People’s infatuation with fame surprises me. Growing up in Southern California I have been surrounded by the entertainment industry my entire life. I have worked in it, have friends in it and plan on making a career in it. however as much as I appreciate the industry, I can never seem to wrap my head around one thing. Why is everyone obsessed with being famous? While being famous does come with perks it also has a great deal of negative consequences.
The other day I had a conversation with a man named Alex who works at a popular smoothie shop in Malibu. Our discussion had a wide range of topics, but the most prominent topic revolved around his career ambitions. When I asked him what he wanted to do with his life, he said “Be famous.” For him it doesn’t matter whether he is famous for making the best smoothies or famous for his model looks. He sees fame as the ultimate prize and measure for success.
This dream is not unique to just Alex. Los Angeles is filled with thousands of people with the same goal. These people see a life of glitz and glam. A life where they never have to wait for a table, people always recognize them and there is an endless supply of courtside tickets. What they don’t think about is the life that they leave behind.
A life where they could go wherever they wanted whenever they wanted. Where a personal private tragedy remains a personal private tragedy and isn’t the front page of a gossip magazine. Where they can drop off their kid at the front of the school, instead of a block away to avoid embarrassing them. It is very rare to find someone who thinks about these things when they are day dreaming of stardom. However, it is the harsh reality that they cannot have the benefits of fame without the drawbacks.
For many, fame is a byproduct of their passion. They act purely for the love acting, dance purely for the high and sing purely to entertain. These are the people I feel bad for. The people I do not feel bad for are people like Alex, who seek fame simply for the perks. They choose to give up their personal lives for life in the spotlight, so I don’t want to hear them complaining about how hard it is to be famous.
Holly Tarbell is a senior at Pepperdine University majoring in Public Relations.
Jon Pfeiffer is an experienced entertainment and copyright trial attorney practicing in Santa Monica. Jon is also an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California where he teaches Media Law. COM 570 covers First Amendment issues as well as copyright, defamation and privacy.