Is Jonah Hill Founding a New Age-y Streetwear Cult?
You may have seen erstwhile Real Housewife Lisa Rinna and the actor-director Jonah Hill—sporting an iffy, shoulder-length curly wig—sitting courtside together at a Lakers game last week, and figured just another day in Hollywood. But their matching pastel sweatsuits and mirrored wraparound sunglasses? Odd, you may have thought. And the gaggle of devotees waiting outside the Crypto.com Arena wearing similar highlighter-hued sweatsuits? What’s going on here, exactly?
The answer, such as it is, is that Hill has a new venture, or at least, a new marketing stunt, that he’s undertaking. The sweats that he and Rinna were wearing are branded with the name Meaningful Existence, described on its website as “a spiritual community and wellness company, founded and ruled with complete unrelenting control by Prophet Ezekiel Profit. The brand is based on Profit’s world-famous teaching: money can buy you happiness.” The site currently lists a presale for a $40 ringspun cotton T-shirt that reads “Meaningful Existence” on the front and “Complete Unrelenting Control” on the back, available in a trio of colors with woo-woo names like “Black Vortex” and “Celestial Milk.” Hill, who has been cultivating a ginormous beard, is playing the role of the Prophet. As for you, the consumer, your body is not a temple. It is an ATM.
The brand’s Instagram account, meanwhile, currently follows only one person: Rinna, who on her account posted a photo of her and the wig-wearing Hill. Underneath that photo, the actress and charming social media presence January Jones commented: “We are Bound to him for 10 billion years. Will follow him anywhere.” This sounds a lot like the symbolic billion-year contract signed by members of the Church of Scientology’s Sea Organization, a high-ranking religious order of the notorious Los Angeles church.
To paraphrase the writer Lauren Michele Jackson on Lana Del Ray: One thing about Jonah Hill is that he’s a bit of a silly goose. He loves to make jokes. He is also, as someone who moved to Malibu to devote himself to surfing and recently made a documentary about his therapist, no doubt familiar with the highly profitable wellness industry in Los Angeles—and its vast landscape consumerism-centric lifestyle brands, multi-level healing schemes, and logo-heavy athleisure—as well as the allure of Californian mysticism. (See also: the internet’s fascination with pricy health food grocery chain Erewhon, purveyor of “botanicals” hawked by celebrities and TikTok-viral $17 smoothies containing brand-name ingredients called “adaptogens.”) LA wellness culture is sort of a svelte, neurotic offshoot of LA happiness culture, which is headquartered just a short drive away at the Happiest Place on Earth. The sweatpants Hill and Rinna wore to the game bore the brand’s name rendered in the classic Disney font.
Meanwhile, as he shared in a letter published in Deadline last summer, the actor recently stepped back from doing press around his latest films (including the aforementioned documentary, Stutz.) It’s unclear if there’s a motive beyond the gag here—if there is some broader, well, meaning behind Meaningful Existence. Hill, a longtime enthusiast of some of the best mellow clothing Los Angeles has ever seen, has yet to explicitly reveal anything about the brand’s purpose as it relates to spoofing the toxicities of wellness and celebrity culture. But, as the Prophet Ezekiel Profit probably wouldn’t say, all in due time.
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