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It shouldn’t really count as an admirable quality that someone with access to the kind of budget that would allow for conspicuous shopping on a daily basis has elected to live a relatively simple life, even within an industry that venerates excess.
However, it would take a fairly hard heart not to enjoy hearing just how real Emma Watson likes to keep it, given that showbusiness tends to have about as beneficial an effect on a young star’s sense of proportion as a lawnmower would have on a wet wedding cake.
Speaking about her role in The Bling Ring, Emma was comparing her particular mode of spending against that of Paris Hilton, the millionaire heiress whose house was pilfered in the real events that became the backbone of the movie, and who kindly allowed Sofia Coppola to film in her extravagant wardrobes.
“It’s almost like consumerism as a form of kleptomania,” she told Radio Times, “I’ve got about eight pairs of shoes and that’s it. But it’s easy for me to sound like a total hypocrite because, of course, I’m dressed in designer clothes right now.”
And before you say it, the shoes she wears to movie premieres and awards ceremonies go back to the fashion houses from whence they came as soon as the night is over. So in a sense she’s cutting down on wear and tear.
Nevertheless, there is a world of difference between eight pairs of shoes and Paris’s Palace of Manifold Delights: “She could never wear all of those clothes and half of them were brand new and still had the price tag on. But I suppose she just bought them to have them. We’ve all bought things on impulse, but that’s an entirely different thing.”
So really, it’s not about how much you own or what you buy, it’s about whether you earn the means to spend the money in the first place. Which of course leads to the whole sticky morass of celebrity and fame (see lawnmower analogy above) .
Again, Emma has it all figured out: “There’s a whole new definition to celebrity now And I think that’s why you see a lot of actors blanching at being associated with that word ‘celebrity’ because it’s become something that isn’t really associated with having a craft.”
Which is why you don’t see many red carpet events for carpenters, I spose.
See more posts by Fraser McAlpine
Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.
He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.
Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic