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How Olivia Wilde reinvented herself

Olivia Wilde has been trying to make herself happen for going on ten years, and until this summer, it seemed like a project doomed to fail.

Wilde's background is fairly interesting -- she's the daughter of the journalists Leslie and Andrew Myles Cockburn (Wilde is a stage name, taken from Oscar); she's a family friend of the late Christopher Hitchens and a graduate of Andover and studied acting in Dublin. She was married for a time to an Italian prince. Presumably, she has stories to tell, and given Hollywood's willingness to keep putting her in movies, she has some agency in determining what her career looks like.

So why is it that Wilde -- who appeared in five films last year; name one! -- is so, for lack of a better word, basic?

Basic, as most commonly used to describe public figures, is defined by Urban Dictionary as "used to describe someone devoid of defining characteristics that might make a person interesting, extraordinary, or just simply worth devoting time or attention to." Justin Timberlake, for instance, was not basic; the other four members of *N SYNC were, to one degree or another.

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