Last month, Melissa McCarthy stared us down with a slight squint from the cover of Glamour’s new-look issue. Now it’s Anne Hathaway’s turn. Seriously, open a tab for each and click back and forth and very little changes, other than perhaps the presence of eyeliner and the fact that Anne is lying down in bed. Neither is especially glamorous, and for a second I thought Anne Hathaway was holding her phone (it’s just her sleeve pulled up over her palm). This isn’t Glamour; it’s a local luxury publication called SoCal Thread Count that’s 85 percent ads.
I do not like this rebranding. First and foremost, I don’t understand to whom this is supposed to appeal, which I know we debated in the last post but it astonishes me anew every time I remember it. This does not feel young or fresh; this, to me, removes it from competition with the Cosmopolitans and Marie Claires of the world and aims it squarely at the post-InStyle demographic. It’s languid and devoid of energy. There’s no spark nor sparkle. And it’s amateurish. The other day, I saw the McCarthy cover at the grocery store, and it looks even worse in person, because you see the actual size of the magazine and how shrunken the new masthead looks by comparison. It comes across like a mistake, a wrongly sized cover image printed too small. The art-deco font doesn’t grab me. The cover lines bleed off into the white space, somehow worse on this one than on the first — I keep misreading the RBG headline as, “The Notorious RBG Is My Bubble” — and “We’re In This Together” looks cluttered and muddy the way it lays over both the white circle and her shoulder. What struck me the most as I gazed at it McCarthy’s in person and then this one online is that it doesn’t have a Major Magazine feel. Rather, you catch yourself thinking it’s novelty or advertorial cover — you know, the ones that wrap around the magazine, and you have to peel them off to get to the real one lurking underneath. Such a shame.
The story is meandering. There’s an anecdote culminating in the reveal that she has a tattoo, a cursive M on her wrist, but no mention of what it means. (I’m guessing it’s for Mia, the role that changed her life, but… how about asking the question anyway, y’all?) The interview takes place at Cafe Luxembourg, and the lede’s descriptions of the place make zero mention of the fact that it’s in When Harry Met Sally. The double date takes place there — you know, the “Pesto is the quiche of the 80s”/”No one has ever quoted me back to me before” scene in which Jess and Marie officially ignite. (“Oh, I’ve been looking for a red suede pump” is my favorite way to drag someone out of a conversation.) Anyway, if we can ignore the slight of omission, the rest is a mishmash of vague #MeToo rhetoric mixed with a regurgitation of the Hathahate sensation that once swept the nation, and the usual narrative of, “No seriously, you guys, you don’t know her, she’s totally funny.”
Her colleagues have seen her grapple with barriers too. “Sometimes she’ll come out with a really good joke, and I’m like, ‘You should tweet that or put that on Instagram, Annie!’ And she’s like, ‘I can’t,’” says Rebel Wilson, her costar in the upcoming comedy The Hustle. “One Friday I said, ‘I can taste the weekend,’ and she was like, ‘Oh, and how does he taste?’ She comes up with stuff like that all the time. I guess a lot of people don’t know that side of her.”
In our afternoon together I see glimpses of that Anne Hathaway. She drinks pink wine during the daytime. She slurps a mean oyster. She gets hives on her neck when she’s nervous and is as comfortable name-checking Ryan Gosling as she is David Foster Wallace and feminist author Rebecca Solnit. She keeps a ridiculous photo on her phone of when she was “ready to go into labor” and Barbra Streisand rubbed her belly.
I don’t think the second paragraph particularly informs the first at all, nor vice versa. Name-checking Ryan Gosling and Rebecca Solnit aren’t necessarily indicators that she’s any different than I imagined her to be; to me it says she knows Ryan Gosling and reads a lot, both of which I believe. I think the point being sought here — the idea that she’s got this goofy private side — would’ve been made if the writer had been able to throw in the names “Lisa Vanderpump” or “Big Brother legend Evil Dr. Will” in there too. (I don’t care if Anne is not into those things; I just feel like the connections between grafs here are strained.) And for the love of God, the fact that she keeps a photo of Barbra stroking her pregnant belly just means she is A HUMAN PERSON, because if any of us had that photo, it would be our desktop wallpaper.
As for the Hathahate itself… can we please let her bury that, world? Anne clearly wants to; she says she’s — you’ll never guess — stronger now and so balanced, and that she doesn’t care.
[T]he 35-year-old has emerged with a simple realization: It doesn’t matter whether people like her, because she really likes herself. “I’m interested in living a very honest life. I don’t know if that makes me a boring person. I don’t really care if it does,” she says after we debate the merits of the Côtes de Provence versus organic rosé. “It would be easier if I was better at being misleading or sneaky. I know how all that stuff works. I’m not a naive idiot. I know if I was a little bit mean to everybody, people would be like, ‘Oh, she’s fun. I like her. Come have a drink.’ And I’m just like, ‘Can we have a drink and not try to tear each other apart?’”
First, the sentence that ends with the throwaway line about their wine debate is hilarious and pretentious all at once, especially in this context. Anne Hathaway’s Honest Life can be her magazine in which she engages in a series of discussions about the narrowest slices of life. “The Valpolicellas of The Veneto’s Northern Fields vs. Grass-Fed Grapes.”
Second, I don’t think she intends it to, but that next bit reads like she’s saying the reason people don’t like her is because she’s a super good person. That is… probably not what she intended, or possibly a very self-protective facade to put up, which I get. It’s got to be demoralizing or at least exhausting that five years later she’s still being asked about that time people found her annoying. But that is also not my understanding of the whole dumb #Hathahate thing at all, and might also be part of why it existed in the first place. I get what she’s trying to say, but it came across strangely. As someone with an admittedly rocky relationship with Anne’s public persona, one which predates that awards season, I actually genuinely believe she’s probably a pretty fun hang, and smart, and a goober in the corny ways that I appreciate in a person. But with celebs, what we see is all we get, and at times Anne would come across a bit smug or stagey — and if the medium is the message, then well, there you go. Her Oscars speeches were probably borne of a deep and very relatable desire to say something memorable, and quotable, and have that moment feel like the triumph that it should — but instead they were sort of twee and performative, on a night when people are dying to see trembling hands and rambling outpourings and bleeped swear words from shocked mouths. With Anne you can always see the effort. She’s like a ballplayer with the yips: She wants to badly to hit the damn home run, and the more she yearns, the worse she swings. What ensued was an unfortunate perfect storm of people being rubbed the wrong way and being relatively newly enamored with the appeal of a cutesy Twitter hashtag, and she got this dumped in her lap for all eternity. It stinks for her that this is still the thing that keeps coming up in cover stories about her, and I TOTALLY relate to her being willing to keep talking about it in the hope that maybe this time, she’ll win. But I hope VERY MUCH that we can finally bury the Hathahate and move on and let her write some new chapters to her story. She seems ready and willing.
I saw a lot of myself in this:
She knows she regresses sometimes, and recalls a moment watching the monitor after filming a scene for The Hustle. “Chris Addison, the director, saw me recoil and said, ‘What’s the matter?’ And I said, ‘Nothing. I just need a new face,’” she says.
Girl, I’m not proud to admit it, but I think that like six times a day — more if I ever happen to see myself on camera/in a photo. But Anne is a bit more adept at getting through it than I am:
“I just had this moment where I was like, ‘Ugh. Not again. You know where this road leads. And you know it doesn’t make you a better actress. So can we please not beat the you-know-what out of ourselves today and just, like, make another choice?’ And the scene came alive.”
Good for you, Anne. May we all find a way to shake it off — shake all of it off — the way you have.
[Photo and story: Glamour]