Entertainment

'Hacks' Star Meg Stalter Explains Kim Kardashian's 2022 Met Gala Look

The comedian has a lot of thoughts about Kim wearing Marilyn Monroe's dress on this year's Gilded Glamour-themed red carpet.

Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist
Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist
Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist

On HBO Max’s Hacks, Meg Stalter’s character Kayla doesn’t know much about the entertainment industry. Even though she’s an assistant at her father’s talent agency, which manages big clients like the veteran comic played by Jean Smart, it’s clear that she doesn’t care much about the gig. In fact, she’d rather not work at all.

Stalter, on the other hand, is a bit of a pop-culture fiend. In addition to her Hacks role, the comedian is known for her stand-up and her hilarious internet impressions that touch on everything from Che Diaz on And Just Like That… and Christy Carlson Romano’s YouTube channel to actresses “being quirky” on red carpets-and the clips couldn’t be more accurate.

While Stalter frequently gives spot-on takes about what’s trending, one of her biggest fascinations is the way that so many people are intoxicated by stardom. “​​Everyone is so obsessed with fame, which seems scary and bad,” she says. “It doesn’t mean anything to me, but I’m obsessed with other people’s obsession with it.” Because of that, she’s intrigued by the way so many of us collectively follow one of the biggest nights in celebrity fashion: the Met Gala. “Everyone has an opinion on the Met Gala looks-people in Ohio are making TikToks about the Met Gala looks,” Stalter exclaims.

Since her pop-culture knowledge and interest in the way people dissect the annual Met fundraiser runs deep, Thrillist had Stalter explain the event to us, specifically one of the most-discussed looks of the night. As a big fan of Kim Kardashian, too-someone she thinks is secretly very funny-Stalter had a lot of thoughts on how the reality star repurposed the 1962 Jean Louis dress that Marilyn Monroe notoriously wore to sing “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy.

GWR/Star Max/GC Images
GWR/Star Max/GC Images
GWR/Star Max/GC Images

The Met Gala

In the most basic of terms, the Met Gala is an annual event where famous people dress in extravagant ensembles and gather at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan to raise money for its Costume Institute. Fans can follow the red-carpet arrivals on social media and E!, but the cameras quit flashing once everybody steps inside, save for a few Instagram posts from the celebs themselves. Because the poors (aka the fans who will never get to go) don’t see what goes on at the actual event, it’s sort of unclear what really happens-which is where Stalter’s obsession with the event really lies.

I wanted to talk about the Met Gala because I feel like I shouldn’t be afraid to say that we don’t know what it is, what really goes on. What goes on in the Met Gala? I feel like I’ve talked to people that have gone there and I can’t get an answer of what actually happens. Like, I know what it is, but what really is it or what goes on once they’re inside?

To be honest, what I wish happened was everyone in the room had to sing a really earnest song or something, like a one-minute song. Every celebrity, every designer just sings one little song. Kim Kardashian, I think, would phone it in with “Happy Birthday,” but then in the middle, she would make it funny. She wouldn’t want to go for it at first, but she would laugh and everybody would be laughing. I know that’s not what happens, though. It’s probably a bunch of speeches or something.

Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Kim Kardashian’s choice to wear Marilyn Monroe’s dress

For the 2022 Met Gala, themed “Gilded Glamour,” Kardashian arrived in a dress-sketched by Bob Mackie and made by the late French costumer Jean Louis-that belonged to Marilyn Monroe. The actress wore it only once, in 1962, when she performed “Happy Birthday to You” at John F. Kennedy’s birthday party. For a number of reasons, it ended up being one of the most talked-about looks of the gala.

People were really emotionally affected by [Kim’s] decision to wear the Marilyn Monroe dress, and offended that Kim would compare herself to Marilyn Monroe. But if you think about it, the treatment they both have gotten [has been similar]. I’m not saying Kim Kardashian is this century’s Marilyn Monroe-but I do understand where it’s like, “God, we treated her horribly. We’re treating Kim horrible.” It’s like the hate never stops for women!

I think that no one should have that much money-it should be illegal for sure [laughs]-but I’m also like, she came up with a cool idea! People just hate her for it. Even though Kim has gotten so much hate for her looks, people are always talking about her every Met Gala. Last year was the all-black silhouette look. As much as people hated on it, you’re all talking about it, and that’s her point.

How Kim acquired Marilyn’s dress

One reason Kardashian wearing the Monroe gown was so newsworthy was because of how fragile the dress is. It’s now worth nearly $5 million and needed to be extracted from a museum. Stalter happens to be just as obsessed with the museum it came from, a tourist spot that also gave Kardashian a (possibly fake) lock of Monroe’s hair.

[The dress] was in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum, which I love the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum! [laughs] We used to vacation in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, every year and they have, like, Bible-music dinner theater and strips of different weird aquariums and museums like that, but I would always beg to go to Ripley’s every year, even though we’d just gone the last year. It takes 20 minutes to get through. I feel like I’ve seen [the Marilyn Monroe dress] before in the case!

I don’t know what [Kim needed to do to get it]. It’s crazy that Marilyn was the last to wear it and that it’s been in a museum. It probably feels wild to wear that. The material feels probably worn. I can’t believe it didn’t fall to pieces! 

[If they gave Marilyn’s hair to me,] I would say, “You shouldn’t give it to me. I’m going to lose it. Someone else should hold onto this. I don’t think I should be responsible.” I don’t know what I would do with it. I don’t think I’d do anything. I’d lose it for sure.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

The Gilded Glamour theme

The Met has a theme every year and invites attendees to dress accordingly. This year’s was “Gilded Glamour,” calling back to the luxurious style of the early-20th-century Gilded Age. Kardashian’s look was, arguably, not at all on-theme, considering it was a sparkly, formfitting gown from the early ’60s. Kardashian apparently had the idea to wear the gown around the 2021 Met Gala, which had the theme “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” but why she didn’t wear it last year is unclear.

The one thing [about Kim’s look is that it wasn’t on-theme]. Why did she think that fit the theme? That is the problem. I would say that I think that the theme is like Bridgerton. It’s bustles, skirts, corsets. It’s big, big, curly hair. It’s like Little Bo-Peep! A lot of people seem like they did it like Old Hollywood, and that wasn’t really the theme either.

It’s strange, but then again, everyone’s obsessed with what everyone’s wearing, but isn’t it the designer’s design? The [celebrities] get like, “I can’t believe she wore that! Oh, you’re not hitting the theme,” but isn’t it the designers who picked what they wear?

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

The Pete Davidson of it all

Rumors started swirling that Kardashian and Davidson were an item last fall when they were spotted in his hometown of Staten Island, and it was confirmed shortly after. While their relationship has been all over the news, considering he’s her first known partner following her divorce from Kanye West, the couple didn’t actually make their red-carpet debut until the Met Gala.

Some people still think it’s a publicity relationship. I want to think that it’s real because I am romantic, and he seems fun. She’s so funny, it feels like! She did such a good job on SNL, and the family from the show seems like they’re silly and have a sense of humor. I feel like [Kim and Pete] seem like they’d be a fun match, kind of opposites. I think that it was fun [that they made their red-carpet debut at the Met].

People are always like, “Oh, I don’t get it” with Pete. Well, he’s hot and he’s funny and he seems nice. What do you mean you don’t get it? They’re like, “Oh, he dates the most beautiful woman in the world.” It’s like, “Yeah, but he’s also hot and funny and seems nice.” For someone who has a hard time connecting to straight men [laughs], I feel like I would like him! He seems funny and chill and down-to-earth, and god, that’s the best you can ask for in this town! A guy that’s down-to-earth? It seems like he is! I ship it.

The controversy

Kardashian’s choice to wear the dress didn’t come without blowback. Some were generally frustrated that the fashion mogul/reality star wore the late Hollywood legend’s garment, and some took issue with the fact that she told Vogue she lost a lot of weight in a short period of time-16 pounds in three weeks-in order to fit into the piece.

If there’s any problem with any of this, it would be [Kim’s weight loss to fit into the dress]. Why are we putting pressure on ourselves to fit into clothing when you can get something else to wear?

[The other controversy that] I saw was like, “Well, Marilyn was the last to wear it,” and now the magic of Marilyn not wearing it is gone. But to be honest, I think it was a cool idea. I don’t think it fit the theme. I don’t think she had to lose weight; I don’t think we should ever make ourselves lose weight to get into clothes-that part’s really hard-but we can’t tell people what to do with their bodies.

It’s hard when people feel disconnected because they have such a different life than other people. It’s hard to be like, “Yeah, you guys probably shouldn’t have this much money.” But also, the way we treat women and the hate they’ve gotten, people act like, “Oh my god, we would never treat someone the way that they treated Marilyn Monroe,” but then you treat women that way now, too, and you don’t even see it. I think that they’re silly! Kim had a cool, interesting idea that didn’t fit the theme, but that I liked that she did that. I also understand the people that were offended, but I think Marilyn Monroe wouldn’t mind that she wore it.

HBO Max
HBO Max
HBO Max

What Meg Stalter would wear to the Met Gala

Despite not getting invited to the Met, Stalter has thought about what she would wear. Here’s hoping Vogue and Anna Wintour, who coordinate the event, get her on the guest list next year.

I’ve never been invited to the Met. If I was invited, I would beg the designer to do some sort of big joke. I think it’d be funny to come in an American flag bikini with a big hat [laughs]. It would also be funny if I made my costume myself-like it’s out of tissue paper and I kept lying about the designer who made it, making up names like, “Oh, this is from Maraschino Cherry in Paris. She worked so hard on this big dress!” 

I love this stuff and watching it, but it is fun to make fun of. Even if I was invited, I’d find a way to make fun, too, because don’t we make fun of the things that we are and what we love? It’s so nice to have a sense of humor about yourself. I can’t imagine being at a place like that and not laughing a little bit over taking it all so seriously.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Sadie Bell is the entertainment associate editor at Thrillist. She’s on Twitter and Instagram.

Entertainment

'Top Gun: Maverick' Is the Perfect Adrenaline Rush

Tom Cruise's sequel brings the charms of the original classic into the modern era.

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

What does it take to make a great action drama? Fighter jets. Kenny Loggins music. Tom Cruise. In 1986, Top Gun, perhaps the ultimate “guys being dudes” action movie set within a training school for the Navy’s best fighter pilots, patented this formula, and added in a bunch of sweaty guys playing beach volleyball and an iconic love scene to seal the deal. Top Gun‘s massive popularity made the announcement of a sequel seem the most natural thing in the world, if not the most exciting: an elder Tom Cruise handing the reins off to a new generation of elite actors. If that’s what you’re expecting, you’re in for a surprise. Top Gun is a classic. Top Gun: Maverick does everything Top Gun did and more.

It’s been thirty-six years since Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) completed his TOPGUN program, but he’s far from the decorated officer he was destined to become by the end of the first movie. He’s dodged every promotion he could dodge, working as a test pilot flying hypersonic stealth jets for the military, but the specter of unmanned drones looms ever closer, spelling the end for an entire era of warfare. Not so fast, though-Maverick is called back to a certain fighter training school as an instructor, tasked with putting together a team of the best of the best to complete a bombing run involving some absurdly complex flying maneuvers at high speed much too close to the ground in enemy territory. If you will, an impossible mission.

The new crop of airmen, now flying F/A-18 Hornets instead of F-14 Tomcats, are kids in Maverick’s eyes, and he shows up to teach them what’s what, inventing training exercises to test their mettle and teach them how to fly as a team. It’s not going to be easy, with the egos of pilots like “Hangman” (Glen Powell), “Fanboy” (Danny Ramirez), “Coyote” (Greg Tarzan Davis) and “Phoenix” (Monica Barbaro) repeatedly clashing as they struggle to work together. And there are two more problems: He only has a few weeks to train these kiddos up to fly a mission from which they might not all return, and one of his students, sullen Lieutenant Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), is the son of Maverick’s old flying partner Goose, who tragically died in the first movie. Not to mention reconnecting with an old flame, single mother Penny (Jennifer Connelly), who manages the local bar and is not about to fall yet again for a guy who’s left her more than once. You see where this is going.

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

The movie begins with a collection of the greatest hits of its predecessor, including but not limited to a montage of jets landing on an aircraft carrier lit by the golden light of the sun, Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone,” and Maverick defying orders to do something with an aircraft that nobody’s ever done before. This is, after all, a movie that will have more than a few similarities to the one that came before. After that, though, the engines kick into gear (I apologize if this car metaphor doesn’t also work for planes), and Top Gun: Maverick starts to try out a few new tricks.

The interpersonal relationships between the characters are fun and fully realized (Maverick’s perpetual battle of egos with his commanding officer, a Vice Admiral known as “Cyclone” (Jon Hamm) is a highlight) and there’s just enough downtime between white-knuckle action to really get to know everyone. The sweaty beach game returns, but the macho posturing is toned down, given that we live in a new millennium and one of the main pilots is a woman. Val Kilmer reprises his “Iceman” for a touching scene. All of this is complemented by unbelievable flying sequences that will genuinely leave you breathless, each lightning-fast dogfight game and training simulation grander and faster than the last. This is the type of film to see as big and loud as possible.

But, as the original was, Top Gun: Maverick is also simply a straight-up great time at the movies. It makes the act of being a good movie look like the easiest thing in the world, with director Joseph Kosinski showing off everything he’s got. (Yes, you should give Tron: Legacy another shot.) Because “the enemy” is never named, as in the first movie, it is comfortably apolitical (if you disregard the fact that the jets Maverick eventually goes up against are Russian, and what a boon the original Top Gun was for U.S. military recruitment programs), and even though the whole movie is working towards a life-or-death wartime mission, it never forgets that its purpose is to thrill and excite. Great action movies aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Like a good wingman, Top Gun: Maverick swoops in to save the day.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Emma Stefansky is a staff entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @stefabsky.

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