On September 13, the 2021 Met Gala commenced, with last year’s absence of the event leaving the public hungry for the renowned celebration of celebrity and couture. This year, the exhibition was entitled In America: A Lexicon of Fashion, a theme that encouraged attendees to honor the rich and nuanced history of American design.

Since 1995, the Met Gala has been organized and run by Anna Wintour, the distinguished editor of American Vogue and Cheif Content Officer of Conde Nast. This year, Wintour oversaw a noticeable shift in event attendance, with 2010’s Met Gala mainstays like Katy Perry, Beyonce and Lady Gaga absent and Gen-Z influencers like Emma Chamberlain and Addison Rae making their mark on the red carpet and social media alike. Naturally, Vouge went on to create a series of behind-the-scenes YouTube videos that document how Hollywood’s new generation prepares for the world’s most anticipated night in fashion.

With Vouge‘s YouTube channel raking in over 10 million subscribers, each “Getting Ready” video posted since the Met Gala has had no trouble reaching anywhere from hundreds of thousands to nearly five million views (in Kendall Jenner‘s case). This series of videos proves that Vouge recognizes the rising demand for “homemade” content that was a result of the pandemic encouraging celebrities to create increasingly personal, confessional material within the confines of their homes.

Although heavily scripted and edited, Vouge has mastered this type of video in the past, with their “73 Questions” series, where an interviewer asks a rapid-fire series of questions and hypotheticals to A-listers in their homes, garnering up to 44 million views (once again, Kendall Jenner). The 2021 Met Gala “Get Ready” series is noticeably more authentic, with young celebrities showing their unfiltered apprehension and excitement, simultaneously exposing that the lead-up to the Gala is often messy, human, and a bit like prom. Here’s an overview of five offbeat moments that serve as fascinating windows into the exclusive parade of luxury and celebrity that defines the Met Gala.

1. Olivia Rodrigo Couldn’t Stand Fake Nails

Pop music’s hottest Disney starlet turned “punk” princess continued to uphold her mass-marketable persona as she brought Vouge on an endearing journey into the preparations for her first Met Gala. Despite starting on tween sitcoms, Rodrigo soared to global notoriety through her fiery hits like “good 4 u” and “brutal” which have harkened comparisons to early Paramore and Avril Lavigne. That’s why it was only fitting for Rodrigo to don a feathery black Saint Laurent catsuit and “knotty, spiky, shiny” hair updo. The looks’ finishing touch was a set of eggplant purple acrylic nails, which soon popped off of Rodrigo’s fingers one by one. After remarking that acrylic nails “aren’t my thing,” Rodrigo’s makeup artist decides to paint her natural nails the same shade as the acrylics. Despite her elements of curated authenticity, the act of something as glamorous as lengthy painted acrylics essentially being rejected by Rodrigo’s body is a hilarious and refreshing sight.

 

2. Emma Chamberlain Has “NC-17” Rated Convos In The Makeup Chair

Emma Chamberlain, YouTube influencer extraordinaire and one of the 2021 Met Gala’s hosts, was remarkably well suited to showcase her experience getting ready with Vouge because documenting herself applying makeup and selecting outfits through snappily edited YouTube videos is exactly what made her famous enough to attend the Gala. Chamberlain openly admits her nervousness, but her familiarity with the process of preparing for an event of this magnitude makes it clear that she’s no stranger to Hollywood festivities. As Chamberlain is getting her makeup done, she remarks about the “Rated-R or NC-17” nature of conversations during “glam” – the insider’s colloquial name for the space and time where the famous get beautified before an event. She backs up this claim by stating “what happens in glam stays in glam” and proceeds to go on about a secret celebrity crush she hopes to run into on the red carpet. It is both disorienting and endearing to see Chamberlain almost seamlessly navigating (and joking about) one of the most intense and picked-apart public spectacles, considering her personal brand hinges on her relatability to the average teenager.

 

3. Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Makes A Bodega Run

Much to the surprise of many, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is an outspoken proponent of progressive economic policies, paid the reported $30,000 entrance fee to the Met Gala and documented her pre-Gala preparations in the same manner as Vouge‘s robust lineup of models, actors and musicians. Although her presence seemed unlikely, she explains to Vogue how she hopes that her attendance will remind audiences of the accessibility to fine art that the Met provides to underserved people in New York. Her stark white mermaid dress with the phrase “Tax the Rich” emblazoned on the back was deemed powerful by some, and ironically distasteful by many, but throughout her Vogue video, she seems unequivocally confident in her mission. Before her dress fitting, Ocasio-Cortez visits a local bodega in athletic attire and glasses for her morning coffee, and is questioned by a patron if she’s “shooting a movie.” The congresswoman replies that the video is for Vouge, to which the patron expresses concern that she is being filmed in a disheveled state. This brief scene is a reminder that Ocasio-Cortez is a politician first and a celebrity only as a byproduct of her political efforts, and she strives to maintain some sense of normalcy throughout her more glamorous endeavors.

 

4. Grimes Doesn’t Identify With The Word “Mother”

If anyone was going to provide a unique, candid and characteristically bizarre filmed “Get Ready With Me” experience, it would be Canadian experimental pop artist Claire Boucher, professionally known as Grimes. The first few seconds of the video feature Grimes discussing how she hopes to die on Mars, and then she excitedly parlays into describing the Dune franchise for her makeup artists and hairstylists, who appear to be hard at work. As makeup is being brushed onto her skin, Grimes describes how giving birth was a “rebirth” for her, and that she doesn’t identify with the word “mother,” because it feels too strange to her. Grimes admits that her child, X Æ A-Xii, who she had with partner Elon Musk, refers to her by her first name Claire in lieu of any traditional parenting monikers. There is no reservation in the way Grimes discusses her niche fascinations and odd habits with those surrounding her, which simultaneously humanizes her and adds a level of mystique to her persona.

5. Hailey Bieber (Kind Of) Did It By Herself

Whether or not Vogue offered to collaborate with her, Hailey Rhode Bieber decided to take matters into her own hands by filming her Met Gala preparation process on a chunky Sony camcorder and posting the edited video to her personal YouTube channel. Despite the DIY feel and gritty camera quality, Hailey had a crew containing three other camera operators, five executive producers and a director, confirming that even the documentation of getting ready for the Met takes a Drew House – donning village. Bieber curates a convincing atmosphere of authenticity as she shares quiet pre-event embraces with her husband Justin Bieber, and proudly cheers for Billie Eilish as she saunters across the red carpet. Hailey and Justin, although 24 and 27 respectively, come across like an old married couple (besides Justin remarking that Eilish looked “so swag” in her Oscar De La Renta gown) which contributes to the video’s charm. Hailey’s act of creative agency proved successful, as many commenters remarked that her kindness was palpable and they loved “getting to know” her.

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