Wow, We Really Missed Rihanna’s Constant Presence

NEW YORK - APRIL 06: Rihanna is seen at Nobu on April 6, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC ...
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In & Out is W's weekly newsletter rundown of what's necessary to know in fashion and culture, and what you can just let pass you on by. To get it in your inbox every Thursday morning, subscribe here (be sure to check the "In & Out Weekly" box when signing up). This week, we discuss how much we really missed Rihanna’s constant presence in the culture, the power of keeping your own face, and Olivia Spencer and Melissa McCarthy’s take on the superhero genre.

In: The Coming Rihanna-ssance?

Out: Low Profiles

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Have you had a Rihanna-shaped hole in your heart over the past year? It’s not like the world’s most “IDGAF” multi-hyphenate completely disappeared, it’s just that, well, we weren’t getting nearly as much Rih content as we were used to. Well, it seems in the past few weeks ol’ Bad Gal RiRi has been gearing her public profile back up. In fact, in a recent Instagram comment spree, she even hinted that she might have some form of new music coming “soon” (she added it may just be a single song). We do miss the feeling of a fresh Rihanna bop, but she’s not skimping on one of her other gifts to the world: amazing and unafraid street style. On Monday, she showed up to her mother’s birthday party in a leather jacket and pants that were seemingly completely see-through. She was also the first to sport Celine’s recent collaboration with Tyson Reeder. She wore it to go grocery shopping, natch. We’ve also seen her recently in feather-adorned jeans and plenty of statement coats. But the sudden uptick in public activity hasn’t stopped her from staying politically active, either. Alongside her longtime assistant, Rihanna went undercover to attend a #StopAsianHate march in New York City. When she was chatting with a fellow demonstrator, she casually gave him her Instagram handle only for him to be stunned that it was actually Rihanna.

In: Justine Bateman on Aging Naturally in Hollywood

Out: Worrying Too Much About Your Face

Ever notice how sometimes an actress who came to prominence in their teens and twenties still seemingly has the same taut skin decades afterward? Listen, no judgment. It’s a tough business, and modern dermatology (and plastic surgery) offers plenty of tantalizing options. Still, it’s a definite mistake for everyone to hold themselves to Hollywood's standards—even former teen stars. Justine Bateman became a star thanks to playing the superficial sister on Family Ties, but the now-55-year-old had no interest in looking like a teenager forever. In fact, she even wrote a book about it. Face: One Square Foot of Skin is a collection of short stories written after conversations Bateman had with real women (including famous ones) about their aging journeys and face-related worries. “We’re not talking about facial reconstruction because there’s been an accident or genetic problem,” Bateman told W. “This is just because somebody said that you look like you’ve got some jowls? And the idea that an older woman’s face is something that should be deleted—I wanted to examine why we have these ideas in our society at all.” She also explores the particular Hollywood problem of actresses freezing their faces in time with all sorts of fillers, only to have to figure out how to then convey actual human emotions with that chemically assisted face on screen. Sigh.

In: Josh Hartnett’s Surprising Return

Out: Erin Brockovich Redux

How do Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer as superheroes sound to you? Because that’s the plot, essentially, to Netflix’s big film this weekend, Thunder Force. Reviews aren’t out yet, but we’re not expecting Oscar-level entertainment. Meanwhile, the long-delayed Voyagers, which stars Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp, Fionn Whitehead, and Isaac Hempstead Wright as repressed teens in space, hits theaters and VoD this weekend. Reviews for this one are in, but don’t expect any Oscars either.

Television has more variety. On Wednesday, HBO debuted Exterminate All The Brutes, an ambitious mini-series that mixed documentary with historical reenactments (led by Josh Hartnett, of all actors!). Based on the book of the same name, it’s an unflinching look at the brutal impact of European colonialism. On Friday, Amazon Prime has Lena Waithe’s latest show Them, which uses the horror genre as a way to explore the cultural shifts of Compton, California in the ‘50s.

In lighter fare, Comedy Central has Doing the Most With Phoebe Robinson on Friday. It finds the comedian interviewing celebs like Kevin Bacon and Whitney Cummings while trying out new activities like horseback riding. On Thursday, ABC has Rebel, a show loosely based on the life of Erin Brockovich. Although the main character, played by Katey Sagal, has another name, and the show has no other relationship to the Julia Roberts classic. Unlike that film, the reviews aren’t particularly great. TBS also has new series Chad, which stars SNL veteran Nasim Pedrad in a sort of Pen15-like situation, except she plays an awkward teenage boy.