Debate Rages in W: Just How Beautiful is Charlize Theron?

We can all agree that Charlize Theron is a lovely woman, right? That might be why more than half of W’s
June profile (imaginatively titled “Charlize Theron”) is about her looks. To be fair, this is a well-researched profile: writer
Gabriel Snyder relies not just on the actress’ self-assessments of her
appearance, but he also did the tireless footwork of finding multiple
men who agree that Theron is fetching.  He even manages to inject his
own evaluation of Theron’s attractiveness. So in-depth!W_june_charlize_theron_2

That’s not to say the
topic of Theron’s appearance should be off limits. There’s a serious
exploration to be done somewhere, though probably not in the pages of W,
about why average-looking actresses aren’t cast to play average-looking
characters, why a stunning actress downplaying her attributes wins
awards (see Nicole Kidman in The Hours, Theron herself in Monster), and whether beauty is a liability to a performer who wants to do more than look hot onscreen.

But little of that makes it into this article. We get this instead:

In fact, the surest way to rile her is to suggest that she’s somehow “transformed” herself yet again in several post-Monster roles, among them, a female miner battling sexism in the Minnesota iron mines in the 2005 film North Country, a Tennessee detective (who’s a brunette) in 2007’s In the Valley of Elah, and, most recently, a desperate single mom in this year’s Sleepwalking.

Love the equation of brunette with less attractive. This is Theron’s rebuttal:

“Oh, no, you better not be bringing up ‘ugly,’” she admonishes when I broach the subject…But after [Monster],
she points out, whenever she’s played “women in middle America living
normal lives,” she’s heard cries of “ugly,” no matter what they looked
like. “North Country was dirt. That’s what happens when you go into a mine. In the Valley of Elah—that’s when I took real offense, because that was just my real hair color and me with no makeup.”

Snyder again:

Looking
at her, you have to conclude that Theron is being unduly
self-deprecating, and that the truth lies somewhere between the red
carpet and North Country.

Is
that what you have to conclude? Can I conclude that she’s an actress
whose job involves changing her appearance? Can I conclude that
dithering over whether Theron is beautiful may be the least
important and least interesting debate to ever make it into print?

But what does my opinion matter? Let’s get someone with a penis in here to settle this.

Her friend Woody Harrelson, her costar in North Country and Sleepwalking,
notes that her glamour belies her tomboyishness… “She’s not like a
delicate girl,” Harrelson says. “She’s like a classic broad, in terms
of being a beautiful woman…”

Even when Hancock
co-star Will Smith somehow manages to keep the focus on her talent,
that sentiment is undermined by a quote about how she’s, like, totally hot.

“She
seemed like the perfect actress to understand that this is funny, but
this is a drama too,” says Smith… “What better way to make sure that
texture is captured than [to hire] an Academy Award-winning actress?
She brings the power and truth that Tommy Lee Jones brought to Men in Black.” She also brings her beauty, notes director Peter Berg. “Who is a better actress that looks like that? No one.”

The implication being that there are indeed better actresses, just none as statuesque as Theron?

Ultimately, the article
veers away from her corporeal qualities long enough to mention her
boyfriend, her desire to be a mother, and the difficulty women have
veering between big-budget blockbusters and more thoughtful
films. (Good news! That transition is “a lot easier for men”!)

In any case, there is far more space devoted to pictures of Theron than to text about her. Which,
considering the overarching emphasis on how lovely she is, must be
exactly the point.

4 thoughts on “Debate Rages in W: Just How Beautiful is Charlize Theron?

  1. I personally think that Theron has not given an interesting performance since her role in Monster. That was also the only movie where anyone could say that she was not attractive and actually had to do any real transformation. In every other film I thought she just looked like herself with minimal makeup and very far from ugly.

    Good job pointing out how shallow the writers of these magazines tend to be.

  2. i completely and utterly agree. You can’t read an ineterview nowdays without hearing how beautiful/ interesting/ attractive the celebrity is at least five times. we have eyes.

  3. I’m a straight guy, and I’d just like to go on record saying I don’t find Charlize attractive. She has a bland face and a curveless body and is statuesque in the worst meaning of the word. I’d take Scarlett Johansson over her any day.

  4. Awesome post! Not only does it point out how shallow glossies can be but also the weird culture of “omg-yer-so-amazing”-ness of the entertainment industry. Everyone so afraid of losing their jobs that the only constant bell-weather of their rightful place in Hollywood are their accolades but more importantly LOOKS.

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