The next chapter of After the Storm is taking a little longer to write than I had anticipated, but it will be posted tomorrow evening. Today I’m responding to a blog post about public personas.
My golden rule when looking at a celebrity is to ask myself whether or not I would like to be friends with them if I knew them in real life. I ask myself, “Would I be proud to call this person my friend if I knew them? Would I add their number to my contacts list?”
From Ellen Degeneres.
This was such a thought-provoking blog post, but I was struck by how differently the author and I think about celebrities.
One of the benefits of growing up a preacher’s kid is that I learned early on that personas aren’t people. The similarities between the expectations average people hold of pastors and of celebrities are actually quite interesting.
People in both professions are held to a higher standard than other families, and their spouses and kids are included in these inflated expectations. The problem with this is that perfection isn’t possible. Everyone makes mistakes eventually, so what families living in this fishbowl must learn to do is keep their public faces on even when they think no one is watching.
Personas can be influenced heavily by your real personality and identity, but at the end of the day your public face isn’t the real you. By its very nature the range of emotions a persona shows is limited by what others expect of it.
I’m a fan of Ellen’s comedy routines and TV show, and I really appreciate the messages she teaches about kindness, tolerance, and playfulness. I share many of the values Ellen discusses on her show, and in no way am I insinuating anything about who she is when the camera stops rolling. There’s no way for me to know this information because I don’t know her personally.
But how well I think I’d get along with entertainers isn’t something that consciously affects what I watch or listen to. Public personas are simply another tool singers/actors/comedians use to draw in an audience, and I don’t expect famous people who are known for X to actually necessarily be X in their private lives.
Readers, do you form strong opinions about entertainers based on their public personas?