In the large pond of celebrity, Julia Fox is an odd duck. The 31-year-old actor, known for work in the Safdie brothers’ Uncut Gems and Steven Soderbergh’s No Sudden Move, met Kanye West over New Year’s weekend. It was hard to miss. He’s in the throes of divorce from Kim Kardashian, who has found a rebound in Pete Davidson. Suddenly a niche famous woman got bumped to nationally famous woman, and as of Paris Fashion Week, an internationally famous woman. There’s a lot of moving parts to the ongoing storyline, but Fox feels somehow more than the sum of those parts. Maybe because it so often seems like she’s walking anyone interested through her own fame in real time.
But let us back up and better define our terms. Crucial to this whole conversation is that “actress,” the descriptor many gossip outlets have applied to Fox during this nascent courtship, is not quite right. Or at least not quite it. Fox is a woman of many titles: mother, model, onetime dominatrix, former Yorkville resident, downtown It person, and, crucially via all that, a micro-celebrity to a certain corner of New Yawk social media. As fellow haver of many titles Rachel Rabbit White put it to Fox in an interview earlier this month, “Your fame means something to a lot of overlapping New York underground communities. You grew up here. You’ve been known as an artist for years, a downtown icon, and you’ve been so open about your past career as a dominatrix. So when Uncut Gems came out, that was all over the press, and in the New York City sex work community that created a buzz, like, she’s one of us, and she’s really doing it.”
Even now that Fox’s name is on everyone’s lips on this coast and that one, and even when she’s in Paris, she still brings the New York energy to it all—just yesterday a story appeared on Page Six, preferred venue of the city’s little dramas, having gotten in…something…with Libbie Mugrabi, a creature of Page Six herself. It led to such perfect quotes as, “Julia was sitting in the restaurant with a group of people who were all in black, black lipstick, and looked like they had been dressed by the scary section of the Spirit Halloween store” (Mugrabi, of course) and, “Libbie was wearing a trucker hat with the word ‘gaslight’ on it and that was literally what she was trying to do to Julia and her friends.” (Anonymous!)
But many celebrities have called New York home, and seem of the place, and yet have not possessed that extra something that has of late put Fox in league with the city’s civic treasures. The thing that really sets Fox apart from the models and fellow actors, the influencers and the socialites, is that she talks. She talks and talks. And she’s not talking about this thing she’s selling on Instagram or that thing she’s selling on TikTok. She’s not always talking about a movie that needs promoting or some other project. She’s not always filtered through a publicist or anonymous sources, though anonymous sources abound around her. She’s talking (and talking and texting) to the press, on her podcast, on Instagram about whatever she wants to talk about.
Celebrities often speak of fame as a thing that cleaves you into two, like a great wedge has been driven between one’s public persona and personal self. The two selves help them stay grounded when confronted with the overwhelming adoration or hatred. The public isn’t mad at me, celebrities can reason, they’re mad at this avatar of me. They don’t love me, they love this caricature of me. But you get the sense that for Fox, at least right now, that gap between public and personal is about as thin as newsprint.
There were the two items in Interview magazine, now written permanently in invisible ink across our foreheads. She gave a full accounting of her weekend with West, which involved a trip to Carbone, and then a complete makeover a la Diesel and West. “After dinner Ye had a surprise for me,” she wrote. “Ye had an entire hotel suite full of clothes. It was every girl’s dream come true. It felt like a real Cinderella moment. I don’t know how he did it, or how he got all of it there in time. But I was so surprised. Like, who does things like this on a second date? Or any date! Everything with us has been so organic.” Whenever she and Interview magazine chatted, she recommended they call it, “Fox News.”
Then there’s her own podcast, a place where she can say or not say anything she wants. Fox has continued recording the show, Forbidden Fruits, throughout her whirlwind acquaintance with West, and she’s used it to address the drama between her and the father of her one-year-old son, that preceded her meeting West in Miami. (The shortest of recaps: She accused her son’s father of being a “deadbeat dad” on Instagram in December, but was then annoyed that so many stories explaining who she was in light of her New Year’s date with West referenced the rant. She walked it back later on the podcast, and defended her son’s father there. Paparazzi spotted Fox and her son’s dad outside of Lucien, putting on a united front for his first birthday.)
She’s also used the podcast to admit she’s a fan of the Kardashians, and to deflate the excitement when the tabloids got a little too enamored with the detail. “It’s not really that serious,” she said. And she’s used it to answer some frequently hurled accusations around her date nights with West. “People are like ‘Oh, you’re only in it for the fame, you’re in it for the clout, you’re in it for the money,’” she said. “Honey, I’ve dated billionaires my entire adult life, let’s keep it real.” She’s used it to analyze the interest in her, saying, it’s “because I’m not the most obvious choice. Maybe because I just came kind of out of left field and it was like, wait, what?”
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