In February 2023, I’m revisiting the video named “Jennifer Lawrence Wins Best Actress: 85th Oscars (2013)” on the Oscars YouTube channel.
In the ten years after it was released, the video has had 15 million views, and I’m sure that a large portion of those views came from me. I can almost exactly picture every frame of the two-minute clip, from Jennifer’s reaction to hearing her name called out as a nominee to the bemused expression on her face when she actually wins to the precise moment she takes a wrong step and collapses to her knees on stage as she goes to collect the award.
Not only because I had a picture of the incident taped to my wall in my adolescent bedroom, but also because I vividly recall the picture of Jennifer in her Dior gown scattered down the stairs. I was 14 years old in February 2013 and believed Jennifer Lawrence was the most amazing and greatest person to have ever lived. She may have recently received an Oscar at a fancy celebration more than 5,000 miles from my home, yet she seemed very approachable to me.
Like many others, I was immediately drawn to Jennifer when she was chosen to play Katniss Everdeen in the 2011 adaption of The Hunger Games. The notion that this was the person who would be bringing my favourite character to life thrilled me since I had devoured the novels. Throughout the years, via talk show appearances, press junkets, and magazine covers, the more I got to know her, the more I fell in love.
Because of her upbringing with two brothers, she boasted about having tomboy inclinations. (I also have brothers!) She ridiculed the diet culture and underlined the value of carbohydrates. (Like me, she loves pizza!)
She made a fool of herself in front of the world’s most well-known individuals, yet she never seemed to be the target of the joke. She had the looks of a model, the personality of a comedian, and the air of a girl my age at school who I may one day wind up becoming friends with. So every time I glanced at that picture of her on the Oscars steps, I recognised a familiar face.
Yet I wasn’t the target of this plea. Girls my age or even my gender were not the target demographic. Boys and men all over the world adored her for being attractive, fun, and carefree, and girls and women of all ages thought she was amazing and relatable too.
She was the living incarnation of the Cool Girl, a notion that initially featured in Gillian Flynn’s 2012 book Gone Girl, and which contributed significantly to her attractiveness.
The cool girl chats about sports, cracks crude jokes, and drinks beer with the males. About sex, she is honest. She doesn’t have the body issues that other women have, so she can joyfully eat pizza, fries, and cheeseburgers while still keeping her “size 2” shape. She is cool and unobtrusive; she never complains or becomes irate, and she exudes hotness with ease. Women want to be her, and men adore her.
Whether on purpose or not, Jennifer did a perfect job of adopting this character. She attended award ceremonies and drank champagne straight from the bottle.
She defied assumptions of what it meant to be a celebrity in general as well as what it meant to be a typical women movie star. Stars are often calm and composed, but Jennifer was exuberant and unrestrained. She behaved like any regular person would if given a drink of wine and allowed to loosen up in a room full of A-listers. Until she did, Jennifer Lawrence had a perfect reputation.
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