I find celebrities really boring. I’m sorry to just drop that truth bomb on your Sunday morning but sometimes I feel so isolated and suffocated by the knowledge that I swear I’ll just keel over.
“Who’s the most famous person you’ve met?” people ask me, and I want to say that, truthfully, I can’t remember. Very rarely do I find a famous person memorable after we’ve met, and there are probably very good reasons for this.
Famous people are increasingly afraid of saying something they’ll regret, because media types like me love to run with those moments and turn them into click bait. For years after, everywhere they go, they’ll be asked about that one weird headline that misquoted something they accidentally said in an unguarded moment, and it makes them want to never speak in public again, unless they’re reciting a script written and vetted by someone else.
So they say nothing. They sit quietly, indulging in interminably long pauses for thought between answers, as though running over every word of the question and their proposed answer to see how I might be trying to catch them out. It’s really draining, no doubt for both of us, and makes me hope I never have to interview a famous person again.
My friend Monty doesn’t understand why I don’t find the “reality” show about the dreaded K family entertaining. I once watched it to see what I was missing, and they spent the entire episode eating salads from plastic takeaway containers and bitching about their mother.
It reminded me of the last time I bumped into my sister in a food court, but it didn’t inspire me in any way and I certainly didn’t find it interesting. I found it depressing, to be honest, to think that women so young and rich can’t think of anything better to do.
The various K-named ladies changed outfits and locations frequently, but the eating and bitching filled out the “action” of the entire episode, apart from the bits where they sit in another room, look straight down the barrel of the camera and reiterate everything they and their sisters just said about their mother.
As a kid, my best friend lived in a housing commission neighbourhood ruled over by a hefty lady called Leoni, who was rarely not wearing her dressing gown. Everybody hung out at Leoni’s, and everyone was welcome, as long as they were classy enough to bring their own instant coffee and Vegemite sandwiches for their kids. Leoni wasn’t made of money, as she often reminded us, but her door was always open.
Watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians was like spending a long rainy afternoon at Leoni’s, except that unlike Leoni and the other mums around her table, the obvious reality of the Kardashians is that they spend most of their time in make-up and hairdressing chairs. When they’re camera-ready, they wander around their own houses taking photos of themselves and filming little videos for their social media. Oh, and Khloé goes to the gym a lot.
Just casting a cursory glance over their Facebook and Instagram accounts tells me how much preparation goes into every day of their lives. No wonder there’s so little time left in which to think of something interesting to say.
Of course, what we know now is that for the entire series, the family struggled with an incredibly fascinating and challenging real-life storyline: Caitlyn Jenner’s transition from male to female.
I dare say that the real conversations between the sisters on this topic would be complicated and riveting, but they’re not going to share those with us. They are the best in the business at giving nothing of themselves away and making that nothing look glamorous.
“Very rarely do I find a famous person memorable after we’ve met, and there are probably very good reasons for this”
The trouble is, now every celeb thinks they can get away with uploading airbrushed fantasies and sitting very still while being non-committal in interviews.
Fortunately, the celeb interview is a very small part of my life. In the course of my career I’ve spoken to firefighters and paramedics, inventors and abuse survivors, transgender comedians and homicide detectives. I’ve laughed my head off for days about stories from deepest, darkest Australian suburbia.
From naughty nannas and dodgy dads to sweet childhood recollections and the accidental admissions of couples chasing prizes, the exchanges I have with these “normal” people are the ones I remember best.