mask off

When Celebrities Hide Their Identities

Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for MRC

Cardi B walked the 2021 American Music Awards red carpet in an identity-obfuscating gold mask. Designed by Daniel Roseberry for Schiaparelli, Cardi’s mask was part of a larger body of work that beatified body parts by representing them in gold. Bella Hadid wore a Schiaparelli lung dress to Cannes earlier this year. Cardi’s mask is also part of a larger tradition of celebrities doing borderline performance art by disguising their identities. It’s an interesting choice to make. The main criterion of being a celebrity is that people recognize you. It’s … kind of the whole thing. To disguise oneself and assert that one is still famous is to question the notion of fame itself. It’s a prank on tabloid culture, a chance to reclaim anonymity, and a great way to hide a zit.

Photo: ABC

Later in the evening, Bad Bunny wore what can only be described as a robot cowl during his performance of “Lo Siento BB.” It makes sense that 2021 is the year of masking, as it’s the first “post-COVID” year of red carpets. Celebs got used to going unrecognized wearing face masks outside. Why give that up again, even on the red carpet?

At this year’s Met Gala, Kim Kardashian walked the museum steps in an all-black version of It’s Always Sunny’s green-man bodysuit. Unless it wasn’t really her, a rumor that began swirling almost immediately. Very on theme, coming to a retrospective of American fashion dressed as a redacted FBI file. (It could be argued that Hailee Steinfeld also came to the Met Gala in disguise, as she was completely unrecognizable with blonde hair.) Meanwhile, her ex has been walking around various cities dressed like Karl Havoc.

We’re gonna skip Shia LaBeouf’s baghead moment, because this is a No Bummers Blog Post. Instead, let’s think about the time Regis Philbin showed up to Late Night With David Letterman in full Shrek drag. For no discernible reason. You can hear Philbin mutter “Biggest mistake I ever made,” to himself as he approaches the couch. “Guess who I am!” Philbin bellows at Letterman, who seems genuinely surprised that the man under all the green latex is his frequent guest-slash-pal. Philbin may have been promoting the Live! With Regis and Kelly episodes shot on Broadway, or he may have merely been doing a bit for the sake of doing a bit. Either way, it crushed.

Speaking of bits for bits’ sake, Jim Carrey accepted his 2000 MTV movie award as some sort of biker weirdo character. He used his acceptance speech to creep on Janeane Garofalo, as well as demanding that MTV play more Foghat post-haste. Carrey explained his whole vibe as a refutation of “dancing with The Man,” after losing at the Academy Awards. The crochet shirt he wore would be a look today. Somebody call Watching New York.

When Celebrities Hide Their Identities