Mama, your daughter is famous now! Here’s how…
Recently, I attended a press conference and met a lot of prominent figures in this country. In reality I just wanted to run, go say hi to Andy Bumuntu, tell him how much I love his music and his smile and of course take a picture with him because otherwise my sister would never believe that I met him.
But no, I managed to stay calm and contained. Convincing myself that a grown girl should not go around being hysterical. Especially, for goodness sake, in this line of work where you’re likely to meet many celebrities every day.
As I scanned the room and walked through looking for a corner to sit and hide, people were waving or stepping up for a handshake, and hugs for more familiar faces. It didn’t take long for me to realise that even those that would provoke a hysterical fan behaviour in me, were saying hi. Which means they knew me.
Now I wonder if I should change my Instagram bio to ‘public figure’ lol.
Oh, I love my job. Because how else would they have known me? Yes, treat me nice, I can now directly text your celebrity crush and pass your greetings.
I even have my own fan base now. Someone even gave up their seat in another conference I recently attended, just because they knew me as a journalist. I can’t even start talking about my young siblings’ friends. These ones are your true ride or die fans—the kind to scream and jump on you, asking for a selfie.
But then as I think of practicing my autograph signature and fake smile for the cameras, Margot Robbie’s experience comes to mind. Robbie, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, revealed the tremendous cost of the security detail necessary to protect her from the many death threats and dangers she now faces as a public figure, after her role as Harley Quinn in ‘Suicide Squad’, which catapulted her to the official A List.
Most of the time, we associate celebrities with red carpets, magazine covers, movies, TV shows and music they make and, of course, the enviably glamorous lives they document on Instagram.
But Robbie’s kind of cases are a humbling reminder that the cost of fame isn’t always roses. For some, its death threats, enormous money expenses to keep a certain standard of life, the cost of private life, and so on.
Some people will pursue fame at any cost. Is it because fame is associated with having money and money is often seen as the answer to most of life’s problems, especially if you grew up lacking it?
With fame comes a great lifestyle and influence and the ability to reach millions of followers on social media to directly inspire and highlight issues, which is a good thing. But with it, also comes judgment triggered depression, people pleasing identity crisis, etc.
Sports people, musicians and actors when thrust into the limelight are able to create alter egos to lead a double life or hide away behind their talents and immerse themselves in their craft as a coping strategy. However, some others become far more vulnerable in the spotlight and end up giving up their own lives to substance abuse or suicide.
It is very common to want to be liked, admired and feel valued which can become obsessive. This is why most famous people would still choose not to give up fame, despite the perks that come with it. Psychology notes that what makes fame very dangerous, is that it can flip at any time. By either being famous over a good thing and bad the next day, or someone more famous emerging than you, which may trigger anxiety and other mental health issues.
So dear reader, I’m sharing a note I made to myself. With or without fame, we are valuable and worthy just as we are. There is nothing wrong in wanting to be loved, recognised and remembered, but we must make sure we’re not losing ourselves in the process. True happiness is not tying our worth to people’s opinions, seeking validation from outside, or not having a personal life outside our public.
Angelina Jolie once said that when she noticed that people were always following her around with a camera, she started going to places that she believed could use the publicity. If it’s really inevitable to become famous in your line of work, you may as well learn how to negotiate fame to your favor.