Hot take: “Deja Vu” is the better single.
No, we’re not talking about Post Malon’s collaboration with Justin Bieber or queen Bey’s B’day Jay-Z track. “Deja Vu” is the superior song by 18-year-old Olivia Rodrigo, Disney Channel star and rising pop sensation.
Like the Mickey Mouse-bound women who came before her, Rodrigo’s Billboard-charting songs, “Deja Vu” and “Drivers License,” were commercialized and heightened by the drama behind the lyrics. While Rodrigo was center stage, her love life was waiting in the wings.
We’re no strangers to critiquing celebrity culture. Whether it’s watching our teen idol’s mental breakdowns in real-time or calling out the Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills for their fake Birkins, the amusement of partaking in the downfall of others comes as no surprise.
One core of social media culture? Digging deep to find tea.
It’s the little things that count.
Entire YouTube channels are erected to deconstruct beauty guru apologies, while fan-run Instagram pages chronicle the lives of teenage TikTokers and their quasi-PR stunt-fueled beef. The constant scrutinization from our end is often a deeper reflection of the insecurities that lie within ourselves… or boredom. When there isn’t much going on in our own lives, it’s only human to turn to people we aspire to be as a form of entertainment, following their partners, career contracts, and friendship drama.
Much has been written about the toxic tabloid gossip and drama channel culture that permeates through our world. Whether spurred on by hateful comments left on the TL or clickbait headlines enticing readers with shiny buzzwords, the personal lives of celebrities are the latest commodity.
Since the early 2000s, socialite and celebrity gossip has been a cultural touchpoint in many young adults’ lives. From following the long fight to “Free Britney” to religiously keeping up with every club, restaurant, or shop the early 2000s socialites visited, young adults wanted (and continue to want) to stay up-to-date with whatever celebrities are up to. The immense pressure that early 2000s socialites and celebrities were under was unmatched. The girl gang groups of the past were subjected to hosting shows, writing books, creating (and being the subject of) merch, and of course, they partied like there was no tomorrow.
Early 2000s party culture forced celebrities to bond with other celebrities in a way to stay sane. As such, it saw the rise of the squad. But from friend groups like Lindsay Lohan/Paris Hilton/Nicole Richie to Disney Channel stars, it’s often whittled down to the group’s two biggest It-girls. Whether it’s Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian (who recently reunited for a Skims velour tracksuit photoshoot moment) or Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez (who people were quick to note recently that their friendship seems to be fizzling out), people start to care about just two of the biggest household names.
Celebrity bestie culture may have peaked in the early 2000s. While being seen out and about as a duo was prime 2000s, many of those friend duos ultimately fell apart. Like Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie for example. After being joined at the hip for years, their friendship fell apart to the point that they still have to answer questions about it decades later. Besties even still dress up as the two of them on Halloween. What did this overabundance of people, groups, and names mean in our culture? It shows off the power of tabloids and the romanticization of big girl groups, glamour, and scandalous catty lives.
But it’s clear that following celebrities’ every move is a practice that still reigns heavy today.
While the Free Britney movement has come to the forefront yet again, the “Framing Britney Spears” documentary reminded us that she has been under a conservatorship since 2008. Fans scrutinize her every social media post and every move, wondering if it’s a sign of her asking for help.
Or take the infamous Shade Room for instance. The Instagram community has amassed over 23 million “Roommates,” or users, that comment on the inner workings of celebrity tea – a practice some call toxic.
Love it or hate it, the Shade Room is how this CR writer found out about the bombshell of the century: the Jordyn Woods and Tristan Thompson dramaggedon.
As we look at the breakdown of celebrity friendships, whether it be Jordyn Woods and Kylie Jenner or Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez, does someone’s rising fame get to their heads? Have celebrity sidekicks that eclipsed their It-girl been tossed aside or for someone more loyal or is it something more? Back in the day, being eclipsed could’ve been seen as a threat to an It-girl’s power and influence, but now, it’s all about the girl gang. From Taylor Swift to Kylie Jenner, squads are stronger than ever. It’s not about being powerful alone, it’s about being together. And people are jealous. They want in.
We still live in a culture obsessed with famous intrapersonal relationships. With a lack of physical connection, the world has flocked online now more than ever to witness friendship breakdowns happen. Where are the OG besties now? While Kim and Paris reunited recently and Sofia Richie and sister Nicole Richie just announced their newest House of Harlow 1968 collab, not everyone is on the same page.
There are entire podcasts dedicated to talking about the friendship breakups between people, like “Frenemies” by Ethan Klein and Trisha Paytas. Red Table Talk by Jada Pinkett-Smith, her daughter Willow Smith, and Gammy (her mom, Adrienne Banfield-Norris) is home to where Jordyn Woods spoke out about the Kardashian fallout. From YouTube drama channels that host videos exposing backstabbing to docu-series videos, people want to know all the celebrity tea. And when Jordyn Woods shared her PR package from Safely (Kris Jenner and Chrissy Teigen’s new cleaning line) on Instagram, social media had a full meltdown. Everyone wanted to know if she was going to be accepted by the Kardashians again.
So what happens now? Do we fight pitting friends against each other for our entertainment and clap when they break down or not? If we’re being honest, we should. It can be toxic, and it’s dangerous when people fall into the trap of pitting women against each other. But it’s human nature to want to know all the gossip. For now, it looks like the world is just going to continue keeping an eye out for good tea and wait for a possible OG bestie reunion.
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