I was in Chicago, IL on August 2nd and I saw Liam Payne with a friend of mine when we were walking through the city. He was talking to a small group of girls and taking photos with them. It was an incredibly calm event, something I didn’t expect. He was incredibly kind to them, and they were incredibly kind back. There was no screaming, no yelling, no mobbing. We considered, for a moment, walking quickly down to try to meet him too, but decided against it as we were a up above where he’d come out to greet the group. We both took a moment to comment though on how sweet he was, how we watched him spend a moment with each individual fan, really giving them a one on one experience.
Today, he posted this tweet, and it looked like the fan situation in New York was very, very different.
@Real_Liam_Payne: “One time id like to be able to see New York without being followed chased and cornered like an animal until other people get what they want”
When you woke up this morning I bet you were in your own bed, in your own room, in your own home; I know that I was. I bet when you took a shower it was in your own bathroom, a familiar one, with your favorite soaps and shampoo and toothbrush on the counter where you left it before you fell asleep the night before. You probably ate breakfast in your kitchen where the plates are in the cabinet next to the microwave and the bowls are above the sink. You probably began your routine day in a home that belongs to you.
These are things we don’t often appreciate because they’re just run of the mill actions; we wake up, begin our days, and end them in the same place. It’s comfortable, it’s familiar, it’s home.
Imagine now, being 22 and living out of a suitcase, taking busses, jets, and planes from one state to another. Then from one country to the next; never exactly getting to call one place home, never finding yourself in the same city for long enough to make it seem like yours. Imagine having a long day and not getting to crawl into your own bed afterwards, not being able to look out the window and see the same night sky you usually sit under and collect your thoughts.
And that’s just at home.
We take other simple things for granted too. Getting to walk into target without people mobbing us, being able to see a movie without wearing a disguise, getting to be a tourist in a new city without paps following your every move. We get to just exist, in normalcy through our day to day lives.
Celebrities, namely traveling musicians, don’t have that luxury.
As fans of certain celebrities I think sometimes there is a disconnect between feeling entitled to know parts of their lives, to get certain things from them if you see them out and about, and to invade their privacy versus knowing that they deserve to be treated as normal people do. I don’t believe anyone does it with ill intentions, but it’s something that happens more often than not. You hear of a famous person in your city and suddenly there are mobs of people crowding around shops they hope to see them at and if it so happens that their favorite shows up, they suddenly become swarmed and not only is their day over, but safety comes into play. I’ve seen fans fall, be pushed, tripped, etc just so that people could reach a famous person before, there have been accounts of cars chasing vehicles with celebrities down busy highways with no regard to their safety or the safety of those around them, and for what? A moment with a person who is now probably exhausted and scared themselves?
Being famous must be hard, lonely, and exhausting. It must also be a lot of great things too, but I know I would miss the simple things in life if I were to be a well known person. I’d miss being able to run through the park without being followed, get dinner with friends without being photographed, hold hands with my significant other without worrying about who was watching. I think anyone would if they stopped to think about it.
That all being said, I know how amazing it is to meet someone you idolize, it’s an incredible feeling to get to speak to someone, in person, that inspires you and makes you a better person. Celebrities love that, they love getting to know that they’ve changed lives of people, that they’ve inspired their fans to be the best they can be. I love the feeling of finally hugging the musician or actor that you’ve looked up to for so long it almost feels like you actually know them. It’s amazing and as fans I think that’s something we look forward to, but there’s a proper way to handle it, and an incorrect one.
When meeting someone famous, or trying to, remember that they’re just like you and I; normal people. You don’t have to scream at them or charge at them if you see them in your city. If they look like they’re open to meeting fans (and you can tell by body language and security) you can walk up to them as you would an old friend, tell them how incredible you think they are, ask for a picture, and let them continue their day. If you see a group around a celebrity that you love and you want to join them, do so quietly and if it turns out that it’s too late, smile at them and let it go. They are under no obligation to stand outside for hours to meet fans, they are under no obligation to stop their meal to take a photo, nor are they under any obligation to put themselves in danger to fulfill your wish to meet them.
Keep in mind that most people we idolize are only a few years older than us, if that, and the next time you see your favorite person in your city, your town, down the street, or in a diner; ask yourself how you’d want to be approached, if you would at all, in the setting that you’re in.
I would much rather be in the same room as someone I am a big fan of and know that they’re having a good time, than be the reason they have to leave and be uncomfortable for the rest of the day.
This applies to any celebrity in any situation, it can be exciting and overwhelming in the moment, but you can always take a step back, take a deep breath, and figure out what way the situation ends up best for everyone involved.
Liam, I hope you get the opportunity to enjoy New York. The One Direction fan base really does love you and the rest of the boys and I hope you know that we don’t all see you as some circus act/caged animal. We appreciate everything you all do for us and we know what you gave up to continue being able to do so. Thank you for your kindness, thank you for your music, and thank you for letting fans know when enough is enough.