When I was younger, snail mail (and the telephone) was still the best way to get a message to someone who lived a long way away. There was no email – at least not easily accessible to the public. When you were a fan of someone, then you could send them a letter to a fan address, sometimes, if you’re lucky and also send a reply envelope with the letter, you would get an autograph sent back to you – but of course they were all printed and not original signatures and you wouldn’t ever get a hand-written reply back from the stars themselves. But when I was a kid, I was naïve enough to believe that it was worth a try and that surely my beloved singers and actors would at least read their letters. With Michael Jackson, I didn’t even bother to write a letter because I KNEW he would one day just walk into my life and take me away to a better life and be the true family I needed. Of course that didn’t happen. And I often wonder whether I could have made a difference in his life anyway – but that’s a story for another day, maybe. (On a side-note: if you think this post is a good opportunity for you to vent any negative and unjustified, cruel comments about Michael Jackson, this is the wrong place).
So that’s the past: letters and the hope of a kid that the people she looked up to would reply to her. No one ever did. Thanks, David Hasselhoff. And I wanted to marry you when I was eight!
Today, there is email, Facebook, Twitter and all other sorts of social media. There are stars writing blogs (some really do and some pay others to write in their name) and official websites. There are fan sites and you can learn as much as you want about your favourite stars, download heaps of photos, watch videos etc. In a way, I miss the old days when you could actually be happy when you found a new snippet of information or found a really nice poster – i.e. tangible stuff that could also help to brighten up your room. Anyway, the modern age also gives you the opportunity to get a better chance of making your star notice you and maybe even reply to you.
Twitter is a good example for this. Some stars have their own Twitter accounts and indeed tweet themselves. Many hire writers but there are a few who take the time to really interact with their fans. At least I hope that they aren’t just pretenders but I think the stars I like wouldn’t lie to their fans like that. Lucy Lawless, for example, has her own Twitter. Unfortunately, she has never replied to me but I guess that might also be a good thing because after reading many of her Tweets, I am a bit disappointed in her – so the online world can also lead to a certain degree of disenchantment with stars. It’s easier to notice their faults – not that I expect stars to be perfect but I have certain expectations of all people, star or no star. I.e. just because you’re famous doesn’t mean you should be mean to other people for no good reason.
Other stars, on the other hand, positively surprised me. One day I was mentioning Jery L. Ryan, who played Seven of Nine in “Star Trek – Voyager”, not even thinking she’d notice it. But she actually replied to me. And when I asked her a question, she replied to that as well! There’s also a guy called Gabriel Mann, who used to play a minor role in a series I liked, and he used to interact with fans a lot when he was not as famous as he is now. I guess, he’s just a lot busier now and unlike other stars he won’t hire someone to do his tweeting for him. I also received replies from some actresses who used to be in Xena and screenplay writers are also quite good when it comes to replying to Tweets.
My hope of getting noticed by Patrick Stewart, however, have not come true yet. I guess I am also not on Twitter often enough. It’s not my kind of plattform and I only use it because of a few good people I met online. And hey, sometimes I send out a nice tweet to some star I like and it’s always a nice surprise to get a reply. Maybe I get replies because most of the stars I like aren’t super-big international superstars (apart from Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart).
The times have changed, information about stars is easier available – but I wonder whether some stars would actually be happy about proper fan mail, i.e. real letters? And does anyone ever read them?
Did you ever try to get in touch with a star you admire and respect?