The rise and fall of “Star Power”
With all that’s been happening in the last couple of months in Australia, it’s been hard hiding my past from people, and it’s kinda funny when people I’ve known for a while find out I used to be an actress. I explain I was a kid on a TV show, and they’re like, ok, and think it was a bit part or something. Then a couple days later, I can tell they’ve done a little Googling… The reaction I get so often is, “but you’re so normal”. It’s kinda sad that people just expect all former child stars to be either in rehab or total prima donnas.
For all the bad shit that happened, I’m still pretty happy for the way I was raised. I’m not on probation like Lindsay Lohan, making porn like Judy Winslow or dead like Dana Plato.
I never really did all the things famous kids do now. It wasn’t a non stop party of red carpets and after parties. I didn’t jet off to other countries for festivals. I wasn’t photographed a million times looking super glamorous. A quick google images search actually shows very little. Most images of me are unflattering screen grabs from my ACA interview, or cast photos. As much fun as it would have been, I never did any glamorous cover shoots for a glossy mag. I think I dreamt of doing a Dolly cover, but it never happened. I only attended 2 Logies awards. I remember being so jealous of the Neighbours kids because they lived in Melbourne and they got to go. I needed a chaperone & they didn’t want to pay for a second ticket. The last 2 years I went, I took our publicist one year & our make-up artist the last year. I took Megan our MUA because I loved her, (and she was willing to go) but then everyone just expected my room to become their private make up room and thought she was there for them, which sucked for her. I didn’t take her so she’d have to work.
There was some important lessons I learnt back then, hanging out with the crew. They’d talk about “soapie syndrome” which is when some new starlet gets a job on something like H&A and because they’re young and pretty, and they get famous quick, they become total divas. They think they’re going to be famous forever. Then, they’d leave, looking for bigger and better things, and when they didn’t get anything, they’d be crushed. Their world came crashing down. It was pretty sad to witness. Some picked themselves up and learnt an important lesson in humility, others, not so much.
There was a sign in the wardrobe room with a picture of a bucket. Underneath it said, Put your arm in a bucket of water, then pull it out. Watch how quickly the hole is filled. That’s how quickly you can be replaced.
Such a harsh statement, but also so true in the land of TV. Fuck up, and there’s another pretty young thing just waiting to take your place. There are days when I wish I had done some beautiful photo shoots, or been to more glamorous red carpets, but I was so young, I really wouldn’t have appreciated them for what they were. Or they’d be so normal that nothing civilian could ever satisfy me. I’m actually pretty glad I was raised to be just one of the production crew. It made transitioning into regular jobs so much easier.
Here’s the other thing people just don’t get. I don’t want to be an actor anymore. I have no desire to play make believe for a living. Just because I was an actor as a kid, doesn’t mean I want to be one when I grow up. Read any article from me as a kid, I always wanted to be something else when I grew up. Being a child actor was something that was chosen for me. I was too young to make that decision, like many other child stars. However, most people stay in acting because they don’t know how to do anything else. They were so busy working, they didn’t finish school. Or, they tried civilian life, and it was either too dull after the glamour of TV, or they had people who weren’t accepting of them. It’s hard to transition to regular life. I loved working in restaurants. I didn’t do it because that’s what every out of work actor does. I really enjoyed working with food. But you’d always get people making comments. I’ll never forget the bitch, who trying to impress her date, said “don’t most people go from waiting tables to acting, and you’ve gone the other way”…. Yes, I realize I’m not living up to your expectations, I was however being a good citizen and paying my bills.
Just like your parents may have put you into ballet lessons or football, it doesn’t mean that’s what you want to do forever. Just cause you worked at Maccas when you were 14, doesn’t mean you want to climb that ladder and be CEO of the chain. Just because I did some modeling and acting as a kid doesn’t mean I dream of winning an Oscar when I grow up.
Like most of those soapy stars who have been humbled by hitting the bottom, I would do things differently if I was given a second dose of celebrity. I’d use it for good, not evil. Have you noticed the ones who appreciate what they have are always trying to use it for other things, like charity? I was doing some promo modeling over here, and one of my products to flog was the Justin Beiber perfume. While its seems derigeur now to have a fragrance if you’re a celeb, I loved that unlike the others adding to their vast empire, all the proceeds from Someday were going to be given to charity. I love it when actors use their voice to be Ambassadors for a good cause. Look at Angelina Jolie or George Clooney. Yes, their lives are fabulous, but at least they’re trying to give back. When was the last time you saw Jennifer Aniston do anything for someone?
I’d love to create my own perfume, and give the money to a good cause. I’m not famous anymore, but I’m glad I can still use what I did in the past to try to do good now. I’d love to be one of those people who used to be famous but is now an activist or professional philanthropist. Don’t make fun of people doing charity shows like Celebrity Apprentice. It’s not always about a career bump. Some people really see it as a great way to promote their charity, and help do their bit to raise some money and awareness. If all they wanted was another 15 minute extension, they’d do celebrity rehab or have a public meltdown.
One day I’d still like to make Going Down. Yes, it’s TV related, but I don’t want to be on screen. Im just too cheap to hire someone for in front of the camera for now. I’d like to produce a scuba series that could focus on the world around us and the water that covers 70% of our planet. There’s so many awesome scuba charities, like the Wounded Warriors. People save what they love. If you can introduce the oceans wonders to people, maybe they too will learn to love it and try to save it. I still believe some programs are great for TV and for humanity. And seriously, who wouldn’t want to make a living getting to travel and meet awesome people? Samantha Brown & Anthony Bourdain have the second best jobs in the world. Their producers have better ones. Same travel, same people, but when they feel like going stealth, they can go out and eat dinner and nobody bothers them. They also don’t have to worry about what they look like in a swimsuit…
Of course, when all this is over, I’m going to see if I can do some glamorous victorious magazine cover. Every girl dreams of getting to dress up in haute couture and being fussed over by stylists and then being photoshopped to perfection. I’m no different. I’m just glad it’s a dream of the future and not a memory of the past.