I have written about all manner of celebrity lifestyle brands over the years. Reese Witherspoon’s southern hospitality. Drew Barrymore’s wine. Katherine Heigl’s ranch. And then there’s the
dearly departed, like Blake Lively’s Preserve and Vanessa Hudgens’s Astral & Opal. I have seen many monogrammed cocktail napkins in my day.
When promoting these projects, there’s a lot of self-imposed domesticity, a lot of bending and stretching to appear likable, aspirational, effortless – the goal is to be “normal” but better than everyone else. For the successful ones, it’s a 24/7 job. Reese has transformed her style into “church chic” to promote Draper James pieces, Drew was shaded by Martha Stewart on national TV and Gwyneth Paltrow… well, her apple orchard is a running joke here at Lainey Gossip.
Nicole Richie has a fashion line, but I never quite considered her part of the same lifestyle push as the women above because she didn’t start in film, TV or music. For Nicole, House of Harlow was part of a hard pivot away from her old reality TV life, not an expansion of it. She’s managed to remain famous but also quite private – even when headlining another reality show.
Way back in 2014, I wondered if #candidlynicole was her working towards a TV show (which I had hoped) and that is indeed how it has played out; she landed a role on the new show, Great News. Now that it’s time to promote Great News, Nicole has made the talk show rounds. She got hit in the face by a reporter. She was interviewed by Rashida Jones for Refinery29. And she is showing off her chicken coop in Architectural Digest.
Yes… a real chicken coop. She has 5 chickens and they lay eggs all over the place. Their names are Tallulah, Philomena, Mama Cass, Sunny and Daisy. Nicole Richie has a chicken named Philomena. How can that little tidbit not stick with you? We will forever remember Philomena now, right? (And yes she still eats chicken. I was wondering about that, too.)
The story is about the custom-designed structure built to match the existing home. It’s gray and has wires. She also has an edible garden, two turtles and two bee hives for seasonal honey. She texts with a chicken advisor, a guru if you will, someone she can turn to with all her fowl-related queries.
I mean… this is kind of great. It’s very close to being a parody of a lifestyle article – Nicole in a red gown, wearing a black feathered headband, posing in her coop. And it hits the sweet spot in lifestyle – it’s unusual enough to be considered aspirational, but practical enough to be packaged as domestic. It’s not that chicken coops are exotic – there are probably hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people in the world who have chickens on their property. Like many lifestyle humblebrag rituals (cupping, sausage making, crocheting), keeping a chicken coop in her Beverly Hills yard is turning something old-school into a progreto Cameronssive and hip interest. In this context, tending to Philomena is a fantastical, time-consuming hobby that tells people, “I have more space and time and money than you.” But I can’t be down on Nic’s chickens. She probably fills wicker baskets with eggs to give Diaz and Gwyneth and Sam Taylor-Johnson. As soon as this story gets picked up, it will be Nicole’s new calling card: she tends to a chicken coop.
This is setting a new bar in low-key backyard boasting. There was Gwyneth’s apple orchard and pizza oven, and now there’s Nicole’s chicken coop. Your move, Jessica Alba.
(And about the show, Great News. My thoughts after watching the pilot twice? Nicole is funny. It’s early days, which means there’s a lot to shake out. It feels like season one of 30 Rock. Some characters have to go, some gags will need to be retired. They need more diversity in significant roles. But it won me over for the next few weeks when John Michael Higgins, playing a blowhard anchor on a downswing, bursts into a room asking, “You know who I hate?” and Portia (Nicole) responds, “Ivanka Trump? Same. You know she farted in my face at SoulCycle.”)
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