STORY BY Josh King
Published: June 20, 2014
We've all been reeled in by the lure of celebrity.
I, for one, have always been, and still am to a degree, fascinated with how great people look on television as opposed to how these 'stars' actually appear in real life.
I don't think it's a matter of being taken in by celebrity or being shallow ourselves; it's almost like taking drugs- suddenly the world seems like a better place with a "hit" of one of these people assuring us that beauty will prevail, and somehow, someway, we can avoid--or let's say escape--old age and, ultimately, death.
Take the case of Ellen DeGeneres. Recently she was spotted in Montecito, California looking somewhat different then we're used to seeing on her show. Ellen is one of the few people that I always thought evaded that tragic curse we all live with: ‘losing our good looks'.
Whenever I've seen her in photographs, on tv at an event, or with her partner, she looked great and I could not help but wonder, "How does this girl do it?!" The proverbial fountain of youth seemed to be constantly flowing around her.
Then the truth hit the fan.
View Ellen without rose-colored glasses-- her Cover Girl makeup, the façade created by the lights and angles, the camera tricks and filters--this is a slightly different Ellen then we are used to gazing at.
As a seasoned Hollywood player, I was fortunate enough to see many movie stars up close, at their homes, and in a light that is not as complimentary as the false ones in which we're used to viewing them. In Ellen's case, the facts are revealing, but also inspiring --for the rest of us.
This is the same woman who I was convinced had everything-- a hit T.V. show, millions in the bank, a gorgeous lover-- a life we all dream of. While that may all be true, when you look at the real Ellen as opposed to the one hidden by Cover Girl makeup, by the facade of a life we have come to covet in this country, the truth is somewhat shocking--a revelation similar to Andre Agassi's courageousl admission that he did cocaine and wore a wig during the time he played Ultimate Tennis.
I have always maintained that the American Dream is "trapped in celebrity". The average person who wakes up every morning thinking: "Today is going to be my day... today I will conquer the world... today I will make my dream come true...", but somehow never does, is somehow deluded. They believe they have the same opportunities as someone born either rich, into a celebrity family, or with some sort of irrevocable talent that surpasses that of the average human being.
With façade at an all time high and the public completely taken in by celebrity and the notion that fame, power and money will buy happiness, the reality of creating one's dreams is almost impossible, unless you are... famous.
However, there is a price to pay for fame as all famous people know. Once you cross that threshold into the forbidden city of Tinseltown, there is no turning back. The best way to describe such a syndrome is with the film title, "To Live and Die in LA".
We all have that belief, that if we step outside of the world we were brought up in, take a chance, and expose ourselves to the world in some way, we will hit it big. In some cases it's true--in most it isn't.
The most striking aspect of the Ellen revelation is that in one swift moment, a person who has built his or her life around a façade can easily be seen as real. Suddenly the difference between stardom and reality hits us hard. We then come to the realization that Ellen is a real person with real problems, real concerns and a real body. In the sunlight, not the spot, her ego is gone and--as all stars eventually discover--- she is vulnerable to the same challenges as all humans.
These are our modern day gods and goddesses... but as in all myths, they are just stories with beginnings, middles, and ends.
When the end comes, they cry out, "Let me live a life like everyone else!", yet ironically they don't really want to, or can't. Like craving a drug, these people need to be in front of the camera, they need to change partners in ways that most of us would never consider, and they need to hear the sound of someone's voice screaming after them: “Hey... There's Ellen!”
On the day the Montecito photos were taken that claim may have been slightly overstated. For the real Ellen is not a Cover Girl, but a person.
Maybe this is a lesson we all need to learn.
The fault, as Shakespeare says, is not in the stars, but in ourselves.
(Picture credit: US Magazine)
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