Cat Marnell, you wild minx. Look at you making a scene on the red carpet. Always one to draw attention to her drug use, Cat Marnell showed up at the Paper Nightlife Awards last night looking like a hot mess. And this isn't being critical — the former beauty editor certainly knows how to apply lipstick and deliberately chose to get messy, drawing "CHINESE DEMOCRACY" (a not-very-well-received Guns N' Roses album from 2008) on her arms, and wearing a ripped and tattered slip. Whether she was commenting on how the media coverage of her addictive behavior was beating her down, or that she revels in her "messed-up-ness," it didn't matter: She's Cat Marnell, and she loves being scrutinized.
Or, so her appearance suggests. Marnell seems to love to be hated for her addict behavior, which she encouraged by quitting her job, because she "couldn't spend another summer meeting deadlines behind a computer at night when I could be on the rooftop of Le Bain looking for shooting stars and smoking angel dust with my friends" or writing columns called "Amphetamine Logic." (Or, say, showing up at media events purposefully looking the way a '90s Courtney Love might have on accident.)
The reason that people keep coming back for more Marnell is because, gosh darnit, she's good. She's clever and talented, and has a knack for drawing in devotees (whether they're there to love or hate her). And despite what this ragamuffin outfit might suggest, people don't hate her — they (VICE, New York Mag, even us) markedly state, again and again, what a smart writer she is and how funny she can be, despite her very open battle with drug addiction.
Photo: PAUL BRUINOOGE/Patrick McMullan