When you type "Amal Clooney" into Google's search bar, the first three suggestions that come up are "Amal Clooney wedding," "Amal Clooney wedding dress," and "Amal Clooney style." But despite America's fervent attempts to see Clooney as a classic celebrity, making headlines because of a certain last name, she continues to transcend our inanity with remarkable poise.
Kat Stoeffel at The Cut points out that ever since Clooney, well, married George Clooney, People magazine has begun covering the issues that Clooney fights for as a human rights lawyer. The Elgin Marbles, once a topic reserved for circles of archaeologists and historians, are now a household term. And People has covered more than just the artifacts, too: Stoeffel points out People's articles about Clooney's role in the Armenian genocide trial and her defense of an imprisoned Al Jazeera journalist in Egypt.
There's no shortage of articles about Clooney's flawless style. Her over-it attitude at the Golden Globes was upstaged only by the reportedly DIY white gloves she paired with her Dior dress. But try as reporters might, Clooney refuses to indulge questions about her fashion sense. When a Brussels reporter asked Clooney what she was wearing during the Armenian genocide trial, she responded that she was wearing Ede and Ravenscroft — an English company that makes legal robes. Feminists hailed her response, but Clooney wasn't trying to be particularly sassy in her answer; she was there to do her job, and hordes of paparazzi were standing in her way, because of her name.
Stoeffel jokes that Clooney "was built in a lab in order to make dumb, celebrity-obsessed Americans care about international affairs." It's great that her wedding to George Clooney has had that effect — but if it hadn't, Clooney wouldn't care, and that's exactly what makes her so great.
Clooney isn't an admirable celebrity for the way she responds to questions about things like fashion — she's admirable because she rises above them. We live in an age where brutal honesty is a valued characteristic in celebrities. Comedians tell stories about being fat-shamed by their kids or having their outfits judged by their parents.
It would be easy for Clooney to write an open letter asking media figures to stop asking her about the clothes she wears in court, or to take to Twitter and craft a strongly-worded response to Kathy Griffin's comment that her white gloves resembled something from a "porn scene." But she doesn't.
No matter how many articles, whether positive or negative, are written about her style, Clooney just keeps doing her job. As George Clooney's wife, she surely would never need to work again, if she didn't want to. And the media, undoubtedly, would love if she embraced the role of celebrity wholeheartedly — speaking to reporters at awards shows, sharing her beauty tricks with women's magazines, and the like.
But the most impressive thing is that Clooney has never spoken out against the celebrity lifestyle, never calling it vapid or beneath her. This starves the media of controversy and has the happy effect of actually focusing it, ever so slightly, on her actual work. Like representing the "hooded men" who claim they were tortured and held without trial in Northern Ireland in 1971.
Or representing Armenia against Turkey in a case involving the Armenian Genocide.
Or working towards the release of Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy, who is being held in Egypt under dubious charges. She reportedly requested a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi earlier this month to lobby for his freedom.
See what she did there?