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The Ugly Truth About Beauty (Part 2)

Updated on March 15, 2017
Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie | Source

The Rise and Fall of Celebrity

We are a fickle people. We like to hear good news. But the truth is that the news we talk the most about is bad news. Somehow bad news grows legs and picks up speed and is shared around the world in real time, and with great enthusiasm. Bad news has a life of its own, because we live in a world where we share in real time and it spreads like a wildfire.

There are two types of cover stories that people snap up, chat about and obsess. One story is the visual appeal of beautiful people on magazine covers. It is the glamour, the perfect image, the expertly selected clothing, jewelry and their love life. There are some people that never seem to do anything wrong. They are gorgeous on the red carpet, flawless in their relationships, have beautiful friends, stunning homes and the very best in Hollywood handlers.

Celebrity is a careful orchestration of news and gossip and can bring about instant fame or long-running shame. “Celebrity” is the rise and fall and of legends and has-beens.

Great cover and no distractions

Brad Pitt on the cover of Architectural Digest
Brad Pitt on the cover of Architectural Digest | Source

Pick Your Poison

What is your favorite tabloid for gossip?

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The Public Profile

Regardless of the break-up and make-up rumors that stalk Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and their brood of six children, they rarely make public mistakes. They are followed by paparazzi from one continent to another, from one red carpet event to the next. They are the stuff of fascination. They may be criticized for doing things that other people do not agree with but you will probably never see them falling-down drunk or losing their temper.

It isn’t possible to raise six perfect children, or to have the perfect marriage. It isn’t possible to escape media or fan scrutiny. And it isn’t an accident that we don’t see the chaos. They have great publicists, PR agencies, agents and lawyers. Stories don’t exist without advance approval.

Oprah Winfrey

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America loves Oprah

Oprah Winfrey has interviewed the best and brightest along with some really deceptive frauds. It’s hard to be critical of a woman that has her very own cover, every single month. But even Oprah ends up in the tabloids. Her weight is an issue, her boyfriend Stedman Graham is an issue, her BFF – Gayle, rumors of her heath and even impending death become gossip in the breath of a whisper. Oprah has learned to deal with these issues and the covers, and doesn’t make a big deal out of these stories anymore. She understands that tabloids are big business, and there will always be a story for the editors to chase. Reality and tabloid stories may be cousins, but they do not march hand in hand.

Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor | Source

Born in London. Made in America.

Elizabeth Taylor was married eight times to seven different men. She married Richard Burton twice but even the second time around was short lived. Yet she has always been a darling of the media and deeply loved by her fans.

How can one woman marry so many men and yet is not vilified by the media? How is it that after husband number 3, or 5, or 7 that she was ever taken seriously by anyone? How can a woman with a reputation of failed relationships still make headlines?

Good or bad, it seems that the world was always fascinated with Taylor, regardless of multiple husbands.

Truth or Fantasy?

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The Other Cover

The magazine cover most famous people try to avoid are the tabloids. You know them by name and can’t miss them in the checkout stand. A few of them are easily recognizable: The National Enquirer, The Sun, Daily Mirror, Star and the National Examiner.

Ryan Seacrest

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A Star is Born

As fans, we may follow a sports legend, movie star or talk-show host. Our curiosity about rich and famous people has become an obsession. Today there are multiple reality TV shows where ordinary people become stars, either because they are incredibly talented or we are bored out of our minds. From American Idol, The Voice and Making the Band, over the course of a few weeks we can literally watch someone become famous.

Judges for the first season of American Idol included Simon Cowell, Paul Abdul and Randy Jackson.

The show was cohosted by Brian Dunkleman and Ryan Seacrest. Dunkelman made the unfortunate mistake of quitting the show after season one. Seacrest has remained with the show since 2002 and remains incredibly popular and likeable.

Kelly Clarkson - The Hilarious Audition

Kelly Clarkson

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The First American Idol

Kelly Clarkson was the first winner of American Idol and has maintained her down-home image and is also the most successful winner with more than 20 million album sales. Kelly is a cover girl, through and through. She has sweet southern charm, incredible talent and doesn’t do things that would draw attention away from her career. She may have ended up on the cover of a tabloid once or twice, but they clearly didn’t have any real stories to deal with that day.

Brittany shaved her hair

The Simple Life with Designer Brands

Then there is the reality of TV shows where people become famous for doing nothing. Remember Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie? They have both been on covers of beauty magazines as well as tabloids. They had a show called The Simple Life and it was about two fabulously wealthy friends that pretended to traipse around the country. There were three seasons of pretty much nothing, and then the friendship hit a snag. Nobody really cared, but the ratings were pretty good until egos got in the way.

Tabloids promote the story of people that were caught in some egregious or sinful error. They were seen with the wrong person, wore the wrong clothes or made an unfortunate lifestyle choice. They are mocked on talk shows, smeared in the tabloids and their mistakes are diagnosed by others because they require a lot of attention.

Bieber Lets Loose

Burning Brightly or Burning Out

Remember Brittany Spears? Disaster after disaster, but she continues to remake herself. I think she gets better with age, and being a mom in the spotlight is something that wasn’t always easy for her. She seems to be making better choices and sometimes that comes with learning hard lessons.

Miley Cyrus went from darling to dismal. It’s probably too soon to even contemplate the rest of her story. I don’t think she’s a bad kid and I hope she sobers up and takes control of her destiny. She could learn some lessons from Brittany on how to stay out of the tabloids.

Justin Bieber went from sweet boy to arrogant jerk. He appeared in court recently and disrespected the attorney and the presiding judge. I believe that he has the mindset, the intellect and was raised with the right family values. Right now, he’s a bit of a train wreck. He and Miley need to jump the track and find a different path.

Justin and Miley are two examples of cover stories gone wrong. They still ‘have it all’, but a little sobriety and common sense need to enter the picture. Hiring people that never tell you no, never set up restrictions and don’t hold you accountable will not be there when you crash and burn.

Image Is Everything

The trouble is that the media eats up the stories when celebrities flame out. Images of drunken stars, crashed cars and scuffles with the paparazzi sell for a lot of money. And those pictures quickly flash around the internet like a raging fire.

Why has watching someone in a downward spiral become the new virtual reality? Is it because we have shallow margins of respect, and huge delight when we get to see someone fail?

The reality is that new shows can make new stars overnight with an undeniable appeal. Maintaining a pristine image in the media takes work, thoughtful planning and making the right choices.

© 2014 Michelle Orelup

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