- The Washington Times - Friday, March 23, 2001

Ralph on Julia

"People talk about Julia Roberts' role in 'Erin Brockovich' as unconventional and maybe even a risk for her to play someone so glamorous, but I disagree. Roberts' performance in 'Erin Brockovich' expanded a deeper definition of beauty.
"There's a moral beauty, a sense of injustice, a gutsy beauty. Beauty is defined cosmetically in this society. It's defined by the cosmetics industry, the fashion industry, the movie industry. That's very skin deep, so to speak. But this is an inner beauty, a much more fundamental kind of beauty. A sense of moral outrage, a quest for justice, a relentless pursuit of truth, and a development of tactical maturity all of that enhances her… .
"In a society where news is increasingly trivialized with chitchat and weather reports, it makes it all the more important for celebrities like Julia Roberts to speak out and take on the issues that are dear to them."
Ralph Nader, writing on "Julia: An Appreciation," in the April issue of Esquire

Being 'Mrs. Doubtfire'

"The hero of the film 'Mrs. Doubtfire' feckless, jobless Daniel Hillard looks to be in serious trouble at the start. 'I'm addicted to my children,' he says, but he's under a sentence of life without them unless he sheds his old identity and arrives at a new self… .
"As it emerges, though, no problem. Drawing on professional skills and friends Hillard earned his living, when employed, voicing animated cartoons the hero transforms himself into a 60ish, heavy-breasted Englishwoman named Iphigenia Doubtfire; he then gulls his wife into hiring Doubtfire as her afterschool housekeeper and babysitter… .
"Hillard is a loving father… . But can a person this slovenly and irresponsible really become overnight Iphigenia Doubtfire, impeccable housekeeper and quietly effective disciplinarian?
"To repeat, no problem. Once on the job, Hillard/Doubtfire establishes in a single afternoon soft-spoken, no-nonsense authority with the children… . Doubtfire cooks a splendid lobster dinner for four. Housework is a breeze: the tyro housekeeper boogies joyously while vacuuming, wields a far-out broom as though it were a rock musician's guitar no hint of weariness… .
"The boogieing cleaning woman puns unwittingly on the vacuum at the center of this Dad-as-SuperMom fantasy on the absence, that is, of insight into the texture of engagement with a gender identity separate from one's own."
Benjamin DeMott, from his new book, "Killer Woman Blues"

Celebrity necessity

"Ah, the celebrity stylist. Now as indispensable to an actor's entourage as the manager, the agent, the personal trainer, and the publicist, the personal services of an in-house fashionista are no longer considered a luxury but an image-making or breaking necessity… . 'Fame and fortune don't give you style,' says Tameka Foster-Glover, 30, who has worked with Lauren Hill and masterminded Toni Braxton's barely-there Richard Tyler [gown] at last month's Grammys. 'You can have all the money in the world and not know what to do with it.'
"Only a handful of actresses do know how to look good no matter what. That's why Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, and Nicole Kidman are among the few who've often bypassed the celebrity dresser in favor of their own relationships with designers like Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, and John Galliano for Christian Dior, respectively… .
"But most celebs won't get anywhere near a red carpet unless they have a stylist in tow."
Clarissa Cruz, writing on "O Dresser, Where Art Thou?" in the March 23 issue of Entertainment Weekly

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