To her tens of thousands of social-media followers, Paulina Gretzky isn’t just a pretty face. The sun-kissed, 22-year-old aspiring model-actress-singer provides an important public service, using Twitter photos of herself to document what it’s like to be young, rich, and extremely beautiful, primping and flirting alongside other jeunesse dorée within the glittering confines of Hollywood.
To be sure, her tweeted self-portraiture provides candy for the eye. One Twitpic shows Paulina in a micro minidress, apparently gearing up for a night on the town, abutted by an equally gorgeous glamazon BFF with smoldering eyes. There’s Paulina sunbathing in a barely there red bikini. In another shot, she suggestively smooches a lollipop and in yet one more photo, Paulina depicts herself reclining on a bed in white lingerie. The dozens of Instagrams fall into distinct categories: nightclub rendezvous, pool parties, friendly natured girl-on-girl snuggling. Not to mention lots of too-tight/too-short clothing and the constant all-too-real possibility of an up-skirt.
One person who seems none too happy about her Twitter output, however, is Paulina’s father—hockey immortal Wayne Gretzky—who is reportedly in negotiations to buy a stake in the Toronto Maple Leafs. Last week, Paulina tweeted: “Having a nice sit down dinner with my dad about social media..haha #SIKEEE.”
After which, on Nov. 26, she promptly closed down her Twitter account.
And then, in a Kardashians-worthy twist, Gretzky restored her account on Thursday as if sensing, like the recent Rebecca Black song goes, that this is “her moment.”
To date, Wayne Gretzky has not publicly spoken about his daughter’s social-media habits, and efforts by The Daily Beast to reach the singer-actress-model through her record label, AO Recordings, and through her parents’ WDG Enterprises were unsuccessful. But for the better part of this week, the mystery of Paulina Gretzky’s deleted tweets transfixed Canada, where she is an object of fascination on par with Kate Middleton and, despite a short resume of professional achievements, is coming up fast on other great Canucks in popular culture such as Ryan Gosling and Pamela Anderson. Moreover, Gretzky’s Twitter absence and silence on the matter produced a notable side effect: the media chattering class on both sides of the Canadian border has gone into overdrive, giving her more exposure and serious consideration than they ever did when Gretzky was primping and flirting her way into the public imagination in the first place.
Blessed with prime genetic stock, Gretzky is the eldest daughter of “the Great One”—NHL Hall of Famer and the sport’s preeminent figurehead-pitchman Wayne—and actress, Playboy cover model, and most important costar of Staying Alive Janet Jones. Born in Hollywood after her father joined the Los Angeles Kings, Paulina launched her own modeling career at age 16 and a 2006 song she recorded, “Collecting Dust,” was featured on the MTV reality series Laguna Beach. Rounding out her model-actress-whatever bona fides, Gretzky has turned in bit parts in movies such as 2007’s indie crime drama Alpha Dog (starring Justin Timberlake and Emile Hirsch) and appeared as “Gorgeous Blonde Senior” in the 2009 film update of Fame.
Children of big-shot athletes and celebrities–like Nicole Richie, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Brody Jenner to name a few–have been beacons for gossip since rumormongering became a growth industry. And for all Gretzky’s initial attempts to grab the brass ring of fame, her sexytime Twitpics—which come off as relatively wholesome, really, somewhere between a Maxim photo shoot and production stills from MTV’s The Hills—are really what got the singer-actress noticed. Last month, before her account was deleted, the frat-boy-skewing site The Chive created an online gallery of her greatest social-media self-portraiture under the headline “Paulina Gretzky is using the Twitter Machine properly.”
But Gretzky père’s every move–business, personal, and otherwise–is still monitored with the fervor of a national pastime in Canada. And as has been the case with other luminary athletes such as Manny Pacquiao and David Beckham, that media scrutiny definitely extends to their immediate families (with model-actress–party girl daughters like Paulina providing irresistible allure).
August Canadian media outlets you wouldn't expect to run a “BREAKING NEWS: Hot girl deletes Twitter account” type of story have included The Globe and Mail, The Vancouver Sun, and the Montreal Gazette. Weighing in on the matter, they have all but tried and convicted Wayne Gretzky as a domineering dad in the process.
But with the restoration of Paulina’s Twitter feed, new implications about her relationship with the Great One come to light. The International Business Times (of all publications) and Zap2It.com, reported that Paulina announced her return to social media late Wednesday night with the tweet “Hi everyone I’m back! But shhh don’t tell my dad.”
The posting seems to have been deleted. But unlike Paulina’s previous social-media output, the posting represented a challenge to Father Knows Best rule in the Gretzky clan–a fleeting but deliberate indication that her dinnertime talking-to in November did not have the intended result (that tweet is gone, too).
It remains to be seen whether the public will get to view more of Gretzky in a Herve Leger wrap dress or kicking up her sky-high heels in Hollywood. But what is sure is that the model-ingenue has already succeeded in joining the ranks of Paris Hilton, Petra Ecclestone, and Kim Kardashian: another daughter of staggering wealth and privilege whose primary virtue is having parlayed infamy into a kind of outright fame.