NO SELFIE CONTROL

 In Life

George Stark

Why are celebrities saying “no” to taking selfies? Hint: You’re doing it wrong.

Picture this… you’re in striking distance of a celebrity. You have your camera phone out and ready to go. Your famous person is probably mid-sentence talking to someone they actually know or in the middle of signing an autograph (for those weird people that still carry a pen and paper.) You know it’s inelegant and perhaps to some, even a bit rude, but you think nothing of going in for the kill and interrupting them for a quick photo anyway. Yep, this is the standard practice of getting a “celebrity selfie” – something that I’ve seen rise significantly over the last ten years as a journalist working in the entertainment industry. In fact, it’s become so common and (literally) in your face that it’s making the A-list snap. Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Watson and Justin Bieber are just a few of the stars who have recently spoken out over their dislike of constantly being pestered for an intimate shot with a stranger they’ve never met. And who can blame them?

So what can we do to tempt the Hollywood elite back into the focus of our iPhones? In my experience, it’s all about reading the mood and making the right approach. Last year, half-way through interviewing a celebrity in Las Vegas, I was interrupted by a very excitable fan who was desperate for a picture with my interviewee.  If this is you, and it’s your favorite celebrity, then I don’t blame you. When do we ever get the chance to meet our idols? And when we do, why should we risk the chance of letting that moment go without capturing it. But here’s an idea – try doing it a different way.

First of all, it’s important to sense the tone of the situation. You’ll know if a celebrity will really want to be interrupted or if they’re having a bad day. Eye contact is everything. If your eyes meet and there’s a glimmer of niceness there then go for it. Also, when meeting someone special that you really want a picture with, try and remain calm. Being that kind of short-of- breath eager to get your snap is probably going to result in the celebrity pulling a slightly awkward face with a strained smile and you’ll just look insane. Instead, the best way to approach it is to start up a conversation. You love their work. You have something in common. You’re from the same hometown. 

At the end of the day, it’s easy to forget these stars are just people, hence why some of them are losing it when it comes to social etiquette and manners. If you manage to engage with a famous person, you’re more likely to get on good terms with them by striking up a conversation rather then stopping them to pose for a picture. Better yet, don’t take the picture at all! Isn’t it better to have had that moment, that connection, that memory of engaging with someone you admire – rather than a picture that makes you look like an over-excited newly-released ex-convict?

I suspect many of us would still buckle and end up asking for a picture. And why the hell not? But the next time this opportunity comes knocking, read the room and ask yourself if this really is moment worth remembering. And always do your best to have some self(ie) control.

George Stark
George is an entertainment journalist and showbiz expert based in Los Angeles.
To learn more please visit his site at georgestark.co.uk
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