Los Angeles is a magnet for the rich and famous. You might imagine that I, as one that lives there, would be able to act normal when I’m in the presence of such people. This is not the case. I basically shut down. There are some people that are all “OMG! Can I have a photo/autograph/skin sample?!?!” This is not me.
Last week I sang Beethoven’s 9th with the Pasadena Symphony. The first part of the concert was two works by Morten Lauridsen. Unbeknownst to me, Mr. Lauridsen was actually playing the piano on the second piece. BOOM, there I am backstage standing next to the man himself and I couldn’t muster up the courage to speak. I was frozen! This is the type of thing you need to prepare for! How was I to know that on this day, I would be able to speak to a person whose music I’ve enjoyed for years?
Part of me rationalizes this as trying to treat everyone the same. I know that people in the public view get approached by fans often, and I imagine that might get tiring. Another part of me just wants to say “Hi! I really appreciate the work that you do in movies/music/technology!”
I’ve worked as a valet in Hollywood, and have subsequently been able to drive a number of celebrities vehicles. Jason Statham and Billy Ray Cyrus both come to mind as I’m pretty sure all I was able to muster was “Thanks, man!” while they handed me their keys. Billy Ray was nice enough to ask me my name, how I was doing, and then introduce himself. What a class act.
Next time, I will do it. For me, not for them. They have enough cash/fame/privilege that they really don’t need any more validation than they already have. I, however, need some selfies. Who’s up first?