Saturday, 9 September 2017

Celebrity blues

I'm fascinated by the downside of celebrity. The negative stuff you don't usually hear about when everyone's going on about the wealth, the luxury houses, the lucrative job offers, the fawning service wherever you go. The reality behind the apparent opulence and easy living is seldom so glamorous.

Gemma Collins, hugely famous star of the TV series The Only Way is Essex, has revealed some of the things that piss her off.

Complete strangers calling her a fat cunt or saying her car's being stolen. People who think she sits around all day doing nothing. Endless abuse about her weight. Fits of anxiety. Everybody wanting a bit of her. "People want all from you, absolutely everything. And everyone's got an opinion about you. I get so much criticism now."

"I don't hate my life, I'm not sitting here going I don't want to be famous. But it's come at a price, hasn't it? I just want to do my job, be entertaining and get paid like any normal person, but people think they own you. It's like bear-baiting."

She seems a remarkably resilient person who can cope with all the shit and just carry on. She's not going to let it get to her. But other less resilient souls like Amy Winehouse and Janis Joplin struggled to adjust to the hot-house pressures of fame, and finally went under.

That must be the worst thing, everyone latching onto you, treating you as public property and seeing you as fair game for whatever they want to throw at you. Criticism, abuse, harassment, death threats, sexual overtures, begging letters, stalkers, you name it. If you object, they argue that if you deliberately put yourself in the limelight, then you deserve everything you get. They don't believe celebrities are entitled to a peaceful private life like the rest of us.

No way would I want to be a household name. It would be a bed of nails.

Pic: Gemma Collins


  1. ditto nick.
    privacy is a gift. and the more famous you are the less you have.
    my grandmother used to quote to me the old New England saying...
    "fool's names and fool's faces are always found in public places."
    and if you're an actor or in those arts... you are sadly and wrongly at the mercy of the public. your life is not their business but they seldom see it that way. the price of fame I suppose. I wouldn't want it either. and to be literally 'stalked' like some of them are would be frightening!

  2. My heart bleeds for you and your interest in "celebrities" and their woes. Maybe you should have become a social worker after all.


  3. Tammy: Some famous people are treated better than others. Writers and artists don't get the same abuse and venom that's reserved for other prominent figures like female politicians and feminists. And of course women are treated much worse than men.

    Stalking is absolutely terrifying. The victims can be reduced to mental wrecks in a matter of months.

  4. Ursula: Celebs don't need social workers. They just want to be treated with respect and not like some sort of commodity. If there's anything they need it's therapists if they're feeling distressed, or the police if they're being harassed or stalked.

    I'd hate to be a social worker myself. The pressure they face to protect every vulnerable child or adult must be quite a burden.

  5. tammy's comment reminds me of one night at dinner when Kaitlin was young. Out of the blue she said, Father, when I grow up I'm going to be rich and donate money to a university for a building. It will be named after you and inside there will be your picture with a plaque under it. The plaque will have your name on it and say, "Fools' names, like their faces, always appear in public places."

    Needless to say, she had heard that saying numerous times. Andy got it from his mother, who was raised in New England.

  6. Hard to make a positive comment here, Nick. Gone are the days when you had to do something important to be any sort of public figure.
    Now any vapid dipshit gets to be called a 'celebrity' just because they've been on one of the endless stream of brain-dead reality TV shows.
    Celebrity is a package deal and those who get into it are fully aware of its dark side.
    As the old saying goes - If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
    No sympathy. Sorry.

  7. Jean: I think fools can be found everywhere, not just in public places. Of course the ones in public places are a lot more dangerous as they're likely to have power over the rest of us.

    If I had a plaque on a public building, it would probably say "Nick worked here, but there's not much to show for it."

  8. Dave: Ooh, that's a bit harsh. Quite often people are propelled to fame without really wanting it, and then they get all the crap that goes with it. And once you're famous, you can't become un-famous in a hurry.

    But you're right that celebs can be famous nowadays for no good reason except that they were on some hyped-up TV show.

  9. In more recent history, I feel as though we only hear about the downsides of celebrity. Seems as though they only get divorced or arrested.

  10. No thank you. I have a dear friend who is a celebrity and who I deliberately keep away from and he knows why I do that. He does call me every now and then to talk about the frustrations that he experiences as a celebrity and believe me you, I do not want that life at all despite all the wealth that goes with it and the glamour.

  11. Bijoux: Well, anyone can get divorced or arrested, celebrity or not. I'm intrigued by the things that are specifically linked to celebrity, like all the abuse and death threats and fake interviews.

    Ramana: You're obviously privy to all the daily grievances of being a celeb. Yes, their lives may look glamorous, but the reality can be rather grim.

  12. And to maintain the paycheque and lifestyle they have to remain visible as a "package deal". Unless they have a backup skill which is rare. Their chikdren and spouses are fodder for the paps. I have a good friend who's a celeb and it's a horror show even going for a coffee and she disguises herself.

    Why are we hungry for this stuff is the bigger question?


  13. www: Indeed, it's not just the celebs who're under siege but their children, relatives, friends, neighbours - anyone who might add something juicy to the mix. As you say, even popping out for a coffee or a food-shop becomes a nightmare of trying to avoid the paparazzi.

    Absolutely, why are so many people obsessed with celebs in the first place? Are their own lives so empty?

  14. I can't say I have a whole lot of sympathy for celebrities, maybe I misunderstand the pressures but I do think they choose the life they lead, as we all do.

  15. Who decides that they are celebrities? And what is a celebrity?
    This has always puzzled me.

    The version of the saying that I know runs thus...
    More people know Tom Fool than Tom Fool knows.

  16. Kylie: I don't think they choose to be relentlessly trolled and abused. And if all those celebs liable to trolling decided to quit, there wouldn't be many left. We'd lose some first-rate women Labour MPs for a start.

    Helen: Some celebrities are famous for a good reason, others are just famous for being famous. Or famous because they've appeared on some vapid TV series for years on end.

  17. see, i dont think politicians are celebs, i think they are pollies!

  18. Kylie: But the politicians are celebs as well. Like the ghastly Nigel Farage and the equally ghastly Boris Johnson. I wonder if they get trolled on the same scale as women?

  19. Why are you so occupied by those questions ? I think there are so many more important questions in our society. I give a shit about celebs and you should too.
    Mia More

  20. Mia: Oh, I'm very concerned about the big questions as well - inequality, poverty, homelessness, war, unaffordable health care. But I guess most of my visitors share my concerns, and I don't want to preach to the converted. And it's interesting the way the cult of celebrity stops people focusing on those big questions.

  21. This celebrity you write about is a person I have never heard of. I'm reading the book by an ultimate celebrity, Hillary Clinton, and it demonstrates what it takes to lead a life as public as hers.

  22. Hattie: No, you wouldn't have heard of her as she's one of these stars-of-a-popular-reality-show. She has no claim to fame except that people watch her on TV. Hillary Clinton's life must be quite an ordeal, with so many people watching and judging her every move.

  23. I had to google her because I've never heard the name and didn't recognize her. As little interest as I have in celebrities, I have even less in pseudo-celebrities like reality tv stars. Bleh.

  24. Agent: A pseudo-celebrity is about right. I don't know why people are so interested in these reality-TV nobodies.