Wrap Up on The Rock
What is a celebrity? A celebrity is a famous or well-known person. There is a clear correlation between the words fame and celebrity. Milner states, “...fame is defined as ‘public estimation, reputation, popular acclaim’ and ‘celebrity’ is defined as the state of being celebrated, fame, a famous or celebrated person”. (2). However, the definition of celebrity cannot be simply explained by the word “famous”. To further understand what a celebrity is, we have to dissect the definition itself. A celebrity is born from fame, thus one cannot become a celebrity without being well-known to a certain extent. Most people associate celebrities with wealth and this wealth enables them to live unrealistic lives that an ordinary person could only imagine in their dreams. They bathe in the limelight. Once they are in the limelight, paparazzis appear wherever they go. They become a magnet and attract the public. Once they reach the celebrity status, they will forever be a celebrity. Even when one day they cease to exist, or decades have passed and they are no longer a big shot, they will continue to live in history.
What does it mean to be a celebrity? Being a celebrity is not only a lifestyle, but also a privilege. It is a power that is handed to them by society and like old sayings, “with great power comes great responsibilities.” Being a famous person has many pros and cons. Celebrities have to be able to tolerate loads of hatred, criticism and rumors. Pros consist of wealth, fame, and attention but with all this attention on them, their every move is being watched. One mistake will result in them becoming the next hot topic for social media. There are people who look up to celebrities as a role model. Their actions can greatly influence followers whether it is good or bad. Being a celebrity means that you’ll have a great influence on the media and the public. Every word may affect people’s thought and actions. Can society impact a celebrity as well? A celebrity action may also revolve around society's depiction of them. Society’s depiction of a celebrity’s image can affect their career and genre of work. Modern day celebrity, Dwayne Johnson, is the living proof of this truth.
Dwayne Johnson is also known by his stage name “The Rock” during his time as a professional wrestler. His life as a wrestler is behind him and now his career consists of mainly acting. Some people hilariously stated that Johnson was never a wrestler but an actor all along because World Wrestling Entertainment is all staged and a plotted out performance. Even I have lied to myself for several years in attempt to convince myself of the realisticness of the wrestling matches, but it is foolishly obvious now. World Wrestling Entertainment are scripted performances and the plot had a story that usually made The Rock seem like the protagonist in the match. The audience would always be cheering him on. This made Johnson a rather favorable character and person. Many of his fans idolized him and saw him as a role model, considering that a good number of his fans in the World Wrestling Entertainment are children. As previously mentioned, a celebrity has a strong influence on their fans and this influence can go beyond personal level. So what connects a fan to a celebrity? In the paper Who Are The True Fans? Evidence From An Event-Related Potential Study, Qingguo Ma writes, “Fandom widely occurs in contemporary society, and may be regarded as a common activity for individuals to enhance prestige, self-esteem, and social capital.” An article on NBC News’ Today Pop Culture proves this point of ‘self-esteem’ as mention in the previous quote when Johnson says, “I hop out of my truck and this kid runs up to me, hugs the hell outta me and says it's been his life's dream to meet me and tell me how much I've inspired him to fight cancer (Hodgkin's lymphoma) and hard core chemo and stem cell transplant treatments. He was a little teary eyed and said for months and months all he's wanted to do was find me and say this face to face. I told him what it meant to me to hear this story. I thanked him, hugged him (and his friends), got back in my truck and drove away”. For a kid that was fighting cancer, all he needed was inspiration, something to hold onto, and strength to keep fighting . He later adds, “I always say it, but moments like this with fans will always be the best part of my job. And what a helluva reminder for us all to count our blessings.. cause there's always something to be grateful for”. Being a celebrity does not only mean being on the lookout for oneself, but also on the lookout for those whose you have impacted and fans who idolize you.
On the contrary, fans and followers also have an impact on a celebrity. This brings up the question, how does a society's depiction of a celebrity's image affect his or her career? We’ve all have moments when they judge an artist and say “this is not something they should be singing” or when it comes to an actor’s role, “this does not feel like his kind of movie”. This is because people have already painted a single-sided story of a career a particular celebrity should have. Dwayne Johnson has experienced this several times and his fans have already laid down this path for him. He says, “I like the idea that any project I touch, there is a general sense of action begets action. Hard work begets results. And there is some optimism. And a dirty joke.” (Ryzik). Dwayne Johnson is what you call brawn on brawn meaning under all that muscle is more muscle. For a man who has dedicated so much time into body building, his career must have been on that same path. His two former careers as a football player and a professional wrestler has revolved around using his muscle so there is no reason why his acting career should not.I would not pay a penny to watch a Johnson featured movie if the genre was drama, romance, etc. Society’s single story of Johnson is simple, Johnson equals action movie which equals blood and sweat and some kickass fighting. If Dwayne Johnson is not making any money off of his movie, he is obviously acting to a wrong genre.
Dwayne Johnson has done what a celebrity by definition, has the ability to do, which is influence the life of those around him. But at the same time, it is shown that society also has a major influence on him as well. People have always looked up to celebrities like they are higher beings, but forget that without society’s support, they are nothing. Society has given this power to celebrities and the public's influence can affect their lives as well. So going back to the question, how does our depiction of celebrities affect them and their career? Well, we are the ones who can decide whether they stay a celebrity or become history.
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