I know, I know, I’m already a bit of a celebrity. After all, people are at my beck and call asking for my autograph. Just kidding. At school, I wave to a few familiar faces but for the most part I am stuck in the mediocre lane: average Heritage student. However, for this week, I will act like the teenage equivalent of Anne Hathaway. Now, let’s take on the good, the bad and the photoshopped.
After a two hour call with my “manager,” sophomore Irene Newman, I underwent a drastic schedule change. Who knew being famous was so exhausting? Newman set me up with a rigorous workout schedule, strict diet and photoshoots. We took inspiration from “I lived like (celebrity name) for a week” videos on YouTube for building my fabulously draining schedule. I had to sweat harder than Rocky in the morning then look model-ready by the afternoon. On most days I’m lucky to brush my hair, but now my reputation seemed to revolve around how good I looked in photos.
The diet involved a lot of vegetable smoothies and almost no junk food to pair with the rise of the craze over organic food. I must admit, I did not follow the diet religiously. By that, I mean I barely followed it. I simply cannot exchange my pizza for fame.
Modeled after Newman’s favorite celebrities, the workout was built on the sheer purpose of cosmetics. Nothing was for strength or even keeping in shape– the whole workout revolved around muscle toning. Unlike my time working out for the past flip or flop, this gym session felt too calculated to be enjoyable. After my complaints, Newman assigned me a new workout challenge where I could watch “Friends” and follow workout items on a list depending on what the characters did. While this was more enjoyable, most celebrities are not allowed to take that easy way out, especially if they are actor/actress training for an action role.
For my first photoshoot, my manager/makeup artist Irene gave me the ultimate makeover. A big ballgown and two hours of eyeshadow, blush and who knows what else later, I was ready. My wonderful manager donned the camera (on auto) and directed me with how to pose and when to pose. I looked at a nonexistent object in the corner for far too long and leaned on way too many walls. Despite goofy twists and turns, the results were stunning.
Seconds before posting on Instagram though, I froze. Photoshop. Don’t celebrities photoshop their photos? Does that mean I need to photoshop them too? I decided to let the people decide, so I had my followers vote on what a celebrity should do. With 58 percent voting against photoshop, I felt a wave of relief. Still, the votes were close: 25 yes and 34 no. While a lot of celebrities photoshop their photos, some protest against the act and call out magazines for publishing photoshopped versions.
I felt pain in seeing how close the votes were and, after talking to Newman, I realized how wide-span the problem of photoshopping was. Newman admitted to photoshopping her own pictures with apps such as Facetune. Zeev Farbman, CEO of Lightricks, the business that makes Facetune, even noted his surprise at the app’s success. “We didn’t think any single app would be significant enough to finance the entire growth of the company. It felt like we had won the lottery,” Farbman said to the Guardian. With the rise of creating a perfect Instagram feed, users feel obligated to change their looks on apps. This creates misconceptions between reality and what is displayed on social media, possibly leading to body dysmorphia as viewers believe their body type is not good enough for the screen.
I don’t know what real skin looks like anymore. Makeup ppl on instagram, please stop with the smoothing (unless it’s me) just kidding (I’m torn) ok maybe just chill out a bit. People of social media just know: IT’S FACETUNE, you’re beautiful, don’t compare yourself to people ok— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) February 12, 2018
However, the reality is all body types are more than good enough for the screen. Being a celebrity or just being human does not mean you have to photoshop your images. You are beautiful whichever way you choose. Being a celebrity showed me the challenge of being under constant scrutiny under the public eye. It reminded me to keep being Be-YOU-tiful.
After dealing with the trouble of photoshopping, my friends ambushed me and asked for autographs and pictures outside my house. While this was funny and enjoyable, if strangers approached me the same way, then I would have felt fearful. Celebrities need to balance trusting people and taking safety initiatives for their wellbeing. With running companies, appearing in media and doing individual projects, this additional dedication to safety is nerve-racking for celebrities. The closest I have to juggling all those responsibilities was running Pressing the Future, my international news site and dealing with my friends asking for my autograph. Celebrity week served a challenge. I needed to care about my looks, keep up with my responsibilities and worry about what others thought. Celebrities get to live in glamour but at too high a cost for me. For now, I will stay an everyday student. I would rather keep some privacy and laziness in exchange for lack of fame.
See below for the photos from my photo shoot.