Saturday, August 25, 2007

Living Wounded

I was on my way over to the soy milk when I saw her. Inconspicuously I selected my carton of choice and turned slightly to see her standing just down the aisle from me. Thick, wooden platforms clonked against the tiled floor, her diminutive figure swathed in a breezy, brightly-colored floor-length dress. Stacks of golden bangles jingled against her bony wrists as she reached for a bottle of iced tea while talking pointedly into the Blackberry pressed to her overly-tan, unnaturally deeply lined face. I tried not to stare. I knew immediately who she was, but couldn't quite remember her name... "Who's that super skinny stylist?"

Lindsay Lohan, Nikki Hilton, Nicole Richie, and Rachel Zoe

Rachel Zoe is the stylist. THE stylist. With a client list that reads like a who's-who of hot young Hollywood, she's an incredibly connected, incredibly talented, incredibly powerful woman. She's the first celebrity dresser to ever truly become a celebrity in her own right, turning what was once a grunt job into a highly-influential wheel in the mighty machine of celebrity. Every young starlet who is worth anything in this town has either worked with her, or is dying to work with her, and fashionistas across the country would scratch each others eyes out at the chance at a piece of her closet. With all her power in the celebrity community, rumors have swirled that her influence extends beyond the wardrobe-- accusations that she's advised her clients to slim down drastically, offering them horse steroids and encouraging eating disorders. Clients like Nicole Richie, Mischa Barton, and Lindsay Lohan have shrunk before the public eye in recent years, and it's hard not to point a finger at the very woman they all seem to be emulating-- Zoe herself. An ultra-thin, over-bleached, over-tan Hollywood barbie doll, whose eyes bear a constant smudging of dark eyeshadow concealing the after effects of late-night overindulgences, here she was right in front of me.

Sure she's powerful. Sure she has incredible influence. Sure she has seemingly captured lightning in a bottle and is churning out perfectly-imperfectly dressed, underfed starlets that the world can't seem to get enough of. And sure, the giant gold watch on her scrawny arm probably cost more than my car (when it was new!). But I felt sorry for her. Granted, I've never met her so I can't knowledgeably cast judgement on her character, but when a former client who is infamous for her near-skeletal appearance (Nicole Richie) goes on the record as saying it was Zoe who influenced her dramatic slim-down, and that she's never seen the stylist order anything more than three pieces of asparagus for dinner, that says something. Here's a woman who has the ear of Hollywood, and she's living a life of hurt and being rewarded for it. More than anything I wanted to throw a few granola bars in her cart as I squeezed past her in the aisle. But that wouldn't have done anything. Zoe broke my heart because she's not alone-- there are so many women and men in this industry that are living wounded. I mean, aren't we all? But the self-inflicted nature of some wounds is sometimes overwhelming, and too often in this town, extreme pain and dysfunction is rewarded with influence and monetary gain. I can't help but hope that someday true virtue will be held up as the goal, and uprightness as the standard.

What an industry this is... What a place God has called me to, where the world's living wounded come to play and rule each other in a game of beauty, fame, and power. Hollywood holds the heart of the world, and someday truth will reign.


Girl Friday said...

Truth ALWAYS wins! What a beautifully eloquent blog entry. Amazing! :)

Peabody said...

Yes, I would love to trap that woman and feed her all of my bad food for a week :P.