I think I’ve been girl crushing on Gwen Stefani for the better part of my life. Tragic Kingdom was one of the first albums I ever owned, and I spent many of my high school years hanging out in my room jumping around to the song ”Just a Girl.” (It is still the ONLY song I will karaoke.) Over the years, Gwen’s genuine lyrics, her electric on-stage presence, undeniable style and untiring ambition makes her one of the women I most admire and my number one girl crush!
Let’s start with the inception of my girl crush: No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom. I remember seeing the video for “Just a Girl” and wondering, who’s that girl?! She GETS ME! At the time, I’d been mad at my parents because it seemed my younger brother got to do things I just wasn’t allowed to do — because I was a girl. You know, like drive late at night. When I bought the album, I realized I related to a lot of Gwen’s lyrics from “Sunday Morning” to “Excuse Me, Mr.” to ”Don’t Speak.” While other people still sought out grunge music for emotional release, I was all about the ska-flavored, female-fronted No Doubt.
It’s widely known that Gwen uses her personal experiences to inform her lyrics (“Don’t Speak” is about the ending of her long relationship with the band’s bassist, Tony Kanal), and when I started my own personal experiences with dating and relationships, I turned to Gwen. This may be why Return of Saturn, the band’s second album, is my favorite album of all time. The lyrics are mostly about her relationships (past and then present with Gavin Rossdale) as well as her trying to navigate her future. My favorite song is “Home Now,” which is about a long-distance relationship — something I’ve related to often over the years. And though Gwen had been writing the lyrics for No Doubt for years, Return of Saturn had the first song she wrote on guitar. The song “Simple Kind of Life” is one of Gwen’s most intimate songs, and the video (directed by No Doubt favorite Sophie Muller) is beautiful:
And let’s talk about how Gwen’s live show! She jumps, kicks, dances, and does push-ups among other things. No wonder her abs are so glorious. She seriously puts her all into the live shows for her fans, and though I’ve seen No Doubt several times, she and the band deliver a fantastic show every single time. They are my favorite band to see live! When Gwen starts jumping during the end of “Spiderwebs” and the whole stadium is jumping with her while the guitars are blaring the notes? That’s called FUN.
Since the beginning of No Doubt’s fame, Gwen’s style has been an inspiration not only to myself, but to a legion of girls around the globe. It’s no wonder that in 2004 she started her own fashion line called L.A.M.B., or “Love Angel Music Baby.” At first, it was just a collaboration with LeSportsac for some handbags, but quickly turned into her own brand of apparel and subsequently purses and shoes. Her more affordable line, Harajuku Lovers, has cute graphic tees and purses, too. Plus, you heard about her latest children’s line? Here’s me showing my Gwen-love at one of their shows two years ago, holding up some No Doubt merch and wearing a L.A.M.B. hoodie:
I actually got to attend the first L.A.M.B. fashion show in 2004 at Roseland Ballroom, and I have a show-only hoodie from the giftbag that is one of my most cherished items. Every year her runway show is beautiful, and not really about current trends but about what Gwen likes and designs. She also likes to put her own lyrics into the clothes (thus the reason I have a shirt with the lyric “barren wasted heart” from “Home Now”). Unlike many celebrity designers, she has a real input into her clothing line and the fashion industry takes it seriously. She’s been sewing her own dresses since she was a kid, too.
The 42-year-old Gwen has also struck a balance with her music and fashion careers and her personal life with her husband Gavin Rossdale and their two sons, Kingston and Zuma. Though she’s sometimes jetsetting all around the world, she seems to make time for her family. Just this past weekend, Gwen was tweeting on the official No Doubt twitter about wanting to make out with Gavin, as she was on the way to his show in London (see also: the song “Making Out” on Rock Steady). That photo at the top of this page is what she posted of herself at the show later that night!
I can’t even go on about her solo albums, her ombre pink wedding dress, my favorite looks of hers — there’s just too much! Gwen has a certain kind of classiness that I aspire to, as she always seems nice, genuine, individualistic and looking great. Next up for Gwen? A No Doubt album in 2012, the next collections for her fashion lines and who knows what else up her multi-talented sleeves!
Do you girl crush Gwen? Have a favorite song or show you went to? What do you think of L.A.M.B.?