‘…Allen is no stranger to reinvention. Using the crisis of a miscarriage and the chrysalis of a psych-clinic, she emerged a Chanel-ed butterfly who has found some peace but not lost her fearless personality or sharp social observations. “It’s her honesty that I find most beautiful,” says Ritchie.’

We construct the gossip out of pictures. Celebrities cannot hide inside all the time and so they must be photographed, much more than the average person. If the celebrities do not say anything (or if they do not provide a media-release) it is only natural that the gossip writer must use their powers of invention. Many such writers gained communications degrees at prestigious universities named after major cities. And so, ‘X flies into paparazzi rage’, ‘Y sheds the baby kilos’, or ‘Z takes drugs.’ (My wording is not so good but you get the idea. My city was not so major). This will often be followed by the scoop story granted to the magazine by a ‘close friend’ of the celebrity in question. The legitimacy of such a claim is irrelevant.

Here we are told Allen is ‘no stranger to reinvention’. This means images exist of her looking not so good. You only need google her to find some. Her weight has varied over time. She has been quite drunk on occasion. She might have been arrested. The image in Who however – an expensively textured black & white shot – shows her at her best. The story resulting revolves around change. We need not know anything beyond the image to grasp the narrative of evolution.

What floors us though is the wonderfully expansive metaphor employed in the writing. Miscarriage as crisis now becomes biological catalyst, the same process that causes a caterpillar to rethink its physical form. Psych-clinic is chrysalis. Most would hope this is the case – we come out transformed, hopefully never to be carried drunk from a public bar ever again. And of course, ‘Chanel-ed butterfly’. Masterful. We would have presumed an error with chaneled, but now we do understand – Allen’s transmutation is completed by her embrace of the latest and finest of fashions. Inner and outer beauty work in tandem. She is perfection incarnate. And she can still speak her mind.

You may remember Ritchie from such televsion shows such as Home & Away. I remember her in this way, but also from the time some guy I knew said ‘You know Sally from Home & Away is in a porno’. He told me that apparently some guy has sex with her and taped it. You can look at this film online if you like, if it’s still there. From years ago I recall that it’s blurry; nothing is definite let alone the identity of the stars. But I wonder if she gets asked about it these days. And if she was the girl in the video, would she be honest about it? One could see it as a crisis (let’s allow that one can see anything as anything else if it helps). The ensuing chrysalis is her leaving Home & Away. Her rebirth: becoming a radio presenter & paid commenter on the images of others. That much is easy when your own image pops up less and less.

In conclusion, nothing is effected via beauty. Utter destruction of the image leads to power. Only after visual sublimation (intentional or non) can one gain control over the narrative. Who Magazine should never be ventured upon.

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