|Talulah Riley on the Evening Standard magazine cover|
Mostly, I am intrigued by its peculiar criterion for selecting its cover celebrity – she has to be the wife or at least the ex-wife of someone fabulously wealthy and famous. Seldom are these women personalities in their own right. They usually land up saying lots of faintly ridiculous things with a straight face, which is faithfully presented with such extreme seriousness that it makes me suspect mockery. And yet, I can never be sure – which is what keeps me intrigued.
This Friday, it was the turn of 25-year-old Talulah Riley. As an “also appeared” in the films Pride & Prejudice and St Trinian’s, she was on her way to become a footnote to starlet history. Luckily, she caught the fancy of billionaire Elon Musk – the founder of PayPal and now space entrepreneur – who wooed her for a whole of 12 days until she agreed to become his second wife. His billions came with 5 boys [in a set of twins and triplets] from his previous marriage.
I felt quite sure that the journalist, Ms Hermoine Eyre, was mocking her, when she quoted Ms Riley saying:
On her husband’s space exploration projects --“I’d love to get involved with designing habitat systems on Mars – like housekeeping on a grand scale.”
On Musk and his five boys – “When I was little girl I told everyone I would marry a very clever scientist and have ten children. I would always draw the children and they included twin boys whom I named Theodore and Fredrick, Teddy and Freddy for short. It became a family joke, but.. Griffin and Xavier are those blonde-haired twins.”
On meeting Musk for the first time – “There he was, smiling this very big smile and talking about colonising Mars. I was already interested in that kind of thing – the Goldilocks zone of habitable planets and so forth.”
On how she told her father about Mr Musk – “Daddy, I’ve met the most amazing man who makes rockets.”
On her virginity until she met Musk – “I’ve never slept with anyone apart from Elon, which is nice. I mean, which is great.”
About herself – “I am very shy. I don’t drink. I had a gulp of alcohol once and it was disgusting – so bitter. I don’t drink tea or coffee. I’m like a child, I like fruit juices and sodas and creamy hot chocolate.”
Of Elon’s buddies, Facebook creator Zuckerberg and Google creators Larry Page and Sergey Brin.– They are “good people, doing good things... which is comforting, seeing as they could create an artificial intelligence to destroy us all.”
Why would Ms Eyre pick these exact quotes except to present Ms Riley in her full, glorious dumbness?
But then I start suspecting that she is actually buying into Ms Riley’s ridiculous Princess Di-meets-Marie Curie self-image, when she writes:
‘She [Ms Riley] rarely had boyfriends and was more interested in quantum mechanics. So in order to get a grounding in Newtonian physics, she was studying in her spare time at the Open University.’ [err… quantum mechanics is what people do their Phd in and Newtonian physics is what we study in eight grade in high school. Doesn’t Ms Eyre recognise the difference?].
I remember meeting her on the red carpet a few times at this point in her life [her pre-Mrs Talulah Musk days], and she always came across as withdrawn, but poised and perceptive.’
‘Throughout our interview, Talulah exudes calm happiness, not showing-off so much as simply pointing out her spouse’s qualities.’
‘Talulah, I am sure, holds her own [before Musk]. Last Christmas, just to tease him, she filled his stocking with coal.’
Who is playing whom? Is it that Talulah Riley recognises Ms Eyre for an idiot and is feeding her with all kinds of rubbish? Or does Mr Eyre recognise Ms Riley for a dumb blonde and is playing her along? Or is it that they are both idiots taking each other on face value?
Such a Freudian intrigue – how can I resist it?