I’m a huge fan of Hawaii Five-O, and I think Alex O’Loughlin, Scott Caan, Grace Park, Daniel Dae Kim, and Masi Oka do a fantastic job of keeping the show relatively funny, action-packed, and interesting. While watching season 3, episode 9, a secondary character—a model—said to Daniel Williams (Scott Caan), “People think that the life we live is real, but they don’t realize we’re paid to sell a fantasy” (paraphrased). Unfortunately, many folks don’t realize this is true. They see all that glamor, fame, and money, and take what entertainment TV has to offer as the gospel. I’m not in the world of entertainment, fashion or sports, but I’ve been allowed a peek into it by some few good folks, who are.
What I’ve learned?
It’s not all cheeses, roses, and unicorns (even though reality TV insists it’s so). Anyone who tells you that is lying to you or trying to sell you something.
Yes, there are blessings that come from being successful in each of these industries, and there are probably people whose lives are touched positively and become encouraged to be who they’re meant to be, by inspiring words/actions of those in the industry. But like everything else in life, there’s a price that each successful person has had to pay to get to where they are now. Some went through the traditional tried, tested, and true route of hard work, perseverance, and resilience, some took (and still take) the easier way of selling parts or all of their soul, while some remain stuck somewhere between the bottom rug and the ever coveted place among the stars, confused and at a crossroad where the next step will change their lives forever for better or worse.
This is a world where its seeming benefits and offer have great allure, assuring happiness and fulfillment if you’re brave enough to indulge, and so the competition is dangerously high. It creates an appealing premise that’s almost impossible to resist, and so there’s the tendency to seek attention at all costs. This of course can be understood because of the basic human need to feel significant—a thirst that these industries promise to quench, but never do.
If you’re tailoring your life according to these false fantasies, please stop. You’re sourcing from a design that doesn’t exist—what I call The Facebook Side of Life. This will only lead to sorrow and despair. You will only hold up your farce of a life—and even revel in the applause and envy of others—for so long, before you eventually crumble underneath its impossible weight. You must understand that the very celebrities and their lifestyles, on which you hinge your world on, are as human as you are, with issues and struggles of their own that you may be unaware of. Those you hold in the highest esteem may be more broken than they let on—hiding their reality behind expensive living, fake laughter, and fickle fame. They may cry in private, but have no true shoulders to lean on because of the vicious nature of the world they live in. And when they’re finally exposed, they receive major backlash for simply being a human capable of making mistakes like everyone else. The mass gets angry and disappointed because these celebrities are unable to live up to the unreal image that the media created for them (a lot of times without their consent) in the first place. They were unfairly placed on pedestals held up by non-existing pillars of perfection, and they pay for it as they disappoint, and consequently, discourage whatever hope you may have built as you observed (and probably worshiped) them over time.
For those entering any of these industries, be sure that you’re doing it for more than the unrealistic satisfaction/fulfillment promised by money and fame—there’s no such scenario! Having a true calling and understanding your purpose, go a long way in not only guiding how you approach the industry, but also the ethics/principles you’ll adopt on your journey. As you go higher and further, you’ll either become more proud or grow in humility; you’ll either learn gratitude for new privileges or take the most important gifts for granted; you will mature to the point of showing respect to people of all class/race/culture/religion/belief or grow arrogant enough to adopt bigotry…the list could go on. The veterans in the industry who haven’t lost their souls won’t tell you any different. Please ask one, if you get the chance.
For those already in the industry, if you’re at a crossroad that will change your life, this is a good place to pause and reconsider why you’re there—is there a better purpose to what it is I’m doing now? Is going this way the right thing to do or a selfish act?
I leave you with the words of Pat Boone, which I discovered in media critic, Ted Baehr’s, 2015 release, How to Succeed in Hollywood Without Losing Your Soul (review to come later):
“Run Away! But if you must stay in the industry, commit your career to the Lord. If God opens doors and nudges you through them, you can proceed with confidence, not feeling that if you mess up somehow, as on American Idol auditions, you’re forever ruined. With God, that’s not the case.” — Pat Boone
Take care, take heart, be brave, whatever your choice may be!