As I sit here watching the Golden Globes, I find myself thinking about our attitudes toward celebrity and how it has evolved over the past 2 decades. In my late teens, I began to have big crushes on actors like Johnny Depp. I did my best to get my hands on all of his work, watching his movies wide eyed, and dreaming of how I could devise a plan to make Johnny fall in love with me. Its kind of bizarre to think about now, considering he was/is just short of 20 years older than me (and also shorter than me height wise), and that I had no means of meeting him in the real world. I was a wanna be stalker, but too lazy to get the job done. Needless to say, my celebrity obsession was at its peak. I have now come to my senses, and Johnny is no longer floating my boat, if you get what I mean. His current aesthetic is now more of a dirty pirate look than a dream boat! Ok Erika, enough of the maritime puns.
So that was the beginning of my love affair with celebrity. Back in the good ole days where we only had 30 minutes of Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood (1 hour combined) each weekday to feed our appetite for information about strangers we will never meet. Fast forward to now, and there is literally 24 hour coverage of celebrities. We still have the entertainment shows on TV (TMZ- you my bae), but now we also have YouTube, Twitter, PerezHilton.com, Instagram, Facebook, etc etc ETC. We are consumed with all things celebrity. Even if you are not remotely interested in hearing about celebrity news, you have surely overheard people talking about it at a coffee shop, or viewed celebrity gossip posted by friends in your social media news feed. Its almost impossible to not be exposed to celebrity news, gossip or lifestyle details.
We follow people that are famous for nothing. We grab our popcorn, pick our team and watch as celebrity feuds unfold. We look up to reality TV stars who are who deep down really hate themselves, who try to “fix” themselves by getting numerous plastic surgery procedures. We assume these people are ridiculously happy and have a better life than us. Even celebrities children are famous and have their own following, before they are able to talk. Grown adults find themselves idolizing North West and Blu Carter’s lifestyles. Kind of insane if you think about it. Or is it? Did you see North’s rocking a tutu and combat boots? I die!
So why do we find ourselves so invested in the lives of people who don’t really know? Is it because we want to be someone other than ourselves? Yeah, I said it. Or do we need an escape from our day to day monotonous lives? Probably! Is it because we don’t feel seen and/or appreciated in our own lives? That sounds like a truth nugget to me.
I think the answer is Yes to all three questions. I think I think we all desire to feel loved and admired the way that we admire celebrities. We want to feel beautiful, strong, and important. Celebrity lives appear to be so exciting, compared to our 8 to 5 jobs. And lets not forget about the wealth that usually accompanies the celebrity lifestyle. All very appealing. As for feeling seen, a lot of us, including myself, are often operating in auto pilot and aren’t always present. We have our faces glued to our phones, computers, and TVs and don’t always notice the awesome things going on around us. We want to be seen, but we go about it by posting pics and videos on our social media feeds instead of getting out and actually interacting with people. We don’t even see what is going on around us, let alone take the time to look in the mirror and see ourselves as we are.
Does this mean I must cut out all celebrity news, and stop following my fav celebs on Twitter? Is being a fangirl/boy a negative thing? Of course not! There is nothing wrong with appreciating art and entertainment. However, I do think it beneficial to do some self evaluation and determine what our motivation is for devoting so much time and attention to the lives of famous strangers. I share these thoughts because I personally know how inadequate I begin to feel when I focus my thoughts and time on what is happening in other people’s lives. I start comparing myself physically, spiritually, financially, and it can end in self pity and self loathing. I tell myself the lie that these people are happy and its rainbows and unicorns for them, which is often further from the truth. It is only when I start to focus on what I am doing in my own life, and who I am, that I feel more grounded and content with where I am at. The truth is that we are all amazing people, worthy of love and attention. We are unique, beautiful, one of a kind masterpieces with our own personal stories worthy of the front page.