2012's Biggest Transformations
A look at the most dramatic changes - - in people, places and things - - of the past year
Written by The Editors of DuJour
2012's Biggest Transformations
2012's Biggest Transformations
Beyonce Gets Even Bigger
Formerly just an insanely talented megastar married to another insanely talented megastar, in 2012 the singer and actress became a first-time mother (Blue Ivy arrived in January) and then a “global partner” with Pepsi, a deal said to be worth $50 million. Up next on the seemingly endless upward trajectory that is Mrs. Jay-Z's life? In January, she stars in the halftime show at January's Super Bowl in New Orleans and in February in her own HBO documentary, which, naturally, the superwoman also directed and produced.
Marissa Meyer Adds ! To Yahoo!
It was a shock to the tech and business worlds when in July Marissa Mayer, best known as Google’s 20th employee and an essential part of the Mountain View juggernaut's success, jumped ship to become CEO of the once-hot, now-not Yahoo! Pregnant with her first child when she took the gig, the 37-year-old was heralded as a savior for the company. So far, she's unveiled major overhauls to Yahoo! products, including its all-important email service. But whether she can pull off the ultimate corporate transformation—turn Yahoo! into a verb and raises its revenues—remains to be seen.
The TV Morning Show Race Heats Up
From Michael Strahan's filling Regis Philbin's vacant seat next to Kelly Ripa, Savannah Guthrie and Willie Geist joining (and Ann Curry tearfully and dramatically leaving) Today, and the unprecedented ratings upset that Good Morning America has staged against archival Today, 2012 has been a wild year for the formerly-sleepy morning TV scene. And things are about to get even crazier: Former Today honcho Jeff Zucker is taking over CNN, and he's rumored to be rounding up talent of his own (including, possibly, Curry) for the all-news network to make a grab for the hundreds of millions of ad dollars at stake. Americans, brace yourselves for some caffeine-free excitement in the A.M. hours.
Alexander Wang Is Chosen
A longtime favorite for the cutting-edge style set, Taiwanese-American designer Alexander Wang got a much higher profile at the end of this year, thanks to a December appointment to occupy the top design spot at legendary French couture house Balenciaga. So what does the move mean? Wang will continue to helm his own business, making luxe garments for the fashionable masses, but he'll create two Balenciaga collections a year—which means producing plenty of big-ticket “It” items—and standing under a new, brighter and harsher spotlight than he ever has before.
Hillary Clinton Acquires An Air of Mystery
The biggest transformation for Secretary of State Clinton—that she’ll be vacating her position as the nation's top diplomat—won't actually happen until after the inauguration in January. But the bigger underlying change for the former First Lady has already begun: She's turned from a stable national figure in our lives and in the Obama administration into an unknown quantity. Will she run for president in 2016? Or mayor of New York City? Will she—hey, Chelsea!—become a grandmother in the meantime? Who knows?! But we’ll all be watching.
MySpace Faces the Music
In 2012, 2003's favorite social networking site re-launched as a hub for musicians and their fans. But will it work? The jury's still out, but in the rapidly changing landscape of social networking, anything's possible. But this time, MySpacers, cool it with the hyper-styled self-portrait avatars of you staring off into the distance.
Kate Moss - and YSL - Get a New Bag
After years without showing in the it-bag competition, YSL, or, excuse us, Saint Laurent Paris has emerged victorious with its new Duffle 12 bag, which seemed to be carried exclusively by Kate Moss. That makes sense, in a way, since Moss herself had a bit of a transformation this year: At the age of 38, she attained living legend status with the publication of coffee-table volume Kate: The Kate Moss Book.
Talk to the Hands
At this year's Golden Globes, Zooey Deschanel graced the red carpet with kitschy, mini-tuxedos on her claws — and in an instant, the manicure game was changed. Katy Perry flashed a politically-charged Obamanicure; a crazy fan wore nails that paid tribute to Beyonce's baby. In 2012, the new platform for artistic expression was unequivocally the nail. Twitter? So 2011.
Anne Hathaway Rebounds
The past five years haven't been easy for Hathaway. In 2008, her then-fiance, Raffaelo Follieri, was convicted of fraud; in 2011, she and James Franco were panned for their awkward, manic stint as Oscar cohosts. But now the former Devil's apprentice seems like she'll be headed back to the Kodak Theatre in 2013—as a nominee for her role in Les Miserables. But while Hathaway, also the latest Catwoman in the summer blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises, made the jump from promising starlet to leading lady this year, the transformation we liked the most may be a follicular one: the gamine cut she got for Les Mis.
Ben Affleck: A True Hollywood Story
Much has been made of Ben Affleck’s resurrection—the boy-genius Oscar winner turned J. Lo plaything and ho-hum Hollywood dad emerged in 2012 as his generation’s most promising director with the film Argo. But that doesn’t make his turnabout any less true or interesting. Affleck has proven himself to be a cinematic force to be reckoned with, and 2013 will bring surely exciting new projects from the onetime Gigli star—and better seats at the Oscars.
Lena Dunham and Mindy Kaling Bring the Funny Back to TV
Girls creator and omnipresent cultural sweetheart Lena Dunham came into 2012 like a wallflower—and she’s going out like the czarina of comedy. Her show captivated critics and fans alike, and her forthcoming nonfiction book was sold for a rumored $3 million. Hot on her heels is Mindy Kaling, the one-time supporting player of The Office and herself a bestselling author. She staged a media blitz in advance of new series The Mindy Project, and alongside Dunham, she's established herself as one of the new first ladies of American comedy.
Channing Tatum and Jennifer Lawrence Break Into the A-List
Box-office success or respect? Actors typically have to settle for one or the other. This year, Channing Tatum and Jennifer Lawrence got to enjoy both. Tatum alone had three hits—Dear John, 21 Jump Street and Magic Mike—earning kudos for the comic chops he showed in the last two. Then he was crowned with the title of "World’s Sexiest Man" from People magazine. Lawrence, already an indie darling thanks to 2010’s Winter’s Bone, showed by playing Katniss in The Hunger Games (the first in a franchise) that she could carry a Hollywood blockbuster. In the fall, she got rave reviews with her starring role in David O. Russell’s sweet, slightly unhinged drama Silver Linings Playbook.
A Museum Makes a Winning Move
Art collector extraordinaire Albert Barnes’ will stipulated his billion-dollar art collection not be moved from its suburban Philadelphia home, and its planned relocation into the city led to a decade-long kerfuffle. But when the doors of the new, well-lit, well-designed (although reportedly still cramped) museum opened in May, the relocation of one of America’s most important collections was met with surprising approval.
James Bond’s Support Staff Gets Young and Sexy
In Skyfall, one of the year's most successful films and the most successful James Bond film ever, MI6 got an overhaul. Bond mainstays, tech whiz Q and secretary Miss Moneypenny, got new life breathed into them by up-and-coming British actors Ben Whishaw and Naomie Harris. Skyfall was truly satisfying—but please, don't ever make us wait four years again for the next Bond.