The problem with celebrity advice blogs
Who's saying what
I blame Oprah. Ever since Ms Winfery started telling everyone about her favourite things and launched her self-referential magazine about how to be the 'best version of you', the celebrity-as-life-coach has been snowballing into a cottage industry.
Hot on Oprah's high heels came Gwyneth Paltrow with her unintentionally hilarious GOOP newsletter, which makes helpful suggestions such as: "I cook a lot, especially on the weekends, so I like to plan a rough menu for the whole weekend and get the food in on Friday. Obviously stores and websites that deliver make this a dream. In London I use Ocado. Also James Knight, my favourite fishmonger, will deliver. "
Firstly, who has a fishmonger that delivers? And secondly, who has several they go to? In my family, if you can't get all your food under the one roof, in one go, you go without.
Supermodel Heidi Klum dishes out fashion and parenting advice, rapper Jay-Z curates his 'Life and Times' website, actress Zooey Deschanel has her own giggly blog and even Nicole Kidman has started sharing her favourite types of towels and restaurant suggestions online.
Now, Jessica Alba - the star of such culturally-defining films as Fantastic Four and Good Luck Chuck - is about to launch herself as the latest lifestyle goddess who can help us find the 'perfect vintage' get up and teach us how to make organic, chemical-free bathroom cleaner.
The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You is described as "Alba's personal journey of discovery and reveals her tips for making healthy living fun, real, and stylish, while offering a candid look inside her home and daily life."
Inside the beautifully styled book, Alba dispenses valuable tips on how to apply the perfect red lip, how to host a dinner party without stress and which $400 moisturiser is most effective.
The celebrity as guru seems to be the next step in branding. It's de jour for actors and singers to have their own fragrance and dabble in fashion design, so it makes sense that so many are keen to extend their power and influence into the more mundane parts of our lives - raising kids, work, cleaning, and where to find the best cashmere sweaters for those lazy days spent laying on the couch.
A few die-hard fans may take Alba and Co's words of wisdom to heart, but it's a vanity project thinly disguised as an attempt to convince people that they're normal, regular folks. They may be perfectly nice people, but they also inhabit a world so small that only a handful of earth's creatures ever get to step inside.
Movie stars have enough money to last them a lifetime, their own staff of personal assistants, drivers, cooks and stylists and access to an exclusive world only they and their equally famous friends can play in. And good for them. They're just making the most of what their genes, some talent and a lot of luck has thrown their way.
But just how much can the Paltrow's, Kidman's and even Winfery's of the world relate to their admirers who are living a completely different life? One where bank accounts are not bottomless and the work/family balance question has not yet been answered.
Alba and Co are free to do what they want, and there's sure to be more celebrities to follow, but there's an arrogance that comes with this idea of beautiful, wealthy individuals who have no professional knowledge or training attempting to instruct people on how to run their lives. Often it's not often their own advice, but the accumulation of words of wisdom they've received from actual experts.
Would you ask a lawyer how to fix a leaking tap? No. So why would you expect a celebrity to know the answer to whether you should go vegetarian or change your brand of socks?
Listening to Paltrow or Klum's opinions won't bring you closer to wealth or fame. It may, however, leave you with some unfortunate goop on your face if you ask your fishmonger what times they deliver.
(Images via Getty)