The Smug Celebrity

A timely yet eternal phenomenon

Lane Cummingsby Lane Cummings

What do Emma Stone, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law have in common?

Aside from being spoiled, hair weave-wearing pansies, these are all celebrities that don’t just smile, but smirk at the camera lens on red carpets and at industry parties in such an infuriating way— as if to squeak and purr, “You see? I’m meant to be here. I belong in this upper strata of elitism and glamour. Tra la.”

Certain celebrities are never smug, as names like Tom Hanks, Kate Winslet, William H. Macy, and Natalie Portman (though annoying) come to mind. These celebrities have both a strong sense of security and radiate inner self worth. They don’t fire assistants for being too tall. They don’t hate themselves for having uneven skin tone along their elbows.  And thus, they don’t pose haughtily in front of the camera, asserting their own fabulousness not with grace, but with a repulsive lightning bolt of pride so forceful it could stop a clock. They smile, or in Tom Hanks’ case, look exhausted and over it, but with more charm than anything else.

Smug celebrities are often, but not always young, and either haven’t been around long enough to learn some damn etiquette, or simply like to smirk their way down the primrose path. One of the celebrities who does this the most is Emma Stone. Honestly, she makes the red carpet look like the edge of a football field, and she’s head cheerleader, beaming with superiority from the top of the pyramid down to the peasants at her feet. I cringe when I see paparazzi shots of her, as she laughs like she’s having so much fun, so confident in her in-crowd status, the Heather Chandler of the 21st century.



Gwyneth Paltrow is one of the worst offenders. She even smirked through that fiendishly bad country music movie, playing—ha ha ha— a country music star, a film that will be forever seen as an example of Hollywood’s absurdist period. Honestly, it was like having Billy Crystal playing an emo-dressed musician. No one’s going to believe it, and no one’s going to pay for a ticket to watch the carnie show. What bothers me the most is that Paltrow treats the red carpet like an extension of her ritzy private school. It seems like to her, it’s all the Upper East Side and in her mind, that Valentino gown still bears the crest of Spence.

For those of you who think it’s only women who commit this offence, you’re right. For example, while Jude Law may claim to be a man, we can all agree that playing the leading man doesn’t mean you’re not a closeted, genitalia-tucked tranny. Jude Law wears a red carpet smirk that I swear someone at some point in the past has slapped off his face. Logic wouldn’t have allowed him to live his entire life without that happening. Jude Law smirks like he’s shagged all the Hollywood broads that surround him. He truly acts like he’s had some sort of lay-extravaganza with every single young starlet, every single has-been, and every aging lady of the land. Then he smirks at the camera lens as if each member of the paparazzi has given him his own personal hand job.  

Luckily, this is a rant with a point. I simply do not want to be the single saxophone playing in a dreary alley. This is a call to action. The next time one of the insipid airheads at E! or wherever shoves a microphone at one of these fools, asking them how they picked such a fabulous gown or how they manage to look so devastatingly devastating, I want someone else to jump out from the bushes with an even bigger microphone in the shape of an aardvark (just because) and to say “YOU are so smug. You think you’re so smart. But YOU are not.” And then saunter off with a sense of triumph.