A celebrity seems to have an easy, swanky, and happy life. Red-carpeted roads to stardom, beautiful beaches with private sunsets, good vibes from the public, zero financial burdens, and the company of sophisticated, like-minded celebrities. Who wouldn’t want to obsess over them or live vicariously through them?
What we don’t see behind this veil of grandeur is all their years of sweat and scrap. Years of practicing their craft, thousands of rejections they have painstakingly endured, throngs of people who have told them that they will amount to nothing. Even if some celebrities shine the light on their less-than-ideal pasts, we choose to obsess over their now. Their humanness and common-man-ness are lost on us.
You love that they are loved by billions of people from around the world. Your heart races with all the resounding applause for Beyonce when she enters the stage. Do you want to be loved by the public like that? Forget the public. Do you want to be loved by your family and friends like that? If so, why not work on cultivating your personal relationships or finding new friends and family who have the capacity to love you like a celebrity?
You want to be them. Just like them. I bet they have something you want but don’t have. Not fame, glory, or money, as that’s obvious. But something more deep-seated and lacking in your very core. Is it the Kardashian figure that can boost your self-worth in this material society? The Ed Sheeran rhythm that can prove every naysayer wrong? Kanye’s swagger that doesn’t give a damn about what people think? The love Meghan receives from Harry that proves unconditional love still exists?
Since you can’t be them, you fantasize about your imaginary life with them. How your life would change if only you met them once. You wonder what will happen if they fall in love with you. It’s worth asking yourself what may be missing from your life as is. And what can you do to like your life without them in it? Take agency of your wants and needs without waiting for someone else, let alone a celebrity, to fulfill your life.
You snack on their personal lives that have become boundaryless with social media. But did you know most of these social media accounts are managed by their designated marketing teams? These accounts are curated to present you with the perfect picture of their messy but luxurious lives. Marketing agencies spend hours strategizing the personal brand of these celebrities and what we see on this side is the result of their hard work.
You hold your significant other to celebrity standards. How grandly they should profess their love for you, what gifts are passable, locations that you both must travel to. Basing current, real-life expectations on such curated, material standards is unhealthy for you and your partner. One day, they may feel like they can never please you and take off.
If you don’t have a significant other yet, you look for celebrity-like dates. The lavish dinners, the rose petal walkways, and the perfect turn of events on day one. Normal people tend to get tongue-tied at times, especially on first dates. They get nervous and may not be the smoothest. You need to cut them some slack as they are not celebrities (yet).
In no way am I encouraging you to settle in life. You should have high expectations both for your partner and yourself. I truly believe you do deserve the best in life. But holding anyone up to impractical, unreal standards of a celebrity’s current lifestyle is like setting yourself up for romantic failure.
When your celebrity cheats on their partner, or gets involved in insider-trading, or goes into rehab, you are disappointed beyond belief. You question yourself and your faith in people in general. You wonder what you had missed and how you missed it. Some of us can even get depressed when our celebrities let us down.
And make no mistake, your celebrity will let you down one day because they are only human like all of us. Although rich and famous, their human vulnerability will cut through years of orchestration and their deepest blunders will be laid bare for everyone’s ridicule. Their richness and fame will also dip into troughs at times.
You spend hours and hours watching their interviews and performances on replay. Days turn into nights and nights into early mornings on Netflix. You remember every word that’s ever left their mouths. Why not spend all that time on bettering your life, working towards your dream of becoming a filmmaker or writer? Or to make that side hustle come alive? Time and energy are precious and limited, after all.
So although I hate to break it to you, your celebrity obsession is certifiably problematic.
A healthy obsession with your celebrity can be aspirational. As long as you are taking steps to elevate your life to close in on the gap between your life and the celebrity’s life. Let’s teach ourselves to look at a celebrity’s life in full, from drabs of confusion to expensive crabs in Michelin-star restaurants. Let that journey inspire you and convince you that you can do the same.
It’s time to take back your life from this maddening celebrity saga.