Recently, I did a piece about how to tweet celebrities and how to actually engage them in intelligent conversation rather than squealing or caps lock fandom. What most people find out is that many of the same sociological problems exist in people tweeting celebs as they do when talking to a celebrity face to face. Despite most people perhaps knowing the major stigmas involved in talking with celebrities, my experience is that nobody ever learns their lessons and endlessly repeats the same things.
I’ve had the fortune to meet a few notable people, or at least be around them to observe what other people do. In some cases, what they did prevented me from being able to go up and converse with the celebrity in question. And one of the worst is the monopolizing of time with celebrities where the fanbase seems to take a sense of ownership over someone who’s very publicly known.
Dominating a Celebrity’s Time
If you’ve ever had to wait in a line to talk to someone extra notable (as in backstage after a performance or a book signing), you know that you’re frequently going to run into people who take too much time to talk blather. I’ve had several experiences with this, and it can bring on the feeling of wanting to say something everyone in the room might regret. What makes it even more interesting is seeing how the celebrity reacts to someone who dominates their time talking about very unimportant things or telling their life story. Of the most gracious celebrities, they feign interest to show that they care about people.
And in some cases, that domination of time may be of genuine interest to the celebrity if it’s someone rare who has something substantive to say. In most cases, though, it’s going to be in a situation where a person is meeting a celeb for the first time where you’re expected to only say something brief and meaningful, if possible.
Those who continue to monopolize time, however, apparently put all thoughts of what other people think behind them. The next time you attend a backstage meeting with a celeb or other situation where others wait in a line, you’ll see at least a few celebrity dominators every time. It’s something to keep in your mind if you have a tendency to do the same thing once stars hit your eyes.
Acting Like a Normal Human Being
If you’ve ever seen replies to notables on Twitter, far too many of them manage to convey in text exactly how people react in real life. In many cases, that means plenty of “OMG’s” and generally banal comments that most celebrities may start lumping all together. The best thing you can ever do if encountering a celebrity face to face is to act like a normal human being. Most celebrities who have a solid reputation aren’t going to expect you to faun all over them and think they’re a walking god or goddess. If they do, you shouldn’t be giving them the time of day, and you might find a few here and there like that.
In situations where you’re lucky enough to talk at length with a celebrity (as in if they sit next to you on an airline), having a conversation about anything other than being a fan will usually go over well. You might even find out you both have something in common and be able to converse for the next two hours while on your flight.
Regardless, those situations are rare, and you’ll mostly have to give a quick comment to a celebrity when encountering them out in public. If you have to show fandom, the best thing is to come up with something substantive that makes the fandom much more meaningful than just being excited about seeing them. Prove to them they’ve perhaps made some kind of impact on your life.
Should You Talk to a Celebrity At All?
You may have this dilemma if you see someone notable sitting at a dinner table not far away from you in a restaurant. Should you go up and bother them while they’re eating, or just let them have their privacy? It doesn’t hurt to go over and just tell them hello and take a few seconds that you appreciate their presence. For situations where a celebrity really has meant something to you for many years, you shouldn’t necessarily ignore them because you think you’ll be annoying.
Some hipsters will attempt to pretend a celebrity isn’t even in the room when they’re standing right next to one another. The acknowledgement of who they are without displaying fandom is the dichotomous challenge the public has with celebrities. Nevertheless, it’s clear there’s always going to be a huge chasm between those who can’t dominating a celebrity and those who have the intelligence to use their brain when it’s truly needed.