Zoella writing Girl Online 2 without ghostwriter

Zoella, the YouTube star, is writing her new novel without the aid of a ghostwriter, she has said, following controversy over her debut book.

Tabloid in long-form, Anger details the scan­dals of Tinseltown’s very first stars (includ­ing Rudolph Valenti­no, Roscoe Arbuck­le, and Clara Bow) against the back­drop of a city charged by ram­pant debauch­ery and high glamour.

Where­as Hol­ly­wood Baby­lon deals most­ly with the era’s nightlife, the work­day habits of ear­ly film stars were pret­ty wild too. For our pur­pos­es, it’s all about the prep. Hence a lit­tle his­to­ry les­son today, par­tic­u­lar­ly about how one might get ready for a peri­od mov­ing picture.

Ear­ly movies were shot on orthochro­mat­ic film, which was not sen­si­tive to yel­low-red wave­lengths (so col­ors on that end of the spec­trum became almost black). Blue and pur­ple tones, in turn, showed up pale and whitish. The unfor­tu­nate on-screen effects of this were myriad—actors with rud­dy skin looked dirty, and blue eyes would turn blank and spooky. The lat­ter pit­fall almost foiled the ambi­tions of even­tu­al Acad­e­my Award win­ner Nor­ma Shear­er when she was told by D.W. Grif­fith, The Birth of a Nation direc­tor, that her eyes were “far too blue” to have any suc­cess in cinema.

In order to cre­ate an impact­ful (and hope­ful­ly, nat­ur­al) look under such con­di­tions in the 1910s and ’20s, most actors were tasked with apply­ing their own make­up (A com­mon press pho­to set-up was very Top Shelf-like and fea­tured the star­let at her van­i­ty.), and stu­dios would dis­trib­ute guides for prop­er use of col­or. Blue-toned grease­paint was applied as a foun­da­tion and con­tour­ing shade, while lips were paint­ed yel­low. In real life, actors must have looked tru­ly bizarre when they arrived at the stu­dio. Ear­ly grease­paint was tex­tu­ral­ly prob­lem­at­ic. Since it was applied with a heavy hand, the sur­face lay­er would often crack when the actor’s expres­sion changed (not great for a medi­um that relied so heav­i­ly on over­ly dra­mat­ic, silent expres­sion). It could also be hazardous—as was in the case of Dolores Costel­lo (Drew Barrymore’s pater­nal grand­moth­er), whose com­plex­ion and career were both dam­aged beyond repair by ear­ly film make­up. In 1914, Max Fac­tor, a wig and cos­met­ic shop own­er in Los Ange­les, devel­oped a solu­tion in the form of Flex­i­ble Grease­paint. After its inven­tion, he became the most sought-after make­up artist in Hol­ly­wood and the lead­ing fig­ure in cos­met­ic devel­op­ment for the industry.

Zoe Sugg with her first book, Girl Online (Reuters/Luke MacGregor)
Zoe Sugg with her first book, Girl Online (Reuters/Luke MacGregor)

Factor’s per­son­al­ized approach to make­up artistry cement­ed a few spe­cif­ic, stu­dio-endorsed “looks.” For Clara Bow, he drew her sharply peaked cupid’s bow; Joan Crawford’s sig­na­ture “smeared” lip (extend­ing far beyond her nat­ur­al line) assuaged the actress’ thin-lipped inse­cu­ri­ties and was all thanks to Fac­tor. Indus­try stan­dards also required actors’ eyes to look deep-set and moody by shad­ow­ing them from lash line to sock­et, and eye­brows were drawn straight, bold, and very, very long (think Louise Brooks).

When orthochro­mat­ic film gave way to panchro­mat­ic in the 1920s, shiny hair and eye­lids cap­tured the glow of incan­des­cent bulbs used on-set to great effect. Fac­tor kept pace, devel­op­ing spe­cif­ic light-refract­ing hair dyes to suit this tech­ni­cal shift—even sprin­kling gold dust on to Mar­lene Dietrich’s wigs when asked. He couldn’t rest on his lau­rels for long though—Technicolor was on the hori­zon, and with it came a new set of cos­met­ic challenges.

A final note: In the ear­ly ‘30s, still rid­ing the panchro­mat­ic “high shine” wave, Fac­tor cre­at­ed a slick lip coat for his famous clients. The for­mu­la would go on to become com­mer­cial­ly sold as “X‑Rated,” the world’s very first lip gloss. Some­thing I think we’re all still kind of into.

—Lau­ren Maas

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