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Mocktresses: How Nobodies like Jessica Alba, Kate Bosworth Stay Famous And Make $$$$
She's suddenly ubiquitous, this type of actress -- just not on the big or small screen. She graces red carpets and Fashion Week front rows wearing next season's Dolce, Zac, Marc and Elie -- the perks of being a personal friend of the house -- with the most-craved Celine or Alexander McQueen bag, not yet even on preorder, on her arm. Yet she might not have done a project in years, and if she has, well, you haven't heard of it. Still, she is a legitimate actress, having starred in a few rom-coms, action flicks or horror films, looking gorgeous in all of them. No fake noses or weight gain for this girl.
Today, said actress spends the majority of her time modeling on arrival lines as opposed to runways. Remember when models just wanted to be actresses? These days, a certain lanky, large-eyed genre of B-list-and-lower actresses have, for all intents and purposes, added "model" to their business-savvy hyphenate titles. Meet the 2013 version of the model-actress -- or, the mocktress.
But don't pity her. She makes the majority of her income -- a very good income -- this way. Last year, according to sources in event planning, marketing and branding, Jessica Alba and Kate Bosworth each earned $100,000 per public appearance.
Maybe they weren't paid to attend Chanel shows -- they just got to keep 15 grand worth of clothes and bags -- but they were no doubt monetized for attending the Giffoni Film Festival in Italy, the opening of the Montblanc concept store in Beijing, the Audi Aspen Holiday party and the Topshop/Topman store opening in L.A. Alba alone attended about 43 events in 2012 -- the old "opening of an envelope" line comes to mind -- and for tres chic Diane Kruger, it was 31 events. Kruger is becoming better known for being well-dressed than her occasional yet interesting acting choices. No doubt she makes more money that way.
Precisely how much is a function of visibility. Rachel Bilson used to be out and about all the time in between 2007's The O.C. and landing Hart of Dixie in 2011. Now, because of higher demands on her time (i.e., she's working), she garners $150,000 for an appearance, while Camilla Belle, with less frequent and more obscure projects (Cavemen, I Brake for Gringos), earns $20,000 to $50,000 to sit front-row at a fashion show or show up looking chic at the Samsung Galaxy Note Launch Event in New York.
"A lot of these girls are beautiful and had a little luck in that the type of feature film they first acted in led to easy stardom," explains Marilyn Heston, owner of MHA, which represents fashion brands and wrangles celebs to wear their looks. "As ingenues, Camilla Belle was in 10,000 BC and Kate Bosworth in Blue Crush. Both films were highly visible domestically and overseas with young and sexy casts, and they had strong studio press campaigns. Fashion houses took note and quickly adopted them as 'fashion girls.' I remember when Roberto Cavalli made a plunging V-neck blue chiffon cocktail dress for the premiere of Blue Crush, he asked, 'Who's Kate Bosworth?' -- but sure enough, he got tons of press because she looked so great."
Note Twilight ingenue and new mocktress Ashley Greene, who models for DKNY ads while being splashed all over Who What Wear-style websites for what she wears about town. Her next role after the vampire franchise is a horror movie called Random. January Jones now is better known for flamboyant fashion choices than her parts beyond Mad Men, i.e., X-Men: First Class. Mocktresses-in-training Hailee Steinfeld and Elle Fanning, despite being in school, get paid to play dress-up and go out, sometimes in designer outfits well beyond their years.
- The time when such a career move might have indicated the beginning-of-the-end has passed. "I call this the democratization of fashion," says Lori Sale, a partner in the Artists & Brands agency and a former ICM agent. "This doesn't hurt their careers -- producers want to cast actresses who are relevant and current and getting covered by the media. Brands can be a very good 'look' for talent; it can enhance their image more than hurt it, if they pick the right ones."
Truth be told, there's a degree of mocktress in nearly every modern actress now that designer fashion is one of the biggest components of a celebrity's image and brand. "Instead of having their agents scour for the next big role, actresses are making sure they're polished each time they grace a red carpet, well aware it can catapult them from actor to brand ambassador or muse," says Kent Belden, who runs the MMA styling agency. "A brand chooses an actress who represents the image and lifestyle it wants to convey to consumers, but both parties are being strategic."
Yet A-list actresses with deals as the faces of such brands as Dior (Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lawrence, Mila Kunis, Natalie Portman) or YSL (Jessica Chastain) or who have close relationships with designers (Cate Blanchett with Armani, Anne Hathaway with Valentino) always will be better known for acting than dressing. They don't show up at the drop of a hat -- even when being paid to wear said hat. Their publicists and agents won't let them dilute their brand, while for the full-on mocktress, fashion is her brand, and acting is what gives her fashion relevance.
A mocktress might not get the cover of Vogue, but she does rate the cover of Allure, InStyle or Glamour, especially when she's in a movie or on a TV show, because Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Megan Fox and Belle move issues of certain style magazines more than supermodels. "These actresses have sizzle and wattage, which is pretty much out of the reach of young models today," says Barneys global ambassador and fashion writer Simon Doonan. "The professional and personal lives of actresses are embedded in the group consciousness. We know her face, but we also know her backstory, her triumphs and foibles. This makes for a more compelling and effective branding moment."
Social media drives home that branding moment over and over, says Jill Chayet, owner of fashion PR and branding company Bluprint. "The dawn of the Internet and social media gave birth to this new form of access into the lives and activities of actresses," she says. "These celebrities are real ambassadors for their brands. It's a 360 opportunity -- from events, appearances, editorial, social media, personal blogs and fan sites. Combine that with new photo-media-sharing growing exponentially, and any designer brand gets exposure that far supersedes the reach traditional models could offer."
In the past few years, the big brands have been drowned out by mass and emerging brands that one has barely heard of -- a plethora of denim and T-shirt companies -- by using mocktresses as their preferred method of PR. Ah, the joys of being a fashion journalist: cracking open the computer every morning to a torrent of hundreds of daily news releases with subject lines that read (not a joke; all caps have been faithfully reproduced): "January Jones Wears Frame Denim" and "DIANE KRUGER WEARS ANN TAYLOR FOR THE THIRD TIME."
Mocktresses have even pushed aside reality actresses -- "reactresses" -- as branding tools because outside of Nicole Richie and Lauren Conrad, reactresses don't have high fashion cred. Kim Kardashian may be a brand, but she's not a mocktress, as she lacks the clotheshorse body and subtle chic. Rachel Zoe may have created the fashion-star reactress, but now those names run in tabloids, not fashion blogs, and they simply are no longer aspirational.
- The mother of all mocktresses is Elizabeth Hurley, who became better known as a fashionista than an actress after donning the famed Versace safety pin dress for the London premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral in 1994. Former mocktresses Mischa Barton and Lindsay Lohan carried the torch into the early 2000s. But none has taken mocktressdom to the levels they are today, where short-lived TV series actresses pose alongside blockbuster ingenues, both of whom increasingly are more admired for their ability to wear a frock than open a film.
The playing field is even becoming crowded. "There are not enough big fashion and beauty campaigns to go around for all the beautiful actresses who'd like to land them," says Sale. "But there are lots of opportunities for fashion-savvy actresses who aren't A-listers to act as brand ambassadors. They have to be authentically fashion-loving and have to wear lots of different brands, or a particular brand won't want to associate with them." Adds Doonan, who says of today's freewheeling fashion climate: "An actress could be flogging dresses one minute and playing opposite Dame Maggie Smith the next, and nobody would try to bust her cred. All bets are off."
- How about Chloe Svigny? She just did a Comme des garcons spot.
- Sevigny has talent, unlike these other mocktresses.
- Sienna Miller is a mocktress.
- Diane kruger is the queen of all mocktresses
- Mocktress? Well paid starlets sounds more fitting.
I wonder though what's the male term for this kind of stardom?
A starlet would seem to denote that the star actually works in film or television. These women haven't actually worked as actresses in years. Or if they do, it's stuff you'd never ever hear about. But they are still called 'actresses' when they aren't anything of the sort. They're just publicity hounds.
- There are quite a few mocktors. Orlando Bloom, Kellan Lutz, Hayden Christensen, Gerard Butler, the Gossip Girl guys...
- Gwyneth is becoming this.
- Sevigny actually has roots as a style muse, setting trends as a teenager running around Manhattan. She's always been an innovator, more than just an early adopter.
I'd put her well above the likes of pretty mannequins like Jessica Alba.
- It sounds like a nightmarish lifestyle. Every time you go out you've got to choose an outfit that's never been seen in public before, is worth a fortune, represents a careful mix of brands, and is perfect enough to withstand scrutiny from every bitch in the world with a computer.
How does a gal get that many clothes? How does she get to the grocery store without having a breakdown?
- "while Camilla Belle, with less frequent and more obscure projects (Cavemen, I Brake for Gringos), earns $20,000 to $50,000 to sit front-row at a fashion show or show up looking chic at the Samsung Galaxy Note Launch Event in New York."
Camilla also gets paid big bucks for bearding
Tim Tebow, Camilla's ex "boyfriend"
- That's why we now have the ludicrous "profession" of stylist, r12.
- Kate Bosworth looks like a dried out, coke whore.
Sickening that these no-talents make so much money doing NOTHING.
- Tara Reid is a quintessential mocktress. Although I suspect red carpet modelling is not where her income comes from.
- Is Kate Bosworth worth $100,000 an appearance? That sounds high.
- [quote]Sevigny actually has roots as a style muse, setting trends as a teenager running around Manhattan.
In honesty, though, that was already after she'd become known for Kids, which at the time was very high profile in Manhattan. No one knew who she was before that, so the trajectory pretty much matches what the article describes.
- Hello there!!
- Amanada Bynes was actually a pretty descent actress.
I found her movie characters quite charming and well acted. I liked her in the Girl/Boy movie with hottie Channing Tatum
- I thought they were talking about fake actresses.
- Aren't they just well known models? Acting has nothing to do with their job.
- So they are low rate style icons?
- Jessica Alba is always making appearances pushing something.
This week it is her new book called 'The Honest Life'.
A short time ago, it was her self-owned business of environmentally safe cleaning products.
And she constantly makes appearances at fashion shows.
- Jennifer Garner has a better product placement deal with Whole Foods and Starbucks, they don't care how she's dressed. They probably encourage her to look like the sloppy soccer mom she is.
- Jennifer Garner also has a product deal with Neutrogena, appears in Neutrogena TV ads, and attends functions which highlight Neutrogena such as a summit in NYC this week.
- Jessica Alba also attends almost all awards shows - of course, even when she does not have a new movie to push.
- Jessica Alba also has a Windows Phone ad, in which she claims the device helps her manage her schedule with her "producing partner." Pfff. What does she produce?
- Anyone you see in "Us" two weeks running probably falls into this category.
- The "branding" phenomenon is tiresome. They are commercial spokespeople for products, if they talk at all. Very few people now seem interested in working or improving as an actor or singer, they just want commercial contracts. Paid appearances sounds like Paris Hilton, no matter how much they try and class it up. I am jealous though if they get free clothes.
- Diane Kruger has at least done some decent movies and she's got an FX series premiering this summer. Bosworth and Alba haven't done anything in years and most of what they've done is shit. I don't know why anyone would pay them to attend anything.
- Carmen Electra..albeit an aging mocktress.
But what the fuck exactly does she do?!
- Jessica Alba looks fabulous in designer clothes so designers pay her to wear their clothes and attend their fashion shows and various get-together functions.
- So, for a little bit of extra money do these mocktresses escort on the downlow?
- I cannot believe Jessica Alba is pushing her new book called 'The Honest Life'.
Who would want to read a book authored by or about Jessica Alba?
- And the queen of this that you all love to hate.
Kim Kardashian. That's why you see her at everything. Bitch gets PAID!
- Jessica Alba has been in cosmetics TV ads too.
I bet she has a good deal of money.
Does her husband actually work?
- SJP is sliding into this category too.
- [quote] So, for a little bit of extra money do these mocktresses escort on the downlow?
Ask Tara Reid and Lindsay Lohan.
- Drew Barrymore and Nicole Kidman make more money fom endorsement deals than acting jobs. It is lucrative and keeps them in the public eye. The trend started when Catherine Zeta-Jones did T-mobile, and Diane Keaton and Ellen did beauty (?) contracts. Managers and agents love the money. Diane Kruger at least is gorgeous and sells a certain level of sophistication, so that is part of a brand's PR budget. Garner sells housewife. Not sure what Alba represents? Depressed wife and lowered expectations? Totally believe Lohan and Kardasian trick for money with foreign appearances.
- Drew Barrymore has her own makeup line - as a business.
It just started. No telling if it will be successful, but she looks overweight, ratty, dressed terribly, and sloppy these days.
- Kardashian cannot be considered a mocktress. "Mock human being" perhaps but she was never an actress to start with.
- Isn't recovering alcoholic Drew also pushing wine? Jennifer Aniston also has cleaned up in endorsement deals. Mark Wahlberg is selling water now? Most celebs sell something. Goop. Madonna with Live Nation. Beyonce with Pepsi. JT with Bud Light.
- I'm not that old (33) and pop culture has become so boring. Everything is about branding, which means nothing is fresh. It probably always was boring, but now I see the forest for the trees. Pop music is boring, now that Madonna is too old and Gaga fizzled. Movies are just sequels, remakes, and comic books. I do like some cable TV (Enlightened, Breaking Bad), so there's that.
Give me a crossword, a good Junot Diaz novel, some indie music in the background, and a glass of red wine.
- I agree, r44. Everything has become so commercial and obviously fake. Somtimes I mumble to myself: Ignorance is bliss after all.
- Kim Kardashian has NO fashion cred. Apparently Kanye West was invited to one of the big fashion do's but the stipulation was: NO KIM KARDASHIAN. And he complied.
Yes, K.K. gets paid for public appearances and tweeting about products, but no fashion line (other than that crap line started by her sisters) has ever wanted her to represent their product.
- [quote]Amanada Bynes was actually a pretty descent actress.
Oh dear oh dear.
- I will take being a no talent mocktress, selling my ass to the highest bidder and raking in the $millions any day, over living paycheck to paycheck, under-employed and trying to pay off a huge student debt
- Hailee Steinfeld is not a mocktress. She has an Academy Award nomination.
- This thread in 2016 will be all about me!!
- Well, Amanda Bynes did have quite a descent with her multiple drunk driving incidents and asking Obama to help her out with them.
- There are few good roles for young actresses and are even fewer good roles for actresses over 30. So what if an actress makes more money doing endorsements? It's not like they're doing anything illegal or unethical.
Nicole Kidman often works in small indie films with little box upside. If doing endorsements gives her the financial freedom to do work like that, then I say go for it. Likewise if it enables Diane Kruger to wait and pick better roles, then again that's a good thing. And yes, I'm interesting in checking out her new show where she'll be working with Oscar nominated Demián Bichir.
- Isn't Kidman worth $320 million? I don't know why she is still in movies (since they tank), but props to her for accumulation of sheer wealth.
- Damn, I thought Mocktress was typical DL cuntiness, I didn't realize that was the article itself!
- It's part of the PR budget. Sad to say but it makes people feel special to meet a celeb, no matter who it is.
- It was hilarious seeing photos of Nicole Richie at Paris Fashion Week. She's barely a mock-anything. Even her status as the child of a celebrity is debatable.
- If you cruise through Just Jared, you see how celebrity is commodified 24/7. Nothing seems spontaneous.
[quote]It sounds like a nightmarish lifestyle. Every time you go out you've got to choose an outfit that's never been seen in public before, is worth a fortune, represents a careful mix of brands, and is perfect enough to withstand scrutiny from every bitch in the world with a computer.
Oh, the humanity.
Yitzhak Feldman, 98 year-old Auschwitz survivor
- R12, what you state is not true at all.
Just look at the photos at radaronline.com and justjared.com, for example.
Many of people in show business, women included of course, wear shorts, tee shirts, sweatshirts, work out wear, raggedy old tee shirts, common baggy sweaters, old jeans, sloppy clothing.
Just look at Katherine Heigl, Jennifer Garner, Mila Kunis, and the list is endless.
- Nicole Kidman and even Diane Kruger are not impoverished welfare mothers, r52. They don't have to scrape and scramble to do anything for a buck--they're just greedy and want free Chanel and attention. I'd take it too, but I wouldn't try and pretend it was anything more than that, or that I had somehow been "reduced" to such straights because of my hunger for indie cred and passion for working with Oscar winners.
- I would put Jennifer Love Hewitt in this category. What does she do other than appear in ads?
- JLH has a TV show in its second season, and it's stocked with male eye candy, so don't knock it.
- R61, ever think to google.com an actress before making your inane, inaccurate, stupid declaration?
Jennifer Love Hewitt stars in a successful weekly series on the Lifetime channel called 'The Client List'.
- It's sounds lucrative. If they're not getting roles, why not? Good income, keeps them in the public eye, allows them to travel and go to events.
Of course they want to be A-list, but if they can't, what exactly is the the problem with this? If someone's stupid enough to pay, take the money.
- Mila Kunis actually works, though, constantly and consistently. Remember, she is a principle in the Family Guy cast. And even though she might not be in very many good movies, she certainly works more than Jessica Alba or Kate Bosworth.
Jennifer Garner seems to rarely attend events like the mocktresses do. She is basically a professional soccer mom - but that is its own brand of ridiculous.
- Dior dropped Mila because she looked too grubby and always went around in sweat pants.
The rest appear on Just Jared every damn day.
- [quote]Catherine Zeta-Jones did T-mobile
Honey, it started long before that.
- Jessica Chastain has a contract with YSL? Wow, the business really has changed.
- Surely some men do this too? Are they just more discreet and do in the Japan or something?
- Alba and Kruger get top dollar because they have a model's figure, they look good in the clothes, and the pictures will get published because they are famous enough. It's better than having to suck dick, but it's basically being a model and you fly all over the world. Nicole Kidman got paid $12 million a year or something ridiculously high by Chanel. Botox and odd movies ended her film career, but she is ambitious and thinks she can still win another Oscar. Brad Pitt got paid $7 million for those horrible Chanel ads. Eddie Redmayne does Burberry.
- Has Cameron Diaz officially become this? What's the last movie of note that she's done?
- Cameron Diaz plays the female lead in Ridley Scott's The Counselor that also stars Michael Fassbender and Javier Bardem. So...not dead yet.
- R60 So what? Everyone gets used to a certain life style and if that's how they maintain it while being particular about projects they select, who does it hurt? If I'm going to manufacture some outrage I'd find something more egregious than actresses getting paid to show up at events or to flog products.
- Jessica Alba must have one helluva of a publicist. Because not only does she sit front row at fashion shows and other meaningless events, she also gets presenting duties at the Golden Globes when she has absolutely NOTHING to promote and hasn't starred in an actual movie in ages.
Even Bosworth doesn't get to attend the actual Golden Globes. The best she can do is the Vanity Fair party after the Oscars.
In a different time (pre-internet) these people would be completely forgotten has-beens.
- This explains Eva Longoria's unflagging presence. I've been wondering for a while now why I keep seeing her even though she isn't doing anything.
- r12 Most of the mocktresses have stylist and get free clothing, shoes and accessories. It is an easy job.
- Jessica Alba looks like she's styled every time she goes out. And brands pay her to wear them, which is why certain retail websites and Just Jared will feature what celebs wear and send out press releases name checking the item and the brand.
So immediately after a mocktress wears something, you can run out and buy it.
- r75 To be fair, her show just came off the air last year. These other women haven't had high profile jobs in years.
- R34, the rumor a few years ago was that Rachel Bilson and Mischa Barton were escorting at the Cannes Film Festival.
- There was also a rumor on here that Bosworth deals.
- Ended her film career? What are you kidding, R70? Kidman got another Oscar nomination three years ago in the lead category for "Rabbit Hole" was probably in 6th or 7th spot for a Best Supporting Actress nod for "The Paperboy" just a couple months ago and has a Princess Grace biopic coming out next year. Yep, that sounds like the resume of a struggling actress whose career is over.
- Not R70, here, but Kidman's commercial film career is effectively over. She proved to be box office poison after her Oscar win.
She'll always get little little prestige-y projects, or the occasional cable gig (the Hemingway movie was awful, BTW), but her days as an A-Lister are long, long gone.
- Olivia Wilde is a prime candidate to become the next big mocktress.
- Olivia Wilde is already a mocktress
- Is Eva Mendes still working?
Because she's all over the red carpet and the fashion blogs.
- ^ Eva Mendes is definitely a mocktress
- Mock tresses? We used to just call those extensions or weaves.
- Jessica Chastain has Nicole Kidman's old career
- Some people seem to aspire to mocktress status right from the start. I seriously doubt if those girls on the 90210 reboot or Pretty Little Liars really want anything more than to land cosmetics gigs and wear borrowed dresses at energy drink "red carpets."
- It's a shame there are no black or asian actresses offered these opportunities.
- Bump because of that troll
- "It's a shame there are no black or asian actresses offered these opportunities."
Isn't Bai Ling kind of a mocktress? Tons of pics of her at various events but I can't remember the last time she had a memorable acting gig.
- Zoe Saldana may still be working, but she's poised to become the Next Big Mocktress.
Unless she starts eating food, of course.
- Stars-4-dummies. These fans don't want to have to think, they want to see pretty things.
My airhead mother has complained about movies where "they talk too much". She wants to get decorating ideas and see glamorous clothes.
- Actresses just have to do the pap walk now. Actually working is not necessary.
- Blake Lively is another. Face of Gucci and Chanel. Her acting career is basically negligible.
- Jessica Cuntba is a joke. She's a shitty actress because she's so far up her own ass.
- Zoe Saldana has worked steadily. I'm not sure how she would fit in this category other than being anorexic, which is just a job requirement for actresses today.
- What's funny is that Paltrow is totally a mocktress but probably doesn't even realize it.
- Has Eva Longoria become a mocktress now that she doesn't have a big hit show keeping her afloat?
I just saw her in a cat food commercial
- r90 Kerry Washington was a mocktress until recently. She used to go to every red carpet and hollywood event, even when she didn't have a project. Now that she has her show, she seems to have decreased doing this.
- Jessica Biel is another one although she gets more press for being Mrs. Timberlake than anything else.
- Ahahahaha. I'd love to see how Goop reacts to this. Alba is a stuck up bitch as well, but she makes Goop look like a troll under the bridge.
- Katie Holmes.
- ^ Katie Holmes is on the cover of Allure right now even though she hasn't done anything noteworthy in years.
- Why anybody would want to model their lifestyle after Jessica Alba or Goop, I'm sure I don't know.
- Money, r106.
- The women who have enough money to spend on Paltrow's fashion recommendations (almost $500,000) don't give a shit about what Goop thinks.
- But the people who would really model their lives after Alba et al. aren't rich women; they're aspiring mocktresses. And being a mocktress is easier than actually learning to act, and probably more fun.
- Vanessa Hudgens
- Kate Walsh
- I hope Gwyneth does respond to Jessica Alba's comment. Like when she was asked about her former fiance Brad Pitt marrying Jennifer Aniston, her answer was, "Oh, that TV girl? I don't know her." Classic Goop.
- [quote]I hope Gwyneth does respond to Jessica Alba's comment. Like when she was asked about her former fiance Brad Pitt marrying Jennifer Aniston, her answer was, "Oh, that TV girl? I don't know her." Classic Goop.
I love GOOP more and more everyday.
- [quote]I hope Gwyneth does respond to Jessica Alba's comment. Like when she was asked about her former fiance Brad Pitt marrying Jennifer Aniston, her answer was, "Oh, that TV girl? I don't know her."
Then Gwyneth went on to do Glee. So... yeah.
- How can Olivia Wilde be a mocktress if she's working?
- Because Olivia works in either low level shit nobody sees, or she plays 'the girlfriend' in big budget movies that flop.
She keeps her name out there by pap pics, going to events and her Revlon gig.
- Everyone is a mockstress now. They have to be. If Streep started out now there's no way she'd be able to ascend the way she did before. Take someone like Carey Mulligan. She's a very talented actress who's attractive but not beautiful. But her management, studio or whoever is responsible for these things, has invested in stylists, make-up artists, etc. to further her career. The red carpet is like an audition.
I think it was back in 2000 or so with J.Lo when I heard her manager talking about her 'brand'. Now that concept is everywhere and mocktresses like Goop and Alba have just taken it further.
- The difference is, R117, is that actresses like Carey Mulligan are still known primarily for their work. Jessica Alba and the like have no work outside of showing up to meaningless events.
- Wonder how much Blake Lively and SJP got paid to show up to the launch of Target Canada.
- I teach journalism and the entertainment journalists want to cover these galas and ask mocktresses what they're wearing. The music journalists want to interview hiphop stars and the fashion journalists want to write about runway shows. The women's magazine journalists want to write about how married mocktresses are able to have it all. We're doomed.
- There's only one hit that comes outta a Kate Bosworth show and that's me, baby, rememeber?