I have recently been trying to characterize a scenario wherein a formerly cool celebrity becomes absolutely intolerable. This intolerability might include:
-Becoming a representative of high class “self-actualization” seemingly out of nowhere, which may include writing a yoga book, or endorsing juice diets
-Going beyond making media and trying to represent a political stance
-Naming and acting as one’s own alter ego
-Teaching “clueless Americans” about another culture the celebrity has just discovered
-Becoming unbearably quirky
Basically, it’s when a celebrity who is adored for being generally likable in one area of media or another gets caught up in their own fame and either a) becomes a caricature of themselves or b) tries to be more to you than you ever wanted, say, an actress from Glee to be. It’s kind of like going from musician to “mogul” or “brand” but in the most larger-than-life, annoying way possible.
I first dubbed the term Gwynething when I saw an ad for The New Girl and realized that Zooey Deschanel was destroying herself in a similar manner to when Gwyneth Paltrow started her website, Goop. Both women used to be hot chicks in indie movies and we liked them for that. Sure, they could sing – pretty cool! But then they drove it to an extreme, Gwen by blogging about acupuncture and Zooey by becoming the spokesperson for twee. They Gwynethed beyond the point of return.
But I’ve recently felt a Gwyneth-y feeling coming from various other famous people that I don’t think have totally Gwynethed. Some of them have flirted with Gwynething and then come back from it. Here are a few who are on my watch:
Gwen Stefani: When Gwen recorded L.A.M.B. and “exposed” America to Japanese street style culture it started to get a little Gwenythy.
Johnny Depp: Mild Gwenything when he became ‘mysterious long haired recluse playing a piano in France only emerging to play pale men with bob cuts.’
Beyoncé: Toed the line when she became Sasha Fierce.
Lady Gaga: After writing “Born this Way” she pretty much assumed she was the poster child for gay rights.
Bono: Actually he beyond Gwynethed a long time ago. Maybe the original Gwyneth?
At first I was thinking that Gwynething was a female thing but I’ve realized that it’s not. It can happen to anyone. Sometimes trying to be larger than life means taking a cracked personality and riding it so high it blows up in your face. We’ll all look at your Google images and wonder what happend to the person who played Margot Tenenbaum.