1. Don’t drive under the influence when you can afford a chauffeur or cab! Likewise, don’t drive intoxicated when you could call upon a personal assistant, friend, or devoted fan to offer you a ride home. I’m sure that’s a better option than possibly killing yourself or someone else. Just to be safe, how about we say “don’t drive under the influence”, regardless of circumstance. You know, like how the law says.
2. Don’t ever, ever say “do you know who I am?”, especially when you are denied something that you want. If someone refuses to let you into an event, or won’t let you cut in line at Starbucks, or anything in between, don’t try to play the celeb card. All it does is make sure that everyone within hearing range does know who you are, and does think you’re being a douche.
3. Take good care of your kids. Don’t get photographed doing bad parenting moves that are clearly wrong, including but not limited to:
- exposing your child to drugs/violence/partying/secondhand smoke (ex: Jaid Barrymore, Courtney Love)
- ignoring basic safety laws (ex: securing babies into car seats/children into seat belts)(ex: Britney Spears)
- pimping them out to the paparazzi to fuel your own fame (ex: Kate Gosselin)
- ignoring common sense when dressing them (ex: cute sundress and dress-up heels when it’s cold and rainy out)(ex: Katie Holmes & Tom Cruise)
- physical abuse (ex: Joan Crawford, Joe Jackson)
- verbal abuse (ex: Alex Baldwin)
- emotional abuse (ex: David Hasselhof)
- sexual abuse (ex: Ryan O’Neal, John Phillips)
- neglect (ex: Britney Spears again)
- pitting them against the other parent during a break-up (ex: Charlie Sheen & Denise Richards)
- letting them act/dress provocatively in ways that are not age-appropriate (ex: Tish & Billy Ray Cyrus)
- refusing to pay child support (ex: Eddie Murphy)
- betraying their trust by exposing personal family information for the sake of media attention (ex: Dina & Michael Lohan).
4. Give back to the community. It doesn’t matter if you do so anonymously or with a press release, just be sure that you use some of your fame/money/influence to do good for others. Raise awareness about an issue, rebuild homes after national disasters, start scholarships, donate to your home town, encourage people to vote. Do something positive, publicly or privately, and positive things will come your way.
5. Be humble and grateful. Don’t take your fans for granted, don’t blame the script/director/manager/etc if a project tanks, don’t trash talk, don’t take all of your free celebrity swag for granted. Appreciate it! And enjoy it! We like to see people in pretty clothes and shiny cars. We like to live vicariously through them. We don’t like it when they don’t appreciate the things that we can only dream of.
6. Think before you bitch and moan. Everyone has a right to vent, and everyone gets frustrated by different things. But consider the audience (potentially the entire world) before you start to complain about how rough you have it. When you talk about how exhausted you are now that you have a baby and only one nanny, maybe think about all the parents with multiple kids and only one measly paycheck. When you complain about having to pay for your coffee/dress/VIP seats, remember all those people who don’t have access to food or shelter. I guess I suggest saving those bitch and moan sessions for your celebrity peers, close friends, and family. They don’t come across well in interviews. (To be fair – I struggle with this as well. If you publicized my every conversation I would probably be upset at my own lack of gratitude. I’m trying to change this!)
7. Pay your income taxes. If you can afford to pay taxes, and you don’t, you seem like a jerk. It may be that you’re lazy, or completely scatter brained, or in protest against capitalism (IDK, it could happen), but it gives the impression that you consider yourself to be above the rules. I’m not even talking about missing the payment one year. I’m talking about celebs that haven’t paid taxes in eight, nine, ten plus years! Oh, and one more thing before we move on…if you end up getting audited, or owing a huge debt to IRS, please do NOT appeal the ruling, or have other celebrities appeal on your behalf.
8. Understand your own degree of celebrity. The whole concept of A-list, B-list, etc, has some merit to it. Basically, you need to understand that A-listers (ex: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) have more sway than other famous people. I’m not saying that’s right, but it is the way things are. Being self-aware about your own personal fame can keep you from coming across as naive, full of yourself, or completely delusional. Here’s a handy chart of celebrity ranks as determined by me:
- A-list: Those big names that come to mind first. Do I really need to explain?
- B-list: Currently successful individuals that are big in their industry, but haven’t necessarily had time to demonstrate staying power. Also applies to stars that peaked in the past, but are still quite well-known. Some feel that TV stars cannot rise above B-list, regardless of talent or success, unless they move into other fields.
- C-list: I think this is a slush area for anyone that is well-known for their talent. Older or younger generations might not recognize the name, but may be familiar with their show or song. A comfortable place to be!
- D-list: These are the names that we recognize quickly, but don’t necessarily respect. Person may have legitimate talent, but has gained or maintained fame by creating scandals, pandering to the paparazzi, releasing tell-alls, or attempting to shock/disgust their way into our memory.
- E-list: Names that are famous online, but not so much “in real life”. Mostly I just needed something for this letter and I liked how the E already ties into email, ecommerce, etc. There was a time when Mark Zuckerberg was probably E-list, but I think he’s risen above. Maybe people like Pete Cashmore at Mashable, or Brian Moylan at Gawker? I say sure, why not.
- F-list: Reality TV stars fit here, mainly because I’ve tried to use talent as a factor in these rankings. I don’t have anything against reality TV stars in general, but I do find it annoying when they act like they’re real celebrities. If you’re currently on a reality show of any sort, please try to find a way to parlay that into an endeavor with more staying power. If your ultimate goal is to become a DJ or fashionista, utilize your reality show leverage ala Pauly D and Lauren “LC” Conrad. If your ultimate goal is simply to be a reality TV star, please be aware that you will eventually be overshadowed by a new crop of stars. Omarosa, Tila Tequila, Flava Flav, and “Speidi” (Spencer and Heidi) can all attest to that. I’m really looking forward to when this happens for Mike “The Situation”. Seriously, I can’t wait. How does he not realize that he is a grenade himself?! Sorry, I digressed for a moment.
- G-list: The parent or guardian of a celebrity. Please note that spawning or raising a famous person does not actually make you famous. Also, being related to a famous person does not automatically equal fame. Kris Kardashian Jenner, Dina and Michael Lohan, Joe Simpson, and any mother with a kid on Toddlers & Tiaras should pay attention to this one.
- H-list. Yeah, the H is for ho. Male or female, I don’t care. If you’re a ho for celebrities – either as a career, personal endeavor, or one alcohol-fueled night – you’re not famous. Do you remember the names of anyone that was sleeping with Tiger Woods, John Edwards, or Charlie Sheen? Yeah, neither do I. Nor do I recall the names of anyone that is “famous” for dating Madonna, Susan Sarandon, or George Clooney. Alright, I swear I’m done now.
9. Share your opinions, but don’t imply that you are an expert (unless you actually are). I think it’s great when celebrities share their thoughts on politicians and social issues, but I need some sort of reason to trust their authority. Beyond just, I’m famous, you should like what I like. You can’t just go with the “I’m not a political expert, but I play one on TV”!
10. Don’t succumb to the negativity. You will never be able to please everyone, and your every action will be interpreted negatively by some. If you donate you time or money, you will be accused of bribing for publicity. If your family is photographed smiling, joyful, at a playground or toy store, you will be cast by some as a fame whore that alerts the photographers in advance to promote their newest movie. Ignore them and keep living your life as you see fit. If that means that you read this whole list and think that it’s crap, well, so be it then.
I’m sure I’ve missed some good ones – any suggestions?
Thanks to Jezebel for the image!