Many talented actors have an ambivalent attitude about gaining or pursuing celebrity status, or just high visibility with the public, and with the decision makers such as film studios which can help their careers grow.
Kim Basinger has noted one of the qualities of personality that many actors and performers report: shyness or high sensitivity or introversion – those are all different experiences, but can interact,
She said, “As a child, I was very shy. Painfully, excruciatingly shy.
“I hid a lot in my room. I was so terrified to read out loud in school that I had to have my mother ask my reading teacher not to call on me in class.”
But she also found some value in the pain:
“Because I’m such a shy person, having to live it out loud in front of everyone has made me a stronger woman, so much stronger, that it’s been a gift to me in a way.”
[From my post: Is it a disorder, or just shyness?]
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Jackie Earle Haley achieved an Oscar nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Todd Field’s “Little Children.”
He has commented about being a child actor:
“I started acting when I was 5 years old.
“And I was pretty well known for a while.
“Your self-esteem and your identity start to become wrapped up in that celebrity, and when that starts to fade away, your self-esteem and your identity start to fade away with it.”
From my article Pushed Into the Spotlight at an Early Age.
“Celebrity hits like a bomb. So you have to find what makes you stable in the storm.”
Jimmy Smits adds, “Then, no matter what’s happening around you, no matter what the hype or the publicity, you can still manage to make leaps in your work as an artist.” [imdb.com]
Winona Ryder commented about being relatively out of the spotlight the past couple of years, “Hollywood people associate movies solely with fame and I didn’t enjoy working in that way anymore. I am so much happier now.”
And there are a number of ways fame can make people emotionally unstable.
For example, psychiatrist Robert B. Millman developed the concept of acquired situational narcissism to explain some of the grandiose fantasies and other distortions people can be prey to after gaining high levels of fame.
One of the problems is being surrounded by people assuring the famed one that they are worthy of it.
But as Millman noted in a NY Times article, the famous really are different:
”They’re not normal. And why would they feel normal when every person in the world who deals with them treats them as if they’re not?”
Read more and find link to his article in my post Celebrity and narcissism.
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Fame can also assault sensitive people.
Johnny Depp said he felt so intimidated by his celebrity status during his early career that he “had to be drunk to be able to speak and get through it. I guess I was trying not to feel anything.”
Read more in post: Drugs and actors and addiction.
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Related article: Actor’s Privacy and The Dark Side of Fame.