Emma Watson has been capsized with the wrong gifts and the wrong time
Sometimes I wonder if the gods of celebrity take a mischievous delight in bestowing the wrong gifts on the right people (dull Brad) and the right gifts on the wrong people (mad Angelina).
Then someone like Emma Watson comes along, who seems to be the right person in every way, but has been capsized with the wrong gifts at the wrong time in her life. And has yet to recover.
Since appearing in the Harry Potter films, 26-year-old Emma has carved out an unusual identity for herself as an actress-activist; a self-appointed global feminist and a crusader against... well, whaddya got? Yet it is clearly all becoming a bit much.
In an interview with Elle magazine, she has claimed that being an international activist is so tough, sometimes she struggles to get out of bed.
This came after her work as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and a passionate campaigner for the HeForShe campaign, which aims to promote gender equality, was gently mocked. Critics called her the worst kind of ‘white privileged feminist’, whose male-focused drive actually furthered the oppression of women.
And while she had factored centuries of female oppression into her role and her conscience, Emma clearly never thought that she would be the one to end up feeling oppressed. She admits that she struggled to cope with the backlash and sulked instead.
Never mind. One of her feminist friends — Laura Bates of the Everyday Sexism project — sent her a care package of sequins and glitter, notes of encouragement and chocolate.
Oh God. And this was something the pair of them boasted about. Sometimes, one despairs of modern feminists, whose love of portraying themselves as victims seems to be an important part of the struggle; an indicator of how they measure their worth.
In an interview with Elle magazine, Watson has claimed that being an international activist is so tough, sometimes she struggles to get out of bed
Think of the original Suffragettes, remember the Pankhurst women and those who were imprisoned, chained themselves to railings, went on hunger strike or were force-fed and beaten by police. Would a tube of Smarties and a pack of glittery face stickers have eased their burden?
What would Germaine Greer make of a gift of such girlish rubbish? No doubt, she’d throw it on her bra bonfire and tell everyone to grow up.
Yet I don’t think Emma is a terrible person, even if she is yet another tiresome millionaire celebrity lecturing everyone else on how we should be living our lives. She cannot seem to decide if she is an actress who is an activist, or an activist who sometimes acts — but perhaps the choice is no longer hers.
The former Harry Potter star accepted, then turned down, the lead role in musical La La Land, which was then taken by Emma Stone and looks likely to win her an Oscar. She is not exactly washed-up, but where does she go from here? It all goes to underscore my theory that nothing good comes of being a child star.
Very few of these preternatural protégées successfully make the transition into adult celebrity — and they all reach a crossroads where their potential seems to be stuck in the past. And realising in your mid-20s that you might have already peaked cannot be easy.
Other Potter stars have fared little better. Daniel Radcliffe had a battle with alcohol and is shortly to appear on the West End stage in a Tom Stoppard play. Rupert Grint struggles to weed out genuine friends from hangers-on and has done some film and theatre work, but nothing spectacular.
Of her Potter co-stars Daniel Radcliffe (left) had a battle with alcohol, while Rupert Grint (right) struggles to weed out genuine friends from hangers-on
The trio pictured together as child stars during the first photocall for Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone
Each has earned more than £50 million from the Harry Potter films, and need never work again — which can be a burden and a curse, instead of a blessing.
For, just at the exact moment in life when their prospects should be soaring, the shutters are rolling down on their hopes and expectations. It must be hard to find the motivation and the hunger when you are already filthy rich.
No wonder so many young stars grow up and struggle for meaning and purpose in their world.
Shame on Foxy Knoxy and her sordid tell-all
Hate to be so rude, but why doesn’t attention-seeking Amanda Knox just shut up and go away?
Nearly two years after Italy’s highest court acquitted her of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, Knox has written an article for Vice magazine about a same-sex experience during her time in prison.
The 29-year-old American describes how she met a woman called Leny while in an Italian jail and developed a relationship with her.
Knox says she was forced to hold Leny’s hand and that her budding suitor told her: ‘I can do things to you that no man can.’ However, she had no sexual feelings for the woman and ended the relationship.
‘ “You can’t change me,” I’d respond,’ Knox writes, with the kind of dead prose that makes Fifty Shades Of Grey author E. L. James look like John Keats.
Hate to be so rude, but why doesn’t attention-seeking Amanda Knox just shut up and go away?
Published to coincide with Valentine’s Day, Knox notes in the essay that some prisoners decide to be ‘gay for the stay’, but she concluded that she is firmly heterosexual.
Back home in America, after being acquitted of murder in 2015, Knox has long expressed a wish to be an author. Presumably, that is why she thought that her wannabe episode of prison drama Orange Is The New Black was worth publishing.
Yet how ghastly for Meredith Kercher’s family, who continue to mourn their daughter and sister.
If Knox really was a writer, she would stop putting herself in the middle of this tragic story and write about other things.
However, she is clearly too self-centred and tone-deaf to the continuing misery of the Kercher family to do so. Shame. On. Her.
Sorry, Donna, I don't care about your rocky romance
Mayday, mayday! Sending out a Save Our Sisters SOS! Emergency one: Donna Air hits a pothole in her three-year romance with toy boy James Middleton.
Emergency two: BBC2 Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark is going through the menopause.
Emergency three: What are you talking about? Could things get any WORSE?
Donna was so undone about her struggling romance with the royal brother-in-law that she was diagnosed with stress, she reveals in a magazine.
Mayday, mayday! Sending out a Save Our Sisters SOS! Emergency one: Donna Air hits a pothole in her three-year romance with toy boy James Middleton
She checked herself into a private Alpine clinic to ‘rest, re-set and re-boot’ and had vitamin infusions, liver compresses and quite possibly a manicure to mend her broken heart. She also did aerial yoga and learned how to chew more slowly, and if that doesn’t bring him back, what will?
Kirsty has made a TV documentary about her ‘hard menopause’, which one supposes is like a ‘hard Brexit’, but with marginally fewer trade deals. ‘The most disconcerting side-effects were disturbed sleep and night-sweats, waking up literally wrung out,’ says the 62-year-old. ‘The tumultuous nights have persisted, though to a lesser extent.’
Well, that’s one way of describing the Newsnight experience to its dwindling band of viewers.
Look, no one is saying that having a relationship break up or going through the menopause is a picnic, especially if you are on the cusp of middle age — or on the other side. However, millions of women go through the same challenges every day and, unlike celebrities, don’t feel the need to purge, splurge and urge us to feel their pain, too. Sometimes, you just have to put your big girl boots on, get out there and deal with it.
Look at teenager Emily Bonney, who has cystic fibrosis and has defied the odds of her condition to pursue her dream of becoming a cheerleader.
A member of the team Airborn Nitros, the 18-year-old, from Blackpool, will represent England in the world cheerleading championships in Florida. Her irrepressible zest for living in the face of a serious illness that means she has to take 60 pills a day and may need a double lung transplant in the future is inspiring. For all of us.
New 50 Shades? Even the actors look embarrassed
For a mind-boggling moment last week, I found myself on the red carpet at the London premiere of Fifty Shades Darker. What? I know!
In the sleety rain of Leicester Square, fans began screaming when an unprepossessing chap in a beard appeared. It was Jamie Dornan, two steps away from me.
In real life, Jamie looks less of an international sex symbol and more like that bloke who works in the tyre-fitting centre next to Tesco.
His co-star Dakota Johnson came next, with pouchy lines under her dead eyes, doing little to hide the fact that she was tired and cold.
In real life, Jamie Dornan looks less of an international sex symbol and more like that bloke who works in the tyre-fitting centre next to Tesco, while co-star Dakota Johnson did little to hide the fact she looked cold and tired
Fifty Shades author E. L. James just seemed bad-tempered, as her ruby earrings jangled against her honeyed skin with ill-concealed irritation — as she might have written herself.
One thing these principals had in common? They all looked utterly miserable. Perhaps that is because while the Fifty Shades franchise is a commercial success, it has not enjoyed a positive critical reception.
And, after watching it, I can see why.
Fifty Shades Darker is incoherent and mad, with drinks thrown in faces, masked balls, tiny knickers, awkward sex scenes and a helicopter crash — where control freak Christian Grey loses control of his chopper at last.
Yet no matter what everyone says, or how awful they proclaim it to be, the Fifty Shades stars must carry on, manacled to this cash-spinning monster, attending premieres around the globe, while trying to mask their own embarrassment.
What must that feel like — to be lashed to a giant flop, then flogged with the harsh words of the world’s film critics? Not fun, I imagine.
But that’s real masochism for you, film fans.
Adele's winning formula
Adele won another haul of awards at the Grammys last Sunday, proving yet again how much America adores her.
Typically, her live performance at the awards show was not without calamity — once again, she had to restart her set. She also swore and got emotional: a red hot mess in a big green dress.
Yet while Adele’s slapstick performances might be a bit cringe, perhaps they are also the key to her success.
One of those women whose emotions simmer very near the surface all the time, Adele is like a kettle permanently on the back burner, bubbling away, ready to blow at any moment.
And you can hear all that emotion floating through her voice in an unforgettable way. It is one of the reasons she is so popular. Lots of singers are technically superb, but only a few of the greats such as Adele can communicate something richer and deeper to millions.
That’s why she was wrong to insist that one of her Grammys should have gone to Beyonce for the latter’s Lemonade album, even breaking the award in half on stage so as to give her part of it.
Overblown and increasingly self-reverential, Beyonce is starting to believe in her own fabulous legend — and that is a shame.
People will still be singing Adele’s songs in 50 years’ time, long after the fizz has gone out of Lemonade.
Kaia Gerber is an incandescent version of her luminous model mother, with a dazzling dash of handsome dad in the mix
Cindy Crawford’s daughter has been named as the face of Marc Jacobs Beauty.
Kaia Gerber is indeed beautiful, an incandescent version of her luminous model mother, with a dazzling dash of handsome dad in the mix.
However, note that she is only 15 years old. Fifteen! Far too young to be sporting a faceful of expensive Marc Jacobs slap, including his Genius Gel Super-Charged Foundation (£32), which promises to ‘erase the past’. Kaia doesn’t have a past.
Life has barely knocked on her front door, except to deliver a bouquet of pretty from the Premier Gene Bank on Planet Exquisite.
What she does have is the flawless skin of the child that she is — the unmistakeable translucence of extreme youth. That is something no beauty product could ever hope to deliver, so why go along with the pretence that it can?