An Open Letter to Katie Holmes

Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes
It’s dead, Jim.

Dear Katie,

Congratulations on your divorce from Tom Cruise. The world has been strangely captivated by your relationship, and even more so by the separation. No doubt you’ve seen the response of the media, tabloids, and internet denizens, clamoring to report the latest on your split. And post some memes. (Both forms of coverage are, of course, equally important in today’s society.)

But the real reason for writing to you is that this is a very important time in your life — quite possibly the most important in your career. You see, Katie, you have cemented your role in American media as the girl next door. You were typecast into those roles early on and, despite the few slightly devious roles here and there (your wonderful role in “Thank You For Smoking” comes to mind) you have ever remained our pretty girl next door.

But it’s boring us, Katie.

Please don’t misunderstand me; I’m not commenting on you as a person. If you really are a sweet and kind American girl, I commend you. Not everyone is so quaint, myself included. But as a recurring Hollywood role it’s completely forgettable. If I were asked to list three adjectives that described you, I wouldn’t know what to say other than a premeditated glamour and your marriage to Tom Cruise. Not only are they not adjectives, but I could only come up with two. And speaking of your marriage, it only solidified this character in the public’s mind, as you were often portrayed as a voidless entity, a Stepford Wife, a beautiful shell devoid of uniqueness.

Katie Holmes Buzzfeed Meme

Your life has shifted and the game has changed. You’ve been given a rare gift. Now that you and Tom Cruise have divorced, the media’s attention is on you, if only for a brief moment, to see what you might do to spark our affections. Who are you, Katie? We’re dying to know. I’m certainly not suggesting you invite the media into your personal life, but it might be time for you to step out of your vanilla, pretty girl roles and dare to do something new and exciting. Many successful actors have done it without compromising their integrity or physical beauty: Angelina Jolie as a sociopath in Girl, Interrupted, comes to mind. Jodie Foster in Nell is another. Do you need more? Brad Pitt in Burn After Reading, Robert Downey, Jr. in Tropic Thunder, and Johnny Depp in, well, everything. They are all physically beautiful actors who dared to do something different and gave the public a little taste of the whimsy they embrace. It made the public love them.

You see, what really does matter is what’s on the inside. Beauty cannot be a persona. Sure, as a publicity gimmick it’s a safer plan — anyone will be protected from criticism when they hide behind a mask of blank beauty. But it’s not enough to sustain a career. Not even Heidi Klum could do that. She’s beautiful and has legs most women would kill to have, but that’s not what’s kept the public so in love with her:

It’s her spirit.

It’s only natural to want to protect your private life and family from the media during this time of personal change. But I implore you, from one woman to another, to delve into your aspirations and dreams with wild abandon. Don’t hold back. The public is curious to know who you really are, and if you show us, we will probably embrace you for it. I hope you take the chance to dream, Katie. To do something different. To take on a role that’s quirky and whimsical. Life’s too short to play the pretty girl.

Sincerely,
Jen Kirchner

Battlefield Earth Divorce Invitation courtesy of Buzzfeed.

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