More specifically, I ended up spending an obscene amount of time reading about various 'celebrity encounters'. The only one I, personally, can claim is the Shania Twain concert at age 15 when my cousin Allison and I draped ourselves in battery-operated red Christmas lights and got called up to the stage - but it's sometimes entertaining to read about other people's experiences. If they can work any coherent sentences out amongst the gushing, that is. (I might have been obsessed, but I maintained my literary distance in my write-ups, thank you very much!)
In contrast to the 'Shania years', however, I can't think of too many celebs these days that I'd fall all over myself and get 'starstruck' to meet. I like a lot of actors, actresses, singers, bands, et cetera - there are certain names (Heath Ledger, Sandra Bullock, Julia Stiles, Bruce Willis, Drew Barrymore, Leonardo DiCaprio - shut up, all of you! - Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, Julia Roberts...) that will draw me to a movie, regardless of what it's about or what the reviews say. But there are only a select handful that I truly love watching, and even those few I don't idolize the way I did Shania back then. (Which is probably a good thing - psychobabble about how that means I've 'grown up' and 'created a personal identity' and all that, right?) After all, acting (or singing, or whatever) is that person's job; it's the way they make their living (ahem - several times over!). Some positions require longer hours, other give better benefits - and some require more public exposure. It's in the job description.
The celebrities that I like the most tend to have a combination of versatile talent and that down-to-earth 'hmm, s/he seems like somebody I'd like to get to know'-factor. Take Paul Bettany, for example. We've seen 'naked medieval writer' and 'almost-washed-up tennis player', and are about to see 'self-mutilating albino religious zealot' in the upcoming The da Vinci Code - and yet he still just seems like this laid-back guy you'd want to go have a beer with. Same with Keira Knightley: she's my age, had the guts to hack her hair off mega-short (I always notice that on women; it says 'confidence' to me) and also did this hilarious unscripted Pirates of the Caribbean DVD narration, much of which had me rolling on the floor. (*English accent* "Why does my eyebrow do that?") And then, Johnny Depp - probably at the top of my short celebrity list - who could probably play a space alien without the costume and be convincing - and who is raising his children to be bilingual, lives in Europe, and shares my, er, lackluster patriotism. ("I love America, but I'm ashamed to be an American.") Kate Winslet and Nicole Kidman make my cut as well.
So I guess for me to truly be a fan of a celebrity, I have to feel like it's someone I'd want to get to know as a person - and if it's somebody I'd like to get to know, it makes sense that I wouldn't feel tongue-tied or starstruck.
Or maybe I would, and I just don't realize that right now, because I'm sitting here at 2:30 in the morning in a computer- and chocolate-induced haze - on the complete opposite coast from that world of glitz and glamour. Who can tell? (And, really, does it even matter? See, this, this is what a blog is for - dumping out complete and utter wastes of time! *sigh*)