As a teenager, usually when I was walking through the park on my way home from school, a familiar refrain would often run through my head.
“I’m going to be an actress.”
That this would happen is mystifying chiefly because I never actually wanted to be an actress. An Oscar-winning film…
Being famous was my number one goal in life as a teenager. I wanted to be recognised, respected, acknowledged, validated - the way I wasn’t when I was in school. I used to apply for auditions that my parents would never let me go to (“Hollywood is full of DRUGS and SEX and HORROR”…never mind that this was the Malaysian movie industry), and movies like Fame both inspired and depressed me because I so desperately wanted to go to a school that celebrated my need for creative expression but knew that no such school exists in Malaysia - and there was no way in hell my parents would let me move overseas to a boarding school somewhere, even for exchange. (Believe me, I spent about 5-6 years trying.)
My hobby as a teen was to do pretend interviews. Basically talking to myself, but based on questions I’d read in magazines or on TV. I was a rather prolific fanfic writer and got some notoriety for that - and then even more so for [my demand], my Channel [V] fansite, which got me the adoration I so desperately wanted. (And also eventually my best friend and a job at the station, but far too late - I had fallen out of love with pop music by that stage.)
Even now I do still want to be famous, but for me it’s more that I want to have created the sort of work or be the sort of person that gets into, say, Dumbo Feather or on a Top 100 list or something. And in a way that’s slowly starting to happen. I have 176 people listed as “fans” on my Facebook page, only half of whom I recognise - where did the other half come from? I do get people who come up to me and say “OMG I love your work!”. It’s awesome, but also a little jarring - I don’t feel like I’ve achieved enough yet to deserve people saying they’re my fan.
But that was what I’d always wanted: fans. A fandom. I yearned for it for ages and now that I finally have it I’m not sure I quite deserve it yet.
You know what’s more jarring though? When the person you most idolize, the person you fawned and fangirled over for ages, the person who you consider your Role Model for Sexy and The Most Awesome Person EVAR, starts fangirling you. Telling you that you’re totally brilliant and doing so well and that you inspire her. And that it’s so great that you’re doing burlesque because she never thought of herself as being capable of sexiness. She’s singing your praises to the world like you did some years ago whenever you get the chance.