For the most part, celebrities like to communicate directly. After all, when you have millions of fans all over the world, it’s pretty easy to send any message you want to send on pretty much any platform.
Some celebs, however, like to be a bit more secretive. For example, going on live TV and sending out secret messages that only a few people will understand.
Sound crazy? It happens more often than you think. And here are our favorite celebrities who got away with secret messages on live television.
Emma Stone’s colorful support of Time’s Up
During the 2018 Golden Globe awards, Emma Stone showed her support for the Time’s Up movement. While many other actors also showed their support, Stone found a way to take things to the next level.
The first thing you’ll notice is that she wore black, but this was common for other actors supporting the movement. But to step up her game, Stone decided to wear makeup using the same colors that suffragettes wore in the 19th century.
The effect is subtle, and it doesn’t overpower her aesthetic. But every time the camera was on Stone, she was supporting centuries of women struggling for equality.
Taylor Swift secretly speaks up
Taylor Swift is typically very outspoken about…well…everything! But she isn’t afraid to share little messages or Easter eggs for her biggest fans to uncover. And a move she made during the 2019 American Music Awards now makes a lot more sense.
This awards show was a big one for Swift. She received an Artist of the Decade award along with five other awards, and she absolutely killed it with a performance of hit songs. But the part of the performance that fans were curious about is that Swift wore a white shirt with the names of her first six LPs.
Was this just vanity? No, it was a message: that summer, record executive Scooter Braun secretly bought the rights to those albums and later sold them for a cool $300 million. Swift wearing the names of these records was a kind of protest.
And Swift ultimately got the last laugh. Her contract allows her to re-record songs and albums to retain the rights, and she’s already started. In fact, Chart Data reports that this song was number one on the U.S. iTunes chart, which shows that Swift’s classic hits may be hotter than ever.
That’s more than these next celebs can say.
Justin Timberlake’s beef with Kanye West
For better or for worse, being a high-profile musician means having some high-profile beefs. And that’s what happened between Justin Timberlake and Kanye West.
After Timberlake and Jay-z released the song “Suit and Tie,” most fans were very happy. But not Kanye West. While playing at London’s Hammersmith Apollo, West rapped “Remind me again who’s the original Superfly / And I got love for Hov, but I ain’t f**kin’ with that ‘Suit & Tie.’
The next month, Timberlake was performing on Saturday Night Live. And he ended up changing some lyrics from “s**t so sick, got a hit and picked up a habit” to “My hit’s so sick, got rappers acting dramatic.”
This was a clear jab at Kanye West, but Timberlake later downplayed this in an interview with Jimmy Fallon. According to the Los Angeles Times, Timberlake said “I don’t remember that … Did I change a line? … Let me say, for the record, I absolutely love Kanye, so there’s that.”
As for Kanye, he’s clearly got other things to worry about these days!
Amy Poehler and Tina Fey become promoters
Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are BFFs, and they love to support each other’s projects. And this became quite clear during the 2021 Golden Globe Awards.
If you look closely enough, you can see that each star has a heart and star drawn on them (it is on Poehler’s hand and Fey’s wrist). This is a coded reference to the Netflix movie Moxie which Poehler both directed and starred in.
The movie is a feminist tale in which those who support taking down the patriarchy draw hearts and stars on their hands to visibly show their support. By rocking this design on the red carpet, these stars can support feminism and promote Poehler’s newest work at the same time.
Our next celeb, though, prefers to promote a higher power.
Steph Curry has gotta have faith
When it comes to secret messages, Steph Curry can only be so secretive. After all, anyone who has watched Curry play basketball has likely seen his signature move where he taps his chest and points to the sky.
However, most fans don’t know the real story behind this move. But he laid it out for everyone in a 2016 interview with The Mercury News. “Back in college my freshman year, my mom and I started that,” he said. “Every time after the national anthem stopped, I’d find her in the stands whenever she came to my game and we’d do the sign to each other. Basically, means ‘have a heart for God.'”
Now, Curry does it after pretty much every successful shot. And his daughter even emulated the move during the 2015 NBA finals, meaning that Curry has started a family tradition.
Meghan Markle, a prominent feminist
From her life as a royal, Meghan Markle learned quite a bit about sending the right message. And that helped her send a secret message when she and Prince Harry hosted an episode of Time Magazine’s Time 100 series.
Behind Markle, you can see the book Women: National Geographic Image Collection. It features photos, interviews, and information about famous women all over the world, including Jane Goodall and Oprah Winfrey.
Given Markle’s history of supporting feminist movements such as Me Too and Time’s Up, many believe the placement of the book quietly shows Markle’s support of feminism. Of course, given that Oprah appears in that book, Markle may be giving a shout-out to her good friend: Oprah previously helped Meghan and Harry find a place to live in America before giving them a platform for their tell-all interview.