By Jessica Johnson
Calling all “Directioners” and “Harries” – Harry Styles, an unproblematic and multi-talented king, has done it again.
Over the past seven years, Styles has come out of his shell, transforming his fashion sense and music style into his most authentic self, as fans watched in anticipation of his next music, project and merchandise drop. Since his coveted band One Direction went into hiatus in 2015, the tremendous growth shown by Styles going solo, no longer under the reins of Modest Management, is providing the brown curly-haired, goofy singer more opportunities in the music industry and now, the film industry.
Fans took every social media platform by storm once Style’s posted the trailer for “Don’t Worry Darling” on his social media platforms, May 2. The film is set to release this year, and will be shown in theaters Sept. 23. The film, directed by Olivia Wilde, is Styles’ first lead role, as his first minor-role film debut was in “Dunkirk,’’ released July 21, 2017. Dunkirk centered around World War II, while the new film centers around his role as a husband in the 1950s. The wife, played by Florence Pugh, discovers a disturbing truth, and her husband holds dark secrets.
According to Us Magazine, “In this context, it’s been a really nice opportunity for me to be able to get very much out of my comfort zone and kind of start again,” Styles said in a Us Magazine article. “It’s been a lot of fun. … I was very lucky to have a trusting relationship with the people we were working with and that kind of came first.”
Among other excited One Direction and Harry Styles fans, Ann Beauchamp, a senior art major, began supporting Styles’ artistry in 2020, during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. She discusses loving his “Fine Line” album era, and how his growth over the years is enjoyable.
“He’s doing things that interest him,” Beauchamp said. “Why not just let him be? Dunkirk was good. I assume this next movie will be good, he doesn’t really flop on the projects he does. If the lines are written bad, it’s going to be bad. It’s all circumstantial.”
She’s also excited to listen to his upcoming album, dropping May 20, titled “Harry’s House.” The album will be broken up into two sides, with seven tracks on one side, and six on the other. Some of the songs include titles such as, “Matilda,” “Little Freak,” and “Daydreaming.”
Styles’ has already released a song titled, “As It Was,” March 31, and a music video containing a sparkly jumpsuit and dance moves similar to the high intense energy concerts he puts on for his fans. Although the lyrics are a bit sad, the beat feels freeing, and it’s only a small, anticipating insight into what will be on the album. As Styles grows through life and fans have been able to see his journey since 2010 when he started his career on U.K.’s X Factor, it’s clear through the quality of his music and the diverse projects he takes on that Styles’ passion for his fans and artistry grows by the day.
“I’ve listened to ‘As it Was’ on repeat,” Beauchamp said. “I’m very excited. Without a doubt going to listen to that one all summer. I’m really excited to see what else he creates in the future. He’s going to keep growing. He’s talented.”
In November last year, Styles’ also released his own beauty brand, titled ‘Pleasing.’ The tagline is “Find your Pleasing,” and the overall mission statement is “to bring joyful experiences and products that excite the senses and blur the boundaries.”
The brand includes a variety of colorful and out of the box shaped products, its first drop being “Perfect Pearl,” a pearly white nail polish and top coat. With the release, buyers could also purchase a hybrid eye gel and matte lip oil called the “Pleasing Pen.”
According to The Cut, a culture magazine, “It was a fun little project, but during the pandemic, and when we eventually named it Pleasing, it felt like it was so much more than nail polish,” Styles said in an article in The Cut. “I’ve always found that the moments in my life which have brought me the most joy are the small ones, whether it be, you know, the end of the night under the stars or a bite of food, or sitting with your friends thinking, ‘Oh, I’m never gonna forget this.’”
The biggest thing in being a fan of Styles is seeing the constant diversity and inclusivity in his music, his brand and his style. Like many people, he grew through the COVID-19 pandemic and truly found himself. It’s difficult for fans to see the criticism of Styles’ doing what he loves, because it’s something that’s helped people get through rough times during the past few years as well. Whether it’s through listening to his lyrics, attending his “Love on Tour” concert dates, wearing his “Pleasing” merchandise or carrying around a “Treat People with Kindness” tote bag, his message has impacted many lives, and helped fans find themselves as well.
As he breaks barrier after barrier in the industry, the biggest criticism Styles’ received was when Vogue magazine unveiled their December 2020 issue, in which Styles’ was on the gender-fluid cover, clad in a frilly, lace, long light blue and black gown with a black suit jacket.
“I loved how angry people got about it, because it’s literally not a big deal,” Beauchamp said. “It’s just someone in a dress. The amount of influencers and people with platforms that made comments about it, ‘O.M.G. bring back manly men’ — he ran with it and said, ‘F—k it, bring back manly men.’”
Referring to the ignorant Twitter comment made by conservative Candance Owens in November, after the covers’ release, it sent fans into a frenzy, feeling the need to defend the fact that anyone is allowed to wear what they want as clothes do not have a gender. Styles’ did quickly clap back with an Instagram post Dec. 2, 2020, stating, “Bring back manly men,” as he stands in a baby blue and white suit, eating a banana, the frilly cuffs showing fluidity in his fashion sense.
Many critics online were upset about the cover, feeling like it was breaking barriers on a high platform that can influence any generation. However, that quite literally was the point.
Everything Styles does, and is, is to continuously grow in a constantly changing world. He is accepting of himself, and everyone around him. He is a leader in the sense that what he preaches in his actions, helps those become more comfortable in their own skin, no matter the age.
“He’s definitely become a lot more open,” Beauchamp said. “He used to sing ‘Medicine,’ kinda shy and not like dancing. And now he grabs a pride flag every concert, and shakes it around. With his fashion, it’s gotten a lot more sparkles, feathers, a lot more bright colors — kind of embracing femininity more. Especially with the nail polish line [because] you can definitely see that.”
For some that have a hard time embracing a side of themselves due to the backlash that may ensue, it’s refreshing to have someone with this big of a platform to keep going, regardless of what those think of him. Styles is doing what he loves and what makes him happy, and that’s something a lot of people find resonance in, the reasoning behind his fan base keeps growing.
Styles’ intentions are pure with everything he does, and for fans since the beginning, it’s heartwarming to grow up with him through his actions, seeing his internal and external growth, and see him reform his “womanizer” image he was branded from during his time in One Direction to show his true self. He’s not censored anymore by a team that wishes to control who he is, and that’s what matters.
Besides the fact of how Styles’ has grown as an artist, he is only going to show how much more he can take on as now an actor.
After seeing the intense trailer for “Don’t Worry Darling,” many fans on social media are making the jokes that it’s a fan-fiction coming to life on screen. In the trailer, viewers see a scene where Styles’ is performing sexual acts on one of the main characters. One Direction fans used to have a huge platform for these stories back in the day, depicting anything from shipping the members of the band together to fans writing themselves into a story, where the five of the boys were baby-sitters. As any fan would say — if you know, you know.
The anticipation to see the film is building, and the hope that Styles’ is able to fulfill the role well is the biggest importance of it all. For those who believe he can do it all, he truly is a force to be reckoned with.