If ever there was a reminder of the haves and have nots, it’s been the COVID-19 lockdown.
In Ireland, our celebrities have the wherewithal to either not showcase the expensive furniture and sprawling views cleverly hidden behind Instagram posts. Or, because of our somewhat small pool of celebrities to choose from, they’re struggling as much as the rest of us.
Hosting a show on a major Irish network will only guarantee some fame as fortune in Irish media tends to only follow a few decades’ work.
In the US, however, all fallacies of the American dream are unravelling before our eyes. The ultra-rich have jetted off to their second homes to wait this out with a beachside view - or in the case of billionaire David Geffen, you literally take to the seas and post your yacht selfie via drone on Instagram.
Meanwhile, frontline employees working at supermarkets and multinationals are being fired for staging protests about poor working conditions during a global pandemic.
Elsewhere, celebrities who donate money are criticised and praised in equal measure. Kylie Jenner’s $1 million donation to buy PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for healthcare workers sparked a debate on Reddit after one user compared her net worth of $690 million the average millennial’s savings account of $8,000; saying it’s the equivalent of the average person donating $8. It’s hard to disagree with that kind of maths.
And then, during all this, Ben Affleck is treating his daily walk like a pitch for guaranteed media coverage of his new relationship with actress Ana de Armas. Every day, the couple are pictured, cup of coffee in hand, strolling around his Los Angeles neighbourhood. And every day, those photos run on celebrity-worshipping blogs and websites hungry for anything to satiate the demanding news cycle during a time of crisis.
Affleck knows better than anyone the value of a redemption tour, on which he went after divorcing Jennifer Garner and won praise just last month for speaking candidly about his battle with alcoholism. But he is treating these pictures of his honeymoon phase like a public service.
There is no attempt at discretion or a sense of acceptance that the paparazzi follow is inevitable for a star of his calibre; but instead, their PDAs are so exaggerated you’d be forgiven for thinking they’re shopping around a reality show.
In the UK, there are the legitimate reasons to get dolled up on your way to work as broadcasters are still required to operate as safely as possible. It's hard to muster the same rage at seeing a pregnant Vogue Williams wearing a white poplin dress and colourful Hayley Menzies cardigan on her first day at working at Heart radio. Or Amanda Holden’s parade of black leather skirts more suited to an evening event than her breakfast show start time at that same station.
And then there’s Amy Schumer, who has made a career out of being normal. Looking at Schumer walking around a virtually abandoned New York City with her husband Chris Fischer and five-month-old son Gene is like looking in a mirror: sans makeup in clashing leggings with a baby carrier wrapped around her torso.
Schumer’s down-to-earth style is more reflective of real-life than any staged pap walk could be - she’s getting some fresh air with her young family and saying hello to her father Gordon through the window of his nursing home; a parent with whom she is famously close and doesn’t know the next time she will see him.
Like the rest of us (minus the fortune she’s amassed), it’s hard to find the motivation to do a DIY bouncy blow dry when you have real problems weighing on your shoulders and you don’t have the fresh Malibu air your face on your private estate to comfort you.
Celebrity Features Premium
It feels perfectly, improbably f itting to be taking a phone call from Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the middle of a skiing holiday in Austria. Her new film - Downhill - is set in the snowy mountains near Ischgl - and it perfectly captures the feeling that the dangers of winter sports are a stress test like no other for a relationship.