Did we know Gwen?
You know what bites my ass? I hate it when people try to shorten Gwyneth Paltrow’s name and end up with “Gwen”.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about Gwen Stefani since Sunday night at the VMAs when Nicole Kidman happened to her face and it looked like she couldn’t open her left eye – click here for a refresher. Her dress last night at the Emmys could have been one of the best. But… I’m having a really hard time getting past the fact that she doesn’t look like Gwen Stefani anymore.
This was the exchange between Duana and me on the liveblog:
I've been thinking about Gwen Stefani. What do we really know about her? It's not like we've actually hear a lot from her, you know? So now I’m wondering...is she dumb and we just never knew? More like Jessica Simpson than Madonna?
If those dudes she grew up with had been metal rockers, she would have been a metal head. If there was a pop world around her, she would have been pop. She strikes me as a shapeshifter.
Gwen Stefani, shapeshifter? I'm going to unpack this on tomorrow's blog. But I'm feeling like we were conned by the style, by the style quirk, to believe that it also was a personality quirk...where no personality was really there underneath.
Because after all these years, has Gwen Stefani ever been clearly defined? She doesn’t talk much, and I think I like it that way. Because the only words I know are the words in her songs. And I like those words, I like them very much.
Remember Harbor Boulevard
The dreaming days where the mess was made
Look how all the kids have grown
We have changed but we're still the same
After all that we've been through
I know we're cool
You know, it’s not like she hasn’t been honest with us. It’s not like she hasn’t written extensively about her past insecurities. She has openly admitted to struggling with body image since grade school. She has always been candid about how fragile she was during the tumultuous first phase of her relationship with Gavin Rossdale. He’d split, she’d pine, he’d return, rinse, and repeat. For some reason, those revelations just never landed, they never stuck... because she’s so individual in her physical presentation? Because the red lipstick is supposed to be so empowering?
If you go back to the Gwen we met in the 90s, what’s happening here, the way she’s looking more and more like, I dunno, Jennie Garth, maybe?, I can’t quite find the face yet, I just know it’s not hers, that’s still the same person, just 20 years older. She kept telling us who she is. Were we not listening?
Jason Merritt/ Kevin Winter/ Getty Images