I have made a lot of jokes over the past few weeks about attending such glamorous media events such as TCA parties or award show gift suites and how I am just showing up for the chance to meet some of my longtime favorite celebrities. When I said I was bummed Courteney Cox-Arquette never showed up to the ABC TCA party because I wanted to grab her and Matthew Perry for a photo and caption it 'I've been adopted by the Bings'...well, it was all in good fun and should have been taken with a grain of salt. But in truth, the reason I got into this industry in general was because I was a fan first. And knowing firsthand just how important shows and personalities can be to the "general viewing public," I wanted find a way to be a part of celebrating them. I have a tendency to worm my way into relationships in general anyway!
But more and more while attending these events, I hear other bloggers who are around my age and got into the business for the same reason say that certain people held in a higher regard that they have interviewed haven't lived up to their greatest expectations. They resort to the old throwaway cliche of "Never meet your idols!" as a way to gloss over their deep upset and appear more flippant and casual about the whole misfire encounter because we are, after all, supposed to be professionals.
For the record, I only had one true childhood idol. Said person was who I looked to to tell me things like how I should dress or cut my hair or feel towards religion, politics, and family. I didn't say it's an entirely healthy phenomenon. But I didn't have an older sister to look to for such things, so I took what I could get from someone on TV.
Yes, then, it should go without saying that my childhood idol was someone on television, and yes, it was someone about whom I mostly gleaned information by reading random quotes in magazine articles or catching occasionally on Access Hollywood. And yes, that meant that sometimes the real life persona and the character portrayed would blur together until I was just picking and choosing characteristics as I saw fit.
I met this childhood idol a few times over the course of the last few years during which I began working in the industry. And I have to say that while so many think such should be a cautionary tale, I disagree. In fact, I think we all need to meet our idols and fast (though I understand it is not always an option for those who have no access, live in another part of the world, or for whom's particular role model may no longer be with us at all).
Are there pangs of disappointment when initially you realize the person you for so long admired, looked up to, or simply crushed on isn't who you imagined them to be? Sure. But that is just temporary and once it fades, you are left with the distinct realization that they are not who you imagined them to be because you never truly knew them before (and even now, if you have a limited amount of time with them, everything is circumstantial anyway). For all of the exciting or intelligent or whatever characteristics you assigned them, did you ever really have proof of it? Or was it just something you inferred from the way a journalist slanted an article, or a personal bias based on something you just really wanted (or perhaps needed) to believe?
What unfolds after your encounter, then, is a journey of self-discovery. Maybe it's one you sloughed off way back when and chose instead to simply look for external imagery of what you wanted to be. Maybe you weren't ready then to self-analyze but you are now. Maybe it's one you actually embarked upon years ago, choosing an idol based on his or her proximity to your own actual nature.
Is it sad to consider the things you grew up believing to turn out to be fabrications? It shouldn't be. You once believed in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, too, but you found out the truth and turned out okay. Maybe you even still believe in God or Heaven and Hell right now, though you have nothing tangible to say they exist. Besides, wishing and believing are the two greatest verbs of childhood, and everything that falls into those categories helped shape the person you matured into, so they can't be all bad!