It’s amazing what some warm rays of light and Vitamin D can do for a person. I’ve been working non-stop the past few weeks on a variety of commercials and recently an independent film. Being a part of the creative process and busy in general has been invigorating; a reminder of what I’m working for.
I’m not one to be star struck (although, yes I still have a penchant for blonde songstresses in their sixties) but it’s something to observe how they interact and how success has defined them. Or what success is to them. How much is luck? How much was hard work and the right timing? And how much do they feel they deserve it? Does it divide them from people or further connect them?
“Fame is not in my head. It’s something that changes in your head and how you see me,” as uttered by 50 Cent on set this week. It makes for an interesting piece, as we’re so inundated with the TMZ-Twitter-Perez influences all taken from the “other” side of observation. I was hesitant to write about these experiences, that I may grouped in the same category but it was an interesting week to observe how other people react to celebrity, paying more attention to his every word, philosiphizing on topics they’d have avoided if anyone else in the room had initiated the conversation. The only previous awareness I had of the man is that he recently helped the New York Restoration Project and Bette Midler’s opening of a new garden in Jamaica. As approachable as 50 Cent made himself, those who didn’t give him attention were also drawn into the “50 Cent Roast,” subject to his teasing and harmless attempts to amuse himself. My first introduction, as I tried to fill in the remaining three boxes of my Sudoku puzzle was his insistence that I don’t watch porn because I’m buried in a paper and wasn’t participating in his conversation. When I retorted my affinity for some guy-on-guy action it was enough to redirect the conversation momentarily.
Yet later on in this group-therapy session, with twelve of us extras and stand-ins in a child’s bedroom of an upscale townhouse in the West Village, it was “confessional” time as he asked us all to describe ourselves. I thought of Ekhart Tolle and his insistence the energy force around us is definition and the ego puts words to it (ie it’s the subtext- not the text that reveals everything). Camera’s were rolling on the floor below and we were asked to be silent, but the inquisitive rapper was insistent. “Come on, describe yourself!”
I whispered, “Quiet” in an attempt to deflect from the line of questioning. He wasn’t having it and after a few more inquiries, I said, “fickle.” It was enough to rile him further, projecting I may have issues for being so terse (my word, not his) but the fact was I didn’t engage on the level he wanted. In spite of his assertion that fame does nothing in his head, I’d imagine his expectation for all the pretty girls to respond wasn’t something he was born with. Or maybe it was. The experience was incredibly positive, as I realized how authentic and grounded he could be, fully aware that we’re all people with our own struggles and stories.
Yet some of the younger girls (we were playing 18-year-olds) would demean themselves, “Like why would he even care if he like offends anyone? He’s worth 100 million dollars so what? He can do what he wants.” So who’s really the enabler here? Maybe it’s just a strangely vicious cycle we all propogate. My opinion of what money is has notably diminished- the energy behind it is really what matters most. And I spent enough time in interpersonal relationships to see how money can cause self-importance, emptiness, and a constant sense of injustice when the money doesn’t garner the amount of attention these people think they deserve.
Knowing the level of success I hope for my own life and career, it’s weeks like these that keep me aware and present to what is real and what we conceive in our minds.