During a recent trip down to Nashville for my best friend’s bachelorette party I had a brief, but beautiful celebrity run-in. This was not the first time I’ve experienced a real life star-struck moment, however it was the most interactive one.
Here’s how it went down: A somewhat hungover group of bachelorettes went out for Sunday brunch, none of us feeling in tiptop shape, to put it lightly. We were leaving Noshville, a notorious Nashville deli, stuffed to the brim with corned beef, pickles, French fries, and other fried favorites. Carrying the caboose of the group, I saw someone exiting the restaurant close behind, so out of common courtesy, I held the door for this stranger. The stranger said, “Thank you,” and as I glanced back to acknowledge his appreciation I realized how strikingly attractive this man was. I took another peek, attempting to be subtle, but in actuality being rather intrusively obvious and recognized this previously perceived stranger to be a public icon. A third peer back to the increasingly familiar celebrity, this time ignoring all inhibition. I just stared idly trying to place the celebrity, think of his name, and simultaneously decide what I should do and say in such a situation.
All the while, the celebrity—later determined to be Chris Carmack best known for The O.C. and his current role in the TV show Nashville—was looking right back at me during my pathetic I-Love-Lucy-like, star-struck performance. At this point, most of my friends were ten to 15 feet away. One friend had stayed behind to witness this awkward exchange between Chris and me. She however, did not recognize him from any television show; she just had a hard time looking away from such a beautiful, male specimen. So with no one to come to my aid, it was just me and Chris; me, uncomfortably gawking and him, affirmingly observing my indecisive inspection. Absentminded, with no interesting icebreaker insight—for example, the fact that Carmack and my cousin attended the same high school—I resigned from the uncomfortable interaction with an exceedingly awkward salutation, “How are you?” Finding my embarrassingly dopey display amusing, Chris grinned and replied, “I’m good.”
And that was that. My friend and I ran to catch up with the rest of our group. We immediately informed the others of my dumbfounded display and we all got a good laugh out of it.
Examining the situation on a larger perspective, I find it interesting how enamored “normal” people are with celebrities. It seems that nowadays a common mentality is that if you’re not someone, you’re no one. With reality TV’s ever-increasing popularity, it seems that any regular person can be famous. Star-status is no longer exclusive to the beautiful and/or talented peoples it once was. MTV, Bravo, Youtube, and other media channels make international notoriety accessible to the below average population. So what is it about fame that seems so appealing?
Obviously—as ascribed from the above instance and the fact that I am writing a blog with the aspiration that strangers take interest in my perspective—I am guilty of this obsession as well. However, for all the glitz and glamour (and money and success) attributed with the life of a big shot, there do seem to be some down sides.
Paparazzi and fervent fans have a rather fascinatingly symbiotic relationship with celebrities. When people decide to strive for superstar-status or agrees to enter a professional field that would put them in the public eye, they are knowingly sacrificing the simplicity of undisputed privacy. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong for the paparazzi to chase down someone just because he or she has a passion to sing, or act, or play a sport; I’m just saying that a high level of audience awareness is necessary in order for a celeb to be truly successful in their field. If a talented actor gives a superb performance and no one is around to see it, does he really make a sound? Celebrities need the interest and support from their fans to be successful in their chosen career. Of course there are some extravagant and insane examples of fan and paparazzo acquisitions from inexcusable and/or unstable persons. But regarding the average, celebrity run-in, as depicted in my recent experience, without any reaction or recognition would the famous person in question really have reached his career objective?
I may come off as merely a star-struck girl without any idea of the effects of fanatic followers. However, this is not so. Through an unsolved case of mistaken identity, I have experienced what it’s like to be a celebrity just trying to assimilate in public—little did my admirers know, my nonchalance was not an act. In the Spring of 2006, on a family trip to visit my sister during her study abroad semester in Haifa, Israel, on multiple occasions young girls came up to me thinking that I was someone famous. My family and I are still unsure of whom I had been mistaken for, but this was definitely the case. There were two instances when a pair of giggling girls approached me in the marketplace, realized they had the wrong person, and quickly walked away. The third occurrence was even more odd and unexpected. I was walking on a street near the Baha’i Gardens and a tour bus carrying schoolgirls drove by as the passengers shrieked and pointed directly at me. So there, I too have experienced the hardship and after all, what goes around comes around.