Herald Sun

Asher is a great ac­tor and that’s all we need to know

- SIOB­HAN DUCK @siob­han­duck siob­han.duck@news.com.au SIOB­HAN DUCK IS A HER­ALD SUN COLUM­NIST

IAM ashamed to ad­mit I clicked on the link to that Asher Ked­die story this week. Know­ing our pa­per had knocked back over­priced pa­parazzi pic­tures of Ked­die given their com­plete lack of news value, I was in­trigued to see what kind of spin a ri­val web­site pub­li­ca­tion could pos­si­bly put on a new mother hav­ing a sneaky cig­gie at the park with her hus­band.

Af­ter all, she was in the open air. Her baby, Valentino, was nowhere near and she’s, you know, an adult and per­fectly ca­pa­ble of mak­ing her own de­ci­sions about her own health. With all that in mind, I failed to see how Ked­die’s habit could be of in­ter­est to any­one, let alone sala­cious enough to be wor­thy of tabloid fod­der?

And then I read the head­line.

“Makeup-free new mother Asher Ked­die smokes rolled-up cig­a­rettes with hus­band Vin­cent Fan­tauzzo in a des­o­late park two days in a row af­ter giv­ing birth in March,” it screeched in judg­ment.

So it ap­pears Ked­die’s crime was to not only smoke the oc­ca­sional cig­a­rette, but to do it with­out hav­ing the de­cency to put on a bit of lippy for two whole days. Worse still, she’s a mother. What a dis­grace. Some­one should take back her Gold Lo­gie.

I know we are now liv­ing in a celebrity-ob­sessed cul­ture where ev­ery move of the rich and fa­mous is scru­ti­nised for en­ter­tain­ment, but have we sunk to this?

There will be some pu­ri­tans who ar­gue Ked­die is breast­feed­ing and there­fore her body should re­main a tem­ple un­til her child is weaned. Sure, smok­ing is not an ideal thing to be do­ing but nei­ther is drink­ing cof­fee and plenty of sleep-de­prived mums wouldn’t be able to func­tion with­out their caf­feine hit from a good strong, latte in the morn­ing.

Any­way, this wasn’t a story aimed at rais­ing aware­ness about wider health is­sues of smok­ing while breast­feed­ing, it was quite sim­ply just an elab­o­rate ex­cuse to shame a fa­mous mother.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been times in the past where celebri­ties be­ing caught smok­ing had le­git­i­mate news value.

When Shane Warne was snapped smok­ing in 1999 it made head­lines. And rightly so. He had been paid a re­puted $200,000 by Ni­corette to give up smok­ing but suc­cumbed to temp­ta­tion.

Like­wise, a case can be made for pub­lish­ing shots of Chrissie Swan light­ing up be­cause she was preg­nant at the time and so she was sprung do­ing the wrong thing. And celebri­ties are meant to be role mod­els right?

But is sim­ply smok­ing sans makeup in a pon­cho in the park wor­thy of crit­i­cal re­port­ing?

No. Let’s face it, plenty of peo­ple smoke.

Even I used to smoke. I re­gret it a lot, ex­cept when I have a few drinks and then I long to light up again. Many of my friends smoke and some of them are — shock hor­ror — mums just like Ked­die. The chief dif­fer­ence be­ing that they are not on the TV so no­body cares if they choose to take a puff.

I have al­ways loved a bit of celebrity gos­sip. I used to look for­ward to my vis­its to the hair­dresser be­cause they gave me the chance to pore over the mag­a­zines with­out in­ter­rup­tion. But in re­cent years I have found my­self be­com­ing in­creas­ingly bored by what’s be­ing of­fered up as news. Whole edi­tions de­voted to celebrity sweat patches (yes, se­ri­ously). Stars with­out makeup. Or look­ing too fat. Or too thin. They are chas­tised for hav­ing too much surgery, or be­ing in need of a good nip/tuck. No mat­ter what they do, they can’t win.

And, you know what, we don’t win ei­ther be­cause all this scru­tiny of al­ready beau­ti­ful and suc­cess­ful peo­ple sure doesn’t make us reg­u­lar folk feel any bet­ter about our­selves when we look in the mir­ror.

I’m go­ing to boy­cott the mag­a­zines and web­sites that zero in on Cameron Diaz’s pim­ples and call it news. Be­cause it’s not. And frankly, I don’t care whether Ked­die smokes or drinks scotch or ex­ists on a diet of car­rots and Twisties.

I think she’s a ter­rific ac­tor. And smok­ing hot — even in a pon­cho.

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