As a showbiz journalist, I interviewed a celebrity every single working day – and often on the weekends – for six straight years. I worked for a celebrity news agency and spoke to the A-list, the Z-list, and the Bs, Cs, Ts and all in-between. Celebrity culture is weird.
Sometimes funny, sometimes ridiculous and sometimes sad. In that time of interviewing, I learnt a lot not only about the celebrity world, but about how we, as humans, function. Whether it’s writing about dating, hook-ups, marriage, cheating scandals or breakups, relationships are the heart of showbiz gossip.
When you get past the fluffy questions about whatever new beauty range/TV show/film they’re promoting, it’s the human element of it all which you connect with that bridges the gap between celebrity and non-celebrity.
You very quickly learn these supposedly have-it-all otherworldly specimens have been through heartache, struggles and adversity in their lives – just like everyone else.
And yes, that can be the-sobbing-in-the-shower, can’t get out of bed, can’t eat, can’t sleep break-up heartbreak. The type of explicit heartbreak where you suddenly think you can write pages and pages of award-winning poetry about your sadness.
No one is immune from heartbreak. One Hollywood star even told me how she turned down one of biggest films of 2018 because she couldn’t get out of bed for a month after a failed relationship.
Everyone goes through these very real human experiences that can’t be healed by wealth, status or so-called ‘success’ – whether it’s things like loss, joy, longing, loneliness, peace, love, rejection or hope.
I have met some of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful people. Those people who are so good-looking that you can’t help but scan every one of their facial features hundreds of times over as you talk to them.
Yet, despite this, they have insecurities and hangups just like the rest of us – maybe more so seeing as they’re constantly under the microscope. I remember interviewing a stunning A-list actress at a hotel room about her new movie.
She kept asking me how her hair was, saying that she hated it before our interview started. Needless to say her hair was a dreamy cross between a L’Oreal advert and a Disney princess. I have assisted on magazine shoots with men and women as anxious as anyone can be, even though they have been called one of the sexiest people alive.
Once I was on the phone to a singer who had just won a prestigious music award but she got so worked up doing the interview, I could hear her having a panic attack. Every single person has battled with something or other.
I also learnt to never conflate someone’s true character with their sparkly public personality. Sometimes, I’d walk into interview rooms and experience celebrities not even looking up from their phones to say hi or shake my hand as I sat in front of them preparing for the interview.
I’d introduce myself, tell them it’s nice to meet and would be met with an awkward, tumbleweed silence. Then, the video camera would roll as the interview begins and they would turn on the charm, turning into a completely different person.
Make no mistake about it, celebrities are media trained right from their silky hair strands to their freshly pedicured toenails. They are taught to be charming, a reasonable amount of funny, throw some playfulness in there for good measure too. They basically take lessons in how to be likeable.
That intriguing, articulate, seemingly unassuming, self-deprecating babe you watch on Graham Norton probably isn’t all sweetness and light.