So finally, it’s happened.
At the end of last month, Hayley Williams – of Paramore fame – debuted a new beauty show called KISS OFF (cue the eye rolls of many). The first episode of the vlog aired on POPULAR TV, the latest outing of former NYLON founding editor, Marvin Scott Jarrett. You’d be forgiven for not having heard of the site as it only launched at the beginning of March, but if you were – at some point – a NYLON disciple, then there is much for you to enjoy there.
You can watch the first episode of Kiss Off here.
Taking stock from cult classics, Williams and long-time collaborator Brian O’Connor create a look influenced by Diane Lane’s character Corinne Burns in the 1982 film Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains. This is, perhaps, one of the most encouraging aspects of this series; these days, youth are so obsessed with the fickle nature of social media and voyeurism in the present moment that any incentive that sparks the desire to delve deeper into the culture of yesteryear can only be considered a good thing. What starts with The Fabulous Stains may lead to other cult films like The Breakfast Club, Heathers, Clueless, This Is Spinal Tap, Ghost World or even Rocky Horror – all nostalgic, all a bit satirical, and all raising questions about identity.
Similarly, anything that champions individuality and exploration into one’s self-identity during one’s teenage years is something to be encouraged; if you want to dye your hair or dress a bit differently, or listen to different music from your peers, or even go to visit your Nan sporting the Corinne Burns eye make-up as above and below – why the heck not? Some would do just that and emerge on the other side a few years later, branding it a “phase”, however others may find their calling in one way or another and start a path that leads to different, unconventional and – ultimately – more empowering things.
Whether Paramore are your thing or not, it is hard to deny Williams’ presence as a high profile female in alternative music. Over the past 10 years (yes folks, it’s been that long) Paramore’s fan base has gone from strength to strength and the profile of the front woman has catapulted accordingly. Williams alone holds 4.29 million Twitter followers; sure, that’s not in the same league as Lady Gaga (45.4m), Rihanna (43.2m) or even Beyonce´ (14m)*, but it still makes her someone who has a large audience at their disposal, and one that is – in the majority – very easily influenced.
It is presumed that there comes a point in time for female music icons where it is more rewarding for them to embrace the influence that they can have to encourage and educate young girls – and, of course, boys! – than it is for them to reject it. We can all recall the ‘Paramore Is A Band’ t-shirt, however Williams is perhaps the Gwen Stefani of the smartphone t
ween generation in that, as one of the rare, unsexualised, female focal points of an otherwise male band, she is unwittingly put on a pedestal for all young girls who follow more alternative music. If you want to question that, then you need only search the hashtag #MyKissOff to throw that caution to the wind.
*stats correct at time of publication