Tuesday 30 June 2015

The Mixed Blessings of Celebrity Crushes

The Mixed Blessings of Celebrity Crushes

Written By Casey Douglass


Have you got one? One celebrity that seems to light up your life? Maybe you have a handful, a menagerie that rotate around depending on who might be in a current film or TV series? Either way, I seem to have three. At times, they bring escape, solace or pleasant dreams. At other times, they can bring feelings of depression, hopelessness and loneliness. The media seems to portray crushes at only the extremes, the screaming fans passing out at concerts with tears on heir cheeks or the psycho stalker that might break into someone’s home. Most people will almost certainly sit somewhere in the middle, quietly spending the odd minute, film or TV episode lost in wistful thoughts about their crush.

Image © Copyright 20th Century Fox
My first proper celebrity crush was Gillian Anderson, watching her as Dana Scully in the X-Files. I was drawn to her amazing portrayal of strong emotions, particularly in the scenes where Scully was ill with her cancer. She has carried that same talent to other roles, her characters usually strong- willed women that seem quite stern a lot of the time but when they show emotion, it is a revelation. It can be seen in her portrayal of Stella Gibson in The Fall and as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier in Hannibal. Typing that now has just helped me a see a thread to my next celebrity crush. Isn’t it nice when writing is therapeutic as well as satisfying!

Image © Copyright Contender Films
I first saw Eva Green in Bond film Casino Royale as Vesper Lynd and I have to admit that she didn’t particularly register with me. I think the next film I watched her in was Franklyn, the strange and twisted otherworldly drama about unhappy people and their beliefs. In that, Eva played two characters, Emilia and Sally, both showing various sides of her acting ability. Emilia was dark, troubled and creative and I think this character resonated with me in a number of ways, especially in the manic way Eva played her. I have since seen Eva Green in quite a few films and TV shows: 300: Rise of an Empire as the dangerous Artemisia, Sin City 2 as the clothes shy Ava and I am currently enjoying her talents in Penny Dreadful as the troubled Vanessa Ives. When one of Eva’s characters smiles, which seems to be rare, I can’t help smiling back. Eva has that stern-faced quality that I mentioned above, but I always feel her characters are more chaotic and troubled, like a shaken can of fizzy drink, calm on the outside but ready to explode with lots of energy. Ooh, another thread just emerged to the third and final of my celebrity crushes.

Image © Copyright Century Media Records

Cristina Scabbia is an Italian singer from heavy-metal band Lacuna Coil. With Cristina, it was her voice that first tweaked my heart. She is not one to shy from singing at a great range, the low and the high all equally strong and her voice is the stand out thing for me above the metal riffs of the band. Unlike the characters Gillian and Eva portray, Cristina seems an optimistic bundle of energy, bouncing around the stage and painting pictures with her words. Some of that no doubt comes from her being a singer rather than an actress so it is hard to compare, but I wouldn’t be able to call her stern-faced and believe it. When Lacuna Coil came to Norwich, her performance was even more amazing in person. She is also a great person to follow on social media, always tweeting and sharing on Facebook.

So there we have it, the three women I have never met that manage to enchant me and warrant the term “crush”. At times, with my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, I can get very low indeed. Having these crushes can sometimes be very helpful, a way to brighten my day even though I know they are just based on 99% fantasy and maybe only 1% of knowing the real person being swooned over. I went through a stage where I had an elaborate fantasy about my writing involving Gillian Anderson, all played out with a play list created from music artists like Chase and Status, Tinie Tempa and Inner Party System on my iPod. It became my escape from my shitty illness, frustrations and other issues, even though I knew that it was probably not helping anything either.

On the other hand, these kinds of crush can just serve to make you feel even more lonely or low. I had a time where I couldn’t stand to listen to that aforementioned play list because it just made the difference between my reality and my fantasy too painful to bear. I have had times where I have bought films featuring Gillian or Eva and then taken months to watch them because I don’t want the bitter-sweet feelings they will probably cause in me. When I saw Lacuna Coil live, I was on a high while being there but was in a hell of a funk for days afterwards, struggling to listen to their Cd's for maybe a month afterwards. This is the downside, and even being aware of what is going on doesn't always immunise you to the downward swing in mood.

I hope that the above doesn't make me sound like an obsessed loser or pathetic dreamer. It’s just really me thinking over what I get out of having celebrities that I can pine over. As you can see above, it’s certainly a mixed bag when it comes to the pros and cons. The thing is, I couldn’t change it if I wanted to. I use my feelings about these people who I know next to nothing about as a guide as to how I am in myself. If I find myself withdrawing from things and thinking about them more, chances are I need to address something in myself. If I don’t think of them much at all, I am probably more engaged with the “real” things in my life. Maybe that’s the most valuable thing I get out of the situation, seeing myself in a celebrity enhanced mirror and knowing what the reflected images mean.

Thank you for reading.