Poor Kim Novak, laments the Interwebs. The once glorious golden girl of fifties era films is now 81 years old and hadn’t been before a camera in decades. All that was to be remedied on Sunday night at the 86th annual Oscars (just 5 years older than Ms. Novak, but obviously holding up extremely better), when the world got its first official glimpse of the actress in a very long time.
Those of us who expected to see a slightly faded beauty who had been living in peaceful obscurity on an Oregon horse ranch were plainly shocked and awed to see a woman looking much younger than 81. But at what cosmetic surgical price?
Novak looked more like a 54-year-old office manager with a bad marriage and problem children. Who could blame her if she dabbled a little in that Vicodin prescription she’d been given for a bum knee and occasionally had a glass or two more of that boxed wine in the ‘fridge than is considered “acceptable”.
But Novak is not 54, and her choices to try and continue looking that way (or as one blogger sadly pointed out, “sort of like someone who had admired a star so much they sought out plastic surgery to help them ‘look’ more like their idol” – even if the end result would have you demanding your money back), are as much a lesson to all of us who aspire to look a little younger, a little thinner, or just a little plain better to relax.
There have been endless blog posts and ensuing online conversations since Sunday night on the culture of Hollywood and beauty and the double standards for women vs. men – yadda, yadda. Kim Novak was far from the only one at the Dolby Theater who has tried to avoid, postpone or simply not accept aging. There were far more younger women and men in the house all going down the same path (some, sadly even further along it and with many more years ahead of them to do further damage).
But, let us not beat up on Kim Novak – rather let’s embrace her and her new look as a world-weary 54-year-old (her hair seemed a bit of DIY perm, her outfit, while I’m sure cost thousands, looked a tad like a good find at TJ Maxx) and score her a 10 on the new unfashion trend scale of “normcore”.
Normcore is about wearing what’s comfortable (baggy sweatpants, flannel shirts, sneakers and trucker hats on bad hair days). It is people (both women and men) saying no to fashion. As in, too busy to have time to care what people think, too broke to buy expensive clothes and/or too creative to conform. Its offshoots are women without makeup and men not bothering to shave. Its roots are firmly entrenched in Middle America. It is being embraced by teens and twenty-somethings in Brooklyn and beyond.
Could such a fashion backlash at the grassroots rumble its way to Hollywood’s core and lead to a facial and body image backlash, too?
Could we soon see Sandra Bullock tipping the scales at a healthy 140-lbs and still defying Gravity? Might John Travolta open his eyes again and remove a trucker hat at next year’s Oscars and scratch his well-known bald pate? Kim Novak’s face is the starting point. Let the conversation continue.
Image: “Kim x9” by KazzaDrask Media.