As a nation, we’re obsessed with fame. Celebrity magazines, such as Heat and OK, sell thousands of copies and deluded reality TV show contestants seem willing to do anything for their fifteen minutes of celebrity. But as wannabe stars queue for hours to be humiliated on the X-Factor or desperately try to get placed under surveillance in TV’s Big Brother house, are they really aware of the high price of fame?
As Andy Warhol famously said, “In the future, everyone will have their fifteen minutes of fame.” While this once seemed like a rather flippant remark, it has become eerily accurate. Nowadays, there are more opportunities than ever to achieve fame and people are willing to go to great lengths to take advantage of them. In the early ’90s, a Channel 4 TV show called The Word featured a regular segment, The Hopefuls, in which viewers would complete disgusting acts to appear on television. The Hopefuls were made to eat maggots, kiss a dead fish and do a variety of other vile deeds, before muttering, “I’d do anything to get on TV.” Almost a decade on, we haven?t progressed much further.
TV talent contests, such as Fame Academy and Pop Idol attract thousands of wannabe singers. However, after pouring their heart into their TV audition piece, their vocal skills are usually ripped to pieces by the judges. In some cases, the vicious judging panels have even managed to reduce contestants to tears. In these shows, even the winners are not guaranteed a celebrity career. Past winners such as Steve Brookstein and Gareth Gates dropped off the celebrity radar almost as soon as they had made their mark.
At least TV talent show contestants are willing to showcase their skills. Some people seem to rise to fame for doing far less. Rebecca Loos, the educated daughter of a Dutch diplomat, rose to prominence after telling the News of The World about her alleged affair with David Beckham. Loos justified the decision to sell her story in 2004 by claiming to have the Beckham’s best interests at heart. “In a way they should be glad it happened,” she told an American magazine, “it’s made them stronger.” Since then, Loos has maintained a degree of fame by appearing in various celebrity reality TV shows, including Love Island, The Farm and Power Lesbian UK.
Not all Kiss and Tell girls are as lucky as Rebecca Loos. Many of these girls fail to carve a career out of their sordid stories and soon find themselves to be yesterday’s news. The girls involved in the recent Ronaldo orgy scandal sold their stories to the News of the World and Sunday Mirror. Their steamy allegations revealed how they, “teased ?120,000-a-week Ronaldo and fellow stars ?14m Nani and ?17m Anderson with Tesco’s finest sexy knickers” and won them a place on the cover of these lowbrow tabloids. However, while the public soon forgot about their antics, their boss at McKenzies escort agency based in Leeds didn?t and sacked the girls for massive breach of contract.
As some of the above case studies show, fame isn?t always all it’s cracked up to be. Before embarking on your quest for celebrity, have another think about the cost and ask yourself whether it?s really worth it.