Two-Dimensional Woman
Tori Spelling online

The photos on Tori Spelling's Web page are dull and soulless images floating above a generic, patched-together background. Her hair is perfectly shaped. On her face is an expression that is posed and controlled for the cameraman's benefit. You could cut these photos out of their setting and paste them on the cover of any number of magazines, and nobody would know the difference.

See also...
... by Jenn Shreve
... in the Dirt section
... from November 2, 1999

Tori Spelling is just one in a sea of homogenous faces, similar careers, and endless rows of fluffy words.

We've read about Tori's many life crises while waiting, bleary-eyed, for our laundry to be done; sitting beneath a heat lamp in an over-decorated hair salon, or whiling away a Sunday afternoon on the sofa. There was the startling accusation that she'd received special treatment from her 90210-producer father, Aaron Spelling. Breasts? Made bigger. Nose? Made smaller. We recall her 90210 character's decision to lose her virginity. Drag Queens dressing like Tori. The mean-spirited Saturday Night Live skit. Her "breakout" role in The House of Yes (brought to us, it turns out, by Spelling Films studios). And lately she's taken to denouncing the horrible, nasty things "journalists" write about her in magazines.

But none of these stories -- which we've passively absorbed through the umbilical cord of our popular culture -- appear on Tori Spelling's official, personal Web site.

In Tori's virtual world, crude digital images of daisies sprout from the bottom of each garish page. Electric green, purple, and blue are the colors of choice. From her short bio, we learn that Tori likes lasagna, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Doc Martens, Emily Dickinson, Jewel, and Madonna; her tastes are not dissimilar from any other pampered, blond sorority alumni. What's new? She's in a movie called Trick. That's about it.

Her online photo album contains more vacuous poses that are supposed to be sexy. Only they're not. My favorite is not of Tori, but a murky, surreal image of her coifed, white poodle staring at the camera from atop an unmade bed.

I'm sure, and I've read, that Tori Spelling is a perfectly nice person. She'll never go on a killing spree or abuse her children. I'm sure she's as deep as one might expect from someone who's never had to think about money a single day in her 26 years. I'm sure she's rather attractive with the makeup off, the lights dimmed, naturally posed. People are remarking, with unmuffled gasps of surprise, that she's "actually good" in her latest role. I'm happy for her.

But are Tori's life and look interesting? I'm afraid they are not. It's a fact that her Web site, perhaps inadvertently, alludes to with its graceless, staccato sentences listing the perfunctory and well-documented facts of Tori's existence; the sterile digital feel to each computer-generated page; and the two-dimensional images of a woman who no longer looks like herself.

Jenn Shreve is a freelance writer in San Francisco and a media columnist for

Celebrity Web site reviews run each Tuesday on GettingIt.