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20 years later
WE SUPPORT BRITNEY FROM THE BEGINING
|Brand: Sunset Fantasy
Released: Jan 2018
Tag line: "Summer in a bottle"
|TOUR: POM World Tour
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Britney Spears and Sam Asghari have been dogged by marriage rumors for months, but the two are not planning to get married in her home state of Louisiana.
The latest issue of OK! Magazine claims the couple are eloping, but Gossip Cop spoke to a source close to the "Toxic" singer, who assured them the rumor is not true.
According to the article, an insider claimed they "talked about this endlessly, and as much as a traditional wedding has its appeal, they’d both sooner get it out of the way with something low-key.” The source claimed Spears does not want to have the ceremony near anywhere "loud and busy" like Las Vegas, so she might get married somewhere outside Los Angeles or in Louisiana.
“She appreciates the subtle things in life now, and Sam’s been a huge influence in that," the alleged source claimed. "They plan to become husband and wife in early 2019!”
OK! and other tabloids have previously published articles claiming Spears and Asghari married in secret, but these all turned out to be false.
Spears and Asghari met during the filming of Spears' "Slumber Party" video in 2016. In a January 2017 radio interview, Spears said they did not think they would have much in common when they were "forced" to talk to one another. However, they soon realized they did have more in common than they thought. But even after getting his number, it took her five months to call him up.
"I kept his number, and it was so weird because it was like five months later that I found his number in my bag," she said at the time. "I was like 'He was really cute. This guy was really cute!' so then I called him. He is just a really fun, funny person."
“She motivates me more than anyone. It’s crazy how I can be humbled by a person like her. If I could be that humble when I’m that high in life, that would be the best thing,” Asghari told Men's Health in an interview over the summer. “I grew up with three sisters, and my personality is just to be a supportive person for my family and she’s family. I’m always going to support her. She is another blessing that happened to me.”
Last year, Spears finished the fourth-highest grossing Las Vegas residency with her Piece of Me show. According to Billboard, the show grossed $137.7 million from 2013 to 2017 at The Axis at Planet Hollywood. Spears performed 248 shows and sold more than 910,000 tickets.
On Feb. 13, 2019, Spears will launch a second Las Vegas residency, Britney: Domination, at the Park MGM resort's Park Theater. She has 32 shows lined up through Aug. 17.
Britney Spears is gearing up for some stellar performances for 2019. In a new Instagram post, the pop superstar shared several sessions of her rehearsing choreography for her upcoming shows in Las Vegas.
In two separate videos, Spears can be seen getting thrown in the air and dragged on a large piece of fabric without missing a step. Songs that Spears was practicing include “Slave 4 U,” "Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know" and "Do You Wanna Come Over?"
“Excited to get back on stage in Vegas #BritneyDomination,” Spears captioned the post.
The Britney: Domination Las Vegas residency performances will run from February until August.
Watch Britney slay every single one of her dance moves below:
Britney Spears has appeared in lots of TV shows and movies over the years. The CW
Though she's one of the top-selling pop stars of all time, Britney Spears has made plenty of cameo appearances on TV and in movies over the years.
She's flexed her comedic chops on many popular sitcoms including "How I Met Your Mother," "Will & Grace," "Jane the Virgin," and "The Simpsons," among others.
These are the best Britney Spears cameo appearances.
Though she's one of the most beloved top-selling pop stars of all time, Britney Spears has made plenty of cameo appearances on TV and in movies over the years.
True fans will know that Spears actually got her start on TV, acting in commercials and performing on the singing competition show "Star Search" in 1992. The next year, she got her big break on "The All New Mickey Mouse Club," singing and dancing alongside future A-listers like Christina Aguilera, Keri Russell, Justin Timberlake, and Ryan Gosling.
In her two decades as a music legend, Spears has only taken a starring turn on the big screen once, in 2002's "Crossroads," which was maligned by critics but adored by fans. Though we'll likely never get a sequel to "Crossroads," Spears has made plenty of memorable cameos in popular TV shows like "Will & Grace," "Jane the Virgin," and even "The Simpsons," as well as a few movies.
These are the 12 best cameo appearances the pop queen has made throughout her career.
Spears played a conservative talk show host hiding a major secret on "Will & Grace."
Spears played a conservative talk show host hiding a major secret on
"Will and Grace." Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
Back in 2006, Spears got a little bit political when she guest starred on the hit NBC comedy's eighth season. She played Amber-Louise, a right-wing talk show host with a big secret: she was a "hardcore lesbian" playing up her ultra-religious views to land major TV success.
This one-episode appearance let Spears flex her comedic chops.
She made a cameo in "Longshot," a made-for-TV movie with a stellar teen pop line-up.
She made a cameo in
"Longshot." Transcontinental Pictures
Before she played a seductive flight attendant in "Toxic," she made a brief appearance as an employee of the skies in "Longshot," a 2002 movie that aired on the Disney Channel.
The movie starred fellow teen pop stars including Lance Bass, LFO, O-Town, and even Lil Kim and never quite made it to the big screen."
In 2008, Spears acted in two episodes of "How I Met Your Mother" and again showed off her funny side.
In 2008, Spears acted in two episodes of
"How I Met Your Mother." CBS
Spears came to Primetime TV again in 2008 when she guest-starred on "How I Met Your Mother," playing Abby, a lovelorn receptionist that has hopelessly fallen for Ted (Josh Radnor) … before she winds up dating Barney (Neil Patrick Harris).
Abby made a return appearance later on in the season, on the hunt for love again.
She got some unfortunate green highlights during a cameo on "Kenan & Kel."
She got some unfortunate green highlights during a cameo on
"Kenan & Kel." Nickelodeon
In 1999, at the height of her teen pop fame, Spears made a cameo appearance as herself on the hit Nickelodeon comedy. Upon seeing a pop icon in person, Kenan proceeds to faint, while Kel pretends to be her on-set hairstylist.
He gave Spears some unfortunate green highlights as he covers her face with a towel, and she was less than pleased at the results.
"Glee" devoted an entire episode to Spears and her music.
"Glee." FOX via Getty Images
The hit teen musical series paid tribute to Spears by devoting a full episode in season two to her musical legacy. Glee club member Brittany S. Pierce (Heather Morris) has a hallucination in which she re-creates some of Spears's most famous music videos, from "Toxic" to "Oops! I Did It Again," and more, with Spears herself making an appearance in the episode.
Spears played a fembot in "Austin Powers in Goldmember."
Spears played a fembot in
"Austin Powers: Goldmember." New Line Cinema
In the third installment of the "Austin Powers" series, the spy stumbles upon the set for Spears' "Boys" music video, where the two come toe-to-toe in a dance-off. But Austin received the shock of his life when he discovered that Spears was a fembot, and he demolished her into smithereens.
Myers reprised his role in the actual music video for the song, which appeared on the film's soundtrack.
She lent her voice to a 2000 episode of "The Simpsons."
She lent her voice to a 2000 episode of
"The Simpsons." Fox
Spears was turned into a cartoon for a brief appearance on "The Simpsons," wearing an outfit from her "...Baby One More Time" video to co-host the Springfield Pride Awards … pigtails and all.
Spears joined her real-life pal Melissa Joan Hart for a cameo on "Sabrina the Teenage Witch."
Spears joined her real-life pal Melissa Joan Hart for a cameo on
"Sabrina the Teenage Witch." ABC
The pop princess played herself in a 1999 episode of the teen sitcom when Sabrina contemplates moving in with her dad in Paris. She's bummed about missing a Spears concert before the singer magically appears in her hotel room for a private performance.
Hart returned the favor by appearing in Spears's "(You Drive Me) Crazy" music video, which was on the soundtrack to "Drive Me Crazy," starring Hart.
The singer enjoyed a dance session with the titular character on "Jane the Virgin."
The singer enjoyed a dance session with the titular character on
"Jane the Virgin." The CW
In a 2015 episode of the CW series, Spears showed off her famous dance skills and also attempted to resolve a long-standing feud with her former BFF, Rogelio de la Vega (Jaimie Camil) by throwing in a few pitch-perfect puns in honor of her biggest hits.
Spears performed at a school dance on "The Famous Jett Jackson" all the way back in 1999.
Spears performed at a school dance on
"The Famous Jett Jackson." Disney Channel
The singer got her start on the Disney Channel, so it's no surprise why she'd return to her roots as soon as she hit it big. Spears appeared in one episode of "The Famous Jett Jackson," starring as Jett's friend who happens to be a major pop star.
She showed up at Jett's Halloween dance to perform "Sometimes."
She played dumb and joked about her MTV roots in 2003's "Pauly Shore Is Dead."
She played dumb and joked about her MTV roots in 2003's
"Pauly Shore is Dead." MTV
In this mockumentary created by Shore himself, the comedian faked his own death to help cement a lasting legacy, with Shore tapping a slew of famous faces to make quick cameos, including Ellen DeGeneres, Snoop Dogg, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, and dozens of others.
Spears riffs on her MTV roots in the NSFW clip, asking, "Who's Pauly Shore?" before remarking, "Oh, yeah, he was on MTV before I was born … right."
She made a rare appearance on Spanish TV series "Médico de Familia" in 1999.
She made a rare appearance on Spanish TV series
"Médico de Familia." Telecino
Though this cameo never aired in the States, Spears made a splash when she showed up on "Médico de Familia," playing herself in one episode of Spain's most popular TV series in the late '90s.
In the clip, the "Everytime" singer (and future Pepsi spokesperson) can be seen grabbing a Coca-Cola from a hospital vending machine as her song "(You Drive Me) Crazy" plays over the hospital's speakers.
On September 14, 2004, Britney Spears arrived at Macy’s in New York City in a red satin cocktail dress with tiny hearts all over it to attend a party in her honor. She was 22 years old and four days away from her second marriage of the year (her first, an impromptu Vegas hitching with a childhood friend, lasted 55 hours; a judge annulled it, saying Spears “lacked understanding of her actions” at the time). Spears was in New York to launch Curious, her first perfume, which cost $39.95 and smelled like the waiting room of a fancy spa. She beamed for the paparazzi and held a bottle of Curious in her palm, cradling the aquamarine flacon in one hand, as if it were a delicate fruit, and squeezing the tasseled atomizer with the other like a silent-film star primping in her boudoir. “I’m so excited about doing my new fragrance with all of you,” she said, while chewing bubble gum. “It smells amazing, and it is in department stores, so I seriously suggest to be sexy and go out and get it. Seriously.”
As she walked away from the microphone, Spears did a little shimmy with her shoulders, a hammy movement that seemed like an anxious reflex. She could seriously suggest that people buy her fragrance, but at that very moment, she was struggling to be taken seriously herself. She was trying to launch a perfume business in the middle of a tabloid maelstrom: She’d recently announced her surprise engagement to Kevin Federline, a dancer whom she had only known for a few months. On top of weathering the media fallout from her whirlwind romance, Spears spent the summer in intensive physical therapy following arthroscopic surgery on her knee, which she blew out while filming the video for “Outrageous.” She’d had to cancel the entire back half of her 2004 tour for In The Zone, which meant disappearing from the limelight just as “Toxic” hit the top ten in 15 different countries. When she launched Curious, she was barely healed and just starting to take baby steps back into the public eye.
This is all to say that there was a lot riding on her first fragrance, and Spears knew it, even if she popped her gum throughout its unveiling. Elizabeth Arden had sunk a lot of chemical lab hours and market research into perfecting Spears’ scent (not to mention the $52 million it paid her for the deal): it was a saccharine meringue with a light glaze of white peaches and a delicate lotus basenote, the kind of sugar-dusted mist that’s like catnip to teenage consumers. But celebrity scents are not always a sure thing. Many of them drop into the market with a thud, lasting only a season never to be heard from again (remember J by Jennifer Aniston or Black Star by Avril Lavigne?). So few of them have lasting power — on the skin or in stores.
Fortunately, if there is one thing Britney Spears knows, it is how to make a hit.
In its first year in stores, Curious didn’t just kill, it obliterated. It became a phenomenon. It was the top selling fragrance of 2004, netting over $100 million in sales. To put that in perspective, over the course of her 20-year career, Spears has sold 100 million records worldwide. By 2013, one report stated that in five years Elizabeth Arden had sold over 500 million bottles of Curious. That’s five times as many units in a quarter of the time.
The most obvious and also true explanation for this is that the perfume was good. I mean actually good. Curious has a strong, milky sillage that isn’t too cloying (where most celebrity scents employ a melted-Slurpee level of weaponized sweetness), and it lasts for hours and hours. In 2005, the scent was a finalist in the Women’s Luxe category at the Fragrance Foundation Awards (the Oscars of perfume), alongside Dior’s Pure Poison, Prada Eau de Parfum, and DKNY’s Be Delicious — which cost twice as much if not more. And Curious is still moving units: Walk into any Rite-Aid, and you’ll likely find a locked plexiglass cabinet containing a few boxes of the stuff. You can buy it on Amazon right now. Within the industry, the scent is known as a kind of magical unicorn, the sort of breakout commercial and critical hit that most corporate fragrance firms only dream of when they collaborate with a celebrity — because most celebrity scents are bad.
Britney-caliber stars often aren’t even that involved in making their namesake perfumes: their business team sends out a description of what they want (or a “brief”) and several fragrance firms compete to win the contract. Sometimes the celebrity won’t even smell the formula until it’s done. (Two notable exceptions are Sarah Jessica Parker, who has been said to be intimately involved in every step of her scent creation, and Spears, who, according to Ron Rolleston, the EVP of Global Fragrance Marketing at Revlon, made her tastes very clear throughout the process. “We sat down and talked about her likes and dislikes, colors, bottle shapes, favorite scents, and art that she found inspiring,” he says. “Britney’s love of flowers and a sensuality in scents forms the DNA of many of her fragrances.”)
When a scent goes through a big firm — Coty, Parlux, IFF, or Revlon which together rep almost every celebrity scent you’ve heard of, along with many designer ones — it is designed by a hivemind, and so much gets lost in every moment of translation that the juice that’s bottled and sold is but a weak facsimile of the original idea. The tastes of individuals are wild, but the masses are predictable (they like vanilla, peach, and chemical musk), and it is very difficult to make something transcendent when you have about 100 cooks in the kitchen. This is why so many celebrity scents smell like the same kind of playing it safe — they are like pop songs, engineered with the same backbeat.
But Britney Spears is a wild individual, and Curious has a pulse beneath its honeyed, whipped cream, jelly donut exterior. It suctions itself to the wrist and releases its essence throughout the day in gentle sighs, unfolding and changing almost elegantly. If you encountered the scent in a blind smell test, you might think it was one of those puffy, powdery Guerlain concoctions Parisian girls buy as their first signature scent. In other words, it is far better than it needed to be. Spears was (and still is) one of the best-selling pop artists of the century; her first perfume could have been pure gasoline and it would have flown off shelves, at least for a season. The fact that it has remained in production and in stores is not only a testament to Spears’ ever-regenerating star power, but to the fact that she really loves fragrance. And she just might know what she's doing.
“Perfume” in which she cheekily sang that she hoped her ex’s next girlfriend would smell the lingering traces of her scent. It was a song about marking your territory, but also about marketing it: she may have lost her man in “Perfume,” but was making a fortune on perfume.
The fact that she still is may make her an anomaly. According to recent reports, celebrity scents are on the decline. Sales of perfumes with famous faces attached peaked in 2011, and have been on the wane ever since. Cosmo reported earlier this year that big fragrance firms have stopped handing out multi-million dollar contracts to celebrities just to slap their names on a bottle, noting a dip as low as 22% in the category's sales. In the era of online retail, consumer tastes have gravitated toward designer or cult indie brands like Le Labo and Byredo, with minimalist bottles made for Instagram. A lot of buying things these days is about broadcasting that you bought them, and celebrity scents — which have always carried with them the whiff of the uncool and overeager, and a slight touch of class anxiety given their drugstore roots — have not fared well in the attention economy. Rihanna, for example, ditched her former fragrance and cosmetic endorsement deals to launch Fenty Beauty with the luxury conglomerate LVMH. This has allowed her to lord over her own mini-empire rather than lending her name to someone else's bottom line, but also to play along with the Instagram hype machine rather than operating independently of it, dependent on drugstore foot traffic.
Still, In this precarious new landscape, Britney Spears’ perfume operation has continued to thrive and innovate. Just this fall, she released Prerogative — her 24th perfume — directly into Kohl’s and Walmart stores. It also happened to be her first “gender neutral” scent. Though technically all fragrances are unisex (the difference between women’s perfume and men’s cologne is a myth cooked up to sell bottles! Anyone can wear anything! Don’t believe the lies!), Prerogative is far woodier and spicier than any of Spears’ other concoctions, relying on an unctuous amber base smothered with tangy fruit, or perhaps zesty Carolina barbecue sauce (I mean this as a compliment). Spears has been promoting the scent with as much zeal as she has all of her past offerings, flipping her ponytail in Instagram videos in a strapless metallic minidress with the hashtag #myprerogative. A few days shy of 37 years old, she is still selling fragrance with as much gusto as when she told the crowds at Macy’s to “be sexy” and buy a bottle, 14 years ago. The only difference is, consumers have spent more than $1 billion on her perfumes since then, according to a rep at Revlon. As she launches another Vegas residency (Britney: Domination hits the MGM in February 2019), Spears is proving that she remains one of the hardest working women in pop; what we don’t discuss enough is how she has been one of the hardest working women in perfume this whole time, too.
Despite all her success in the fragrance thunderdome, Spears’ perfumes have never quite tipped over into high fashion coverage or even Instagram unboxing gushery, except in secret, back-alley conversations between beauty editors and girlfriends. In a New York Times article from 2005, called “The Guilty Pleasures of Smelling Like Vanilla and Peach,” several accomplished women in their thirties bravely confessed that they (gasp!) regularly wore Curious, clarifying that they would never wear the perfume all by itself. One woman told the paper she layered the scent with one by Hermès; another said she “routinely mixes hers with more rarefied essences, a practice she likens to wearing, say, a $14.99 Zara shirt with a $900 Dolce & Gabbana skirt.” These women justified their love of the perfume by hiding it, folding it into a more expensive scentscape. All the while Britney was trying to tell us what we finally understand in 2018: There is nothing wrong with loving a $14 shirt. The Mississippi native knew her value, and potential, from a very early age — long before there would be any money to her name.
Looking back, this hand-wringing over wearing a pop star’s scent seems silly, if not plain snobby: Perfume is the most invisible of designer goods — no one ever really knows what you are wearing. So the hush-hush quality around buying Spears’ scents was never about women not wanting to admit to their friends that they wore Curious; it was about not wanting to admit this to themselves. What did it say that their signature scent came in a hot pink bottle embellished with rhinestones, and that you could buy it with your tampons and gum?
Over the years, Spears continued to churn out undeniably interesting offerings. In 2007 she released Midnight Fantasy, a spinoff of her 2005 gourmand bestseller, Fantasy, which landed a coveted four-star review in the New York Times two years later. “If Chanel No. 5 were a Jolly Rancher flavor, this would be it,” wrote perfume critic Chandler Burr. “The stuff explodes delightfully off the skin.” He also slipped in a line comparing the “neon sweet” to Britney herself, deeming her to be the human equivalent of a synthetic mango. This was right in the middle of Spears’ Circus era, the tender, vulnerable years following the buzz-cut seen round the world, and the custody battles, and the painful, public psychiatric evaluation. She was, in 2009, singing about being a side-show, about how the microscope trained on her life from the time she was a child made her feel like nothing more than a petri dish in pigtails; she was defiantly not overhoneyed, not neon dessert made flesh. Midnight Fantasy may be her best perfume, but it hit shelves during her lowest point; nothing about the caramel-toffee aroma of the juice grafts so neatly onto her personal life. By saying that it did, an esteemed critic was glomming onto the easy version of the Britney Spears story: She was not to be taken seriously.
I’ve owned Midnight Fantasy for years; it’s one of five or so celebrity scents that, if you are deep into perfumery, you just go ahead and buy because you have heard through the grapevine that they are secret gems (others include SJP’s Lovely, Kate Walsh’s Boyfriend, Rihanna’s Reb’l Fleur, Kim K’s Pure Honey, and of course, White Diamonds) — and I almost always get a compliment on it when I remember to put it on. Now, I know people say this about perfumes all the time and it’s usually hyperbole, but in this case, it’s uncanny: Whenever I have sprayed on Midnight Fantasy by Britney Spears, someone always asks me what I’m wearing, because they want it, or to buy it for someone else. I think this must be because this perfume does the thing that really sweet perfume is supposed to do, which is smell candied and warm, like there is a Nuts 4 Nuts cart around the corner.
People look down on scents like this because they are almost too easy a win; smelling like marshmallow fluff feels like cheating, or like pandering, and always like being sixteen. We want to think of ourselves, past that age, as sophisticates, and so we train our noses to despise the doughy and delicious, even though, deep down, there is a small, un-killable part of every human that would like to live inside a Cinnabon franchise at the mall, and needs to follow every faint trail of cake batter to its physical conclusion. There is a reason that Hansel and Gretel is such a persistent mythology: there but for the grace of gumdrops go I. Britney gets it; just listen to the lyrics of “Toxic.”
But it's important to refrain from melding Midnight Fantasy and Spears herself, from melting them into a taffy blob of innocence and sweetness: this is the sort of rhetoric that led to her smashing an umbrella through a car window to begin with. Spears is a survivor, above all things — and perfume is a big part of that story. Buoyed by the consistency of her Vegas residencies (arguably the best thing to happen to her, and pretty much any entertainer who takes one on) and her two sons, she fills her Instagram with inspirational quotes and giddy dances and silly struts for her friends in her cavernous house. There’s a lightness to her now, some cosmic weight removed. She seems, from the outside at least, to be happy, and she seems especially happy when she is promoting a new perfume.
There was a time, when if someone asked me what I was wearing, and it happened to be a Spears scent, my voice would go low. “It’s, um, Midnight Fantasy?” I would whisper, as if I were doing a drug deal on the street. But earlier this year, a man in line behind me for coffee asked, and I felt no compulsion to be coy about it. I told him that it was Britney, and that he could buy it at Duane Reade; he smiled, and looked relieved, mostly, to find out that the scent he wanted to purchase for his girlfriend was something affordable. And then the barista smiled too. “I love that stuff,” she said, as if unburdening herself of a long-held secret. “I just love it.”
By Rachel Syme