I have aged out of Cosmopolitan.
We knew, this already, of course; we’re your crabby Internet grandmothers, after all. But when I passed by this cover and it said Emma Chamberlain was “the most popular girl in the world,” I thought, “Who?” And then, “Whoever she is, she must be furious right now,” because that is a godawful photo, shot right up her nose, with eyes that look as sleepy and stoned as I have ever seen on an actual professional magazine cover. It does not make me want to read about this person. I do not want to buy this person’s skort. It has the vibe of like high school, with a girl I’m being told is popular standing over me and looking down her nose while I think, “But why?” Also, Emma is 18. She seems young for this magazine. As Jessica noted, is this a sales experiment or elaborate demographic test for Cosmo?)
And then I read the story, in which the late-20s writer frets over her lack of understanding of what’s cool (I could theoretically be said writer’s mother, if I had gotten pregnant in high school, so if she isn’t sure then I for SURE am not), before talking to an 18-year old influencer and YouTube star who is apparently the embodiment of it. Thereafter, it was confirmed: I’m old and I’m out. My eyes cross, in general, when I read descriptions of YouTube content that are meant to explain to me what people like Emma do; Emma’s Wikipedia page is a prime example. I came away from that feeling even more ignorant than when I began it. The article here strives to make me understand her popularity, and comes up with, “She’s real,” “She DGAF,” and she “reject[s] the standard YouTube thirst trap for a fuck-it kind of irreverence,” which I think might be the same thing as saying someone DGAF — which makes me wonder if the author too was not completely sure what to say (she did make me laugh when she politely persisted in calling Emma an influencer despite Emma not believing in the word influencer, because it’s true: That IS what she is; insisting she isn’t would be like if ScarJo insisted she isn’t an actress because the word “act” detracts from her work’s emotional realness, or something).
Also, not for nothing, I’m over not giving a fuck. It’s okay to give a fuck, Emma! Give many fucks! There are many things about which fucks are good to give! I always wonder people who continually insist they DGAF and don’t care if they’re cool actually truly DGAF. Doesn’t that start to mean they want their apparent lack of interest in coolness to make them cooler? At what point are you authentic and at what point are you making choices in service of appearing authentic that become playing a role of a Super Authentic Person?
Then again, Emma is 18, so it’s a little early in her life for existential debate. She is still figuring all of it out — hell, in some ways, aren’t we all? — and bless her if she manages to keep her head while all around her in Hollywood are losing theirs. She dropped out of high school to pursue whatever it is she’s doing, and she’s apparently very good at it, so I hope it continues to be lucrative and that life remains kind to her. You’ll just have to phone me in the nursing home to let me know. I am so ancient now that apparently my kids will be moving me into it tomorrow.