Ah, Fame. I have a lot to say on this topic. So much I won’t bore you with most of it. I never wanted to be famous–at least, not generally famous. I simply wanted to be distinguished for what I do best. I wanted to be famous within my own little community, whatever that ended up being. Mainly, I wanted to be celebrated for my ability in my chosen profession.

I have a complicated relationship with fame, as a writer who has written about famous people. Mostly, I’ve come into contact with their publicists, yes-men and sycophants. I like to tell the story about how I had an interview with Ian Ziering (“90210”) and the publicist told me he’d call me between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. his time, so don’t leave my desk or I might miss him and wouldn’t that be a tragedy. I stayed put and skipped lunch, and he never called. This, to me, was just another incident illustrating the arrogance of the entertainment industry. Not like I had anything better to do than sit around at my desk on the off-chance some actor guy was going to call me so that I could give him some publicity. I know it wasn’t really his fault. I know how hard actors work; I simply disliked the aura of he’s-way-better-than-you that the industry likes to create by making celebrities seem unapproachable and unavailable.

You can imagine what I felt upon watching the first reality shows appear on TV. To this day I won’t watch any. To me these are mostly people seeking fame, not a real career or vocation. And since I don’t like that, can’t understand that, why would I want to watch these people who have a fundamental personality flaw (as far as I’m concerned) do anything? It’s not like I would ever like them, if I met them.

But journalists are like hangers-on. I admit that I would get a vicarious thrill out of being close to people who are famous, and yet I always despised it–the hoops we have to go through, the people we have to deal with–at the same time. I like to tell people about my disconcerting, slightly icky brush with Jeremy Piven, or the time Jerry O’Connell called me without going through PR people, or the time I arranged for my husband to meet Ashanti and Ali Larter, or the time I interviewed Leonard Nimoy, or how my favorite interview ever was with Ernest Borgnine. But that’s all for show. So I can impress people with how cool I am because I met Jon Stewart and James Gandolfino and that guy who was once married to Drew Barrymore, not that any of them would remember me. Not that any of this stuff actually makes me feel like a more interesting person.

As an entertainment writer, my job was to hang onto an actor’s every word, put it on paper, and usually make that person look good. You know, you absorb some of that attitude even as you start to realize that TV, movies and celebrity lose their magic because you’re always in the nitty-gritty, nuts and bolts of it all. So these days, I’m right back into it. I’ll admit I read celebrity blogs all the time and I know more about Britney and Lindsay and Angelina than anyone should.

Perhaps I miss that vicarious thrill.

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