At first glance, fans of Anitta, Brazil’s current biggest pop star, might assume she had traveled across the globe for MTV’s European Music Awards ceremony in the middle of a pandemic. Pictures of the singer standing in front of a step and repeat bearing MTV’s logo were produced, making it feel like she had walked an actual red carpet somewhere in Europe. In reality, Anitta never even left Rio De Janeiro. “EDITOR’S NOTE: This image has been retouched at the request of artist’s management and the background has been superimposed by request of MTV,” read an addendum under the photo on the website of the Getty Photos agency website.
Yes, instead of stars traveling to red carpets, increasingly, red carpets are coming directly to them—one way or another. Red carpets in your own living room once seemed like the stuff of particularly ambitious sleepover birthdays parties for little girls with dreams of stardom, but in the year of the coronavirus pandemic, when anything is possible, they’re becoming an actual thing.
Anitta wasn’t alone in her digital “walk” that night. Alicia Keys and model Winnie Harlow “walked” the carpet in Los Angeles. Bebe Rexha joined them—though, from the looks of it, in her basement. Rapper Da Baby did so in Atlanta. Maluma was in Miami. Lest it seem like no one “at” the European Music Awards was actually in Europe, well, DJ David Guetta took his little stroll in Budapest and the likes of Rita Ora and Sam Smith posed in London (wait, is that still technically Europe?). Most of the stars didn’t scrimp on glamour, either. They were all dressed almost exactly as you’d expect them to for a regular MTV red carpet (Ora, in a fluffy chartreuse dress, Maluma, in dapper tailoring).
The EMAs weren’t the only event to pull off the trick this week, either.
Netflix is dropping what may be the most anticipated season yet of its prestige mega-hit The Crown on Sunday, but with England in the midst of a second lockdown there was little hope for an actual premiere party.
Instead, Netflix just sent actual red carpets and step and repeats to the homes of the major cast members. We assume that most of them called up their stylists to send over some looks as well, because they also all looked rather dapper.
Though, the cast took the deception of the faux-red carpet a little less seriously. Olivia Colman’s photo leaves little doubt that the photo was indeed taken in her living room.
Helena Bonham Carter took the opportunity to pose with her two dogs. At least Gillian Anderson, who plays Margaret Thatcher this season, got to walk the carpet with series creator Peter Morgan (the pair have been dating since 2016).
While none of these problems are among the world’s most pressing, celebrities need publicity, awards shows and movies need publicity, and the labels that create the clothes they wear also need that same publicity. Red carpets were always a pretty easy, relatively classy, tried-and-true answer to all of that. With coronavirus continuing to spread across the globe, though, there’s no telling when, exactly, they’ll be back as a permanent fixture.
While some celebrities attempted to produce their own equivalents of red carpet photos ahead of the most recent Emmy Awards and other events, the addition of step and repeats (either digitally inserted or sent to the stars) does seem to add some familiarity and uniformity to the matter. These are photos not just formatted for their personal Instagram feeds, but the “Who Wore It Better?” pages of US Weekly too.