Cast your mind back with me, if you will, to July 2007 and an ill at ease nation facing up to the disquieting notion that one of its brightest stars was sacrificing a prodigious career in the name of avarice, advancement of commercial opportunities and the chance to sit court side at the Staples centre making small talk with Jack Nicholson.
Not everybody commenting on the move was a naysayer: supporters of the Beckham brand argued that this wasn’t about the glitz and the movie premieres and the money, but the opportunity to seize on an organization in its infancy and play an important role in its expansion. Some regarded Beckham’s choice as a pioneering and adventurous one, heartened to imagine one of our own shielding their eyes against the bright L.A sunlight and stepping in to the unknown.
And, if not a complete and unalloyed success, Victoria’s appearance playing ‘herself’ in an early episode of ‘Ugly Betty’ was certainly enough to quiet her critics who had suspected the move to L.A was an excuse to dine in the comfort zone. The celebrity starring as their own caricature is something of an ignoble television tradition- leading, as it often does, to hyperactive studio audiences and knowing smirks to camera- but Victoria went about things gamely enough and if she had really been using the America voyage as a tawdry experiment in furthering her own image she would surely have taken the route of so many others: playing a wacky love interest in ‘Will & Grace’.
And if the former Spice Girl was hardly stretched in her ‘Ugly Betty’ role she was at least disciplined and stuck rigidly to her position, seemingly keeping in mind that network television, like international football and short lived reunion tours, is a team game. We applaud her role in helping fill the void in fashion based comedy left in the wake of ‘Sex & the City’ and are magnanimous enough to recognise the part played by hubbie: fitting in the occasional kick about in suffocating heat around photo opportunities with P. Diddy and Kobe Bryant as Vicky chased her dream.
It marked a step up for Beckham, whose acting appearances until that point had been limited. There was the largely unheralded ‘Spice World’, which, even allowing for all its crowd pleasing merits, was never really in danger of troubling Sight and Sound’s 2002 Greatest Ever Movie Poll (this despite offering the curious sight of Geri Halliwell being out-acted by her own breasts, something that, for all its street-level verisimilitude and bleak nihilism, eludes ‘Bicycle Thieves’). There were countless ‘reality’ appearances too, naturally, but, given the ludicrously stage managed and hammy nature of these, they actually made the scene in ‘Spice World’ when the alien gropes Scary look like an exercise in neo-realism.
And now, as Victoria waves a temporary goodbye to the Via Monte Napoleone and heads back to the pompously self titled Entertainment Capital of the World, the bar has been raised. In a recent episode of the sublime ‘30 Rock’ Salma Hayek kissed Tina Fey, sparking outraged call for the show’s cancellation among the Fox News employees more prone to self parody and eighteen million views of the clip on Youtube from your Wag Weekly correspondent alone.
How Beckham plans to top this cameo we would not like to speculate but it would be foolhardy to write her off just yet. After all, if David can still be an England regular solely on the strength of that thing he does when he looks up rapidly and clumsily rakes the ball sideways across the pitch, anything is possible.
More Victoria Beckham images: Victoria Beckham WAG Gallery
Written By Chris Mackin