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Mila Kunis: Not Another Bloody Girl-Next-Door

08/03/2013 17:15 GMT | Updated 08/05/2013 10:12 BST

An eruption of arbitrary internet love for one unwitting individual is a disturbingly common event. And the trend du jour, one can't help but notice, is for the 'charismatic young woman' - a title which by its very existence is a collective face-palm for feminists everywhere. It is however, one which, given a certain Jennifer Lawrence's success as the inaugural office-holder, is currently to be acquired by hook or by crook. So when Mila Kunis sat down with Radio 1's intrepid landlord-alike Chris Stark for what was intended to be a feat of interview gimmickery at the pair's mutual expense, the viral avalanche that has been doing the Twittersphere rounds ever since was really, in retrospect, a no-brainer.

There's no doubt about it: she had her chat on. Stark, a seasoned purveyor of the kind of faux-tentative banter upon which Hugh Grant has been dining out for years, was clearly not expecting this new and unsuspected brand of female one-upmanship. As if all his Disney dreams had been realised by the managers of Radio 1, he gawped as she negotiated the treacherous waters of beer and football with the deftness of a Watford ladette.

The trans-Atlantic fawning abounded; the J-Law brigade tore their eyes from the re-runs of her Oscar acceptance to gorge their girl-next-door desires with this shiny new offering. Kunis was "fun", "unflappable", and all the rest - it was as if her pre-2013 persona (or lack-thereof) had never existed.

The timing of her de-closeting as an out-and-proud funny girl couldn't have been better. It was so good, in fact, that one senses intervention in the wings. What the interview documented was an exercise in re-branding. And a real humdinger at that. What the world perceived and celebrated as a cool breath of reality was surely in actuality quite the reverse - it was the application of a calculated add-on, a new feature to ensure bankability in an ever-evolving competitive environment. She was Mila Kunis 2.0.

There is a sort of circular irony to the whole affair in that Kunis' charisma was in all likelihood not a fabrication at all (she dated Macaulay Culkin for eight years, plays World of Warcraft and accompanied a stranger to a Marine Corps Ball - none of which can be achieved without a sense of humour about yourself). But like so many female stars, at the mercy of the oscillating demands of their public, she was required to supress individuality for fear of faux pas or losing her bimbo credentials (I hear the 'Sexiest Woman Alive' panel assign negligible weight to booksmarts), only to wake up in a world where it's cool to be cool.

Viral memes are an increasingly good metric of the public mood. It is this latest trend, rather than the vintage treasures of 'sad Keanu Reeves' and 'grumpy cat', which sees the meme, already a pervasive social contour, bridging the shaky boundary between celeb-land and the real world. The 'famous' (that's right, they're using it as a noun now, keep up) is losing definition by the day. The voyeurism which fills the tedious hours of the Daily Mail Showbiz obsessive relies on the subject of their snooping having something 'exclusive' or 'star-studded' to do in order to facilitate the escapism of the onlooker from his or her godforsaken office job. Paradoxically, however, there's nothing like a celeb-spot in Tesco's or in the loo for the old 'they're-just-like-me!' self-esteem boost. An actress who does the unthinkable and reveals a flicker of charisma is at once more interesting and less interesting than she was before.

This rapid-onset appeal is celebrity in its most fickle iteration: it is a swooping delirium which wraps the blessed one in a PR flak jacket. Impervious to misdemeanours, wardrobe malfunctions and even the law (note the polarised responses when J-Lawrence and J-Bieber were respectively caught dabbling in wacky 'baccy), it is a rarefied platform that one would be well-advised to occupy. And occupy it they will. Personality is back in vogue, at least until the next meme.