Author Topic: Treating a Celebrity Like a "Normal" Person  (Read 5787 times)

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jimithing

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Treating a Celebrity Like a "Normal" Person
« on: November 01, 2010, 08:27:53 PM »
Emma Watson, of "Harry Potter" fame, is currently attending Brown University. She recently gave an interview to Vogue where she was quoted about just wanting to be a normal student, and to be left alone.

http://www.digitalspy.com/showbiz/news/a285410/watson-wants-to-be-a-normal-student.html

Here are a couple of quotes:

After some students asked for her autograph: "In the end I had a breakdown. Not a hissy fit, more like uncontrollable crying. Everyone looked at me horrified, like, 'Oh my God! What's wrong with her?' I just said, 'I'm really sorry, but I'm here to study and I just want to be a student. Would it be okay if I don't sign, because you'll be seeing me around all the time anyway?"

She also said, "One morning I was walking down the corridor from the bathroom in just a towel and I thought I must be mad, anyone could take a picture up my towel and put it on Twitter. But no-one did. Not even when I had my birthday party - 100 people came and not one put a picture on Facebook."

I can totally understand not wanting to be a famous star when she's in school. However, normal, regular students also aren't giving interviews to a very, very popular fashion magazine about college life. I guess to me, it seems a little like wanting it both ways.

What do we think is the etiquette when dealing with celebrities in RL situations such as this?


PaintingPastelPrincess

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Re: Treating a Celebrity Like a "Normal" Person
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2010, 08:38:31 PM »
I think it's like seeing, say, Jennifer Garner out with her kids at the playground.  The average mom isn't acting in movies or giving interviews to magazines either.  However, there's a line drawn.  When Ms. Garner's out with her girls, she's working under the capacity of Mother, rather than Actress.

Likewise, Ms. Watson is working in the capacity of Student while she's at the school.  When she's giving interviews, on set, etc. she's working in the capacity of Actress.  Her fellow students need to learn where to draw the line, and she needs to learn to be firm in keeping it, without either having a breakdown or being overly snarky in declining.

Fliss

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Re: Treating a Celebrity Like a "Normal" Person
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2010, 09:00:04 PM »

It's a legitimate request.

If, as a fan of a certain sci-fi series, I see my favourite actor out and about, I do not have the right to bail them up and gush. It's their life and they have the right to live it without stress from fans. However, if they're at a convention or doing an interview, then they're there as a fan event and we can gush within reason.

She's at uni as a student, not as Emma Watson. She has every right to ask that she be allowed live a quiet life.

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Kaylee

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Re: Treating a Celebrity Like a "Normal" Person
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2010, 09:13:34 PM »
The reality is that she's a young woman who may be a well-known actress, but she also has to deal with the same stressors as everyone else.  College is a big change, and she's probably much more on her own than she ever was before--she's not even going to school in her home country.  I'd be surprised if she didn't have some difficulty adjusting, and much older people than she have had trouble with pushing the line between public and private life. 

I don't really know much about her except for the fact that she was in the Harry Potter movies and never saw any interviews with her except for this one, and I don't get Vogue so all I can see is the excerpt, but it doesn't sound like she thinks she deserves special consideration, she's just talking about some of the things she's dealt with since starting school, which is presumably what the interviewer asked her about.  I've seen similar things from other young actresses in the past--I remember back when Jodie Foster went to Yale, even--and they've all said pretty much the same thing about its being hard at first to get past that "ooh, you're So-and-so" thing with classmates.

I think it's not so much wanting to have it both ways as wanting to have as normal a college experience as possible, with the underlying reality that she's better known than most of her classmates. 

jimithing

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Re: Treating a Celebrity Like a "Normal" Person
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2010, 09:18:08 PM »
I think it's not so much wanting to have it both ways as wanting to have as normal a college experience as possible, with the underlying reality that she's better known than most of her classmates. 

Fair enough. I haven't read the entire article, just the excerpts.

I also thought the quote about not posting pictures on FB was a little odd. I think it was very nice, but honestly, I would probably post pics on FB regardless of who she is. Many people post pics of what they are doing and the events they attend. Unless she asked them to specifically not take pictures of the even, which I could see, I think it would be a little unreasonable to expect that no one is going to post pics on FB of anything she happens to be at.

ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Treating a Celebrity Like a "Normal" Person
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2010, 09:28:53 PM »
I dont think it's so much of "wanting it both ways" as it is a young actress who is "learning to set boundaries." 

It's entirely fair of her to say "I'm sorry, I only do autographs at press events/I'm on my way to class, so you'll have to catch me later."   

I think she realizes the paradox you are talking about - it's her fans that make her famous, so she doesnt want to deny that, but at the same time, she has to carve out time for her own experiences and life and learn when to focus on which one.  I think that's why she was also appreciative yet surprised about the Twitter/facebook issue she mentioned. On the one hand, she appreciates their respect/sense of boundaries (pictures in towel=inappropriate/taking advantage), but isnt sure how far she can take that/what they expect of her in terms of boundaries (I'm sorry, do you mind if I dont sign? You'll see me around anyway.")  At least, that's how it reads to me. 
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jimithing

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Re: Treating a Celebrity Like a "Normal" Person
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2010, 09:30:20 PM »


I think she realizes the paradox you are talking about - it's her fans that make her famous, so she doesnt want to deny that, but at the same time, she has to carve out time for her own experiences and life and learn when to focus on which one.  I think that's why she was also appreciative yet surprised about the Twitter/facebook issue she mentioned. On the one hand, she appreciates their respect/sense of boundaries (pictures in towel=inappropriate/taking advantage), but isnt sure how far she can take that/what they expect of her in terms of boundaries (I'm sorry, do you mind if I dont sign? You'll see me around anyway.")  At least, that's how it reads to me. 

I think paradox is probably a better term that "wanting it both ways."

Dindrane

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Re: Treating a Celebrity Like a "Normal" Person
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2010, 09:48:03 PM »
I haven't read the article in Vogue, but I don't think Emma Watson is being at all unreasonable.

I agree that she is probably facing a very difficult time in her life right now.  Going to college is not an easy transition for your average young person, and when you add in the fact that she's been filming Harry Potter movies since she was, what, 11? and hasn't attended a regular school in years, you don't even need her celebrity to explain why she's finding it more difficult than most.

On top of that, a whole lot of celebrities attempt to live normal lives outside of their work by trying to draw a clear line between their personal time and their public time.  They'll still get photographed, and they'll still get noticed, and they can't ever truly turn themselves off outside of their own homes, and I'm sure they all realize that.  The reasonable ones don't pitch fits about it, either.

The thing that's hardest for Emma Watson, I think, is that she doesn't even really have a home she can retreat into, not if the other students at her university don't allow her to do it.  For now, that campus is the closest thing she's got to home (especially since it sounds like she's living in a dorm).  I don't think it's at all unfair to hope (and to ask) that her classmates try not to treat it like she's on the red carpet.

It doesn't really sound like she's made any demands, at least based on those two quotes from the link.  She didn't ask anyone not to post pictures of her (although I'd hope that people would refrain from taking pictures of her when she's in a towel!), she just expressed her surprise (and perhaps appreciation) that people have refrained from doing it.  And she didn't tell people she wasn't going to sign autographs, she asked if it was okay not to.  It does seem like she understands the paradox of her situation, as DigitalPumpkin said, and she just hasn't completely figured out what to do about it.  Hopefully, she'll have the opportunity to learn. :)


Twik

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Re: Treating a Celebrity Like a "Normal" Person
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2010, 10:11:35 PM »
I agree, it sounds like she's actually relieved that no one has yet lain in wait for her while walking around in her towel (or schlepping in sweats and no makeup, or otherwise doing studenty things) to sell to the tabloids.
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kglory

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Re: Treating a Celebrity Like a "Normal" Person
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2010, 12:43:52 AM »
The other thing that doesn't come across in an interview is tone of voice.  Maybe she was smiling and thrilled that she could walk down the hall in a towel and not have anyone post it on Twitter.  Maybe the next quote after that in the magazine was, "Thank god!  Everyone is so down-to-earth here!"  Poor girl, to even have to worry about being able to walk the halls of her dorm in peace.  It makes me glad I am not famous, and especially glad that I am not famous in this internet era.

Even though she is 20, I think of Emma Watson as more of a child star because, like Sharnita said, she's been in the Harry Potter movies since she was a child, so her parents were the one who put her in the limelight.  Even if she never acted again, she'd carry that fame with her for the rest of her life.  So I'm glad she has some privacy and normalcy at school.

Millionaire Maria

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Re: Treating a Celebrity Like a "Normal" Person
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2010, 01:19:20 AM »
I manage one of three bars in my town. If I'm at one of the bars that I don't work at on my night off, having a good time with my friends, and a regular customer of my bar wants to discuss something work related, I tell them we'll discuss it later. My job is management, Emma's job is acting. Both of us have at work time and personal time. Both of us rely on our customers, and in Emma's case, her fans, in order to make money. Neither of us is wanting it both ways. We just want to do our jobs when we are at work and live our lives when we're not.
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Nurvingiel

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Re: Treating a Celebrity Like a "Normal" Person
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2010, 01:23:12 AM »
I think this is a totally reasonable request. Another celebrity who goes to school and seems to live like a regular person (when she's not making movies) is Julia Stiles. I love Julia Stiles.

I say good on Emma Watson. It seems that her friends and peers are respecting her request, so good on them. As for FB photos, if Emma Watson was at my party and in some pictures I would put them on FB. I wouldn't put any unflattering photos and I wouldn't post them if she asked me not to, but that's what I do for all pictures anyway.
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Re: Treating a Celebrity Like a "Normal" Person
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2010, 01:26:52 AM »
I'm going to agree with PP's and say that she has every right to try to separate her professional life from her personal and academic life.  I think most of us do this to lesser or greater extent but it just doesn't seem like it because we aren't famous.

It may be a reality that famous people have difficulty with this but much of it is outside of their control and it is not an unreasonable goal.
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Akarui Kibuno

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Re: Treating a Celebrity Like a "Normal" Person
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2010, 04:50:07 AM »
Honestly if I was in that college anyway, I'd just be happy that I could see her... and if one day I'd dare asking for an autograph, I surely would wait until it would be appropriate to do so, and would not stalk her.

And if it never became appropriate, so be it: I'm the kind of fan who'd rather see "her" stars happy than have autographs of them.
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flowersintheattic

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Re: Treating a Celebrity Like a "Normal" Person
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2010, 12:49:40 PM »
I saw a little bit of the interview elsewhere - there was a part where she was discussing money, and it came out that her parents had put all she had earned in a trust or some other account and given her an allowance from it, instead of letting her have it all at once. When she was older, they told her about it, and she was shocked that she had made so much money.

I think she in an odd situation of having been in the Harry Potter movies, and having been exposed to some fame, but being fairly insulated from everything for the most part. It's not surprising to me that she's having some trouble continuing to do so on her own, but it certainly seems like she's trying to keep it up.
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