How To - Of the Day

How to Handle Fame

"I handle fame by not being famous...I'm not famous to me." Bob Marley

Whether you're a celebrity, a politician, a MySpace star, dating someone famous, a well-known author, and even if you look different in a small town, you might be uncomfortable with being recognized wherever you go.
How do you preserve a good reputation while still maintaining your privacy?
(Don't be a Waste-Case!!)
  1. Be boring to the public. The best way to maintain the privacy of your private life is to bore people to tears. Unless you're one of those people who believes that all publicity is good publicity, it's better to become famous (and stay famous) through the merit of your work, not because of a rollercoaster relationship, an addiction, a surprise pregnancy, or a glamorous wedding. If you're a naturally flamboyant or free-spirited person, it might be difficult to stifle that, and you need to decide how you're going to strike a balance between uninhibited expression and privacy, which tend to be mutually exclusive when you're famous.
  2. Go to major events solo. Even if you're married, the fact that you're there together is bound to result in personal, sometimes totally inappropriate questions like "When are you having a baby?" or "When are you having another?" or even "How is your sex life?" Also, if you're always attending events as a couple, all it takes is one event when your schedules conflict and you don't show up together, and everyone will presume your relationship is on the rocks. If you do ever split up, the last thing you want is people wondering where your date is--talk about salt in the wound! That being said, sometimes being consistently dateless can stir its own breed of gossip, depending on the context--a famous celebrity going solo is understandable; a political figure probably wouldn't be. If you do bring a date, make sure it's someone you're in a long-term, committed relationship with, and who's mature enough to be by your side consistently, even if you have a disagreement right before the event.
  3. Refuse to answer any questions about your personal life. This is what some famous and successful celebrities do to keep their private lives private.[1] That means keeping the details private even when things are going well. Some famous people make the mistake of gushing about their private lives when a new relationship has begun or a child is born, but then suddenly become tight-lipped when the details aren't so glorious.[2] By making people curious about the good things going on in your life, they'll naturally be curious about the bad things as well. Be consistently silent when it comes to your personal life and no one will be surprised when you say "I want to keep my private life private."
  4. Be humble. If you're famous, it's probably because people admire you. With admiration comes a certain degree of idealism and even idolatry, so it's important to remind people that you're not perfect. You're human, just like they are. Talking about little things that you struggle with--like getting the stomach flu, or locking your keys in the car, or bad hair days--can help keep your image in check. One celebrity went as far as to ask a magazine to take pictures of her with no make-up or retouching so that she could show people that the image of perfection is just that--an image, not reality.[3]
  5. Be friendly. Fame is and can be fleeting. People admire you based on what they see on the screen. You can negatively affect that image with one misstep, one harsh word, or one thoughtless action. Take a minute or two to be friendly with a fan (or a group of fans); most will be respectful of your private time if you provide some level of access when you're in public.
  6. Go undercover. If you can move to a place where you're not well-known, most of your problems will be solved. But most of us can't relocate that easily, so the next best thing is to avoid public places where you're likely to be seen. For celebrities, it's a matter of not getting photographed; but for most people struggling with fame, it's exhausting to engage in small talk wherever you go, and it can be disconcerting to know you're recognized when you're browsing books or shopping for undergarments. If you do bump into someone who recognizes you, however, handle it gracefully. Commit to the conversation long enough to be friendly and polite, otherwise you might be labeled as a snob, or worse.
  7. Use your fame to help people. Take advantage of your "star power" to draw attention to causes you feel strongly about. Take, for example, a ridiculously famous celebrity couple that sells photo rights of their newborn children and donate all the millions to charity.[4] But you don't have to be one half of a mega-famous couple to do good. Even just spreading the word about a charitable event during those many bouts of small talk can make a big difference. When someone asks "How are coping with the divorce?" or something similar, you can say "Well, I'm focusing on something positive..." and discuss your efforts.


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