The Celebrity Apprentice

I had a brush with celebrity yesterday.

It was a little weird.

I can’t name the celebrity, but for the effectiveness of this blog entry, I will say that this person truly is a major celebrity. I got a text from my boss yesterday saying that I needed to drop everything and mail something to this celebrity.

And I did it. I dropped everything and did it.

It was quite possibly the most thrilling thing I’ve done in weeks.

It’s that last part that surprised me. I was positively giddy as I did this favor for the celebrity. It was the slightest of brushes with celebrity, and I felt SO IMPORTANT.

It kind of felt like I was having an out-of-body experience as it was happening, because in the midst of feeling so important, I was observing the strangeness of that same feeling. Why did I feel so important? Literally all I was doing was putting something in an envelope and mailing it to the celebrity. The contents of the envelope were important, but my connection to the celebrity was next to nothing.

There was no good reason that I should have felt that giddy and important.

It gave me a glimpse into the whole cult of celebrity. Hollywood must be full of assistants running around feeling important and self-entitled because they’re running errands for celebrity employers. Not to mention the assistants to the assistants. I’m not saying that those people aren’t doing what they can to make a living, but how do they deal with the self-importance? It must go to their heads.

And it must go to the celebrities’ heads too, right? So many people fawning over them, taking care of the most menial tasks, basking in the two seconds of attention they get from the rich and famous. I imagine that different celebrities deal with that in different ways. My celebrity was kind enough to send us the flowers that you see pictured here.

Have you ever experienced a brush with celebrity? Especially if you were able to do a favor for them. How did you respond?

13 thoughts on “The Celebrity Apprentice”

  1. I had the exact opposite experience. In high school, I sold shoes to a local basketball star who had a cup of coffee in the NBA in the late 90s. He was all by himself – and no one knew who he was anyway – so I said something to him about watching him play at Memphis. Really, I just wanted to strike up a conversation because I was super bored at work and enjoyed talking about basketball.

    He quickly hushed me and looked around to see if anyone had heard him. He then scampered out of the store as fast as he could, lest he be surrounded by the hordes of people who were still left breathless by his 17 point performance at UNC-Charlotte in 95.

    Also, I worked on Jerry Lawler’s mayoral campaign. Might need a blog entry for that one.

  2. Yes, I have. And you just deal with it with a pinch of grace as we would say in Spanish. I can’t tell you whom it was, but I will hint that you mentioned her in a spicy blog post.

  3. During my short stint of living in Nashville last year, I had several brushes with people who considered themselves as celebrities. Some would make a big deal and want to have special attention because of their perceived celebrity status, while the actual celebrities wouldn’t say anything to draw attention to themselves- I found out one day that I had just been standing in line at a store behind Faith Hill and didn’t know it until after she left. To me, she just seemed like any other woman waiting in line.

    About 9 or 10 years ago I took my little sister to a cd signing when one of the Backstreet Boys attempted to launch a solo career. Since I was a fan of them in high school and had had a crush on this particular one back then, I was happy to go, but was completely mortified when we got to the front of the line and he asked me what my daughter’s name was for her cd- I was about 18 or 19 and my sister 9, so being mistaken as old enough to have a 9 year old pretty much ruined my day.

    • Katy–That’s well said about true celebrities not wanting to attract attention, while minor celebrities want people to revel in their “fame.” Very cool about Faith Hill.

      I’ve been on the road all day, but I’ve gotten several private requests from people asking who the celebrity is. I almost didn’t write this post because I was worried about that–not that the celebrity is THAT huge of a deal (some people may not even know his/her name)–but because I work for a church, and thus it’s really important that certain things stay private. So I hope you all can respect that. Just know that it really isn’t that big of a deal at all–the whole point was that I was WAY more giddy and excited than I should have been, and I wanted to dissect that feeling on the blog.

  4. The Pope!! Jamey got flowers from the Pope!!! I’m calling it.

    Other options…

    Jon Hamm – St. Louis native
    Willie McGee – St. Louis sex symbol
    Maya Angelou – in appreciation of his writing quality
    Jenna Fischer – because, well…she’s just beautiful
    A descendant of the Wright brothers

    Will you tell me which one is closest?

  5. I feel like we should play 20 questions to guess this celebrity.
    Male or Female?

    When I was a teen, I worked as a cashier at Factory Party & Card Outlet I checked out Jackie Joyner-Kersee without knowing it until she left. All I said to her was, “$24.49 please. Thank you. Come again.” I knew she looked familiar, but I just couldn’t figure out why.

  6. My senior year at Wash U I had a celebrity brush. I was doing a video project and it had to be about music. I decided to do my project on a musician I respected but didn’t think any of my classmates were familiar with – George Winston. He’s a world famous pianist and I grew up listening to his music since my dad’s a big fan and I’ve played piano since I was 4.

    Anyway, since it was an internal, student project I was planning on just faking in a voice over based on quotes of his I’d found online, but my professor challenged me to interview him. I was completely daunted and pessimistic, but I figured why not try? So I contacted his publicist and she originally said she’d try to get him to respond via email if I’d send over the questions I wanted answered. A few days later though, she emailed me that if I was available at about midnight St. Louis time, he’d call me after his concert and I could interview him for real. I asked if I could record the conversation and was told I could as long as it was for non-commercial purposes.

    And that’s how I ended up having over and hour long midnight interview/conversation with a world famous pianist while he jammed on various instruments (he doesn’t stick to just piano). That experience really made me realize how normal *most* celebrities are. Granted, most people reading this blog will have no idea who he is, but many people do and are usually shocked at how easy it was to get in touch with him and how chill he was.

    He finished off the interview with offering to comp my parents tickets to his upcoming show in Milwaukee and threw in some back stage passes when he learned my dad was a big fan. Sadly I was still in St. Louis at the time, so I never met him in person, but my parents did.

    A very cool guy.

  7. I’ve met a bunch of baseball players over the years. My favorite players is Skip Schumaker of the Cardinals and I’m (only slightly) embarassed to say I’ve met him three times through work functions at a previous job. The second time I met him I was wearing a t-shirt with his name on it. It was awesome to see him grinning from ear to ear while he remarked, “I’ve never seen anyone with my number on before – that is awesome!” It was really cool because while I was physically shaking while meeting him, he didn’t even consider himself a big deal. (And to be honest – he’s not the most famous player, obviously.)

    Adam Wainwright had the same reaction to someone spotted with his number that day. And this was the season after he dominated in the 2006 World Series as the closer.

  8. It’s strange when you meet “Celebrities” because you only know about a specific aspect of their life. For instance, I met Steve Ewing at Whole Foods one time. But it was like 5 or 6 years after The Urge they broke up. I knew he had a new band, but I hadn’t heard any of the music. So I asked him “how’s the Urge?” He did not appreciate this. If, instead, you read all about them in the tabloids, ans ask them intricate questions, you’re a stalker.

    My brother lives in Jackson, WY and sees celebrities on vacation there all the time. It’s just like Professor Lockheart says, “Celebrity is as celebrity does.”

  9. When I was a freshman in high school, I volunteered with a particular agency and we were working on fundraising and donor development … and I addressed an envelope to Stan Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals! It was very cool to handwrite his name and address, and imagine him receiving the letter at his home. (The agency wanted the letter to look warm and personal, so I guess my handwriting fit the bill!) It was an honor and a privilege for me to do this.

    My fiancé worked at a National Park and met several celebrities while giving tours, including Bruce Willis, Nicholas Cage, Tom Brokaw, and a few others. Some were totally down-to-earth, while others were very self-absorbed.


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