Dealing with fame – or not



Jennifer LawrenceMany other talented and acclaimed actors also reach a certain level of public recognition because of their work, and Jennifer Lawrence notes fame is “a dangerous topic” and comments about how assaultive and how much negative impact it can have:

“I teeter on seeming ungrateful when I talk about this, but I’m kind of going through a meltdown about it lately.

“All of a sudden the entire world feels entitled to know everything about me, including what I’m doing on my weekends when I’m spending time with my nephew. And I don’t have the right to say, ‘I’m with my family.’ ”

She points out, “If I were just your average 23-year-old girl and I called the police to say that there were strange men sleeping on my lawn and following me to Starbucks, they would leap into action.

“But because I am a famous person, ‘Well, sorry, ma’am, there’s nothing we can do.’ It makes no sense.”

“I am just not OK with it. It’s as simple as that. I am just a normal girl and a human being, and I haven’t been in this long enough to feel like this is my new normal. I’m not going to find peace with it.”

[From article: The Hunger Games’ Jennifer Lawrence Covers the September Issue, by Jonathan Van Meter, Vogue, September 2013.]

Jennifer Lawrence - red carpet

More from Lawrence on being a celebrity:

“Socially, it’s so hard-core. There are all these peers judging you, and you’re never cool enough, never wearing the right outfit, saying the right thing. You don’t get out of middle school. You don’t get out of high school.

“There are always going to be people saying you’re a slut because you went out on a date on Friday, or you’re a bitch because you didn’t call somebody back because you have a life. I want everyone to like me. Who doesn’t [want that]?

“But, if they don’t, you’ve gotta move on. Then you grow up and become famous, and it’s the same thing multiplied by a billion!”

[Marie Claire magazine, May 2014; photo on red carpet from facebook.com/JenniferLawrence.]

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Gwyneth Paltrow - People mag.But there are different kinds and impacts of fame.

In April 2013 People Magazine named Gwyneth Paltrow the “World’s Most Beautiful Women in the World.”

She said that when her publicist sent her an email about it, “I was like, ‘this is a typo.’ Like I reread it three times, and then I got this really weird old feeling that my school bully had somehow was playing a trick on me.

“I swear, I had to talk about [it] with my shrink. I went through this whole weird thing…And I was beyond surprised, flattered, and I still kinda can’t believe it. It’s, it’s really cool.”

[She was also named ‘Most Hated’ Celeb in a Star Magazine Poll.]

[From Gwyneth Paltrow on Iron Man 3, Robert Downey Jr. and Being the Most Beautiful Woman in the World, Babble.com]

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Other actors have different perspectives on fame

Sarah PolleySarah Polley has said, “I think you have to keep your distance from mainstream Hollywood in order to be a normal human being.

“I mean, I work there, and I like being there, but I love having an anonymous life. I think there’s definitely such a thing as being too famous.” [imdb.com]

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Many actors – and other artists – have an ambivalent attitude about gaining or pursuing celebrity status, or just high visibility.

Winona Ryder in The DilemmaWinona Ryder commented:

“Hollywood people associate movies solely with fame and I didn’t enjoy working in that way anymore.

“I am so much happier now.” [Another Magazine March 2006]

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Another aspect of fame is the hype, and what that can do to your sense of reality.

Lynda Carter was also once voted “The Most Beautiful Woman In The World” and admits “there was a short time where I believed the hype.

“Not the “beautiful” things but that I believed I was really important, and that didn’t last very long because it didn’t feel good.”

[Also quoted in my article The Dark Side of Fame.]

[Photo also used in post: Superhuman or Extra Intelligent?]

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But fame can be a valuable aspect of career growth – perhaps especially for actors and other artists whose work is “onstage” and in public view.

Recognition vs expectations

A counselor who works with a number of prominent actors, Mary Rocamora thinks “Many gifted performers crave public recognition because it fuels their creative process.

“A major preoccupation of gifted performers is the struggle to find their way into the company of their peers so that their talents can flourish. Becoming famous and respected almost certainly brings opportunities to work with other gifted individuals.”

But the dark side of fame can undermine personal and creative growth, as Rocamora notes:

“When gifted performers ascend to fame and on-the-street recognizability, they face increased levels of public exposure. They are often overwhelmed by public expectations, loss of privacy, and the fear of public humiliation if their imperfections are disclosed to the press.”

[From article Counseling Issues.. by Mary Rocamora]

Kim BasingerMany actors and other artists are highly sensitive people – see related articles below – and fame can be especially challenging for sensitive people.

But the experiences of fame can also be strengthening for some artists.

Kim Basinger commented: “Because I’m such a shy person, having to live it out loud in front of everyone has made me a stronger woman, so much stronger, that it’s been a gift to me in a way.” [From “Basinger Better Than Ever,” ExtraTV.com]

> Related older page with multiple quotes: fame and celebrity

Related articles:

Amanda Seyfried on fame, anxiety and being self-critical.

Why Do You Want to Be Famous? By Scott Barry Kaufman, Scientific American

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  1. […] Dealing with fame – or not – comments by Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lawrence, Sarah Polley, Winona Ryder and others. […]

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