Forget Hot Girl Summer, I’m Having A Villain Origin Story Summer

When Disney first dropped the trailer for Cruella, the live action origin story of everyone’s favorite dog-loathing fashion icon from 101 Dalmatians, I cracked my knuckles and prepared to commit to a life of hating on the film for years to come. However, after sitting through two hours and 14 minutes of Emma Stone faking a British accent through a frowny red lip, I regret to inform you that I’m obsessed with Cruella, CGI dogs and all. Instead of simply admitting that I misjudged a book by its cover, I’m going all in (can I say that? Does Teddi Mellencamp still have that trademark?) and dedicating my precious post-vaccine summer to channeling my inner Cruella De Vil on a daily basis. Truly, I’m just looking to do the most all season long, and few individuals are stronger advocates for maximalism and messiness than Cruella herself. *Insert contrived villainous laugh here* Anyway, here’s what I’ve got planned. 

My Dog Is Coming Literally Everywhere With Me

(In my last move of non-Cruella behavior, I’ll warn you that there are some light spoilers ahead.) Spoiler number one: Cruella doesn’t kill any dogs. Thank god. She’s actually your typical millennial dog mom and regularly forces her two roommates to help take care of her rescue dog, Buddy. (This really isn’t that surprising of a spoiler. If Disney wouldn’t even allow Emma Stone to take a quick little drag of a cig as a tribute to the original De Vil, we shouldn’t have feared they’d go full Bambi on us in 2021) But just because Cruella sometimes relies on her roomies to walk Buddy when she is out on a bender and forgets she has responsibilities doesn’t mean she’s not fully obsessed with him. When she’s coherent enough, she takes Buddy everywhere she goes. What’s perhaps even more inspiring about this is that it’s not even like he’s a little toy breed she can just pop under her arm; Buddy is like, a whole DOG. 

This is basically just a long-winded way to explain that I will be smuggling my quarantine puppy into every happy hour, brunch, and rescheduled engagement party I attend this summer. No rooftop yoga session or stuffy bridal boutique with a gang of reluctant bridesmaids is too inappropriate! After a year of spending every waking moment together, we’ve both developed a mean case of separation anxiety, and I simply will not be leaving him just because I’m paying $15 for a White Claw instead of drinking it from a coffee mug on my couch. 

Outfits Will Be Chosen Based On Personal Vibes, Not Dress Codes

Perhaps the strongest pillar of Cruella’s personality is that she is a fashion bitch, which was made known to the audience in the same exact way it is in any movie in which the main character is trendy: she put a bunch of pins on her school uniform and wore a lot of embellished Converse Chuck Taylors as a child. 

But Cruella isn’t a fashion bitch the way someone like Emily from The Devil Wears Prada is a fashion bitch, and especially not the way your friend who essentially has her employer direct deposit her paycheck to Revolve is a fashion bitch. She’s really more of a Lola Cep from Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen in that she’s obsessed with constantly peacocking and reminding everyone that she literally sewed the cocktail dress she’s wearing to an event that required only jeans and a going out top. 

With that being said, I’m actually quite inspired by Cruella’s refusal to adhere to a dress code, and I plan to experiment with both ends of the “I’m not wearing that” spectrum this summer. Maybe when someone in the group chat drops that dreaded “Are we looking…cute?” text, I’ll throw ‘em a curveball and reply “lol kinda,” but then show up in the neon green, blunt bob wig that’s been collecting dust in my closet since I was overly optimistic about what my plans for Halloween 2020 could have been. On the other hand, if you tell me you’re dressing casual, I’ll reach for the ridiculous asymmetrical dress I was influenced to declare bankruptcy and buy from Shopbop at yet another retail therapy low point of the last year. 

Once Photos Have Been Taken, It’s Cool To Leave

In the height of her mission to overshadow Baroness Von Hellman during every red carpet appearance, Cruella put me on to a new way to attend events that I’m very into. Basically, she just shows up, makes the most ridiculous, Insta-worthy impression possible, and then dips out very dramatically. For instance, at one point Cruella legit peels out while hanging off of the back of a garbage truck. It’s the complete opposite of the Irish Exit, a beloved pre-pandemic favorite. Instead of quietly slinking away from the group at 1am to order a pizza, lest anyone think I cannot hang, I will be turning the act of ditching into a full-on art form, rappelling myself out the door via the ceiling like some high-fashion Spider-Man.

Bad Behavior Will Be Blamed On My Alter Ego


Cruella being born as Estella and then rebranding as Cruella whenever she did something heinous is exactly the kind of energy we all need to be channeling this summer. Except in lieu of avenging the dramatic death of my mother at the hand of a few maliciously trained Dalmatians, you can catch me avenging the loss of the concept of a free weekend after I agreed to approximately one million different sets of plans with all of the people I haven’t seen since 2019 and am quickly realizing I never actually missed in the first place. If you catch me doing something shockingly socially unacceptable, like flashing a body part at what was intended to be a nice wine tasting at a vineyard, just know that that wasn’t actually me. It was my alter ego. (Or maybe it was the fact that none of us have socialized normally in about a year, and if I blank in the middle of a conversation, it’s because I’m thinking about how f*cked it is that I actually kind of miss having access to a mute button on Zoom.) 

I Will Be Doing Weird Sh*t With My Hair And Makeup

If there’s one thing I still don’t totally buy from Cruella, it’s that Disney expected us to accept that that black and icy-platinum blonde hair is her natural color. Cruella, if you’re high maintenance, just say that. It won’t destroy your Doc Martens and ripped tights aesthetic too much. Even the moodiest E-Girls of TikTok have to maintain those bleached money piece highlights, somehow. 

Besides the fact that I’m still convinced that Cruella is hiding her natural color, watching her transform her appearance with dramatic hairstyles, outrageous eyeshadow looks and even a few wigs made me feel like I might actually…try this summer? I don’t know, I can’t make any promises, but I do think I will at least try my hand at some experiential glam, heeding each and every one of Meghan McCain’s tragic ponytails from her hosting gig on The View as warning. 

Images: Courtesy of DMED Media; Giphy (2)

Hannah Chambers
Hannah Chambers
Hannah Chambers is one of those people whose entire personality consists of Real Housewives references, taking pictures of her dog, and drinking out of an obnoxiously large water bottle. You can find her work in Cosmopolitan, Bustle,, and more. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @hanchambers