2014’s Most Masterful Moments of Celebrity PR

Courtney Enlow

There are hard jobs out there. World leaders, brain surgeons, people who clean fast food restaurant bathrooms — plenty of jobs that involve the kind of work and pressure we wouldn’t wish on anyone. But one fairly thankless, plenty soul-sucking job, one that affects all of us denizens of celebrity gossip on a near-daily basis, is the public relations flack responsible for the image of a celebrity. And this year, they had their work cut out for them.

Let’s celebrate the most successful.

Jennifer Aniston: Viable Oscar Candidate

For almost 10 years now, this has been the narrative: Angelina Jolie, homewrecking harlot; Jennifer Aniston, tragic cat lady. Both their teams have done their damnedest to change the story. Jolie has been the most successful in that regard, as the saintly charitable mother stories often proved louder than the tabloid angles. But Aniston has never managed to break at all free from the nonstop gossip rag cover stories painting her as some kind of lonely spinster who can’t get married or have kids (rather than the more obvious just not wanting to or feeling like it). But, finally, this year, thanks to Cake, she’s getting attention she deserves — for her work.

And, not that we think the two should be forever equated, but Jolie also had a great personal success year thanks to her directorial debut Unbroken. We’re happy for both these ladies — and we hope the award-season glow blocks out the rapidly approaching “Angie and Jen Face Off at the Oscars” covers heading our way. Gross. These women deserve much better.

Taylor Swift: Goodbye to You, Country

For a star who broke onto the scene with an ode to Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift finally bit the bullet, and, after years of working her way toward a poppier sound, bid a fond farewell to the southern twang that made her. And when she made this break, they were never, ever, ever getting back together. No releases to country stations, no appearances on country award shows, nothing. Swift explained the move to Rolling Stone saying, “At a certain point, if you chase two rabbits, you lose them both.” Pop, she decided, was her lucky rabbit’s foot.

Kim Kardashian: Actual Businesswoman

She’s not there yet. She still has a ways to go to get the respect of the people who still think of her as a human posterior with sex tape roots. But, this year, Kardashian made quite a bit of headway. She and her family appeared on the cover of Vogue and her Kim Kardashian: Hollywood app has earned over $200 million and is one of the top grossing apps in the entire App Store. Not today, not tomorrow, but someday, there will be a time when Kim Kardashian is taken seriously.

Zac Efron: Winner of the “They Had their Work Cut Out for Them” Award

Thanks to Neighbors, this was set to be the year Zac Efron finally broke free of his Disney past. And it sure was, but his role as a vindictive frat boy had little to do with it. The year kicked off before it even started, with a broken jaw that had to be wired shut late last fall. In January, he announced it was due to a home fountain-related mishap, like we’ve all experienced I’m sure. But tabloids disputed these claims, blaming drugs. This speculation was further fueled by a March incident involving a fight with a homeless man under a bridge in Skid Row. His team pushed one message hard: Zac heroically saved his own bodyguard after men came at the bodyguard with a spear. Yes a spear. People found it…odd. How did Efron and his people turn the beat around? By having him publicly date Michelle Rodriguez in the most sexually confusing WTF coupling of the year. It distracted us enough to forget about bridges and wired jaws and focus instead on the “wait…isn’t she? I thought he…” Well played, Team Efron. Well played.

Another way Team Efron distracted us? By getting Zac shirtless… a lot.

[Photo Credit: Getty Images]