This is probably the most highly anticipated Vanity Fair issue of the year: the annual Hollywood Issue. Typically the actors who are featured in the Hollywood Issue are the ones with the most buzz, the ones around whom the industry will orbit for years. For many years, Vanity Fair got it right…and wrong. The faces who have graced the issue have, indeed, gone on to shape Hollywood. And yet the lens was also too narrow, not reflective of how the culture had changed.
In recent years though, certainly there have been improvements. This year is definitely not a year where there will be too much controversy. All 12 of the stars who have been featured, and particularly the five who are on the front cover, it’s hard to argue with their inclusion. Jonathan Majors, Selena Gomez, Florence Pugh, Austin Butler, and Ana de Armas have indeed had big years. There are three Oscar nominees here, a future Oscar nominee in Jonathan Majors, and Selena has more wins and nominations at minor and major award shows than the rest of them combined.
If were to nitpick, however, I would have moved Keke Palmer onto the front cover. Because for a legacy magazine like Vanity Fair that is holding on to the parts of its history that can still be relevant moving forward and still connect to modern audience, Keke and Selena best represent how audience engagement works in these times. They are the most fluent at speaking our current cultural language and moving in the new entertainment and media spaces that will, more and more, define celebrity and stardom. Keke also happens to be the most versatile performer of this cohort. She can perform live, comedy and drama, she can seamlessly transition from talk show host to actor to YouTuber to Instagram model to entrepreneur; she can interview a star on the red carpet and then jump over the rope and be the interviewee; and then she can get on stage and rap and sing and dance; and after all of that, when everyone wants to go home because they’re tired, she can shoot and script her own footage and have it edited before people have brushed their teeth before bed – all in one breath!
So that’s my first note. My second note is …what’s with the random feet?! Beside the tumbler? Whose feet are those?
More thoughts on the Vanity Fair Hollywood Issue later.