Gwyneth, Daryl and the Power of Lipstick

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When I was little my mother was forever reminding me to tuck in my shirt, pull up my socks (we wore school uniforms) and run a brush through my hair. I can still hear her words: Make sure you’re tidy and pulled together whenever you walk out the front door because you never know where you’ll wind up today. Nor was she concerned that I’d wantonly hop aboard the next traveling circus caravan that happened to drive by our home. Rather, her concern was more about what one looked like when say, hauled into a headmaster’s office. As we got older she maintained the credo, but added elements: Always make sure you’ve got a little lipstick on whenever you head out. You’ll always be glad you did.That kind of thing. Who knows what geopolitical crises or World Wars prompted her emphasis on appearance preparedness, but something had.

Two of yesterday’s bigger entertainment news items caught my eye because they had to do with said preparedness. In fact, the events couldn’t have been more opposite – but both made me think of my mother’s edict. Someone got noticed – big time – in one instance, for ‘not caring at all’, while someone else went in an entirely different direction and caught the paparazzi’s eye (although she still wouldn’t have made my mother proud). More importantly, their respective appearances managed to completely outshine that which they were actually doing. Isn’t that the Hollywood way?  (Not that any of it happened in California.)

In one case, a well-known gal was doing a bit of promotion, which is pretty ordinary in this biz.  So why the hullabaloo over Gwyneth Paltrow doing press for a new cookbook? Is it because the book’s controversial (no), tasteful (yes), inspiring (hopefully), or groundbreaking (not really)?  No, Gwyneth made headlines for quite a different reason (and now that I think of it she might just have done it in order to grab those headlines). She wore no makeup. With cutoffs and flip-flops. This – this is what’s got the gossip mill churning. I find the newsworthiness here debatable —  but also immediately clicked on the page to see just what she looked like. Turns out, she’s still a very pretty girl  – only she’s the pretty wealthy neighbor’s kid you see on the beach in the summer. Why did an Academy Award-winning actress opt for this? She’s certainly used to press – nor is she reclusive: the young lady blogs every five minutes about this skin-care miracle or those baby llama suede boots she cannot live without. Now, I’ve always been a big GP fan and I understand she’s trying to call attention to her product (a book featuring her late & beloved father’s recipes) but I wonder if she didn’t also shoot herself in her llama suede flip-flops by trying to look like the rest of us (which frankly, she never will. Thanks to those skin care miracles.) Anyway I’m still not sure who thought this was a good idea, since it’s managed to take considerable attention away from something that could be quite a marvelous and inspirational read.

Meanwhile, Daryl Hannah went and got herself arrested at the White House for her politics. The well-known environmental activist was apprehended by the fuzz yesterday on Pennsylvania Avenue because she participated in a protest against the “Keystone Pipeline Plan”. This is one of those initiatives that will allegedly pump hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil from Canada to Texas, which Hannah and her fellow activists feel is tantamount to an environmental disaster waiting to happen. Again, here’s a very familiar face – a movie star who’s also been linked to several spotlight-attracting guys  – and yet it’s her appearance that’s drawing the most comment now. Because curiously Daryl didn’t dress like someone who necessarily loves (or even hugs) trees. Nor was her heart on her sleeve. In fact both arms were encased in a smart tweed hacking jacket and there was a billowy, non-protester linen (belted) blouse beneath it. And unlike Gwyneth, she’d also managed to perch in front of a vanity somewhere because her makeup was superb. What do you make of that?  And does the glam factor actually detract from the protests’ purpose? As far as my mother’s concerned, at least it’ll make for a better mug shot.

Today’s poll:

Daryl Hannah was arrested for protesting at the White House. Voice your choice in today’s featured poll and tell us which of these “socially conscious” message movies is your favorite:

1)   Milk

2)   Norma Rae

3)   Erin Brokovich

4)   An Inconvenient Truth 

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