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'Romy And Michele's High School Reunion' Reminds Us What's Really Important About Growing Up

Film

Look Back at It

In Look Back at It, we revisit pop culture gems of the past and see if they're still relevant and worthy of their designated icon status in our now wildly different world.

Once I was old enough to (a) have my own, defined tastes and (b) know how to work a VCR, the movie Romy and Michele's High School Reunion was my self-care. I was 10 years old, and it was the late '90s, so, naturally, I was both enamored with the overwhelming femininity of the Spice Girls and intensely invested in the social capital of "cool." This made me ripe for a movie about two underachieving but cute white women who were hoping to attend their high school reunion and stunt on the former classmates who had bullied them 10 years earlier. Every time I watched it, Romy and Michele's High School Reunion made me feel warm and fuzzy.

It wasn't that the movie was aspirational—I knew I shouldn't actually model myself after the titular protagonists (played by Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow, respectively), but it was still really fun to think about doing so. After all, the pair of 28-year-olds lived together in an L.A. apartment right on the beach. Meanwhile, I was battling Chicago's alternately frigid and stiflingly hot temperatures. Romy and Michele binged on all kinds of junk food in times of both celebration and grief. I was a fat black girl shamed by the world for even looking at a cookie, let alone eating raw cookie dough straight from the tub, like Romy did. They wore shiny outfits that were short and tight to nightclubs… and the gym… and job interviews. I had to dress age-appropriately for a pre-teen. Romy and Michele did what they wanted to do with really colorful results, and that was the most alluring thing about them.

Because the source material was so far removed from my own life I didn't even realize that Romy and Michele was essentially a parody of white womanhood. I genuinely thought that one of the privileges of being white and pretty was the right to be dumb and broke, without consequence. That certainly was not the case for me; as a young black girl, I was beat over the head with messaging that I should always be striving for excellence in order to "succeed" in life. The lives of Romy and Michele were what I imagined vacation to feel like, and that's the mental space I put myself in as I visually traveled with them to Tucson, Arizona, as they confronted their pasts.

If adulthood has taught me anything, however, it's that I didn't know a damn thing about adulthood when I was 10. A lot has happened in the decade or so since I last saw my beloved cult classic, so it felt like it was time for a revisit. (Thankfully, Hulu started streaming it earlier this month.) And what I realized watching it again, is that Romy and Michele's High School Reunion didn't only offer a comical version of being grown up, but one that was eerily practical and relatable, even today.

One reason for this is that social media has made every day a high school reunion, thanks to the normalization of nonstop life updates of everyone you've ever met. This has made us increasingly obsessed with comparing ourselves, and our success, to other people. When I attended my own high school reunion a few years ago, I felt like I was being sized up against my Facebook updates. I wondered how Romy and Michele's High School Reunion might play out if it took place in our Instagram-obsessed generation, before deducing that the takeaways would be pretty much the same.

The post-high school Romy and Michele have a life that seemed glamorous to an adolescent me but actually speaks to a different kind of lifestyle, one in which the pair are just fine sharing a bedroom, working out, and spending their spare time making funky clothes to wear. It's the life they dreamed of having as misfit high schoolers. They were always outsiders in their smaller hometown of Tucson, but they flourish in L.A., where they can be themselves.

It's easy to imagine that, if the two friends existed today, they'd be super-online, and have tons of followers—the opinions of anyone from Tucson be damned. But without the modern validation of likes, Romy is still resentful about her high school experience. Since she can't make her former classmates jealous from afar with a perfectly staged Instagram grid, she wants to make a new impression at the 10-year reunion, and comes up with a plan to pose as serious businesswomen—serious businesswomen who invented Post-Its. The plan blows up in their faces, of course, but, as Michele reminds Romy, in the thick of her humiliation, their lives in L.A. are good enough without the approval of a bunch of nobodies in Tuscon. Success and happiness are self-determined, after all, and their longtime friendship is more important than hooking up with a high school crush. This is actually an essential reminder for anyone today who is still caught up in the opinions of people who have no bearing on their immediate lives. (So, all of us?)

Romy and Michele is not without its flaws, though. There is still no reasonable explanation for how Romy, a cashier, and unemployed Michele could afford to live in a beachfront apartment in L.A., even in the '90s. And today I am able to recognize their constant bingeing and dieting for what it is—disordered eating. There is nothing endearing about their constant fatphobia or body obsession. Still, I am more like them in adulthood than I am not.

Like Romy and Michele, the friends I made in middle and high school still sustain me today. They add so much color to my life. And as far as their outrageous style, I can get pretty close replicas of a bunch of their outfits from Fashion Nova. And, I've reunited with a former fling only to discover that they've grown up to be human trash, as well. I, too, kick my heels off to dance to my favorite song—although I'd switch out Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" with "Shake That Monkey" by Too Short. And my fantasies also include making out with a millionaire in the back of a chauffeured car. But most of all, I am open to the idea that my real life could be better than whatever alternative I dreamt up when I was a kid.

Photo by Handout / Getty Images.

From selling probiotic supplements to picture frames and umbrellas

A Kardashian-level of success doesn't happen overnight, and it certainly doesn't happen without proper planning. Kim Kardashian West clearly knows this because, according to TMZ, she has already filed for trademark protection on the name of her two-week-old baby, Psalm West. From personal appearances and entertainment services to probiotic supplements and scrunchies, she is leaving no stone unturned in terms of possible business opportunities.

Apparently, all of the Kardashian parents file these kinds of trademark protections for their kids even if the businesses never come to fruition. It's done as a precautionary measure to keep others from profiting off of their name and to make sure that, should they ever want to start a business, they don't have to worry about someone else getting to it first. The sheer length of this list speaks to the huge earning potential of baby Psalm, who can't even control his own neck muscles yet, let alone go into business. Still, this brings a whole new meaning to "securing the bag."

Below, a list of all the things Kardashian West is seeking usage rights for.

Hair accessories

Barrettes

Bands

Bows

Clips

Ties

Ornaments

Pins

Scrunchies

Chopsticks

Twisters

Wrap

Hair extensions

Ornamental novelty pins

Entertainment services

Personal appearances

Skin care

Probiotic supplements

Toy figures

Doll accessories

Computer software

Clothing

Baby bottles

Furniture

Strollers

Beverageware

Swaddling

Blankets

Skin moisturizers

Lotions

Creams

Bubble bath

Fragrances

Body powders

Shower gels

Body oils

Skin serums

Nail polish

Nail polish remover

Nail care preparations

Puppets

Puzzles

Toy jewelry

Toy cameras

Toy food

Bath toys

Baby gyms

Playground balls

Electronic action toys

Baby bouncers

Baby changing tables

Baby walkers

Pillows

Mirrors

Cushions

Picture frames

Playpens

Baby carriers

Cosmetic bags

Toiletry cases

Duffle bags

Umbrellas

Clocks

Watches

Key chains

Calendars

Books

photo albums

Stationery

Stickers

Writing utensils

Collectible trading cards

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Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Well, actually it's crocodile, but she looks out of this world so...

Winnie Harlow walked the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday on her way to a screening of Oh Mercy!, wearing a showstopping gown.

The sheer black dress featured green embroidery on the front and back, which Ralph and Russo confirmed was in the shape of a crocodile. She belted the dress with a black crocodile skin-like belt and finished the look off with some strappy heels. She didn't leave it at just that. For beauty, Harlow packed on full lids of sparkly purple eyeshadow. She kept her hair sleek and simple.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Though the brand says otherwise, as Game of Thrones fans, we'd like to think the embroidery is reminiscent of a dragon's skin. Not to mention, Harlow looks out-of-this-world beautiful in it.

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Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

That denim kimono!!

Marion Cotillard shut down the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday at a screening for Matthias Et Maxime. Instead of an extravagant gown that's expected of the event, Cotillard wore a matching black crop top and shorts. Despite wearing an outfit I typically don to a hot yoga class, she looks incredible. She completed the look with an oversized denim kimono, a statement necklace, and heeled booties.

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

At first, I was drawn in by the crop top and hotpants duo, but, after looking closer at the kimono, it's clear that it's the real scene-stealer. The floor-length Balmain piece was decorated with artful rips and dragon motifs. I would like to live in it.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Let's all bow down to the Khaleesi of Cannes.

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Photo by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images.

"It doesn't make you weak to ask for help"

Singer Billie Eilish is continuing to open up about mental health, this time in a new PSA video in partnership with the Ad Council and Seize the Awkward.

In the video, Eilish insists that "it doesn't make you weak to ask for help." She doubles down on the importance of asking for help, and stresses the importance of friends and family being there when their close ones reach out and checking in on them as well. "You should be able to ask anyone for help, everyone has to help someone if they need it." According to Eilish, there have been times when someone reached out to her at the exact moment she needed it, and it helped.

It was particularly refreshing to see Eilish acknowledge that there are things she still doesn't know and has to learn about her mental health. At the very beginning of the video, the interviewer asks her to reflect on her mental health journey, and all Eilish can do is let out chortle. "I think when people hear, 'Remember to take care of your mental health,' they think that everyone else is, and that is not at all accurate," she admitted. "You know, for me I'm trying to learn still to make sure that I stay okay."

Check out the PSA below.

Billie Eilish On Mental Health & Friendship | Ad Council www.youtube.com

Photograph via @kimkardashian.

"#NotOnMyMoodBoard"

Kim Kardashian has definitely been accused of borrowing a design now and then. But when Instagram influencer and Kardashian look-alike Kamilla Osman claimed the entrepreneur copied her birthday look for a Met Gala after-party, Kardashian was not going to let it fly—and shared plenty of photo evidence to shut down the claim.

Fashion industry watchdog Diet Prada first noticed Osman's claims on Instagram and shared side-by-side images of Kardashian's Cher-inspired outfit designed by Mugler and Osman's dress. "Never get confused with who 'inspires' who. They won't give you credit but they will copy," Osman wrote on her IG story. "I designed this dress for my birthday last year. Nobody had a dress like this was an original design."

Kardashian responded by posting the true inspiration behind her look: images of Cher, in similarly sparkly, plunging-neckline dresses and wigs, and of model Yasmeen Ghauri walking a Mugler show in the '90s. In fact, the only similarity between Osman's and Kardashian's looks is the bodycon mini-dress style, which the two are not the first to wear. Among the images, Kardashian included a blank slide with the hashtag "NotOnMyMoodBoard," making it clear that this was in response to Osman's claims.

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Though I am with Kim on this one, Kardashian does have a history of co-opting other people's work. From being sued over her Kimoji app, to claims she copied makeup palettes and perfume bottle designs, to being accused of copying Naomi Campbell's entire style, it's far from the first (and probably, far from the last) time Kardashian's name will be mentioned like this.

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