Time to reconsider standards for achieving celebrity status

By J_Thomas

After years spent at private art schools, expensive acting studios and prestigious dance academies, aspiring artists often move to the West Coast to pursue their dream of making it big and becoming household names. It makes sense that finding work would come next and becoming a celebrity would follow.

These days, in order to become famous in the entertainment industry, all one needs to do is make a sex tape and “accidentally” release it, be an heir to a million-dollar empire or be on a reality television show. This is an insult to the passionate and driven people who actually have acting degrees, dance training or any type of skill related to the entertainment field.

Forget having talent. It seems much easier to gain celebrity status for no identifiable reason. Washed-out, has-been musicians and actors who attempt to salvage their careers with celebrity-dating shows like “Flavor of Love,” “For the Love of Ray J” and “Rock of Love with Bret Michaels” have created less than D-list “celeb-reality” stars, whose goals on TV are usually for their 15 minutes of fame.  These people assume more fame will follow.

If any of them have taken acting workshops, it certainly doesn’t show, so why are they considered celebrities? Is it because of their outrageous personalities, supposed good looks and ability to throw drinks at one another? Who knows? My guess is  yes.

We often forget these “famesque” people—a word coined by The Washington Post columnist Amy Argetsinger—have not achieved any success, which I still consider to be the attainment of wealth, position and honor in one’s professional career.

Paris Hilton seems to be the greatest example of someone who, having done virtually nothing significant, continues to be a household name. Think about it. You know you’ve heard of her, but you can’t think of anything she’s done to get famous besides being the heiress to the Hilton Worldwide dynasty.

Don’t get me wrong. Although it might seem like I’m “hating” on these particular individuals, I admit I have watched “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” “The Simple Life” and a countless number of other mediocre nonsense on VH1 and MTV. It’s entertainment after all.

When reality TV shows first aired, it was a refreshing take on how we watched television. As stupid as this sounds, we as an audience weren’t used to watching an everyday person on national TV. Seeing people do normal things lets us have a more personal connection opposed to well-written, scripted shows with characters who might not have been as relatable.

After about 10 years, though, these new reality shows are getting to be a bit much. I didn’t care about Brandy and Ray J’s “family business” or what went on in that house. I can bet it wasn’t even filmed in their house and most likely doubled as another memorable VH1 show’s set. I couldn’t care less about what Heidi and Spencer Pratt were fighting about. I also don’t care about bratty, pregnant teenage girls on MTV.

What irks me most is these faux celebs get paid thousands of dollars for doing nothing. It’s unfathomable that a woman who refers to herself as “Snooki” is getting paid $30,000 an episode to be on a reality  TV show based on a place she isn’t from. OK, so you know how to pose on a red carpet—big deal. So you had sex with a nobody and filmed it—who cares? Famous people used to get recognized for doing something extraordinary like winning an Oscar for a memorable performance in a movie, not for getting intoxicated on camera, being related to someone else who’s famous or being a “socialite.”

For future aspiring actors,  singers,  musicians, dancers, writers and independent filmmakers, try to start something new. Invent something, break a world record, write a best-selling novel or create a clothing line. We need to reevaluate the standards of how we view celebrities and get back to giving credit to the talented people who deserve it. Looks don’t last forever, and you must have talent in order to survive. It’s not cute to think you’re all that when you don’t have anything to show for it.