Last month, Hilary Duff astounded the world by revealing that she was on the popular internet dating app Tinder. The story, which emerged after a Reddit user uploaded a screenshot of Duff's profile, depicted a filtered image of her face with a date invitation to get the most mainstream of dishes - pizza. Gasps were audible from around the world- 'good for her' people chanted, 'it's nice to see that she's just a normal girl like us.' And so the result was turned into media fodder for Duff, allowing her to remove even more vestiges of Disney stardom, keeping her relevant and real for all intents and purposes, after all, she's just like us now.
Fast forward a few weeks as this salacious story has all but died down; Hilary is back doing what she does best and is all set to release the video for her latest single Sparks. I'm excited. Anyone who knows me can attest to my rather abnormal adoration of Hilary Duff; really it's not that strange, she's adorable and has some truly iconic pop songs to her name but Sparks really signalled a return to form in my opinion. I loved her previous offerings during her comeback trail, but neither were promoted properly and I'm not sure people were completely willing to accept a grown-up Hilary just quite yet. Sparks, however, is an A+ release, fusing her signature pop sound with a more mature composition. The video teaser, showcasing Duff drenched in vibrant neon lights performing high-octane dance moves, also indicated that this too would be characteristically high-energy. Oh how wrong I was.
So there I am at my desk in work. I've clicked the link and I've endured the inevitable YouTube ads. I'm not even attempting to conceal what I'm doing from my colleagues as I eagerly await the music video master class from Hilary. It starts, but something is wrong. Where are all the flashing lights? Where is the sultry choreography and HD hair flicks? Why is Hilary talking about Tinder on a radio show? And then it hits me...this has all been some twisted social experiment orchestrated by the pop princess. I feel cheated.
The video progresses like a mini documentary showing Hilary hanging with her friends like a normal person, laughing and joking as she sets up her dating profile with the music softly playing behind these uncanny scenes. 'This is you on Tinder' one exclaims, as Duff herself profoundly declares that she wants to know what it is to connect with someone, and what gives you those sparks. It's blithely transparent what's happening. It essentially feels like an advert for Tinder dressed up to humanise and promote Duff in some way, portraying her as an everywoman who goes on blind dates. What causes the real confusion and unease, however, is that we know she's not like us, as emphasized even further by the glossy dance routines that have been in fact spliced throughout her date with Jason, the funny guy who likes Sriracha and vodka.
In an interview published on the same day Hilary explained that she took the cameras with her on the dates to capture her doing something 'totally normal that tons of people do.' But herein lies the issue, she is not normal. She cannot experience internet dating the way someone in the general public can due to her high-profile status. It may seem like a strange thing to fixate upon, but it really struck me as I watched this video. Celebrities have this drive to prove that they are typical but in the process come off even more artificial as a result. I love Hilary, but I do not for one second imagine that she's actually on Tinder now after this video, nor do I think she needs to go on some crusade to prove that she's just like us.
Celebrities should stay exactly as they are; people who have been vaulted into the echelons of stardom to be revered and fawned after. I don't need to know that Hilary Duff is on Tinder or any other titbits of information that are clearly falsified to create some sort of authentic persona that we can relate to. Perhaps it's a fruitless or inane argument to make, but it's a growing trend in this culture to endorse a fake reality and obscure what makes the celebrity a celebrity. The video for Sparks is essentially just very strange and it's a shame because it clouds the song itself, which is a true gem. So Hilary, leave the rest of us to muddle through the unseemly waters of real life, and go back into that studio and give me the pop music video I deserve.