When $16 billion isn’t enough
By Brittany Mason & Mike Berlin
Nowadays our celebrities get into many facets of our media and commercial lives. Some of these branded personalities have even launched themselves into entirely new realms of stardom. The old mark of a crossover celebrity used to be a tell-all Proactiv commercial, but now it’s so much more.
So it’s time to begrudgingly pay homage to those who have pervaded every crevasse of media moguldom—have worn every celebrity hat—have scented, crocheted, and even soft drink-ed their way into our hearts and homes.
50 Cent: His first touch of success came as a cocaine and heroin dealer when he was 12, while also being a Junior Olympic boxer. After incarceration, he was a protégé of Jam Master Jay and Nas. With the commercial and critical success of “Get Rich or Die Trying” (the modern Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death”) brought forth his G-Unit label, “Simpsons” cameo, and calls of being a modern racial stereotype. An autobiographical movie broadened his branding ability and opened the opportunity to create a clothing line and video game. He also became a Reebok brand representative and model, and book publisher (G-Unit books). Yet, with all this, 50 has gotten most of his wealth from being a shareholder and advertising representative for Vitamin Water. Currently, similar to our president (which he supports), 50 is no longer getting love, rather beef with nearly everyone in the hip-hop world, and will announce his retirement as an individual rapper any day now (we hope).
Britney Spears: The eighth best selling female singer in American history is known for more than just her musical career. Originally an actor, she tasted stardom as a Mousekeeter. At 17, she went big time with a hit CD and a boyfriend from N’SYNC. This was followed by four books, her own movie, an “Austin Powers” cameo, five perfumes, seven separate DVDs, her own Barbie doll, a video game, and countless underage sex fantasies. Also, it would be remiss to leave out a short-lived comeback, her reality show with former husband K-Fed, “Chaotic.” With her recent VMA performance, she now enjoys full-time employment as the butt of every single pop culture joke. Give us more, Britney, more.
Madonna: Getting her start as a ballet dancer and college football cheerleader, Madonna later found success with her debut self-titled album. Always a paradox, she flaunted her Catholic religion frequently, yet made enemies with Pope John Paul II. By 1989, she had The Beastie Boys as a tour opener, nude photos in Playboy and was a Pepsi spokesperson. Another brush with paradox came as she put out a “porn” album, a sex book, and various children’s lullabies. She dated Dennis Rodman, Sean Penn, porn stars, Mister Rodgers (sike!), and Vanilla Ice. Once a proud Italian-American, she is now living in Britain where she speaks with a fake British accent and writes children’s books, while practicing Conservative Judaism when convenient.
Jane Fonda: The daughter of Peter Fonda got her career start playing sex-bomb roles. She was uncharacteristically able to make the change from “Barbarella” to a twice Academy Award-winning, hoity-toity force. While enjoying her acting success, she used media frequency to promote her anti-Vietnam occupation ideals. In the 80s and early 90s, she produced and starred in exercise home videos, popularizing aerobics (“feel the burrrn”)—23 in total. Since the turn of the millennium, she has written an autobiography, opened the Center for Adolescent Reproductive Health, promoted Christianity, and continues to be hated enough to have anti-Fonda protests.
Honorable Mention (just a few years—or sex tapes—away from gaining that coveted crossover gold star):
Jennifer Lopez (runner up): college dropout, New Kids on the Block back-up dancer, Fly Girl, Selena, songstress, farfetched romantic comedy queen, Puff Daddy arm candy/eyewitness, that effing dress, J.Lo, three clothing and accessory lines, five times engaged, restaurateur, eight perfumes, Gigli actress (Bennifer), fine jewelry line, PETA hatee.
Suzanne Somers: bimbo actress, Thighmaster entrepreneur, cancer survivor, alternative medicine supporter, HSN empress.
Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen: two-in-one baby actresses, Kirstie Alley co-stars, hard-hitting DVD detectives, singers, perfumers, kiddie clothes designers, business executives, artsy NYU students, anorexic speculatees, rehab vacationers.
David Hasselhoff: model, Baywatch womanizer, German singing sensation, alcoholic in denial, reality judge of “talent,” drunk Youtube video star.
Martha Stewart: threateningly perfect decorator, uncomfortably impersonal TV host, magazines creator/editrix, household name, insider trader, jailbird/cinnamon smuggler, house arrest anklet, future ruler of the world.
Paris Hilton: heiress, socialite, underage partier, reality TV twit, A Night in Paris, confessional picture book author, “House of Wax” casualty, four perfumes, nose-bleeding nightclub promoter, jailed claustrophobic.
Barbie: doctor, astronaut, teacher, veterinarian, figure skater, president, singer, marine biologist, anatomical anomaly.
Jessica Simpson: Mouseketeers reject, candy pop singer, Mrs. Lachey, star of an invasive MTV reality show, chicken of the sea airhead, Dessert: a comestic line?, Daisy Duke, HSN peddler of hair extensions, Proactiv/Pizza Hut/Ice Breakers spokesperson, Mandy Moore wannabe.
Anna Nicole Smith: stripper, playmate, gold digger, plus-size model, Supreme Court plaintiff/widow, reality TV floozy, Trimspa representative…Crossing Over with John Edwards.
Brittany Mason is a junior politics major and Mike Berlin is a senior writing major. Born-again Jews, they strictly keep kosher, when convenient. Email them at bmason1[at]ithaca.edu and mberlin2[at]ithaca.edu.