The art of celebrity is dead. Just ask any pop-culture expert, movie critic, or person vaguely interested in what famous people are up to (Save for Julia Fox’s efforts on TikTok and the streets of New York.)
Nowadays, in our fragmented media landscape, it can be more fun to watch celebrities try and fail to grab our attention on social media than the rare occasions when they actually sustain it. Which brings me to the latest celebrity PR stunt to underwhelm the nation: the unveiling of model/podcast host/author Emily Ratajkowksi and Saturday Night Live alum Pete Davidson as a couple, or at least in the early stages of dating.
By now, you know that Davidson, a firmly decent-looking (some would argue hot) C-list actor and comedian, is good at pulling women both financially and physically out of his league. He’s maybe more known for this than anything he’s ever done on SNL or in his own standup. Ratajkowski, on the other hand, is currently making the transition from famously beautiful woman with feminist values to a full-blown member of the leftist commentariat and public thinker. She also just filed for divorce her husband of four years and father of her 1-year-old son, film producer Sebastian Bear-McClard, and has made it very clear that she’s ready to move on to the next man.
Earlier this month, an anonymous tip to the gossip blog Deuxmoi reported that Davidson and Ratajkowski were spotted on a date. This, once again, led to some jokes about Davidson’s Warren Beatty-esque superpowers to court pretty much any gorgeous woman he wants—most recently, Kim Kardashian. Aside from that, Davidson has a tendency to date women who have just gotten out of serious relationships.
The initial announcement of the comedian’s next fling was admittedly kind of a big deal, given the nine-month melodrama that was “Skete.” It’s also unclear whether Ratajkowski, a notable influencer and fashion mogul, is a friend of Davidson’s latest ex, who Ratajkoswki once defended for posing nude in 2016. (My personal theory is that there’s a celebrity group chat dedicated to discussing Pete Davidson’s “BDE” and allotting which woman can date him at a time.)
On Nov. 16, Davidson and Ratajkowski were photographed hugging the model’s West Village apartment. And by Thanksgiving weekend, the two were sitting courtside at a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden, looking giggly and aware of the chatter their first televised outing would likely prompt online. Except, by the time the photos and videos of the two began to circulate, no one on social media—aside from some basketball accounts—had much to say aside from the same old knee-jerk responses. Meanwhile, one Twitter user pointed out a much more exciting interaction in the background of a photo of Ratajkowski between attendees Spike Lee and Simon Rex.
To be fair, it’s hard to stir up much excitement about these two. Ratajkowski is a famously chill, cool woman, and Davidson seems like an equally chill, cool guy, at least when he’s not branding his lover’s names on his chest. Nothing about seeing these two people mingle makes me wonder what they talk about or have in common, even with the funny scoop that Ratajkowski is apparently more intellectually challenging than Davidson’s previous GFs.
The no. 1 rule of celebrity coupledom is inspiring a level of nosiness. And so far, these two are failing!
Maybe it’s because of how clearly orchestrated and self-aware the couple’s debut seemed or the fact that they looked like two people who would normally go out. Just compare these photos of Davidson and Ratajkowski dressed like any young, white couple on the Lower East Side to the 29-year-old looking like Kardashian’s bodyguard at the White House Correspondents Dinner or the ridiculous image of SKIMs founder taking the Staten Island Ferry to go on a date. There’s a quirky, odd-couple vibe that’s clearly missing, which is the only reason Davidson’s previous relationships were so amusing and inevitably endearing in the first place.
It’s not just that Ratajkowski doesn’t complement Davidson as well as Kardashian or even his former fiancée Ariana Grande. The Gone Girl actress could also bear to be slightly more creative when it comes to her post-marriage dating life. She certainly has more to gain from being seen in public with a flashy new boo than Davidson does at the moment, given that the first man she was rumored to be dating following her breakup was Brad Pitt.
Whispers about Ratajkowski and the Babylon star dating have mostly quelled. But the reports that she was running around with a man currently embroiled in domestic abuse allegations from his ex-wife Angelina Jolie and children did not bode well online, putting somewhat of blemish on her brand as an outspoken feminist. In this context, choosing to step out with Hollywood’s boy toy du jour, Davidson, seems especially strategic and well thought-out. Only now, Ratajkowski has offended me by partaking in a different offense: being boring.
Overall, I suggest both parties go back to the drawing board and try again. Dream bigger. Think bolder. See what Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen are up to now that they’re officially divorced. Date someone from the cast of Vanderpump Rules. I’ll give this relationship hard launch and an A for effort, but the public needs something a little less predictable.i
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