Guys, I like pop culture. And this is the most magical pop culture season of them all. 'Tis the season of big, puffy dresses and controversy and WHO WILL HE BRING AS HIS DATE!?! And WHO IS GOING TO VAPE AT THE SHOW?!
I've been covering awards and celebrity culture for years, since 1999 in fact. In that time I've been lucky enough to cross paths with fellow pop culture watchers who make me laugh and can add insight to the ridiculous. So a few of them are getting special treatment on PrincessoftheInternet this season.
First up? Kevin Naulls. Kevin and I meet up (virtually) during awards show to dish the dirt on celebrity fashion. Plus, he basically has the funniest Facebook posts in the world, so he seemed like the perfect first guest. (Sometimes he uses swears, so if you've got delicate sensibilities ... um ... oh well?)
The Super Professional Capacity in Which You Cover Awards Shows?
I feel like I’ve been working on red carpets of varying degrees for as long as I can remember. For Toronto Life, I dealt almost exclusively with local celebrities, like socialities, tony restaurant owners and moguls of real estate or telecommunications. There, it was about skewering the upperclassmen, and less about reporting on the finite details of an outfit. For Hello! Canada, it was more event coverage, listing off the characters and nothing more. I’ve been a red carpet writer and a red carpet editor, and both are very different jobs.
As a writer, it’s my job to be witty – to make those wry observations that people either eat up or spit out. You’re talking about celebrities – so, family – and if you get on the wrong side of a fandom, that’s when the teeth come out. And it can be so merciless. As an editor, I focus more on understanding trends, knowing the right people, and keenly observing anything idiosyncratic or exceptional that happens (to fill any gaps). Oh, and photo research. I spend a lot of time doing photo research, editing photos and managing writers.
How Long Have You Been Covering Awards Shows?
It’s been a very long time.
If you were a celebrity walking the red carpet, what would be your biggest fear?
I suppose I’d hate people not knowing who TF I am. Not because I’m famous, but in this fictional scenario where I am famous enough to be on a storied red carpet, if people don’t know who the hell I am, what’s even the point? This is how I feel about Bella Thorne. She comes up almost weekly in my work, and I still have no idea who she is. I would hate to be Bella Thorne (she’s beautiful, but like … who is she?) [Editor's note: I KNOW RIGHT? Seriously, who is Bella Thorne?] Also, Rita Ora. Who is that?
If you were attending an awards show, who would be your dream host?
Marc Jacobs. He’s like this fashion dad who is so embarrassingly unfunny, but he knows how to throw a good party. I like that balance of cringe-y and refined. Plus, he has a lot of interesting friends, so it’d probably be way better than having some good, but just-good, comedian or actor do the job.
This year, we’re seeing a lot of awards show controversy at the Oscars, with #OscarsSoWhite – what impact do you think it will have on the live broadcast and red carpet conversation?
Chris Rock is hosting, and I can’t imagine he won’t go there. “There” being, wherever he wants to take it. He’s too political and outspoken to remain silent, given the backlash (or not). And I think it is important that the Academy holds itself under a microscope, because it needs a shakeup. That said, it’s more than just the academy that needs to change. Thought leaders like The Hollywood Reporter’s Stephen Galloway, who said “The awful truth is there are no minority actresses in genuine contention for an Oscar this year,” need to step outside their privilege and see the landscape for what it is: underrepresented, but still represented. Like, Tangerine had two very strong people of colour: Rex Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor. So his rationale, and the rationale of people like him, is wrong.
What/Who do you think won the least deserved award (Golden Globes, SAG, Grammys, Oscars) in the history of awards shows? (Or who was robbed?)
Carol was robbed of literally everything. That is the most beautifully composed piece of filmmaking this year. I don’t like to throw around the word “important,” but it is. To ignore Carol Aird and Therese Belivet’s relationship because it is “too cold” seems symptomatic of our culture’s general lack of understanding about queer history. Oh, and Jennifer Lawrence winning anything for Joy is an absolute joke. That was just a movie about a mop, and nothing more. I hate that awarding bodies tend to coddle their ingénues. And she isn’t even an ingénue, anymore, technically. Honestly, JLaw winning for Joy was so stupid.
What’s the one awards show moment you’ll never forget?
Would it surprise you that I don’t actually watch awards shows? I just follow them on Twitter while watching something I actually enjoy. At the Globes, I watched Bunheads.
Why do people care about what other people wear on the red carpet?
Curiosity, mostly. It’s like, an alternate reality that you are briefly allowed to experience. They know they aren’t fooling anyone – they know you know it took them many hours to squeeze into a dress, and get taped down so their tits don’t fall out. And yet, time and again, there they are, ready for the gauntlet of us, and others, who just want to applaud or tear them down. It’s a circus, but a briefly entertaining one for people who care about clothes.
Do you care what people wear on the red carpet?
I care about clothes. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing Cate Blanchett wear basically anything – the same goes for Laverne Cox, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna and Tilda Swinton. And, honestly, I always want to see how far people will work outside of the boundaries of social decorum. Like, sure, people wear really shitty clothes sometimes, and you’re just left wondering why, but it’s actually very rewarding to see the people who make unusual choices, because so few people do anymore.
Who would you want to talk to at an after party? Why?
Julianne Moore and Tom Ford, because how sumptuous would that after-after party be? Also, Tilda Swinton and Cate Blanchett. Or Helen Mirren. There’s a lot of fine women that I would totally hang with, if they knew me at all, or cared about me in the least. Sadly, I look from afar, at their clothes, and wonder what it’d be like to call one of them up and say, “hey want to go for a celebratory crème de menthe?” And then they say, “What are we celebrating?” And then I say, “what are we not celebrating?” End scene.
Who do you think is more likely to win an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony)?
Other (of your choosing)
I honestly do not think any of these people will EGOT. I’d vote Okieriete Onaodowan, because he already has a Grammy, and Hamilton is basically going to destroy the Tonys. So, that, presumably leaves him with a G and a T. I also do not get Leonardo DiCaprio’s appeal (sorry, everyone.)