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The Untold Story of Fame

By: Vishal Kapadia


Have you ever considered the burden of fame, living in the public eye? How do the countless

photos, reviews, opinions, and being on a professional set mentally tax an individual? Of course, our society is stressed out on a daily basis, but imagine that feeling of discomfort projected out to millions. In this article, you will hear the untold stories of two extremely famous individuals, Winona Ryder and Selena Gomez, and discover what really happened behind the scenes, behind the big screen T.V. and songs.

Winona Ryder is a Jewish actor raised in Northern California. She made her film debut in the movie titled Lucas, and has since starred in productions such as Stranger Things, BeetleJuice, and Edward Scissorhands. At the present, although her life may be surrounded with content, Ryder has gone through extreme struggles early in her career. Ryder reflects, “I had had panic attacks from the age of 12 – probably from the pressure of working and then going through adolescence onscreen” (highlysensitive.org). With the responsibilities of working on set and all the popularity at a young time in her life, Ryder couldn’t lean on many people for proper support, as was mentally harmed. Her struggle didn’t seem to improve, and by age nineteen, she quotes that she thought she was going crazy, with her anxiousness early on being attributed to working the actress lifestyle, being absorbed by pressures. Now us readers need to raise the question: how does an anxious individual such as her find the true solution to heal her problems? Well, Ryder took her first step to finding the answer during the ‘90’s, where she publicly opened up about her struggles with mental health and depression to the world. While it’s suggested that she “raised eyebrows in the 1990s when she opened up about struggling with depression at the height of her Hollywood career.” (today.com), she has openly affirmed her actions. Saying “It means so much when you realize that someone was having a really hard time and feeling shame and was trying to hide this whole thing” (today.com), Ryder reveals the influence her fame and message had on other people across the nation, allowing people to find support in their dark times. But even with this reveal, her struggles continued. Being an actress, she reflects how “awful it is when people touch you, and think you’re property.” During 2001, Ryder was caught shoplifting in Beverly Hills. Her actions were publicly criticized, and as a result, she stopped taking major film roles, reflecting that she “was struggling,” and wanted “to have as much of a normal life as I could.” Deepening on this, the relationship between her struggles and her fame seem to coexist at almost every point. Hiding her anxiety and depression till age nineteen, Ryder’s eventual reveal raised eyebrows under the public eye, not healing her. To the point where she thought she was ‘crazy’ to be caught shoplifting, the magnification of her struggles as well as faults all played into her downfalls throughout her career. And still today, Ryder struggles with anxiety, all stemming from her past.

Selena Gomez is a world renown singer and songwriter, having hits such as Hands to Myself, Love You Like A Love Song, and Good For You. Coming out with her first song in 2008, Selena has had a short spurt road to fame, having reached the peak of her career nearly half a decade ago. However, although her career is widely successful, Gomez has gone through struggles that many may not know about. Being diagnosed with lupus in 2014, an inflammatory disease, as well as the public miscarriage of her mom, Selena had to take a break from the public scene, and quotes “I needed time to just be OK,” (usmagazine.com). Suffering from depression, anxiety, and panic attacks, Selena seemed to have very similar downfalls as Ryder, living under the eye of the public. She reached out to treatment in 2014, and as well as taking space from the public, Gomez was able to partially heal during this time period. Although this was what was best for her, her stardom proved to be problematic. Her lapses ended up raising a load of opinions and causing her to preach, “My past seems to be way more fascinating for people than my future, which bums me out … Why do you care?” The individual view of her blocked her from the healing that she once desired, and her fame was going against her yet again. Unable to lose sight of her past struggles, Gomez admitted how lonely she was during her times after public break. During her tours years later, panic attacks and anxiety were a regular occurrence, and Selena openly admitted she feels she will never recover from her traumas in an interview with Harper Bazaar. In an inspiring speech she gave, Gomez reflects, “There's so much pressure. You gotta be sexy, you gotta be cute, you gotta be nice. You gotta be all these things.” Our societal demands to the celebrities reflected an unreachable density to achieve, and to this day, she has mental health struggles. Quoting it perfectly, she elaborates: “I had to deal with it on a different scale.”

Thinking back to the original question that was asked, how would you feel if your internal struggles were projected and amplified to millions? Seen by Winona Ryder and Selena Gomez, the path is not pretty. Panic attacks, anxiety, and depression are all but few results of the unrealistic figure celebrities have been portrayed to be. Writer Eleni Cheng recaps it beautifully in the quote, “Fame comes with the complete inability to function as a normal human being. Nothing can be normal. Everything you do is being watched, photographed, and questioned everywhere you go.” As we have identified the problem, the needle shifts to the question of what we as citizens can do to help and prevent these unrealistic expectations. The answer is simple: being content with your own life. By glorifying these celebrities as the pinnacle of humans, they have to live up to expectations that we create, being impossible to meet, and cursing celebrities such as Kristen Stweart to absolutely hate it: “Fame is the worst thing in the world, especially if it’s pointless.” I hope you have learned that in a world where we are all humans, instead of idolizing someone for being a mere public figure, being satisfied with what you have around you will only help this systemic problem, combating the pressures on the celebrities, as well as you.


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