The beautiful people

Film Fest exposes the down side to glamour

Newcomer Jessica Paré, local boy Dan Aykroyd, and ice queen Gwyneth Paltrow make an appearance at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Newcomer Jessica Paré, local boy Dan Aykroyd, and ice queen Gwyneth Paltrow make an appearance at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to be famous. I’ve wanted to live the life of the beautiful people, where today’s press trashes your outfit but tomorrow’s praises your shocking performance as a serial killer in a Scorsese film.

I thrive on gossips who want to know who’s married to whom and then speculate in their trashy tabloids whether they think it will or won’t last as if it were a piece of fiction; which to an extent, it probably is. Until a few days ago, I wanted it all — the fairy tale lifestyle, the drama, the excitement and well, the money would be nice too.

But after covering the Toronto International Film Festival this weekend, I learned that the beautiful people aren’t as beautiful up close. The real person is not as interesting as the persona we’ve come to know them. They too have bad hair days and zits on their foreheads. For instance, Eugene Levy who stars in the new Christopher Guest satire, Best In Show was very shy in real life, with little to say and few witty lines.

But on the other side of the spectrum, you had someone like Alec Baldwin, who recently came across as fake during a press conference when he spoke in a bold, charming and almost cocky fashion about the economics of show business. In essence, when celebrities are not what we expect them to be, we don’t like them as much. We’re disillusioned and feel somewhat cheated. By the end of the festival, my bubble burst and I was faced with the reality that celebrities are not real, at least not in the way we perceive them to be. Even after I spent my weekend parading around in fancy clothing, schmoozing with strangers and trying to pass myself off as a journalist, I discovered that being famous isn’t as easy and fun as I thought it would be. Having to live up to a persona is not something I would want in my job description.

As glamourous as some of these parties may be and as profitable as show business can be, you can have just as much of an interesting conversation with a guy on a train in need of a friend. That conversation, along with a few brief ones at an exclusive CITY TV party with Snake from Degrassi and newcomer Jessica Pare, were a few of the highlights from my first official assignment. The sincerity in the exchange of our words made me realize that whether you’re a celebrity or just a man looking for answers, it’s nice to show a little compassion and gratitude for what you have once in a while. Because in the end, when the celebrity glamour withers and the make up fades away, acting is a profession like any other, where there is a hierarchy of importance and wealth and where you can be here today and gone tomorrow.

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