Recently over Facebook messenger one of my best friends said to me, “I thought being famous could fix everything but I guess I was wrong.” Granted, this friend has never to my knowledge attempted to be famous and I don’t even know where this came from, but then I responded: “Fame is only fun if you’re at like a super-famous movie star level. Until then, you’re kind of on your own with everything. You have to do your own hair and makeup and pay for your own clothes and people are criticizing you for still looking like a real person.” I don’t know how she was able to forget that a year ago I was kind of famous for a second, when she had lived it with me.
If you don’t remember, I was that girl who wrote that offensive article: don’t judge me because I’m rich. I ended up with a New York Post cover of an ambush shot of myself with the headline “Mean Little Rich Girl” photoshopped in across my body. It was a whirlwind of attention and mean tweets and being offered a reality show on E!. It’s intoxicating to have strangers from another continent calling you to ask if you had a pony growing up. But unless you actively work to keep that going, you will become old news, overshadowed by some other girls behaving badly or whatever the press is in the mood for.
Especially if you’re only internet famous, it’s an even shorter window for people to pay attention to you. Unless you are utilizing other platforms to keep yourself in the public eye, such as Instagram. My Instagram is embarrassing and I just don’t have a photogenic face as evidenced by my Post cover. If I ever Instagrammed a sexy photo of my body my parents would either laugh or be concerned. I have parents that would never let me take a semester off from school to do porn, or do nothing but go to the gym all day to Instagram photos of my ass. I’m happy that they have expectations for me to be a legitimate person and finish college, because what happens when you’re too old to do porn or your ass starts drooping south?
No one ever thinks about what happens after all of the attention ends. It’s easy to be lured in by all of the emails and opportunities flying at you and I did it alone. I would sit in my room, experiencing the feeling of dread of how many randoms emails I would have to look at. I called my parents after reading offers and had to assess whether or not doing this would affect my ability to one day be a real person with a job. It’s easier to know who you are when you’re existing as a mildly famous incredibly vilified figure for that moment, instead of a real person. When people are slinging insults at you it’s easier to distinguish “this is not me” and “this is kind of like me” and by process of elimination you think you’ve figured yourself out. As I constantly defended myself and was asked questions about my life, I felt like I had some idea of who I was at the time. But the further away I get from being mean little rich girl the more I doubt who I really am growing into.
When the emails begin to taper off, and the likes on your photos as well, it gets kind of depressing in a shallow 21st century way. That’s the main form of validation you have if you’re just a 20-year-old student. Other options are displaying photos of your half naked body on Instagram for random thirsty boys to jerk off to. And as I said earlier, I couldn’t pull it off, and not about to do that. My window for fame-mongering is over, so I’m not about to force it back open by doing something crazy because I’m sadly inches away from being a real person.
I don’t think being a real person is a bad thing, but it doesn’t seem that fun. Right now I’m doing schoolwork and writing this article in the Coffee Bean in the Meatpacking District. On my walk in I passed the day club Bagatelle where throngs of giggling girls stood with their older boyfriends waiting to get in, looking like they were having the time of their lives. It’s my choice to decide to fade into obscurity and realize that I can’t get away with being on TV as this party girl character that isn’t me. I have many more years of dues to pay until I can buy my own way into that club and have the luxury of no work to do on a Sunday. To me success feels like waiting around for bigger things to happen for you. Meanwhile you’re doing intermittent work to make it happen, and putting yourself in advantageous situations. I wrote that article because I had to cockiness to think Thought Catalog would want it, I had the good timing of a slow news week and boom all of this attention on me that I had always wanted. Obviously there’s a dark side to people prodding into your life, but my point is, timing is everything.
There should be a support group for formerly famous internet people. But that sounds silly, you just simply pretend like nothing ever happened, and try not to feel like a shallow douche when you let out how unpopular you now feel to your therapist. You pretend not to be worried about if when you apply to MFA programs the school will Google you and not want to be associated with shallow riff raff and reject you. You just pretend like nothing ever happened, figure out what to do with the one or two opportunities you were willing to accept and just shut up about it. You are no longer relevant to anyone but the people in your immediate surroundings, so act like it. The world is over you.