Helena Hudson yearns for some glitz after a dose of ‘reality’ leaves
‘Reals’, says the editor of Extract, is the new term for ‘real’ people,
who, he contends, are taking over the media in a ‘real’ revolution.
To help guide us all through this media revolution, Extract is packed
full of information, interviews, photos and snippets about ‘reals’. It
rambles through a day in the life of a wheel-clamper, a pizza-delivery
man, a fire-eater, a priest and many more. The interviews are
interspersed with some black-and-white photos of ‘reals’ in Hollywood.
These range from a street vendor, a beggar and a homicide victim to a
I cannot really say that I find these photos exciting (maybe Calvin
Klein will). Nor am I interested in how a gay punk became a jeweller or
finding out that the pizza-delivery man’s most memorable experience was
There is a four-page open letter from the editor, explaining that
‘reals’ are true characters who possess an energy and uninhibited
quality not found in celebrities. To me, though, there are two words
that spring to mind: desperation and exploitation.
Yes, there is a trend for real people to be featured in ad campaigns,
but at least they’ve been paid for their contribution. To me, Extract
smacks of condescension dressed up as a worthy read.
Call me old-fashioned, but when I pay pounds 2.50 for a magazine, I like
a bit of glamour, gossip and informed comment and this gives me none of
that. If I want to delve into the world of the ‘reals’, I will buy the
Big Issue. I think the editor will find that despite this ‘real’
revolution, people will continue to buy magazines about the rich and
Helena Hudson is the head of press at Optimedia