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Snow White the Reality TV Star

Snow White, whiter than snow, far too pale, there’s clearly something wrong. But the TV cameras are still rolling, and the internet live-streams are even more brutal.

“It’s just a sleeping pill, she’ll be fine!”

One of the producers calls out, agitated from the sidelines.

They have to keep the views up or the advertisers will start dropping. And it would be terrible for brand image if something went horribly wrong. Definitely not the kind of feeling any of the sponsors, or the show itself, would want to own or trademark.

The Wicked Queen sits off camera on a deck chair by the pool; acid green bikini and an apple martini in hand. A curled piece of the glossy red peel impaled on a thin stainless steel toothpick leans against the inner rim of the glass for decoration.

They call her the Wicked Queen, but it’s all scripted of course. Strange how so many people will go online and validate, laud and worship someone for all the traits they claim make them sick IRL. Because sometimes ‘wicked’ or just ‘human garbage’ is the feeling that brands want to own so people can follow, like and buy it. Just look at all the sponsors she has on her Instagram already.

I turn back to Snow White, the one I’m meant to kiss. The natural, ‘authentic’ one with a pale wreath of wildflowers nestled in the painstakingly pre-set waves of her long hair.

“Fuck! How much was she given?”

The producer in his sharp black blazer with a white t-shirt underneath leaps onto the gazebo where Snow White and I sit in limbo. It floats like an island in the middle of the pool, wreaths of forest trim pinned decoratively above our heads, and when the producer climbs on too his trouser legs are soaked through with chlorinated water.

He takes one look down at the immobile, unresponsive Snow White, then turns to the amassing crowd at the pool’s edge.

“How much did the lawyers say we could give her before an overdose becomes manslaughter or murder?”

I sit there, leering over the top of her like some pervert rather than a prince, but do nothing else. It’s taking all I have just to not be sick all over her navy blue silk slip dress.

Then makeup jumps on board, portable emergency makeup kit in a leather pouch strapped around their waist, just like a superhero tool belt, what I used to watch on TV as a kid.

“Oh my god, look at her skin, it’s all jaundice-y. She must have been like this for a while. Look at all the discoloration under her eyes.”

Then photography calls out from the very edge of the pool. They can’t go any further because a lot of the equipment is water resistant but not water proof. Big difference.

“Shit, you’re right,” they respond to makeup as they scroll though a reel of photos on their tablet. “I can shop these ones to look okay, maybe. A good filter should help too. But it’s only going to get worse from here, what happens when bits of the face literally start falling off?”

Then finally, PR has their say, tentatively.

“I think I have an idea…”


This season’s new trending look is ‘macabre’.

Bring out your dark side with this new eye shadow palette, filled with purple-y yellows and brown-y greens.

No more fake tans or bronzers. Own your pale complexion. No, not just own the pale, completely wash it out with this grey toned face powder. You can choose your desired level of decomposition: all the way from autolysis to active decay.

I saw some of the comments on Instagram:

“is that a dead body”

“no you idiot its macabre”

“Does her family know? Screw reporting to Meta or whatever, I’m calling the police.”




And then a few minutes later:


Wow, that didn’t take them long.

I guess when the script eats far enough into reality, you can make anyone and anything into whatever you like, all from behind a screen. It’s just a matter of picking the right filter.

Crazy how easy it is to desensitise.

I watch the last few percentiles drain from my phone battery before letting it drop to the floor with a dead-sounding clunk. Then I roll over and try to sleep. I wonder if one of those pills would help…

Katie-Rose Goto-Švić is a Croatian-Australian emerging writer living in Japan, who writes fiction in both English and Japanese.
Her work has appeared in the ‘New Contexts: 3’ anthology by Coverstory Books, The Manifest-Station, Bewildering Stories, and is also scheduled to appear in L’Esprit Literary Review.
Her full-length drama/crime fiction manuscript was selected as a finalist for the 2021 Page Turner Writing Award.

Follow her on Instagram

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