Do you have ‘favourite’ celebrities – not of the kind that you put poster s of on your bedroom wall, but rather look to for what they are wearing or take pictures of to your hairdresser to show how you want yours? The ones who you would like to be in your ‘fictional celebrity gang’, who you’d be BFFs with if only you actually met?
Well, a friend and I were discussing the other day, how we’d noticed that those people are always a bit like us. As in: the same type. It’s true! By this, I basically mean that all of mine have brown hair and at least slightly scruffy. My friend Lou, who is very glamorous and busty, goes for Liz Hurley, whereas I go for Charlotte Gainsbourg; my cousin, who’s all voluptuous and boho, loves Sophie Dahl. In my youth, I was all about Winona Ryder rather than SJP or Alicia Silverstone.
For me, the most-Google-image-searched favourites that spring to mind are: La Gainsbourg (see above), Sofia Coppola, Chan Marshall, Natalie Portman, Claudia Winkleman, Tina Fey. Varied, but essentially the same. You will notice, not a blonde among them (see, Courtney, Gwen and Debbie are a different class altogether for me – the ones I idolise rather than emulate). I am never going to resemble, in any way whatsoever, Courtney Love or Sophie Dahl or Liz Hurley. But if I wear skinny jeans and messy hair I feel a bit Charlotte Gainsbourg; with a good blow-dry and enough eyeliner, a bit Claudia Winkleman; underdressed for evening in an oh-so insouciant way, I can kid myself I’m Sofia Coppola. You see? More to the point, I can picture having a glass of wine with Tina Fey, tea and biscuits round the kitchen table with Claudia, a walk around Paris with Charlotte or Sofia, going to a gig with Chan or discussing books with Natalie.
So, our theory is that, rather than aiming for something entirely different and unobtainable, we are subconsciously picking the best versions of ourselves. In the same way that some people pick a football team and see the players as their representatives in a parallel fantasy life, I do the same with famous women because I like their fringe or the way they wear a Cuban heel and a Breton stripe.
Now that we’ve recognised this, I find it rather comforting. It’s all about being completely over trying to be something that you’re not.