Being a celebrity isn’t the haloed ground it used to be. Once limited to specific types of professions and specific kinds of people mostly in the core (in)disciplines of showbiz, the walls around it have all but fallen, allowing in all and sundry. No thanks to the internet, social media and to a large extent our changing (if not waning) standards. Now, the cache of who we can term celebrity has stretched greatly. Some might say to the point of slackness as there isn’t anything the word ‘celebrity’ can’t be affixed to. Celebrity engineers, celebrity lawyers, celebrity students, celebrity computer repairers, celebrity bloggers, celebrity stylists, celebrity cooks (or is it chefs now?), celebrity groupies and who knows just maybe celebrity houseboys and celebrity celebrities.
Right now, it isn’t a question of whether you are good at something; rather it is a question of whether you are a celebrity at it. Note: one doesn’t generally mean the other and you would think our pre-occupation would be with the former than the latter… alas celebrity allure can’t be understood.
In an era where a high premium has been placed on face value to the detriment of other substantive qualities, celebrity has an incredible way of opening doors. With all its allure, it however isn’t an all comers ball. For to whom celebrity is given, much is expected.
Call this a crash course in navigating the frivolous. On your way to celebrity, you have to be able to pose for that red carpet picture. You also have to know when NOT to pose for that picture (repeat performances of the same apparel, wardrobe malfunctions, bad hair days etc) or face impending wrath in the comments section. A certain discernment in picking out what passes for content on your social media profile has to be acquired. Sure winners are the indicators of la vida dolce .
Do away with those random pics of you in two-day stale boxers and bathroom slippers worn for full ekaete effect. Replace with pictures of you lounging in a beach chair cradling that pina colada like your life depended on it, rocking clothes that still have payments pending . Balance that out with wise words verging on cliche and info bordering on TMI ( Too Much Information), not forgetting the well publicized tweet fight from time to time and you might have a winner.
The art of the shameless plug has to be mastered as well, knowing how to artfully put the name of a famous so and so in a conversation without missing a beat. Remember you are only as famous as your last name-drop.
Same with the art of the lobby otherwise known as ‘fine baara’ which also has to be perfected for times when the VIP tickets and the complementary bottles of champagne need some coaxing to get. All of these form just a minuscule part of your fake-it-till-you-make-it arsenal: a necessity in these ‘packaging’ times we live in.
If the times call for faking it, then so be it. We all have faked it and come closer to the glory, no shame in that game. But when the glitches start appearing in your matrix and our veneers can’t seem to hide the struggle it takes to keep up the appearances then there is cause for concern. Like magic the beauty of celebrity is lost when the lengths gone to cultivate an image are glaring to even the most casual observer. And here is the grouse with the Pelebrity.
For clarity let us define Pelebrity. Where celebrity is the art of being well known for being well known, Pelebrity is the struggle of being well known for being well known. Pelebrities are the bottom feeders of the fame game. They could be likened to scarlet ladies but that would be doing whores a disservice: at least they get paid. Of no easily discernible talents or gifts, Pelebrities make up for that shortcoming in appearances- loads of appearances, their hustle and their inability to do anything without a tinge of strain. Their presence although not welcome is always felt as they bring a sad comic effect to all situations . No event is complete without them (or so they would like to think and before you can say venue they are there in all their tacky clothes, loud make up glory.
Their hustle, however misdirected is unparalleled and they get around. They also have an occupational flexibility that is awe-inspiring to say the least. One day they are stylists the next day they are photographers the day after that back up dancers. One road doesn’t lead to the market but splitting yourself down three paths will run your internal GPS crazy.
The peculiarity of our times has brought celebrity within our grasps. Examples are endless about people who have attained it with little less than nothing (feel free to list out those celebs you wonder why you know their names) . But as easy as it can be built it can also be broken down with over-exposure and an unbridled clamour for the spotlight. Some good ol’ common sense and level of control are called for. Celebrity among other things calls for a careful cultivation of a public image. How well it is done is what differentiates the celebs from the pelebs.
Photo Credit: kevinmichaelreed.com
Audu Bey wants to be a celebrity so freaking bad but sadly doesn’t know the first thing about it.