When Taylor Swift claimed to be the ignored, underappreciated girl next door in her song, “You Belong With Me,” I can only imagine that starlets the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and Anna Kendrick across the country were laughing quietly in their rooms, saying, “I’ll show you girl next door.”
And they did.
It’s an epidemic of the best proportions, the actresses that girls wish they could have as their best friends and guys wish they could have as their girlfriends littering television and movie screens, winning over viewers across the world. It’s a combination of how they look, what they say and what they do that somehow creates this perfectly imperfect product that is changing the face of Hollywood.
We like them because they aren’t trying to fit the immaculately pre-manufactured mold made for stars. Instead, they are pushing the limits of that mold and, in some cases, throwing out the mold completely.
Emma Stone, the pioneer of the girl next door trend, is funny without needing a script to make her that way. More than that, though, she is human, evidenced by a stint with paparazzi earlier in the year. After realizing that photographers were outside the restaurant that she was at with boyfriend, Andrew Garfield, the couple made signs to hold in front of their faces encouraging donations to two of their favorite charities. She isn’t the typical Hollywood beauty but it seems she has no desire to be. Since Stone made her way into the limelight, other newcomers have been infected by that same “girl next door” syndrome, and we, as viewers, have loved it.
Referencing “Mean Girls” in her People’s Choice Awards acceptance speech was merely the tip of the iceberg in Lawrence’s venture into being the personable figure that she’s now known as. In a culture saturated by stars with egos more noticeable than their films, she’s exactly the antidote needed.
Kendrick, star of “Pitch Perfect,” has jumped on the girl next door bandwagon, as her dry humor has been a welcome reprieve from overworked one-liners that are so often used in an effort to elicit a laugh. Her tweets have been the source of countless retweets and her Twitter description reads, “pale, awkward and very very small.”
Apparently, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
It seems that “awkward” is the unifying glue between the stars and the people who love them. If you’ve never been in a situation that you walked away from saying, “I am so awkward,” then you are lying. But, for once, awkward seems to be acceptable. We live in a culture where “weird” is finally becoming a reason for praise instead of disdain and these stars are merely the catalysts for that shift.
It’s about time.