Over the weekend, Victoria Beckham and Derek Blasberg announced that she is launching a vlogger channel focusing on styling and beauty tutorials on YouTube. Derek’s involvement is on the YouTube side – he is working on creating beauty and fashion content for the brand, pulling from his deep list of influential and famous social circle. (This is what goop should be doing – a YouTube series, not a Netflix one.)
YouTube partnering with Victoria is a very good sign for her brand, which the UK media will always paint as lacklustre and on life support. In terms of image, she does well – she won the People’s Choice Award Fashion Icon this year. As I said at the time, not exactly an Oscar, but a sign of popularity.
It’s also interesting that Victoria, who was never chummy with the LA Mommy Mafia and doesn’t regularly hang with other famous people (besides Eva Longoria and Kate Beckinsale) was Derek’s choice. He is surrounded by entrepreneurial celebrities who would jump at a chance to work on something like this – I’d love to know the thought process and number-crunching that went into partnering with her. Victoria doesn’t do cheap and video is very expensive to produce – what’s the budget on a YouTube video?
On the vlogging side, she’s a little late to the party but so was Will Smith and he is now a YouTube master. Keeping track of her social media, it’s clear she’s been working towards something like this; she launched a limited-edition collection with Estee Lauder and often posts about her beauty regimen, favourite products, spa weekends, and tips. For a while, I’ve wondered if she was possibly building towards her own skin care line (which of course could still happen).
In terms of style, Victoria skews towards minimalism and doesn’t really do trend pieces. Her makeup and hair is simple and light. She doesn’t experiment a lot, so what will the content of these videos look like? Who will they serve? Because she can show a smokey eye and how to pair white-on-white in the winter, but in order to get the massive YouTube numbers, she has to appeal to a larger audience and she has to branch out from the women she services through her clothing line. That’s a very small percentage of the population. We need the Target version of Victoria Beckham, not the boutique version of Victoria Beckham. (Speaking of Target, if this is all a play towards creating a more accessible and affordable VB line – with extended sizing – I am here for it.)
One key element of this is that Victoria has the charm to pull off video format – she was great in Vogue’s 73 Questions and in the UK Vogue video to celebrate her line’s 10th anniversary. She is mischievous and funny and self-effacing, which works. Unlike her husband, Victoria has always had an on-screen charm that seems effortless, whereas David has to furrow his brow and work really, really hard. Which is ironic, because she is always painted as the high maintenance and dour one.
But where there’s the Beckham name, there’s Beckham speculation. After years of placing the unit above everything, they both have to contend with every project being tied into their marriage. Even David’s football team in Miami is usually written with the caveat that Victoria disapproves of his time in the party city.
This brings me to another very negative story from The Sun’s Dan Wooten published in October, which details the increasing ways David is untangling his business ventures from Victoria. The detail here is that the two public relations teams are battling behind-the-scenes, which is not the kind of story that makes for a splashy headline, but it signifies an erosion of the union. Not long before Brange split, there was a story about their diverging interests and the tension it was causing. It was not sensational and it was not about Jennifer Aniston. But it turned out to be true.
Most of the time, the negative publicity around the couple is slanted towards Victoria, painting her as image-obsessed and uptight, whereas David just wants to have a night out with his mates, what’s the problem?
In a series of hacked emails from last year, David proves himself to be as petty and image-obsessed as we imagine celebs to be, as well as pretty hands-off with his Instagram (he asks for permission to control the posts/captions as well as the ability to post himself). This certainly explains why he rarely likes/comments on other people’s posts (even his children). His team makes a concerted effort to paint him as a “man of the people” and not flashy. And it also puts into question his typically milquetoast posts about Victoria. Is that him, or a combination with him and his team? On the other side, Victoria is always warm and gushing and supportive.
But the Beckhams are never as easy to read as people think they are – which is why they’ve survived. There’s also some evidence to the contrary of the rumoured friction: at the celebration for the 10-year anniversary of Victoria’s brand in the fall, Dave Gardner (David Beckham’s best friend and frequent travel companion whom Victoria reportedly doesn’t get on with) and Mary Charteris (who was the subject of some gossip with David) were both in attendance. The UK media is also intent on blasting the UK Vogue covers as an epic fail, when the social media reaction and roll-out was quite successful in North America. The Beckhams got a lot of very healthy coverage out of it, finally quashing a silly rumour that originated on social media in the summer really knocked them off track.
Still, the relationship between the two PR teams is described by Wooten as “poisonous,” in part because of the UK Vogue issue, with each side pushing their own client’s narrative. This is the story that needs to be contained. When your public relations team becomes the story, that is a problem that they need to quash together.
But it’s fine, right? It’s fine! We’re only 9 months away from their 20-year anniversary. And David has a skin care line now so maybe he will make a cameo on the vlog series? She can give him some pointers about how to relax on camera.