We berate the young for such a louche request and yet it is we who spoon-feed our children reality TV programmes showing ordinary people, most with no particular talent, gaining extraordinary amounts of attention, which we all mistake for being adored. Don’t get me wrong, I think a lot of these shows are fantastic to watch but they do give the false impression that fame is not just easily gained but also likely to be maintained.
The desire for fame was no different when we were young, except that in the arts only a few gained fame and you could only achieve it if you had a particular talent i.e. you could tell jokes, dance, sing, act or play an instrument. These days you can sit in a house for a few weeks and Bob’s your uncle, you’re all over the press. In fact we have become so fascinated with following the manipulated lives of real life characters that the acting and writing skills required for the drama of a soap opera have begun to feel a little aged and passé.
The Kardashians, the Towie’s, the Made in Chelseas and all the other cheap-to-make TV shows will continue and all the “Top” TV talent shows, Top Model, Top Singer, Top Dancer, Top Skater, Top Diver, Top Chef, Top Entertainer, Top Entrepreneur, yadda yadda yadda will all grow and evolve into new versions of the same thing. The celebration of celebrity is here to stay!
Underlying our insatiable thirst to know every detail about another person’s life is the erroneous belief that celebrity makes us worth something and that our net worth is more valuable than our self worth or somehow that the former actually relates to the latter.
Most people who gain fame, particularly when they are young, have no resilience to the intrusion or criticism that comes with the territory. Many of the young artists we work with are hugely successful and yet, haven’t had the time or life experience to have grown enough character to truly be able to understand or enjoy their success. Fame is an untamed beast and in the hands of the broken it is a cruel master. To have your face known, money in the bank, to have reached your goals and still feel exactly the same way as you did before can lead to the onset of deep depression.
Unfortunately, fame doesn’t give you character, heal you or make you feel better about yourself. That stuff has to be found elsewhere. Fame will make an insecure person more insecure, an anxious person more fearful and a desperate person even more controlling.
So where does this leave the truly talented? Those who want to be in our industry, possibly with the desire to be known but with the underlying desire for their talent to be seen, heard and received?
Pursue your talent, hone your skills but do not neglect your inner person, your character and the relationships around you that add value.
Celebrity in the hands of the wise is a beautiful thing to behold. The famous carry influence that can change the world. Their fame is a currency to be used to fight for justice, to bring finance to charitable causes, to highlight issues otherwise hidden. The famous can use their fame to invest in other talent and people and help to grow a rich industry of highly talented artists.