Blonde, beautiful and famous, but complicated

When Madonna emerged on the platinum pop scene, she was already there. Beautiful and blonde, sharing the top of the English charts with “new waves”, “new romantics,” and the like, such as Adam and The Ants, The Police, Soft Cell, Human League, and Roxy Music, with Brian Eno.

But don’t despair if you can’t find her sonorous name in your music memory chips.

Kim Wilde, 30, never really walked in step with the winds of popularity. Her career can be called a true antidote to the Madonna fever that has swept the world. And yet, she has been on the road for twelve fruitful years. Her latest album, ‘Love is’, is hitting stores all over Brazil this week, in a launch almost simultaneous with England and the rest of the world.

On the cover, Kim says it all. A subtly red floral print dress hides a healthy little body that has done everything to not accept its beauty, while full lips jump from a wild blonde mane without much dye retouching. Inside, well… inside, a series of pop-romantic songs that do not surpass the interest of the story of their interpreter in any chord. It’s not a serious case of “forget the record and read the biography,” but it’s pretty close.

Wilde emerged, with her long coveted legs in early 80’s England. Her first single, “Kids in America,” dethroned many “invincibles” of the time such as Bucks Fizz, The Specials, and Smokey Robinson. For five more songs, she remained on the favorites list of the Kingdom of Elisabeth, between ’81 and ’84. And as much as she was averse to image appeals, it didn’t take long for her to give in to the media’s look, becoming the queen of ultra-tight cotton lycra jumpsuits in the era of fake blondes, like Nina Hagen, Annie Lennox, and… of course, Madonna.

Under the guidance of the boys from XL, who dressed Pet Shop Boys from head to toe, Kim created for herself a post-punk parallelism with the goddess Barbarella, which Jane Fonda played in Roger Vadim’s cult sci-fi. Result: the English hated it and the German cinephiles worshiped her like a sinister bibelot.

Signed to a major label, MCA, since 1985, Wilde has seen many label colleagues elevated to the highest pop pedestal over the course of these seven mystical years, only to be duly dethroned. Among them were The Damned, Holly Johnson, and the recently dismissed and newly disbanded Tranvision Vamp, by Wendy James (another “fake” blonde). Meanwhile, calm on the outside, turbulent on the inside, she remained firm in the “cast” of the label as if she were an icon or even an old piece of furniture that, even without reaching its peak in the musical offerings market, no one had the courage to get rid of.

And from an album deserving of a Platinum Disc in the UK (‘Close’), the lady plummeted to the miserable 30,000 units sold of the following (‘Love Moves’).

The reasons? The Madonna myth itself explains. “It’s awful to think that a record on which I worked so hard didn’t sell because my image wasn’t appealing,” Kim recently revealed. In part, this is a good truth. In the midst of the dictatorship of music videos, the once-long blond had allowed herself to turn into Claudinha Gimenez. And with all the love that can only be given to the buyers of Só Fofas [a brand of clothing], it’s hard to imagine high sales for a record more suited for an aerobic workout playlist than anything else, sung and composed by a plump ex-sexy, ex-symbol, ex-blonde. To make things worse, she had left the image of a discreet fake blonde for that of an almost true brunette, just as Madonna took the lead in the charts with her fatal outfit, based on the mystique of Marilyn Monroe.

“I wanted to gain weight to create a barrier between myself and the world, but I didn’t realize that. I was pushing men away because I no longer believed that romantic relationships had a future,” says the singer, who claims to have recorded the unsuccessful ‘Love Moves’ under the impact of a conjugal separation. “Every pop star has a body. I wanted to destroy mine. I didn’t want to live off the obvious sexuality of being blonde. At the time, my personal life was nothing but a total breakdown. So I decided to review myself to find out what was wrong. And I found the image of a sexy blonde with whom my music couldn’t compete, no matter how good it was,” she explains.

But the time of lean cows, I mean, fat cows, seems to have passed. “All the pieces started coming together again this year. It was a slow and gradual process that took two years. Someone had to tell me that I was fat because, of course, I looked in the mirror and didn’t see it. I knew I had to overcome my fear of composing, and that this would be my big breakthrough. Now, for the first time, I feel that I don’t want to change anything else about myself,” prophesizes the singer who only doesn’t sign two of the ten tracks on “Love is”. Will she change? Judging by the Kim Basinger-esque cover of the record, she better not. Judging by the repertoire… Shall we talk about brunettes or mulattas?