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Opinion // On Celebrity

People have often asked me what it’s like to be a celebrity

Many years ago, when I began presenting The Verge, I remember sitting in the makeup room having a discussion with another presenter about the future. Obviously I’m not going to talk names here, but the point is that people have often asked me what it’s like to be a celebrity.

I dunno, can you even really call me that any more? Could you ever really call me that? I presented a TV show, sure. I still occasionally have people stop me and ask me if they can take a photo with me, or if I can sign something for them, but I don’t know that I would ever have labelled myself a celebrity. Being a presenter was my job, and I did so much more than that for The Verge as well. I produced content, I animated short pieces, I almost always wrote my own scripts. I worked on other projects aside from The Verge and I supervised students at Wits University. Did you know I lectured at Wits before I began presenting? Did you know I have a Masters degree in 3D Animation? That I currently work in production as a Senior Promo Producer? Probably not. People always have this idea in their head that being in front of the camera is the only place presenters would ever want to be. Sure that might be the case for some, but certainly not for all.

Still nothing has risen to fill the void of a gaming and tech dedicated show

I think the idea of celebrity, and the ability that people have to leverage that concept, is all down to their business smarts and their desire to be in the spotlight. Sure, I miss presenting at times, but I certainly don’t miss the late nights of live TV. I don’t miss the hour or so in makeup and the early call times. My life has changed a great deal since The Verge ended 4 years ago. Yup – April 2012 we were done and dusted. It’s crazy that it’s been that long and yet still nothing has risen to fill the void of a gaming and tech dedicated show. I actually don’t understand how this is possible.

Anyway…

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It’s your job to turn up for your show

Too many celebrities think they can treat people like shit because “they’re someone” and everyone else will just love them. It’s easy to let fame go to your head, but the reality is that you’re there because of your fans. It’s your job. And it’s your job to turn up for your show. Or your gig, or whatever it is that you do. Sure you might be good at your job, but without the people watching you on TV or buying your music, then you would be just another unknown.

And people are fickle. Fame is fleeting. The presenter that I’m talking about had it in her head that she was South Africa’s next Oprah. Or Beyonce. Or something. I can’t quite remember, but suffice it to say that she wasn’t. She’s still around but she’s certainly not Oprah – not even close.

Yes, I still get “aren’t you the tattooed girl from The Verge?” or “I’m sure I know you from somewhere…”, but who cares? Everyone does something to get where they are now. The Verge was a stepping stone to a world that I never imagined I would be a part of. Sure, I’m happy about that, and a great deal of it was in fact a series of happy coincidences – but that also doesn’t mean I didn’t work hard or that a presenter was all I ever wanted to be.

If a celebrity is what you want to be – great, embrace it. But be humble. You’re not subject to the whim of your fans by any means (I have a whole other blog post prepped on that shit!), but also give them the respect they give you. If you want to stay in the spotlight don’t treat them like crap. We all know you worked hard to be where you are, but realise that fame is fleeting and you’re not going to get by on your looks and attitude forever.

Be smart. Be prepared. And do your damn job.

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About Pippa Tshabalala

Tattooed Gamer. Writer. VO artist. Work in TV. Sony Xperia Brand Ambassador Bookings: unexpectedpippa@gmail.com

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