I had a bit of a near-miss on the grid at Monaco. It was really rather frightening, I was minding my own business, chatting to Christian Horner about his “mini-moon” ( a short honeymoon) and grabbing other team bosses who are easy targets when they emerge from hiding. Suddenly a high speed vehicle came straight at me. I had to jump aside at the last minute.
I watched this human pantechnicon pass by. It consisted of some harsh-faced security people (I don’t remember if they were male or female), followed by three bland-faced girls, who looked like they had just left school. They were holding hands and wearing Mercedes hats, and they all looked a bit lost. They were followed by a middle-aged lady, who I presume was a PR handler, as she seemed to be barking instructions and then some tail-end-Charlie security people, lest the convoy be attacked from the rear.
This whole charabanc was followed by a very serious-looking Bradley Lord, the Mercedes F1 PR man, who looked like a man sent to guide but hanging on to keep up. I asked a few people if anyone knew who these people were but all I got were shrugs and “couldn’t care less” responses. No one knew, and worse, no one cared. I presumed in the end that they must be friends of Flavio, as he is generally the person who brings the fakest celebrities into the F1 Paddock.
You can rent pretty much anything in Monaco (If you’ve seen Pretty Woman you’ll get the reference) and I wondered if perhaps Mercedes had dropped into the Monaco office of RentaCeleb, but I could not find any such organisation on the Web. All I got were links to Oscar de la Renta Celeb dresses… I even considered buying the domain name http://www.rentaceleb.com which appeared to be available.
I figured I would ask the Lord (of the Bradley variety) after the race, but as it turned out he was rather busy with his PR fire extinguisher, and it was only on Tuesday that I noted that Lewis Hamilton had spent his post-race evening with the said school leavers that I learned that they were called Kendall, Gigi, Bella and Hailey. This was about as useful as being told that their names were Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail (although at least I know who that lot are…)
So I retired to Wikipedia to identify the anonymous starlets, while wondering how they got so many passes to be on the grid? Passes are a major issue in F1 these days with major sponsors having to fight to get their VIPs into a paddock that is often rather too quiet. Why? Not even the Lord knows the answer to that one…
Anyway, Wikipedia informed me that Kendall Jenner is “an American fashion model and television personality” and “part of an emerging trend of social media modelling”. Her only apparent claim to fame is that she has appeared in “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”, which I am told is a completely fabricated reality TV show about people with big bottoms who are famous for being famous. The others were all recent high school graduates who have turned to modelling and are already famous enough to have bodyguards.
Totally awesome, I thought. Is this the best F1 can do for celebrities? Where are Hanks, Cruise, Law, Damon, Pitt, Depp, DiCaprio and Clooney? Where are Lawrence, Jolie, Theron, Cotillard and Johansson? Surely F1 can do better than a bit part player in the Kardashians?
The odd thing is that real talents will trade their presence for coverage of their latest projects, if the right approaches are made. Talkshows the world over trade like this every day of the week. Why not F1? Particularly given that the Cannes Film Festival was going on just down the road…
F1’s attitude is to try to stop the media finding out what celebrities are attending an event rather than using them as a way of promoting the sport.
Figure out the logic in that…