I knew it would only be a matter of time before I acquired un ami celebre or two whilst living in Tinseltown. Admittedly, “friend” may be too strong a word for the relationships I have with these particular people, but we’re definitely in the solid acquaintance realm. If this had happened when I first moved here it probably would have been fairly exciting, but to be clear, adding people who own watches that cost more than your car to your coterie requires no particular skill. Given the laws of proximity and eventuality, one only has to exhibit a little patience, and occasionally a willingness to laugh at unfunny jokes. There are times when the beautiful and the damned simply welcome you into the fold, but quite often there are tests, there is peer pressure and sometimes an NDA.
While some people actively seek out liaisons with the rich and famous, I’ve found that carrying on business as usual will get you just as far. Celebrities unabashedly use their sparkly, bronzed exteriors to lure unsuspecting plebians, but your job is to remain as aloof as possible. This throws them off their game. Besides, gushing is really kind of weird if you think about it. If you’re an aspiring actor especially, why should you get all fangirl-y when you run into someone from your favorite childhood movie at Whole Foods? If paralegals did that around lawyers it would just be creepy. Pull it together people! Was there a listless smile tossed your way, or a (likely feigned) interest in your floundering career? They were either being nice, or using your blind groupie adoration to boost an ego crushed by a recent box office failure. Don’t allow yourself to think “Did we just become best friends?!” Here’s a hint: probably not.
For some strange reason these people are never confident in their own merits, so there are always promises- of fabulous times, of opulent parties, and eventual career advancement that will be gained if you stick around. My experience has taught me however, that of all the flakes in LA, the ones getting residuals and hiding behind their aviators are by far the flakiest. In my case there have been promises of representation, invites to exclusive soirees and countless attempts to charm my pants off. This is usually followed by implorations to “hang out” sometime, which are of course left up to me, the commoner to initiate and coordinate- because it makes sense for a scarcely employed actor to try to fit a BAFTA winner’s schedule around my part time jobs and casting director workshops. Nope!
Aside from the perks of namedropping and humblebragging afforded by having well-known cohorts, there are no outstanding benefits. Hanging out with them is too stressful- what do you wear, what do you say, do you take an Uber you can’t afford to avoid being embarrassed by your beat up car? Dilemma! Do you take a chance at being the maverick who doesn’t play the fawning sycophant, or do you pretend that you also have a yacht and a summer home, and have grown tired of weekends in Ibiza? Who has time for that? I’m pretty sure my normal friends are infinitely better. Their teeth are believable shades of white and they don’t balk at the thought of doing their own laundry. I’ll take that any day.