Dealing with the demands and pitfalls of fame

Last updated 05:00 16/05/2015

One of Gerard's friends had a chance meeting with Andrea Bocelli on a street in New York.

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Your life is more than just screen deep Too old for selfies and leggings? Don't be ridiculous The evolution of the selfie The relentless love of the selfie What to make of Generation Selfie? Dealing with the demands and pitfalls of fame

Many years ago I came to the conclusion that I was never going to become famous. Then along came Google to confirm this fact.

Searching my name throws up just a handful of results. Recently out of curiosity I searched the name of a former class mate of mine, who is famous, and found his Google search runs into hundreds of pages. Am I jealous? Not at all. I suspect it must be a little frustrating at times to be famous.

Some years ago a work colleague rushed into the office very excited, holding a piece of paper high in the air and shouting: "Look what I have!"

It was the autograph of a famous local television personality. She had been driving to work and stopped at a set of traffic lights when the personality in question had pulled up beside her.

She jumped out of her car and rushed over to his, tapping on his window until it opened. She then thrust a pen and paper at him and would not move until he gave her his autograph.

By morning tea, everyone was sick of my colleague's "brush with fame story" and I remember the boss eventually telling her to "shut up and get back to work".

Just before going home I asked my colleague if she was going to frame her autograph. She pointed to the rubbish can and said she had already thrown it out.


On another occasion I had a friend who cleaned hotel rooms. One day a famous heart throb Australian actor visited New Zealand on a promotional tour and stayed in the hotel where she worked. There was great excitement with young women spending the night outside the hotel hoping to get just a glimpse of him.

My friend and her female work mates went one better. As soon as the actor checked out they rushed to his bedroom and jumped into his unmade bed. They then took photos of themselves so they could tell everybody they had been in the same bed as the actor in question.

I imagine it must be hard being famous with people wanting to get close to you to somehow shine in your reflected glory. Probably famous people just want to be treated like everyone else.


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When John Kirwan was at the height of his rugby playing fame, someone I knew, who was super passionate for the sport, got on a flight from Auckland to Wellington and to his surprise found himself seated next to John.

As this person put his bags in the overhead locker he thought to himself how he was going to handle this situation. He rapidly came to the conclusion that it must be boring for John to meet people who just wanted to talk about rugby, and so he introduced himself, and then pretended he had no idea who John Kirwan was.

He said they had a very pleasant flight talking about all kinds of subjects, rugby never being mentioned once.


Often a super famous personality is famous in one country and an unknown in another. My sister was traveling in South America and at one point was invited to spend a few days with an elderly couple in their home.

On the Sunday, one of the couple’s daughters visited. My sister asked the daughter if she worked. "Yes," she said. "I am a singer." My sister then innocently asked her if she was any good.

"I think so," she said. "Last night I performed in front of 60,000 people." The daughter was in fact was one of Brazil’s most popular pop stars.

With the advent of digital cameras it is now so easy to get that unexpected selfie with a famous person. A friend of mine had a great shot of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie leaving a hotel in London in 2011.

When I asked her if I could use it for this article she apologised, saying she had lost it, but she could provide me with a shot of Andrea Bocelli instead who she saw on a New York street in 2013.

Do you have a famous person story or selfie you would like to share?

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