The other day I ran into an actor friend on the street. We chatted for a minute and quickly got into shop talk, including how we access breakdowns. Eventually he ended the conversation with "well, I'm sure we'll both be famous soon!" and he meant it so genuinely.
Without meaning to, my back arched. Every hair on my body stood out straight. I screeched up at the sky in horror and disgust as if that would expel the belief from the world that fame is not only a good thing, but the goal.
I'm exaggerating a little bit, but not by much. It's a concept that I've run into a lot lately, and with every fiber of my being, I hate it.
If it were just about the money, I would get it. Like, there's the art and the craft and all which is more important, I know, blah blah blah, but being very rich would be very nice. Have you seen rich people houses? They're HUGE. And GORGEOUS.
But fame itself? We glorify a state of being that leads a really high number of people to substance abuse problems. When you're famous, you can't go anywhere on your own in public, which is deeply infantalizing and limiting. I know that I want to be respected for my work in the industry, and I want to be known to a certain extent because that's how you get the really good roles, but being famous? That's the negative side effect of what I want, not the thing itself.
Also, it cheapens the industry as a whole and the people within it. Acting and storytelling has such capacity for touching and moving people across the world, and for the exploration of intellectual ideas. And when you lump all of that in with the simple desire for people to know your name, it seems like we're all shallow and thoughtless when we can really be so much more than that.
I smiled and thanked my friend. I know he meant it as a compliment, and I don't want to be a dick about it. But god, why would I ever want to be famous - which is in itself no more than a scream into the void - when I could do so many things in my life that are far more interesting than that?