Celebrities talking about ‘graft’ is nothing new. You will rarely, if ever, hear a movie star ‘revealing’ that their success is all down to knowing the right people, parents who bankrolled them during college, and complete luck.
Work, and plenty of it, is a much better backstory: something along the lines of, “It took me years of hard slog to become an overnight sensation.”
In case you missed it, this was a topic of discussion between 2019 Love Island runner-up Molly-Mae Hague (22) and Steven Bartlett on his podcast ‘Diary of a CEO’.
The episode was released last month, but only gained social media traction in the past few days. Molly-Mae referenced the ‘we all have the same 24 hours in a day as Beyonce’ quote (a pearl of wisdom that has been widely shared on social media by gym instructors, motivational speakers, and your well-meaning auntie).
Hague also explains that she got where she is today by staying focused and ‘working my arse off’. The 45-second snippet was posted on Twitter last week with the caption: ‘If you’re homeless, just buy a house.’
The level of criticism Molly-Mae subsequently received was almost seismic. She trended on Twitter for days — with people complaining about her middle-class privilege, and why she embodies everything that is wrong with Tory ideology. Some said she was perpetuating the myth that poverty was down to laziness and was described disparagingly as ‘Thatcher with fake tan’.
On Monday, Molly-Mae apologised for her comments and said it was never her intention to hurt anyone. “I completely appreciate that things can affect different people in different ways,” she said.
The intensity of the response to the sound-bite came as a surprise to podcast host Bartlett who didn’t think her comments were particularly ground-breaking.
A sizable chunk of the male CEOs he has interviewed have expressed much the same views but ‘nobody cared’. “If I interview a man, he can brag about money, take full credit for his success and talk about cars,” Bartlett said. “If I interview a successful woman, she’s got to tip-toe around her success and watch her words.”
Of course, some of the criticism Hague received was valid. It was rightly pointed out that it’s a bit much for the Creative Director of fast fashion label Pretty Little Things (PLT), who is on a six-figure salary, to talk about the value of hard work when PLT’s parent company Boohoo reportedly pays garment workers £3.50 an hour.
That is inexcusable, especially given that last year the company reported 42pc growth year on year.
People also spoke of the civic responsibility Molly-Mae must shoulder given her gargantuan social media following. On average she gains 25,000 followers a day across her various platforms. This ‘responsibility’ argument is levelled at influencers a lot — we hear how a throwaway comment can have a detrimental impact on impressionable followers.
And, perhaps, they should be more considerate in what they share.
But can we really expect people to become more emotionally, socially and politically astute in direct tandem with the number of retweets, shares and Intagram likes they get?
Especially when their following can balloon in a relatively short period of time (Molly-Mae went from having 100,000 followers on Instagram pre Love Island to over 6.2 million today).
Does anyone really believe that just because a reality TV star amassed an additional 25,000 followers overnight it stands that they will also develop a nuanced standpoint on the inherent fallacy of late capitalism?
Way back when, reality TV contestants’ lives followed a much shorter and simple trajectory; at best you’d become a TV presenter (like Jennifer Zamparelli) or do nightclub appearances in student unions, at worst you would be featured in the ‘crap spot’ section of Heat Magazine.
But social media has given their careers longevity; now a stint on a reality show can result in individuals reaching an audience that most politicians, economists, and academics can only dream about.
Commenting on the pile-on, best-selling Irish author Emma Dabiri said that our obsession with influencers elevates them ‘to an undeserved position of power and influence… and then we act aghast when uninformed, fame-hungry people with half-baked opinions behave in exactly the way we would expect them to behave.’
That’s a bit harsh — I don’t think all reality TV stars are uninformed with half-baked opinions. Last year, Joey Essex — often dismissed as a bit of an eejit — spoke eloquently about losing his mum to suicide when he was 10 years old, while Made in Chelsea’s Zara McDermott has done significant work in raising awareness around image-based abuse.
If people listened to Bartlett’s podcast — not just a clip — they may have found some of what Molly-Mae said insightful; at one stage she spoke about how anticlimactic reaching her professional goals had been, she also discussed dealing with online criticism.
Above all, it’s worth remembering that Molly-Mae is still only 22 years old. And most of us, not all of us, but most of us probably said something we later regretted at that age. I know I did.
Kanye West is loved up and in a new relationship with model and actress Julia Fox.
Fox decided to share details of their first date on her blog. The couple went to dinner in one of her favourite restaurants and then West decided to stage an impromptu photoshoot over the table. Totally normal behaviour.
“After dinner Ye had a surprise for me,” Fox wrote. “Ye had an entire hotel suite full of clothes.”
Kanye West has previously stated that his ‘love language’ is fashion and styling the women he dates.
“It was every girl’s dream come true,” wrote Fox. “It felt like a real Cinderella moment.”
She continued: “I don’t know where things are headed but if this is any indication of the future I’m loving the ride.”
Look, I love a romance as much as much as the next person but when someone basically gives you a full blown makeover on your first date, things are probably not going to end well.
I was delighted to read this week that ‘instinctive hairdressing’ is now a thing.
This involves going to a salon — without a picture or reference point — and letting the stylist decide exactly how they will cut your hair.
They factor in your face shape, type of hair, bone structure and lifestyle and then create a do that suits you.
The Guardian writes: “With instinctive cutting, the goal — and the aspiration — is a haircut as unique as its wearer”.
I know that for some this will be a truly terrifying prospect but I love it. No more walking in with scraps of paper and screen grabs. No tough decision making. It’s also exciting — will you come out with a mullet? Will you come with a buzz cut? Who knows! Either way it’s made a trip to the hairdressers a real thrill.