The world of celebrity culture, gossip and fascination is something purely American. We may not like to admit it as a society, but we are utterly fascinated by the personas and lives of musicians, actors, athletes and politicians. We clamor for all the details of their private lives from who they are dating to the nastiest of scandals that threaten to damage their career and reputation.
The public life of Amanda Bynes illustrates that fascination perfectly.
In a Nov. 26 interview with PAPER magazine, Bynes reflected on the rise and fall of her career and how she’s working to bounce back from it all.
Most of us know Amanda Bynes from her acting career that started with Nickelodeon’s “All That” variety show in 1994.
Bynes graced the screen alongside other familiar names like Nick Cannon, Kel Mitchell and Kenan Thompson. “All That” is considered the kid’s version of “Saturday Night Live” and Bynes’ success on the show led to her own spinoff in 1999: “The Amanda Show.”
As Bynes got older, she found success with the television series, “What I Like About You,” the film, “What A Girl Wants,”and her undoubtedly most famous role in the 2006 film, “She’s The Man,” with co-star Channing Tatum, where she played a high school student posing as her brother at a boarding school in order to play soccer after the girl’s team is cut at her school.
The film maintains a cult following to this day and is credited with introducing moviegoers to Tatum, who has since elevated to A-list celebrity status.
Bynes appeared in the films, “Hairspray” and “Easy A,” but it was after that that things began to slip downward. Her name would be on everyone’s lips in 2012 as a roller coaster of now infamous events occurred.
Bynes was first charged with a DUI in 2012 and ordered three years probation. In May 2013, she was charged with reckless endangerment and marijuana possession after being caught smoking weed in the lobby of her apartment building in New York.
As the story goes, when cops entered her apartment, she threw a bong out the window. And then in July 2013, she started a fire in a stranger’s driveway and supposedly doused her dog with gasoline.
To outside eyes, these incidents are a tabloid dream. We’ve become all too familiar with seeing headlines plastered on publications built around scandal and demise. Images of celebrities in their weakest moments with the labels of crazy and unhinged attached to them.
But enter stage right, Twitter.
The internet and social media have radically changed the way we see events. Not only can we receive information instantaneously but we can hear directly from those we admire or are fascinated by. In Amanda Bynes’ case, Twitter only adds to salt to the large wound started in 2012.
In March 2013, Bynes’ famously tweeted, “I want @Drake to murder my vagina.”
The tweet received a large amount of attention but Bynes wasn’t done with the out of the box 140 character statements.
Two months later she tweeted singer Rihanna: “Chris Brown beat you because you’re not pretty enough.”
Not a great move, Amanda.
In a 2017 Complex article examining Bynes’ public perceived breakdown, Andrew Gruttadaro wrote, “something was clearly wrong with Bynes, an observation TV anchors made with a grin on their faces.”
Bynes’ behavior was newsworthy but it was covered in a careless manner. Bynes was crazy. Simple as that in most people’s minds. There was no clear sympathy for what she could be going through.
Stephanie Palacios, junior communication sciences and disorders major, looks back on Bynes’ early career as apart of her childhood. “I used to love her when I was growing up.”
“Seeing her fall out when she lost her mind was very concerning and very upsetting because that was someone that I really looked up to when I was younger.”
As the tweets coming from her account became more and more reckless, Bynes announced that she had been diagnosed bipolar and manic depressive. In March 2015, she stopped tweeting.
“Our obsession with celebrities and their scandals and downfalls, I’m not a big follower of it,” Palacios said. “They are people too. Everyone has their own demons and everyone goes through things on their own. When things are publicized and out there, it makes it harder to cope.”
Bynes told PAPER Magazine’s Abby Schreiber: “Everything I worked my whole life to achieve, I kind of ruined it all through Twitter. It’s definitely not Twitter’s fault — it’s my own fault.”
Since abstaining from Twitter, Bynes has been attending Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and she plans to return to acting.
My mom used to tell me that celebrities were people just like me and that they get up in the morning with their hair a mess and morning breath. I think of those words when I see another celebrity scandal splashed across the headlines.
They get up just like us and they go through life with good and bad days, as we all do.