Edith Zimmerman of The Hairpin recently gave a “fuck you!” to the traditional celebrity profile by doing a hilarious and refreshingly personal interview with actor Chris Evans for GQ. For the cover story, Zimmerman details the few days she spent with the Captain America star in Los Angeles with great candor, discussing their heavy flirtation (which Zimmerman notes may have just been a manipulation tool on Evans’ part) and a night in which she got wasted at his house and hitched a ride back to her hotel at five a.m. from someone who could’ve possibly been a tranny. Hehe!
After the club, he and his friends and I went back to his house. And here is where I’d describe his house, except…I don’t really remember any of it. It was definitely…clean. And spacious. But cozy, not too stylish. There were things on the walls. Framed stuff. Pictures. There were…carpets? I’m sorry. I sincerely wish I remembered this better. It definitely had a pool table, because at some point there was a “jump over the pool table” contest, not that I have any recollection of what that entailed. In the car, Chris is enjoying explaining to everyone that at some point I decided to crawl out a window and wander off into the night. “So then my buddy’s like, ‘I think your friend is having some trouble,’ ” Chris says, “and I look over, and there’s Edith in the gutter!” (Not lying in the gutter. This I remember. Sitting on the curb, trying and failing to call a cab.)
So he corralled me back to his house, put me in a guest bedroom to sleep it all off, and told me he’d drive me home in the morning. In the span of ten hours, we’d fast-forwarded from complete strangers to people who let each other pass out in their houses—except, again, he couldn’t really kick me out, because then I’d say, “Chris Evans kicked me out of his house” here in the piece. We were friends, in other words, but not quite. When I awoke at 5:30 a.m., I slipped quietly out the front door, Googling “cabs la,” “taxis los angeles,” “help me california,” on my phone. I was still kind of drunk and had no idea where I was, but there was something peaceful about the heavy, flowery air and the fog and the birds chirping and my heels clicking. No cab companies answered, and no cabs came by. But eventually a very pretty, blonde, possibly Asian transsexual and her much younger male friend pulled up to make sure I was okay and, instead of raping and murdering me, were very sweet and drove me back to my hotel.
What’s amazing about this profile is not just the fact that we get to see a rare honest glimpse into the life of a celebrity, it’s that Zimmerman never destroys Chris Evans. Sure, she’s critical, but she’s also fair. Rather than being a hatchet job, it’s just a re-telling of what actually happened when she interviewed Chris Evans The Action Star. Her piece also describes the bizarre task of interviewing a celebrity—being thrust into someone’s life, meeting their family, probing them for personal information, only to up and leave them when the clock strikes midnight—which is something writers rarely, if ever, touch on.
The profile is way less offensive than a typical celebrity interview that tries to sell their subject as The Girl or Boy Next Door. Because guess what? They’re not. They’re a famous person with a publicist and a chauffeur who is meeting you in a controlled setting for a magazine profile that will hopefully sell a lot of copies and make people money. Don’t talk to me about the fact that they grow their own vegetables, okay? It’s not real (even if it is real). Unfortunately, some people are getting pissed about it. Since Zimmerman is writing for a men’s magazine, the piece can be perceived as being ditzy or anti-feminist? Ew, my brain hurts. Just stop. Other hard-hitting publications like OK! and Us Weekly have run headlines like “CHRIS EVANS GETS REPORTER WASTED!” Because getting drunk with someone you’re having a conservation with is apparently crazy. Whatever. There’s probably so much stuff that goes down in these interviews that we, the readers, don’t know about. Reporters may sleep with their subjects, watch them do drugs, overhear a scandalous conversation, and it never gets mentioned. So cheers to Edith Zimmerman for finally giving us something worth reading in the otherwise banal world of celebrity interviews. If I had to read another one that mentioned their sweet behavior or how they ate their salad, I would’ve just lost it.