I have a few famous friends. I don’t think of them that way for the most part, but I’m reminded of their fame from time to time, like when we’re in public and they’re recognized, or when I read news items about them. It’s a little weird, to be honest.
Most people are envious of celebrities, and I used to be. What’s not to love, right? There’s the money, the fame, the fact that your art is being shared with the world, the notoriety. The list goes on. However, there are a lot of byproducts that I wouldn’t love about being a celebrity:
1. The scrutiny. People are mean, and now that there’s so many avenues for people to express their opinions publicly, it’s hard to avoid the negative comments. No matter how good you try to be, there are always going to be people who don’t like you . . . just because. When I was writing for RedEye, a few of my columns weren’t reacted to favorably, and the negative comments flew. When the Six Brown Chicks were on “Iyanla Fix My Life,” the message boards were hot. Some of the comments were complimentary, while others were mean assessments of how we looked and who had the worst personality (I’m most often vilified for being one who didn’t cry. Whatevs) I didn’t like those tiny tastes of it, and I can’t imagine being a celebrity and having that potential bad press every day. No thanks.
2. The lack of privacy. Just because people are good actors, singers, athletes, it doesn’t give everyone the right to delve into their private lives. Yet everyone does. Celebrity prying seems to be a multi-million dollar business.
3. Having to be “on” whenever in public. Whether a celebrity is at the gas station, in the drug store, or having a family dinner, there is the expectation that this person should cheerfully accept questions and intrusions from weird fans who would like to interrupt them to take pictures. This is where a celebrity with a personality like mine would fail miserably. I have nice moments, and I have bitchy moments. I’m in my own head most of the time, and I don’t think I’d react kindly to someone approaching me for a snapshot while I’m buying tampons — even if their comments are complimentary. And then we’re back at point #1, where the (interloping) fan (who feels shunned) then writes things on blogs about how their encounter wasn’t positive, and that said celebrity is a bitch.
4. The inability to make anonymous mistakes. When you’re a regular person, your mistakes are your mistakes. Your drunken misconduct, bad haircuts or poor relationship choices are not a matter of public record or concern (unless that drunken misconduct turns into a DUI, in which case it IS a matter of public record). Your friends might remember, but the incidents won’t be forever logged in blogs or on a search engine. Celebrity mistakes are blasted all over the tabloids. Although I’m not a fan, I feel badly for poor Taylor Swift, whose teenage relationships are ruthlessly dissected. People . . . do you know WHY she makes bad choices? Because she’s a frickin’ teenager, for Chrissakes! She’s not supposed to have long-lasting relationships at 19 — or 20, 21, 22 or 23. She’s supposed to have meaningless flings and quasi-relationships with men that she’ll look back on and regret when she’s 30 — like the rest of us do! So, I’d say she’s right on track. The difference is that she can write hit songs about them. Which is actually the only part of being a celebrity that might be enviable.
5. The body image issue. Most people fluctuate in and out of shape. Personally, there are moments when I’m really good, and stretches where I succumb to the pizza cravings and look like the before shot in a lipo ad. But, really? The person who cares the most is me. And I like it that way. But to take a vacation on a remote island and have the stalkerazzi take a secret bathing suit shot when I’m in pizza shape and blast it all over People as one of the World’s Worst Bikini Bodies? Would be a harrowing experience, and one that I might never recover from. Granted, I’m known to say that it’s a celebrity’s job to look good, but really? They’re human beings. Cut them some slack.
6. The expectation that the celebrity life is perfect and stress free. To quote the Notorious B.I.G., “Mo Money, Mo Problems.” I think the celebrity life is highly stressful. Let’s examine . . . say a woman — we’ll call her Bella La Diva — has a breakout hit movie. She’s on the cover of Vogue, Elle, Vanity Fair — all of the reputable periodicals. She can bask in the fame for a little while, but really? The pressure is on. She needs to be worrying about the next thing. Can she sustain her fame or was she a one-hit-wonder? Will the public continue to adore her? Or will she be unable to get work for a while afterward? Well . . . if we run the numbers, she might in a bit of trouble. The first contract is never the best, so she’s certain to have made WAY less money than everyone thinks she has. With her first check, she probably made an ostentatious expenditure, like a Ferrari or a Cribs-worthy house. She must pay her “people,” her taxes, and maintain a lifestyle commensurate with public expectation. Her friends and family have outstretched hands, because she’s a celebrity who obviously has millions of dollars sitting around to fund her trifling cousin’s latest wacky scheme, or take her friends to over-the-top dinners and spas. But what if she can’t afford that lifestyle? What if her career flounders and she really needs a job — any job — but she can’t take just any job because people will then ask if she “used to be” Bella La Diva? These are the things that pill addictions are born of.
7. Being a child celebrity. There are no good stories about child celebrities. Period.
So there we go. If anyone has anything to add or rebut, please do comment. I’m not a celebrity, so I’m sure this blog will go without much scrutiny. :-)
Rant over. Thanks for reading!