I’m sorry, but I just fucking can’t with these celebrities who have taken to Instagram to sing “Imagine” and “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands” from the fortified comfort of their palatial estates while friend after friend of mine loses their job. I also just fucking can’t with these celebrities who have all managed to get incredibly prompt coronavirus testing (and told us about it on Instagram) while the nation’s physicians are being told to start preparing to determine who lives and who dies due to a lack of infrastructure, and the rest of us must stay home because there simply will never be enough tests available.
When Christian Siriano has to get his couture team sewing surgical masks for Governor Cuomo because the leader of the free world can’t properly coordinate our emergency supplies, the last thing I need is Reese Witherspoon hopping online to share a video of her “social distancing” (the grammar, mother of God, the grammar) herself from Laura Dern while they both coincidentally hike the same canyon. Like, I truly can’t wait until this crisis is over so that we can disinfect and eat the rich, can you?
This recent uptick in movie star tone deafness has reminded me of something else. A legend from a time before Kardashians, a myth about a world without iPhones and ring lights. A simpler era, when you had to actually pay a camera crew and a production team to print tape of your thirst videos, and fans had to mail order them from the back of Soap Opera Digest.
That’s right. I’m talking about Welcome to My Home, the original influencer video, released in 1987 by soap star Brenda Dickson.
Pop some popcorn and take this in while you can, because my girl B.D. is incredibly good at getting the bootlegs removed from YouTube.
If you had any remote exposure to an aunt, grandmother, or stay at home mom who liked her stories between the years 1973 and 1987, then you know Brenda as the original Jill Abbott on Y&R. If you were online in the aughties, then this video probably crossed your Tumblr dashboard at least fifteen or sixteen times. If you don’t know Brenda, or if you don’t know what happened to her after she released this epic work of cinema direct to home video, Vanity Fair did a wonderful deep dive on Brenda’s story back in 2018. It makes for splendid, dishy quarantine reading in these serious times when both gossip and toilet paper are in short supply.
(And incidentally, if you’re one of the people who’s been hoarding T.P., please stop already. If you’re truly that worried about running out of it, I’ve got an unfinished paperback copy of The Goldfinch I can send you.)