“If you’re famous, are you ever interested in what your fans say to you?”

August 16th, 2013 by abbe diaz

shut up, fans.

Quora asks:
“If you’re famous, are you ever interested in what your fans say to you?

— Surely most fans say variants of the same few things (I’m your biggest fan/I love your work/We’re soulmates/You saved my life etc.) Do they ever say anything genuinely interesting?–


A2A, yay!

Okay well, you realize the term “fan” is derived from the word “fanatic,” right? Therefore, people who watch a movie or listen to a song or read a book or look at a painting or eat a dish or attend a concert or an opera or a ballet or whatever, and then decide that they really like it— are in fact not “fans” at all. They are merely people who happened to enjoy a certain body of work (albeit maybe quite a lot), and accomplished/ esteemed/ famous people thoroughly realize this (it’s essentially their goal when they present their work, actually). Which is why “I’m your biggest fan/ I love your work/ We’re soulmates/ You saved my life” is not impressive at all. It sounds exactly as trite, contrived, and insincere as you think it does.

Obviously it’s easy to gush “I’m such a fan of your work” because you have nothing better to comment, but the simple fact is: if you were really truly a genuine “fan”you would already know what to say. If this person were indeed as big an “idol” to you as you claim, you would, by the time you’ve met them, know what they think, what they mean, what they like, and very likely exactly what it is they want to hear.

Because people usually don’t know what to say or how to behave around celebrities is precisely why those who are famous tend to prefer the company of people just like themselves, which is why people like me have jobs just like mine in the first place. And quite frankly, you’re right— nobody really cares that much to hear “I’m your biggest fan/ I love your work/ We’re soulmates/ You saved my life” because it’s usually a bunch of bullshit.

As a true “fan,” if it’s entirely that sentiment you really wanted to express, why would you even have to say anything at all? Because utterances such as those are merely making the whole encounter about YOU and not your “idol.” And to put it bluntly, why should that “idol” give a fuck about YOU?

To be a true “fan” of somebody means you deeply admire that person for a reason, and not simply because that person is famous. “I’m your biggest fan/ I love your work/ We’re soulmates/ You saved my life” just sounds like you are looking for an excuse to speak to a famous person, which—yes— just makes you pretty shallow, rather boring, and probably kinda stupid.

Or, ya know— a twelve year old. [See photo above.]

Personally, I can think of a few people I admire (or even “idolize”), but I know for sure that the only time I would ever actually say “I’m such a fan” is if I am being formally introduced to that person by a third party and want to assert my reverence out of courtesy. But even then, I usually have more substantial things to say just by virtue of my admiration.

Like for example,
• when I met Harvey Weinstein I said: “I wrote about Project Greenlight in my book…”
• when I met Jeremy Piven, I said: “Hey, how come everything seems so erratic this season— is there a new director now or something?”
• when I met Jackie Chan, I didn’t say anything at all; it was enough to shake his hand and have him smile at me— and then I made my colleague steal his chopsticks for me when his dishes were cleared away. (Go ahead and laugh if you want, but I have Jackie Chan’s DNA right now, and you don’t.)
• and if/when I meet Jonathan Ive, I probably won’t say anything to him either. I will just let the mutual friend who finally introduces us regale him with the story of how I halted all conversation at a lunch table (comprised of three millionaires, two billionaires, and my husband) to squeal “You know him?! Squeee, I have a huuuge crush on him!” as soon as his name casually popped up.
[ Oh okay given an opportunity, I’d probably say: “you know, after 2000’s alpine white following the late 90’s batman black, I was so so sure you’d go completely transparent, I even kinda made a bet on it…” ]

See what I mean?

In short, I actually have been lucky enough to have received a few “fan” letters myself, and the one thing they all have in common is that my “fans” knew enough about me and my work that their correspondence really touched and made a lasting impact on me. Obviously I am not esteemed enough for people to desire a chat with me merely for the sheer thrill of it, but I can well imagine how randomly hearing “I’m such a fan” when I’m very famous would mean absolutely nothing to me. But yes, real true “fans” can (and do) say things that are genuinely interesting.


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