Writer Tami DeVine for Crown City News, a local California paper, says she saw Agyness Deyn and Scientologist actor Giovanni Ribisi at the LA County Registrar’s Office in East LA last Friday. They were eloping, which I regard as kind of public service which spares us the standard celebrity wedding hoopla. Fashionologie notes that Deyn's representatives haven't released a statement. And there's no word on whether or not Deyn is joining her new hubby's Scientology club.
DeVine included a hilarious and disorienting play-by-play of her entire exchange with the happy couple. The writer scooped a major elopement, and then presented it without much attention to the conventions of celebrity gossip reporting or Internet journalism. Her post centers entirely around her own experience of the exchange, and she puts the texture of their interaction — her response to the couple and their response to her — ahead of the headline.
It's a jarring approach: why should the celebrity gossip reader care about the nobody writing the post? She should be cowering in the shadow of the issue at hand — in this case, the unforeseen elopement of a major Hollywood actor and a supermodel. But Tami's account doesn't just supply a jolt of voyeuristic pleasure (any of us could have ended up behind Deyn and Ribis in line!) or inadvertently offer a delightful and odd character portrait of the narrator, it also does far more to increase the appeal of the central celebrity figures than any straight news post could. (Not to mention, DeVine didn't even recognize Agyness Deyn! She suspected the young Brit must be somehow famous, felt it would be too imprudent to ask directly, even though she knew that her diffidence was bad journalistic form. The writer was acting as human being first, scoop-hungry professional second.)
In DeVine's telling, Deyn and Ribis come across as so in love, but not just that — they seem polite and pleasantly willing to engage with a stranger that insists on chatting with them, even though they're about to get married. The article might seem amateurish, but it's one of the most compelling pieces of Internet news writing, at least about celebrities, I've come across in a long time. I had a very difficult time pulling excerpts. I strongly encourage you to click through and read the entire post, but for now, enjoy the selections below:
[Ribis] was passionately kissing a young blond-haired woman with an English accent. They must have kissed passionately at least 3 times in line, not seeming to care who was watching. When I realized who he was, I asked him if he was Giovanni Ribisi. He was very friendly, and said yes he was, and I told him I enjoyed his work. He thanked me and then asked me if I was getting married today, and I said no, we had waited too long and that it was finally time to get our child’s birth certificate.
I asked him and the blond woman if they were getting married today and they quietly said yes, in a shy kind of way.
We chatted for a little bit and I told him what I do as General Manager of Crown City Media, LLC. … He seemed impressed and said that was really great. I then asked him what work he was doing currently and he told me he was in the movie TED, and asked if I’d seen anything about that. I told him yes, I see it everywhere, and that it seems to be on ALL the buses. He smiled.
I asked if the two had been together for a while, and they looked at each other and kind of smiled, and he vaguely said “A while.”
I then asked if the two of them would let me take their picture together, and they went back and forth with each other for a while. I told her that if she wasn’t comfortable with it, then I wouldn’t. She still seemed unsure, and he stepped up and said yes, let’s do it. I said ok, and took a great shot of them. I’m sure she’s a famous actress and I missed an opportunity to get to know her, but at this point, I was feeling extremely intrusive, so I didn’t ask her name. At this point, I’m really embarrassed that I don’t know who she is and that I didn’t ask. Mama taught me better than that as a regular person, and as a journalist, I broke the number one rule.
Image via CrownCityNews