While it's possible this can be correctly said about most celebrities, I know one in particular I can say it about with conviction: Nicole Richie is the human embodiment of "YOLO."
It's a cheesy and already somewhat dated piece of Internet vernacular, yes. But I've been analyzing the woman's tweets for a few days — okay, make that months — and let me tell you, she is living. Is that to say you can tell a person's truth from their Twitter? No. I don't know her story; I don't know her truth; I don't, in fact, know Nicole Richie at all. But I feel like I know her from stalking her Twitter and watching her web series-turned-VH1 show, #CandidlyNicole.
Does this perceived familiarity allow me to translate the meaning of a Vine in which our protagonist drops it low for a mariachi band, maracas in hand, purple hair slicked back, in a black-and-white striped jacket that brings Beetlejuice to mind? It absolutely does: YOLO. But let clarify one thing: you just doing you is not enough to constitute a YOLO lifestyle. There are a number of factors one must consider before making the decree that a celebrity and/or semi-famous rich person is YOLO-ing fully, and I'm here to tell you what those things are.
YOLO Is: Knowing the History of Those Who Have YOLO-ed Before You
Fuck it, I'll have a vanilla latte. pic.twitter.com/7OmXrJHQdk
— Nicole Richie (@nicolerichie) June 25, 2014
Richie understands that the sign of a great leader is not their military might or strategic prowess — it's their ability to say YOLO. Abraham Lincoln knew that a life not lived as though You Only Live Once was a life not lived at all. What does this mean for Nicole Richie? A vanilla latte. One man's emancipation proclamation is another woman's vanilla latte, am I right?
Inspirational quotes on social media are pretty YOLO even on their own. Because to be honest, you're never totally sure if the person they're attributed to actually said them. Like, just because it's on a bunch of websites with "quote" in the URL, and it comes up on Google images in various swirly typefaces over stock images of sunsets doesn't make it a real quote said by an actual person rather than a corny inspirational quotes generator. How can you be sure? What if you come off looking #basic? You have to throw caution to the wind, believe in yourself, and authenticate that quote with digital parchment paper. It's the 2014 version of dipping paper in tea, waiting around for it to dry, and then hoping you don't set your mom's house on fire when you burn the edges with a stolen lighter — get into it.
YOLO Is: Keeping it Real...Real Sexy
The key to keeping a marriage alive? Sexting pic.twitter.com/gzCpNShF7C
— Nicole Richie (@nicolerichie) May 11, 2014
Nicole Richie is in a loving and supportive marriage with a man she can say anything to. Not only does this make me jealous, it is also basically the most YOLO thing ever because what's more YOLO than love?! I really believe that, too, which is why I used not only a question mark but also an exclamation point. Fun, cute, healthy love that's a little weird (because, humans) is the ultimate sign that someone is living their life.
If Richie and her husband, Joel Madden, were sending each other really earnest sexts it would be weird in a bad way, though. They're married, they have two babies — there's no need for that. Sexts about bodily fluids, however? Absolutely. Thrive, Nicole, thrive. Think of it as the evolution of romance from being about mystery and raw, sexy passion to being about that moment where your partner farts in bed and you actually laugh and aren't annoyed because you love each other and nobody cares about anything anymore, mostly because you still have awesome, life-affirming sex a few times a week.
YOLO Is: Knowing Your Limits
I would rather get a colonic in front of everyone, than parallel park in front of anyone.
— Nicole Richie (@nicolerichie) February 10, 2014
Forget for a moment that this is the second tweet about bodily fluids in this piece. Actually, don't forget it because sidebar: being cool with being a human with a body is totally YOLO. OK, back on track: Nicole Richie is my soulmate because neither of us can parallel park, by which I mean, I know that feel, Nicole. I too would rather evacuate my bowels via tube in front of a crowd than parallel park in front of strangers or loved ones, because it is the worst. People who know how to parallel park are so smug, too, jeez. Just because you can fit your car between two other cars in a slightly larger than car-sized spot doesn't make you a genius.
This tweet is totally YOLO because it means Nicole Richie, despite having a really famous dad and a cool fashion line and a fabulous life in general, is human, just like me. It also means we could never be friends because I am only friends with people who can parallel park my car for me if shit gets real, so that's a bummer. But oh well, YOLO.
For more life lessons on embodying the YOLO lifestyle, watch VH1's #CandidlyNicole tonight and every Thursday at 10/9c on VH1.
Maud Deitch is a Senior Content Producer at Studio@Gawker. She has written for SPIN, The FADER, MTV.com and other publications.