing books for almost 10 years and wrote for the first season of VH1′s Pop Up Video in 2011. My books, like my life, have explored the idea of identity and being comfortable with who you are, warts and all. What is this “normal” we’re all reaching for? Clearly, after four books, I’m still trying to figure it out. But, with More Like Her I wanted to raise the stakes a bit. I wanted something to happen that couldn’t be taken back with an apology or a conversation.
Liza’s fantasy casting for More Like Her.
We all know celebrities are airbrushed, both their photos and their lives. And yet, we keep striving for it: that same Photoshopped perfection. We imagine there’s some green room awaiting us with everything Gwyneth Paltrow promises on Goop, a tablescape by Martha Stewart and an outfit from J. Crew that will look better on us than it does on the first lady.
But perfection doesn’t exist. And we know it. That doesn’t stop us from scrambling for it day in and day out. What are we all hiding? To answer this question, here are just a couple of the comments left after gossip blogs posted a photo of Scarlett Johansson wearing a bikini while on vacation in Hawaii:
“Ugh… spotty knees, hair can be seen on her right calf area!!”
Summer concert season is supposed to be all about letting loose, drinking beer and enjoying great music with your friends, right? But it’s also a fantastic place to eye what the cool kids are wearing these days, which makes sense: When you can’t hear what anyone’s saying over the blasting beat, you have to communicate in other ways. And since it’s the earliest big festival on the camera, and jam-packed with celebrities, we like to turn to Coachella as an indicator of the coming season’s hot — and often batsh– crazy — trends. Two adorable couples (who happen to be friends), Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder, and Joshua Jackson and Diane Kruger, gave us hope that this summer would be full of relaxed but colorful clothing. Vanessa Hudgens and Fergie, on the other hand, have us a little worried. And lord help us if anyone tries to make us buy a pair of studded denim hot pants, a la Rihanna. Some thighs are not meant to be adorned in such a manner. Let’s take a look at the trends we’ll embrace, the ones we fear, and a few we’re still on the fence about.
[Photos: Splash News Online, Getty Images]
Oh, what won’t Robert Pattinson do for his craft? He’s braved some terrible Pacific Northwest weather for Twilight, given up junk food for those Breaking Dawn honeymoon scenes, wore that ridiculous Dali mustache for Little Ashes and now, thanks to a new clip on MTV, we see the ultimate sacrifice he made for Bel Ami: He wore the world’s most unflattering pair of long underwear. We see why this was necessary, of course. RPattz is playing a young man in 19th century Paris who uses sex to climb out of his peasant status and into high society. We’re not historians, but we’re pretty sure there was no such thing as boxer-briefs or ab workouts in 19th century Paris. Elastic was invented in the mid-1800s but was a long way from working its way into waistbands. And we are wasting lots of words here instead of showing you what we meant to. All the different angles of these terrible bloomers that make poor Rob look like he has no butt and yet also manage to show off his coin slot (scroll down for the piece de resistance). We’re really, really sorry about this. To be fair, he also got to make out with Christina Ricci, Uma Thurman and Kristin Scott Thomas. So, that probably evened things out.
One of the reasons everyone seems to love HBO’s new Girls, like instantaneously, is its warts-and-all depiction of what it’s like to be a young, female and underemployed in the big city. But also, it is a fictional show written and acted for our entertainment. So there have got to be some things that are exaggerated, some facts twisted for the sake of putting Lena Dunham and company in the most uncomfortable, funny situations. And it’s not like the show, for adults, requires a Jackass-style “Don’t try this at home warning.” Still, we suspect that each episode will raise some questions about whether these things really happen. Yes, many 20-somethings are still living off their parents, some companies resort to delegating their Twitter accounts to the interns, and the kids these days are into very casual sex. No, we don’t think $1100 a month is a realistic budget for a young woman living in Brooklyn, though it can be done. But the most nagging question of all, for some of us, at least … Can you legally buy dried poppy pods in the flower district and get high off of the tea?
Well. No, it’s not legal. Every part of the plant but poppy seeds (the kind you plant to grow flowers and the kind on your bagel) is categorized as schedule II controlled substance by the federal government. Michael Pollan, famed food writer and gardener, wrote a really long article for Harper’s in 1997 about how the DEA views poppies. Basically, it’s illegal to grow them, but agents have more pressing laws to enforce. “It’s illegal to grow opium poppies,” an anonymous agent told Pollan, “but frankly I don’t see it becoming a big problem, only because it’s so labor-intensive to harvest the opium. You’ve got to go out early in the morning and slit the pods, then wait until the gum oozes out, and then you have to scrape it off pod by pod.”
Well, this was … unwise. Pippa Middleton was in the front passenger seat of a convertible, driving through Paris on Saturday, when the driver looked back and aimed a gun at a photographer. The, um, intrepid photo-journalist, continued to snap pictures of the smiling Pippa and her friends, and then promptly went to the police and London’s The Sun. (The tabloid, of course, painted quite the picture of the “chilling moment the barrel of what looks like a semi-automatic stared straight down his lens.”)
Now all four parties in the Audi are facing some serious charges for the little stunt. Because not only is it against the law to point guns at people (oh, those French!), but it’s also illegal to be knowingly involved in the misuse of a weapon. Those photos are going to make it pretty hard to prove that Pippa and company didn’t know what was going on — unless that smile is how she expresses shock? “Anybody involved in the illegal use of a handgun in public is liable to arrest and interrogation,” a source told The Sun. The driver and the passengers could face up to seven years in prison. Even if the gun proves to be a fake (and somehow, we doubt the owner of an Audi convertible who happens to be friends with Pippa would be carrying a water gun), the accused gun-pointer could face a two-year sentence.
This is probably a sign that I am a little older than the target audience for HBO’s new series: I get that horribly sexist, totally fun Motley Crue song stuck in my head every time I hear Girls mentioned. It can almost drown out the deafening applause I hear from all the people who got advance screeners of the show. The consensus seems to be that it’s great, mostly because of the honest, gritty way it depicts the experience of young Millenial women trying to make it in the big, bad, Recession-ravaged city. I’m not so old that my memories of being 25 in New York are faded. But they are far enough behind me that I do get just a tiny bit nostalgic as I read 50 Shades of Grey — nostalgic for the naivete of Anastasia (OK, I think most of us were like that when we were 17, not 21), her apartment with her best friend, her excitement for a low-paying publishing job, and, oh, yeah, her f—ed up relationship with a millionaire that’s totally OK because it’s not like she’s looking to get married or anything.
Yeah, that’s the kind of view of one’s 20s that only comes with distance. So, I’m contemplating whether to sign up for HBO again (and who are these 20-somethings who can afford premium channels, anyway?), something I usually only do when there are new episodes of True Blood, just for Girls. Maybe I need to be reminded why everyone told me my 30s would be better. Anyway, I gathered some quotes from critics to help me decide; maybe they’ll help you too.
Why We Should Watch:
It’s sticking it to the man: “Even before the Republican candidates adopted The Handmaid’s Tale as a platform, Dunham’s sly, brazen, graphic comedy, with its stress on female friendships, its pleasure in the sick punch line, its compassion for the necessity of making mistakes, felt like a retort to a culture that pathologizes feminine adventure.” — New York
It’s real, unlike the admittedly flawed Sex and the City: “Where that series had a high sheen to it and was all about finding men and shoes and happiness (about in that order), and the four variations on a feminine theme came together all-too-neatly for lunch and chat sessions, Girls is a much more lo-fi, rooted-in-realism affair, and it mines the honesty of its characters in such a way that it produces both robust comedy and genuine, emotionally dramatic moments.” — The Hollywood Reporter
Why do we still feel like Taylor Momsen is the world’s rebellious teenage daughter? After all these years of her punk-rock look, after she’s spent years on the road fronting the Pretty Reckless, we still cringed a little when we saw pics of her onstage with Marilyn Manson earlier this week at the Golden Gods Awards. No, Taylor is not Cindy Lou Who or Jenny Humphrey. She is her own woman, with her own style. And she’s not even going to give you the names of the places she bought the clothing she wore for this morning’s Big Morning Buzz Live performance, just in case you’re some kind of poser trying to steal her look. Just kidding — she just didn’t know. Scroll down anyway and see what she had to say about it.
We’ll say that one more time: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt</strong> are engaged. A rep for jeweler Robert Procop confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter today that a ring Angie was sporting at an event on Wednesday is in fact an engagement ring, “designed in collaboration with Brad Pitt.”
You are probably having two reactions to this news: 1) Let us see the ring! And 2) Weren’t they engaged already?
We’re working on #1, but for now you can see it over on THR, along with this description: “Brad had a specific vision for this ring, which he realized over a yearlong collaboration. He wanted every aspect of it to be perfect, so I was able to locate a diamond of the finest quality and cut it to an exact custom size and shape to suite Angelina’s hand. Brad was always heavily involved, overseeing every aspect of the creative design evolution. The side diamonds are specially cut to encircle her finger. Each diamond is of the highest gem quality.”
And yeah, as for #2, we do kind of wonder about those couples that claim not to be officially engaged even though they talk about getting married as an inevitable fact. But since we are now ecstatically imagining what this wedding will look like (and OMG the guest list!), we will forgive Brangelina. Every time we used to wish they’d get married already (you’d think the six kids were a good enough sign they’re ready for commitment), we started to feel like our grandparents.
We’ve all been digging Kat Graham’s sexy, girl-power anthem “Put Your Graffiti on Me” lately, and we couldn’t help but picture what would happen if the song were blasting at one of those lavish Mystic Falls events on The Vampire Diaries. How much would you love seeing an Original booty popping? Well, that actually happened. Off-camera, unfortunately.
“We got a sneak peek of the video ahead of time, so Claire Holt [Rebekah] and myself definitely spent the remainder of the day going ‘tag me’ and making the little cowbell [sound],” Candice Accola, a.k.a. “Vampire Barbie” Caroline Forbes, told us on the red carpet of the Elle Women in Music Awards. Accola is a singer too, but lately she’s been showing off her skills to a more intimate audience.
“I’m in a ’90s cover band with a bunch of the crew members, and we played our wrap party,” she said. We’re not sure what they played, but she did say that to prepare she downloaded Kriss Kross’ “Jump,” Naughty by Nature’s “O.P.P.” and Weezer’s “El Scorcho.”