Meeting Celebrities (Or Why Fame Intrigues Me)

Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting/knowing/being related to a handful of celebrities. When I was a teenager, I felt like sharing the fact with everyone I knew made me cool. I’d name drop, because that’s what I thought others wanted to hear. Things like diminishing privacy didn’t even cross my mind.

And then the maturity kicked in. There was no point in doing that. Here’s the big secret–these are regular people who happen to have crazy levels of public attention. Some love that fact. Some would be quite happy without it.

These days, I find the concept of fame a very interesting situation. I’ve never wanted it in my life. Pretty safe with that remains the case now. It’s just a horrible corner you can get stuck in. You need attention to make the high-level connections to get on the exact path you want. That’s regardless of industry focus. Therefore you have to put yourself out there. But if that attention is strong enough and noticed by “the right” people, all eyes fall on you and there can be sudden external pressures you never planned for.

Friends and acquaintances of mine in the industry–I don’t know how they do it. You get used to the distance that happens (because it does, just to varying degrees), but other adjustments in your social life are plain weird.

I’ll flip through articles online sometimes and it’s so awkward to see someone raving about how awesome a particular celebrity is. I don’t disclose the nature of my relationship to them, but in my mind I’m thinking “I’ve seen him/her in pajamas screaming out grade school jokes for no reason.” or “I have photos of them from back in diapers.”

I can’t see beyond the my friend/relative is a dork stage.

Still…I do the same thing. I’ve been openly fangirling all afternoon over the Orphan Black cast is coming to C2E2 next month. I know I had to be boring coworkers who had absolutely no clue what I was talking about, but were absolutely humored over the excitement in my voice. Coming back from a concert or conference, I won’t shut up about that one person. It’s like I blackout for a few minutes and my 14-year-old self is back in control.

Such an odd, yet normal, part of our lives. Why is it that someone who happens to have a larger network is so fascinating? Are we fascinated with them as a person, or just what they represent?

I’m always talking formulas with people. Reality show formulas for the “character” types everyone falls into. The plot structure of a Korean drama based on if it’s one of the 12, 16, 24, or 28+ episode seasons. The formula for a franchise’s great advertising campaign.

I know I’m receiving partial truths and yet I allow certain falsehoods to be without further critique. I feel like there are two ways we process the idea of being famous: 1) we’d love it and want the attention or 2) we react to brushes with fame by purposely withdrawing when it gets “too close”. It’s a spectrum.

Since you can’t really control the moment it happens, there’s a certain level of thought that’s good to have over it. I just think it can be harmful when you start solely focusing on it. Because the most famous people I know didn’t change their aspirations; they just let the fame become a by-product of the overall creative process.

The Sounding Board Graphic


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