top of page

Julia Fox: Master of the Celebrity Scandal

Another pop culture essay by the marvelous Emi Grant!

Written by Emi Grant

Edited by Mia Pidlaoan

If you know the name Julia Fox, it means one of two things. One, you’re a fan of the Safdie brothers and (rightly) believe that Adam Sandler was robbed of an Oscar nom back in 2019. Or two, you remember the January 2022 pop culture tsunami of the Kimye breakup. Either way, you’ve most likely seen the polarizing star and her unusual eye makeup.

On the surface, Fox is a weirdo. She’s made headlines for calling the paparazzi on herself and posing for a gaudy photoshoot atop a mountain of melting city ice. Beyond her acting career, her reputation is a series of daring fashion choices and a chronically online presence. However, there’s a method to Fox’s madness.

An easy place to start is one of Fox’s most notorious looks: the low rise pants. These black leather, shockingly revealing pants were so jarring to the general public that they made headlines for several days. Flurries of concerned comments and hatred for the pants flooded her social media. People worried this would usher in a new era of low waisted horror. An uproar of prude fashion critics wondered if the look was too scandalous to be a true fashion statement.

And this is what makes Fox so great. As one TikTok user pointed out, it’s not the fact that the look is too sexy. In fact, people were so disturbed by Fox’s outfit is because it lacks sex appeal. When looking at photos, the pants induce an uncomfortable inhumanness about them. The pants are so low, they contort Julia’s body behind its expected (and desirable) proportions. On the surface, wearing a pair of unflattering pants doesn’t seem particularly subversive. But Fox is doing something that few are willing to do: take risks.

In a culture overrun by microtrends and fast-fashion, most celebrities (especially those who make money through social media) are more inclined to wear replicable and trendy clothing. Clothing that is not easily manufactured and sold is no longer deemed worthy by brands. This trend also permeates into the beauty industry. Social media and its algorithmic approach to success encourages homogeneity down to the cheekbones, thus creating the phenomenon called Instagram Face. In order to be successful, female creators are encouraged to adopt a singular style, personality, and, yes, even the same face.

Though Fox is traditionally pretty, her style dares to venture outside of the miniscule beauty and fashion standards set for modern women. In a world that demands beauty, her style inspires creativity, imagination, and sometimes vulgarity. Fashion is in a constant state of war. One side dictates which color, size, silhouette, and stature a person should aspire to have. The other is a movement that pushes boundaries and drives culture through style. Julia occupies this second definition.

It’s not just her style that gets people talking, though. Fox and Niki Takesh host the chaotic podcast Forbidden Fruits. For many, the draw of this podcast was to hear directly from Fox herself, but the show covers a range of trending topics. What initially drew a large audience was a now infamous interview with the fabled internet scammer, Caroline Calloway. Fox and Takesh pride themselves on empathetically listening to all their guests, but this episode certainly isn’t easy listening. Calloway (who is more known for her internet scandals than her actual writing) goes toe to toe with both of the hosts during the 51 minute duration of the episode. At one point, Takesh confronts Calloway on her questionable decision to paint her hard wood floors white shortly before leaving her New York City apartment. What ensues is some of the most awkward confrontation ever recorded in the history of radio with Calloway quick to defend her erratic behavior.

The podcast is most well known for its relevance to weird internet subculture, but diving further into itreveals a surprising amount of compassion and empathy. Some of the most compelling guests include Jane Doe 15 (A Jeffery Epstein victim) and Twitter thread writer turned film subject Zola.

Fox isn’t a professional interviewer by any means. However, she does provide empathy, understanding, and humor into her shows. Forbidden Fruits episodes regularly feature sexworkers and women who have faced the wrath of our current culture in one way or another. The show dares to address complex female figures who aren’t likable but are worth talking about. Despite its frivolous dressings, Fox effectively uses her fame to tell unique and important stories that center women who are usually looked down upon in society.

Fox’s internet origins are exactly picture perfect, either. Shortly after a Call Her Daddy interview, Fox was ruthlessly mocked for her exaggerated pronunciation of Uncut Gems. (Sure, she sounded like a Californian, but it wasn’t that funny.) Instead of getting mad or retreating into anonymity like so many internet jokes do, Julia took it on the chin and laughed along. When she was mocked for her pants, she posted a photoshopped picture of half Julia, half centaur with the caption “sleigh.”

To the chagrin of many, Fox isn’t going anywhere and attempts to mock her only make her stronger. There’s nothing worse than a woman in on the joke and Fox is determined to prove that. Through her fashion risks and one of the most chaotically good podcasts available to stream, Fox has harnessed the celebrity scandal for good.

Emi Grant is a writing MFA student at the New School for Social Research in New York. Check out her most recent article with the Madwoman Collective "In Defense of the Pick Me Girl."

44 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page