Rocket's Gorgeous in the City

Sunday, September 18, 2005


This week Kate Moss' already shaky reputation has been dragged through the mud all over again. A newspaper claims to have a video of her with her boyfriend. In the alleged video, Kate pulls out a big bag of cocaine and they snort it up. The newspaper article shows pictures and gives a transcript of the video.

Kate Moss has fascinated me for a long time. She became famous for being featured in a fashion shoot in which she played the part of a smacked out, androgynous, malnourished yet somehow glamourous human coathanger. Because she is not just skinny but just tiny, the newspapers and television media wouldn't give her a moment of peace, commenting on her low weight, miniscule measurements and gaunt featues.

Actually, the gauntness was painted on. The truth about Kate Moss is that she's very plain ... not actually ugly but certainly not pretty either. She's like a perfect version of an extraordinarily unremarkable female body. She was chosen as a specialty model for a concept that was about fashion, not beauty, and would have faded into obscurity (too short to really be successful as a catwalk model, too plain for photos) if not for the controversy.

Kate basically ignores fashion when off-duty. Her hobo style has influenced the current "boho" trends that see women draping mismatched, ill-fitting garments over themselves and adding a few doodads. At work, Kate has shown there's little she won't do for money - she frequently appears in fur.

Kate's boyfriend, with whom she appears in the alleged video, is a junkie. Or rather everyone says he is and he doesn't call libel. He's been caught with heroin and cocaine. Kate has often been accused of taking lots of drugs, but nobody's ever been able to prove anything - if she does, somebody's making sure she's not caught.

So what's the fascination with Kate Moss? If she's just an unattractive cokehead whose 15 minutes are over, why do we keep thinking about her? What's the missing factor?

The fact is that fashion loves plain women. Plain women can be painted up as fashion requires - they're the equivalent of a simple blank canvas. A pretty woman can only look like herself - useful for a particular look, but quickly obsoleted. Fashion also loves an androgynous figure. No lumps or bumps or curvy bits, please. The point of catwalk models is to be walking coathangers. If models start having shape, desners will need to consult heavily with the models before the show to ensure the clothes look good on the models. But fashion is not about showing a dress that makes the model look good - it's about showing a dress that looks good. The model is usually painted up to look unhuman!

Another reason for Kate's celebrity is that she looks so normal. She resembles every girl at your local high school or office (well not the pretty ones, they have distinctive features) - she embodies the concept of "no one in particular". If you passed her on the street you wouldn't notice her. That's very compelling for two reasons. First, women are fascinated by the idea that someone so normal can become such a phenomenon, and second, when she goes through rough times, it's so much closer to home. Celebrities like Jennifer Lopez have big hair and impossible apparent features due to clever surgery (OK, alleged surgery, but she did not look that way before) and makeup. In a sense, Lopez is not a real person any more - she's larger than life and somehow not quite human. We watch her career knowing it's all a big show, not really thinking of her as a person. Kate Moss is alarmingly real. She may be worth millions of dollars, but she usually appears with flat hair, often looking tired or harassed, and she clearly has trouble understanding her celebrity even after all these years.

Kate Moss is not a healthy role model for young women to emulate, and as the media keep telling us, we really shouldn't try to be like her. She's not pretty and has a desperately unsexy body. Her lifestyle is unhealthy. Yet, she continues to be a role model for imperfect women in an imperfect world. We hope to learn from her experience rather than copy it.

Kate has our sympathy. Actually, that's the basis for her entire career.


  • At 11:45 AM, Blogger shrover said…

    I wouldn't say no. Does seem to have a problem with the nose candy though. Popbitch claims she secretly married Pete Doherty. He'll be dead soon anyway won't he?

  • At 1:34 PM, Blogger shrover said…

  • At 2:14 PM, Blogger Rocket said…

    "what even the most casual follower of Moss's career admitted was quite fascinating"

    That looks like a shoutout if ever I saw one. I'll put that in my resume - referenced in newpaper and magazine articles as far as Great Britain.

    Yeah, I was in Feedback once.

  • At 6:10 PM, Blogger shrover said…

    The article on Jordan & Peter Andre's wedding (didn't he used to be Australian) was amusing too.

  • At 8:51 PM, Blogger Rocket said…

    Peter Andre is Australian in rather the same sense as the Bee Gees - he lived here for a little while and would prefer we all forget that and think of him as a Cool London Pop Star.

    Who skins stingrays?

    And whose idea was it to make it into shoes? I imagine the conversation - "Crocodile skin is passe! Everyone's got crocodile. Let's set a trend in something new, like Platypus skin, or Ant shells ... or jellyfish skin - do jellyfish have skin? Pass the cocaine! Man, I've got it! We'll make stingray-skin shoes!"

  • At 10:01 PM, Blogger shrover said…

    I quite like stingrays. Like the way they glide around, flapping up and down. Or is that manta rays?

    I can't imagine a conversation like "what do you do?' "Oh, I'm a stingray skinner.' Wouldn't they have the same skin as sharks, i.e. smooth one way, very rough the other? I'll save that question for when I meet a stingray skinner.

    And poor Jordan unable to get any celebs to front. I can so sympathise with that problem.

  • At 10:25 PM, Blogger Rocket said…

    I think stingrays are really cute - their underbelly is this big friendly scary smiley!

    Would you go to some bogan stripper's big stupid wedding? Their cake looked like a white version of the rope thing on TSSH!

  • At 10:51 PM, Blogger shrover said…

    The cake was probably made out of coke. Each guest got a line to remember the wedding by.

  • At 9:08 AM, Blogger Rocket said…

    Usually I don't advocate drugs, but I think by the time they got to the cake, even I would be tempted to accept such sweet relief as a line...

  • At 3:10 AM, Blogger jude the obscure said…

    Brilliant! I absolutely agree with your analysis of the difference between beauty and fashion, and why fashion loves plain models. Right on.

    I'm so not shocked whole Kate-Moss-does-coke non-scandal. But it's so fun to watch the battle between people who aren't shocked vs. people who are "very sad."


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