Monday 16 September 2019

Ciara O'Connor: 'The ugly truth behind Millie Bobby Brown's enterprising new beauty range'


British actress Millie Bobbie Brown attends Netflix's
British actress Millie Bobbie Brown attends Netflix's "Stranger Things 3" premiere at Santa Monica high school Barnum Hall on June 28, 2019 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Chris Delmas / AFP)

Ciara O'Connor

'Your devotion to this project is something so beautiful beyond believe. i really feel that here and can wholeheartedly tell u poured your entire soul and all the love fabricated inside your mind into it. wow crying.'

Such was the reaction to the announcement that 15-year-old Millie Bobby Brown, of Stranger Things fame, is launching her own beauty line, Florence by Mills. It's a canny move from a child star with a dedicated fandom of other children, who think she's the best friend they've never met.

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Hundreds of earnest comments under the Instagram promo video in which Millie talks about how "every young person deserves to have a good start with their skin", tell of her fans' heartbreakingly sincere 'pride' in their hero.

Like all celebrities going into merch, Millie has a solid origin story to explain why the world has always needed what she's selling: "I guess I could never find anything that I liked to put on my face and it felt good. I'd take off my makeup and boom, another pimple would appear," Brown said in an interview, placing the burden of hormonal spots firmly on topical creams.

"There are multiple different products I've put on that weren't good for me. Some of those were anti-ageing, and I was 10 years old."

Let's not go into the easy fixes here, people: let us suspend our disbelief and go along with Millie's thinking for a while. On some counts, she is impressively transparent. "I'm very decisive," she says, "as soon as I make a decision, that's my decision and I will do it. There's no regret, usually. Every decision I make with Florence has been literally made in two seconds."

This checks out, one of the products (a foundation, for all the world) appears to be named, 'like a light skin tint'. It's difficult to know what's being communicated about the product here: was it just faithfully transcribed verbatim when the branding team asked teenaged Millie what exactly was being sold, 'Uhhh, it's like, a light skin tint?' she answered, or perhaps it really is like a light skin tint, but is - crucially - not a light skin tint. Perhaps it is a medium skin tint, or, like, a lipstick.

Whatever it is she's selling, her fans will buy it.

There are eye masks, god help us, for her pre-teen followers to spend their pocket money on - because you're never too young to learn that your face is a problem that needs fixing.

Really, it's genius - the people behind Millie Bobby Brown have successfully found a loophole in the unspoken rule that it's icky and unethical for a beauty brand to squarely target young girls with make-up products. They've realised that it's OK for a child to do it - it's even cute, and enterprising! Slap a mission statement on about how it's all about 'embracing who you are' and you're golden!


There is nothing millennials love more than cutting people out of our lives - we're absolutely mad for it. 'Letting go of that which doesn't serve you', and other needlessly grammatically complex neo-motivational maxims, have become the catchphrases of a generation devoted to sparking joy and nothing else.

Don't worry that it feels terrible, say the Instagram captions which take the place of the professional help we so desperately need, it actually means that the universe is clearing room for more positive people to come into your life.

This almost certainly accounts for a recent survey by UK flat-sharing site SpareRoom which found that 62pc of millennials who have had to RSVP 'No' to a wedding because of money issues, said that they've lost friendships because of it.

No doubt, the awkward refusals due to not having another €300 to fritter away on the third quirky festival-themed nuptials in July were taken as evidence of toxicity and the offenders struck off. There's no space for negativity like poor friends when you're trying to live your best newlywed life!


Look, I don't know whether there really is a rumour that Greg-from-Love-Island is actually a paid actor (the result of rigorous consumer testing by Tourism Ireland and defenders of the Irish backstop) - but if there isn't such a rumour, I'm starting it right now.

Amber and Greg's winning romance is giving Ireland the kind of publicity that money can't buy, especially after Amber's trip here last week. Headlines like "Love Island's Amber is whisked off her feet by Greg in Ireland with romantic cliff walks, boat trip and glamorous night out" abounded, which Tourism Ireland couldn't have written itself.

And then the clincher: the headlines afterwards. "Love Island's Amber devastated as she waves goodbye to Greg after romantic Ireland trip", and "Love Island's Amber looks miserable as she heads to work in London after leaving Greg in Ireland".

That's right, everyone: leaving Ireland makes you sad. Miserable, even. Imagine how much sadder it would be with a hard Border. I'm waiting patiently for the political awakening of the UK Love Island generation, any day now.


And so to the anti-Love Island, the annual showcase of millennials who haven't completely lost the run of themselves: The Rose of Tralee. Or as I like to call it, The Symposium on the State of Irish Feminism - because surely no other country enjoys such rich and regular debate on the matter of female representation in the public realm as we do, at the end of every August.

Where would Irish feminism be without the Rose of Tralee? How would we know what kind of feminists we were - the kind who enjoyed it or boycotted and wrote long think-pieces about it?

If a tree falls and an Irish feminist has no opinion on the Rose of Tralee in the woods, was she ever really a feminist at all?

Bookies favour Antrim Rose, Orlagh McClinton, who's shaping up to be a truly lovely primary school teacher; or Kerry Rose, Sally-Ann Leahy, who won Best Dressed Lady at the Killarney Races in 2016; or London Rose Laura Kennedy who has toured Ireland as a cast member in a comedy about hurling.

My money's on Greg O'Shea sauntering in, five minutes before the end, and taking the tiara from Daithi with a slap on the back.

'Sound', he'll say, placing the crown on his own head, 'I really wasn't expecting it!'

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