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Why do so many people crave fame, followers, and popularity? Although desiring to be famous as a performing artist is not necessarily wrong, it may be wise to investigate the reasons why. Ask yourself about your desire for fame & followers: Is It OK to crave being famous?? This question can bring about some profound answers. For instance, poor self-esteem can cause a desire for fame and negatively influence other elements in your life. However, there are ways to develop your self-esteem and emotional awareness. In addition, there are ways to educate yourself about fame and whether that is what you seek.
The Great Side Of Fame
Anyone involved in show business or who has any taste in celebrity understands that there is a lovely spot on the ‘fame’ continuum. The place where you have entry to what you want, you can eat fancy food, travel 1st class, and enjoy 5-star hotels. The place where no one is bothering you, and maybe there’s a feeling that everything revolves around you. However, it is not under your control whether you will stay in this fame sweet spot.
“Fame becomes an addiction; we become addicted to that level of not only attention but adulation. There is also this ‘has been’ problem, because you can’t keep that bright light forever.” says Dr. Rockwell as part of her doctorate on the psychology of fame and celebrity.Dr. Rockwell (from her doctorate on the psychology of fame and celebrity)
Why Do I Crave Being Famous? Is It OK to Crave Being Famous?
I often ask artists whether they want to ‘make it’ or whether they want to ‘make.’ Showbiz (the entertainment industry) has a competitive nature. As a performer, you need to have a drive for success and the ability to believe sincerely in yourself amongst the competition. Booking work and getting to do what we have trained for and love is beautiful; this is what I’m referring to by ‘make.’ I want to MAKE my art! I want to be good at what I do, book work, and perform.
The phrase we often hear in the entertainment industry is I want to ‘make it.’ To ‘make it’ is to achieve something or to become successful. For example, your conservatory professor might tell you that to make it as a dancer, you’ve got to be good at both technique and performance expression. Therefore, as career performers, we should want to ‘make it’ if we look at it this way.
But what about when people have a goal of craving to be famous? Is this still wanting to ‘make it’? In other words, it may be time to ask yourself about your desire for fame & followers: why do I crave being famous?
The difference between craving fame and wanting to make it
I believe craving to be famous and people wanting to; ‘make it’ are profoundly different. Successful people are not always famous. Famous people, on the other hand, are usually successful at something. For instance, performers can be wildly successful (and make it) but not be famous. “Fame is cool, but I believe in success,” says Floyd Mayweather, Jr, American boxing promoter.
Being popular is being liked by many people. Being famous is being known by many people. Therefore, I propose the question, do you want to be successful and be a working artist, or does your goal of fame want all eyes on you?
Focus on what you can control as an artist.
Perhaps it’s better to focus on what is within your control as an artist—for example, treating others respectfully and being nice to work with. We can control our training as performers and ensure that our product (talent) is top-notch and skilled and that we are ready for auditions. We cannot control whether or not we will be famous. That is an outcome of success for some people. “Stardom isn’t a profession; it’s an accident,” says Lauren Bacall, American Actress.
In the golden years of Hollywood, there is a well-known saying that I assume a manager said to new talent, “I’m gonna make you a star kid.” I’m confident that not all managers saying this to their signed artists achieved that. In the end, fame is controlled by the audiences and what ‘they’ want. This ‘want’ moves fast. One person is famous and at the top of the world for one week. The following week, they could be old news and no longer booking entertainment work. Fame is transient, ever-moving, and hard to sustain.
If fame goes by, so long, I’ve had you, fame. If it goes by, I’ve always known it was fickle. So at least it’s something I experienced, but that’s not where I live.MARILYN MONROE
My Fleeting Taste of Fame
My short taste of fame as a TV reality star was challenging. I was subject to internet trolls, immense judgment, and witnessing online chats about me by people who wrote as if they knew me. I had signed a non-disclosure with the network and couldn’t comment on any of it. Let’s say the network had all the power, and I was under their control. We were not allowed to use our publicists; they had their own, which meant they controlled all media/press about the TV show and us, the ‘talent.’ The editing, narrative, and publicity about me were all owned by someone else… legally.
With public popularity and exposure comes fantastic fun, privileges, and experiences. However, there is also control, criticism, and judgment. If you desire fame & followers and crave being famous as your goal, ask yourself if you know what is involved (unlikely if you haven’t experienced it yet) and are prepared to handle the pressures that come with it. “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer,” says Jim Carey, one of the most famous people in the world who has left acting.
“I really like my quiet life and I really like putting paint on canvas and I really love my spiritual life and I feel like, and this is something you might never hear another celebrity say as long as time exists–I have enough. I’ve done enough. I am enough.”
“I’m going to continue to be in the world, no matter what. We have more of an effect on the world than we know. We don’t have to be multi-hyphenates to affect the world.”Jim Carey
Is Fame a Drug? Is It OK to Crave Being Famous?
Fame is a dangerous drug, according to Pych Alive. “Ready for the Close-up: Celebrity Experience and the Phenomenology of Fame” describes the dead-end cycle of fame’s merry-go-round through first-hand reports of celebrity experience in the book Film and Television Stardom.”
“Developmentally, the celebrity often goes through a process of first loving, then hating fame; addiction; acceptance; and then adaptation (both positive and negative) to the fame experience. Becoming a celebrity alters the person’s being in the world.” says Dr. Donna Rockwell, a licensed clinical psychologist who also writes that “Once fame hits, with its growing sense of isolation, mistrust, and lack of personal privacy, the person develops a kind of character-splitting between the “celebrity self” and the “authentic self,” as a survival technique in the hyperkinetic and heady atmosphere associated with celebrity life.”
Dr. Rockwell’s study outlines four stages of fame. The first phase is love/hate. The celebrity loves finally getting acknowledged, but then it gets creepy, and they hate it. Secondly, there’s an addiction phase. This sounds like, ‘I may not like this, but I can’t live without it for some reason.’ The third phase is acceptance. The fourth and final stage is adaptation, which includes realizing you are part of something larger than yourself.
“According to psychologist and author Pamela Stephenson, “fame [is] extremely bad for your health.” Many celebrities struggle with their mental health, including anxiety, depression, body image issues, and other mental struggles with their health.”
Your Fame Dream Comes True, Now What?
Singer and former member of the Pussycat Dolls Kaya Jones stepped away from fame and fortune to stay true to herself, sharing regarding fame that “Here’s your dream, now it’s coming true, the great part was being able to work with the best writers and producers on the planet. However, this was a deal between the owner of the dolls and the record company – we were just hired cast members. Getting calls that day about what you ate, who you date, and who you speak to, you’re controlled.” She shared that The challenges for her were similar to what causes performers everywhere to compromise who they are;
“Don’t say No because there’s someone younger, thinner, prettier, better if you’re not willing to, you’re disposable.”Kaya Jones
For Kaya Jones, that doesn’t work for her, “I gotta do me; this is BS; the high point was good, but I didn’t want to stick around for the low.” she said.
She said walking away from the money and friends in the biz was hard. She shares the powerful story of being on a big stage and waiting for her cue to sing…seeing a small girl in the audience and idolizing her. “Look, Mommy, a pussy cat doll.” She thought there was no way I would sell ‘this’ to kids because I refuse to let more children think that this is the right thing. She shares that they “dressed sexily, sang about sex, and we are trying to sell ‘sex’ that to a kid, that’s disgusting.”
Performers Can Be Influences For Good
I remember performing for younger children in a touring theater company early in my career. I’ve seen firsthand how little girls idolized me onstage, which was sweet. They asked for autographs, and I enjoyed the admiration and feeling of influence, but it was always fleeting. As performers and artists, we can have the incredible power of influence. We can use fame for good also.
I had a friend in London who wanted to be famous to influence people for good. However, the heart to influence others starts now with the few around you, not ‘when you’re famous. Did he genuinely seek fame and followers and crave being famous for others or himself?
Kayla Jones also shared that everything she did was for the song, the shot, and the camera. “Are people aware of eating disorders and drugs? The more you talk about it, the more you take your power back. Stop this ‘everything is fine’. The reason why the world is in this place is that we haven’t talked about it.” Talking about her truths got Kayla into much trouble with managers and fans. However, she won a Grammy for a song she sang afterward. Kayla’s being faithful to herself gave her more significant success in the end.
“true freedom comes from feeling like you can be you and not be silenced. You start to realize you’re enough, your gifts are enough.”Kayla Jones
Her advice to Hollywood was that it would be great if Hollywood let people create what they wanted to create, but Hollywood is wired to produce what sells. Her advice for young people is, “Don’t compromise who you are for fame…ever; popular people seldom become significant, but significant people will become popular. So focus on being significant and being yourself.” Wise words, Kayla Jones.
I think that says it all. If you are craving fame, try focusing on being significant, which means audiences decide that a particular person is important enough to discuss.
Here is how to be more significant
- Values. Discover the values that guide you through life. Discover yours by getting this workbook here.
- Purpose. What makes you want to get up in the morning? For example, what are you doing when you are the most motivated? Try to spend time doing things that align with your purpose.
- Give back. Aim to make the lives of others better by what you do and how you spend your time.
- Love. Work towards being less self-focused and love the significant people in your life.
In conclusion, it often takes a ton of grind to become and remain famous. If you’re not inclined to work hard, this direction may not be yours. Moreover, even if you work your hardest, you may never become famous; it takes a component of luck, too. Spend time asking yourself about your desire and whether it’s OK to crave being famous for you. The answers may surprise even you.
I’m focused on leaving a meaningful legacy that helps others become the best artists they can be inside and out.
With you on the journey, friend.
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