Not going to lie, I am not looking forward to writing this post. And I didn’t want to write the post but there’s no choice, really. Because Adele is one of the most important musicians, a superstar, and superstars are our business here. Adele has been trending for hours on social media. It was her 32nd birthday yesterday. She posted on Instagram for the first time this year, the first time we’ve heard from her since the lockdown.
Given her profile, and the fact that she’s so undercover, of course an Adele update by Adele is big news. But also, the reaction to her post is also a reaction to her appearance. Adele has transformed the shape of her body, which is not new, as we’ve seen other photos of her and paparazzi shots, but this is the clearest image we’ve had of her current shape that she’s provided herself. Which is why I’m so uncomfortable – because we’ve come a long way since I started this column back in 2003, when it was a newsletter, in how we talk about people’s bodies. During those early years, I body-shamed celebrities and I body-fixated on celebrities. Over the years, I have tried to be more informed, I have tried to learn. Obviously it’s not perfect but in comparison to where it used to be, I’d like to hope that there has been some growth. So now, here we are, and a major star is making headlines for her body and… what’s the move?
A lot of the talk around Adele is about how different she looks – and the underlying message about the difference in her appearance is that it’s an “improvement”. Which suggests that the following equation is fact: Thinner = Better. But that’s not real math. We know it’s not real math. But it might as well be math the way we’ve been conditioned and the way some of these headlines are reading.
So how do you cover the story without encouraging the problematic messaging? F-ck if I know. That’s why I’m just vomiting all this at you right now about being terrified of talking about this without contributing to the f-cked up body idealism that has messed with so many generations of women.
And yet. Adele seems happy. She’s come through a divorce, she’s been super quiet the last couple of years, we’re all waiting on that album and apparently it was supposed to drop later this year, although whether or not the pandemic has jacked those plans we don’t know. But then again, if we say she seems happy, is that equating happiness with her appearance? See? F-cked again. Everywhere we turn. Should we just change the subject? Because to be honest, my interest in this story isn’t about Adele’s looks, it’s about her friends.
Lauren Paul, who is married to Aaron Paul, posted birthday wishes for Adele on Instagram stories.
Did we know that Lauren and Adele were this tight? And that Adele and Nicole Richie are tight? Adele and Nicole showed up at Jennifer Lawrence’s wedding together last year and Adele’s been friends with Cameron Diaz a while but while there are famous friends in Hollywood who publicly perform their friendships, Adele keeps her sh-t locked down. And, sure, once in a while the paps get lucky and get a shot here and there but for the most part, they manage to stay out of the spotlight. A few months ago, Adele shared an IG carousel of a road trip she’d been on during the summer and she managed to avoid getting busted on social media. They also don’t talk much about each other. Like Nicole isn’t out there namechecking Adele all over the place. Which, obviously, makes me even more curious about what it’s like when all of these people are hanging out. Who else is part of the Adele Hollywood friend circle? Also does she get Westworld spoilers from Aaron Paul?