Why do we admire celebrities?

Being famous, instantly recognisable, gaining lots of public attention, especially when a person is within the sporting and entertainment business equates to being a Celebrity. Social media reports every facete of a celebrities life; privacy is no longer possible for them.

One can only imagine how intrusive it must be to have strangers constantly smile and walk up to you like one of your oldest friends, wherever you go. Whilst we the non-celebrities are overcome with admiration and gush over them, talking at a million miles an hour as we blurt out how much they mean to us and could we have a quick selfie.

These celebrities, who may or may not be great examples of humanity, are admired by millions and we hang on their every word and latest adventure, but what do we actually admire about them? Surely just being famous is not enough.

Admiring someone means holding them in high esteem, for what they do, who they are, how they live their life and how they treat others.

When Sir Elton John recently had to cut a concert short and reschedule two others in Auckland, due to illness, the feedback from the public was mixed; this got me thinking about celebrities and whether we admire them or is our fasination with them fickle.

I admire people that:

  • Dream big and plan to achieve their goals
  • Have a strong work ethic
  • Be passionate and use their talents
  • Be true to themselves
  • Show determination and courage
  • Have empathy and give back

How does Elton rate in my eyes with regard to these qualities?

He still challenges himself to achieve impossible goals and has a strong work ethic.  

Life is about dreaming and aspiring to succeed in the challenges we set ourselves. Elton is currently on his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour which will see him performing over 300 concerts in a punishing schedule, with many of the months having over 12 concerts. The tour is split into two North American and two European legs, one full leg in Oceania and a return visit to New Zealand in February 2021 following the need to postpone two recent Auckland concerts due to ‘walking pneumonia’ diagnosis.

Having seen a number of his concerts over the years, I can attest to the amount of energy and enthusiasm that he puts into his performances so this goal requires huge commitment for any performer, let alone someone who will soon turn 73. Go Elton! I’m amazed at the tenacity and appreciate your commitment to your fans, at the time of writing, your challenge is almost 60% complete.

He found his talent in life and made it his passion.

It is hard to comprehend Elton’s talent as his piano skills and singing are outstanding and obvious to all but what I find truly amazing is his ability to take some words written on a page (lyrics) and then create the music around them. The majority of those songs that are so familiar to us, were written by Bernie Taupin, and sent to Elton where by, without consultation, he magically decides what they will sound like to the rest of the world. Ballad or rock how does he decide? Elton’s career is long and well known, especially with the release of the 2019 Rocketman movie, his talent is recognised and celebrated, with his many hits along with his contribution to Billy Elliott the musical and the soundtrack Can You Feel The Love Tonight from the Lion King Movie.

The set from his farewell tour includes 22 of his incredible hits and 2 encores; you would be hard pressed to find someone disappointed after this show. My top five from the main set performed are, Bennie and the Jets, Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me, Daniel, The Bitch is Back, I’m Still Standing along with the two encores, Your Song and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road; but really, I love all of them.

Being true to oneself.

Elton as a performer was known for his outrageous costumes and elaborate sunglasses, he trod his own path and confronted the perceptions of many. Having the courage to reinvent oneself, remain current whilst being true to yourself is a talent in itself. His sexually has been discussed throughout his career although he didn’t opening admit to being gay until the early 1990’s. I admire him and the thousands of others that struggle with identity and persecution whether it be based on sexual preferences, race or religious beliefs; thank goodness more of the world is accepting of a person’s right to be themselves and celebrates diversity.

He has shown determination and courage by overcoming adversity.

Struggling with pressures of life or mental illness affects so many with sometimes devasting consequences, Elton opening admitted to suffering from the eating disorder bulimia and his struggle with abuse of drugs and alcohol; this year he will be celebrate his 30th year of sobriety. In July 2019 he shared on Twitter and Instagram he found the courage to change all those years ago by admitting that he needed help. Hope, determination and courage can overcome adversity.

Has empathy and gives back.

In the early 1990s the gay community were dying of the HIV/AIDS and established the Elton John AIDS Foundation to try and stem the devastation that the disease was causing across the globe. His generosity supports many organisations and most recently he announced at his Sydney performance  that he pledged $1 million to the Australian Bushfire Relief Fund.

I admire Elton for the reasons that I hold important to me, not just because he is famous; in my eye’s he’s earned my admiration and yours.

Who do you admire?

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