True stories of celebrity tantrums
The best part about being a journalist is meeting celebrities of whom one has been a great fan. However, at times staying in touch with celebrities can be a miserable job. Celebrities can live up to your worst nightmare of stereo-typical narcissistic social-climbing artificial materialistic horror – and they can do it in spike heels.
As a free-lance writer for several English language magazines I have gone through some bitter experiences.
Interviewing a celebrity (with fangs!)
A. Khan is a singer and song-writer who I have had the misfortune of interviewing twice.
The first piece I wrote appeared on my blog before it was printed in a weekly publication. The singer (popularly known for a vampire themed music video) was furious that the editorial team had altered the language and style to their own standards. "What is this?" he had asked. He was extremely rude and arrogant. I explained that drafts often undergo editorial modifications but he was still extremely angry. He scolded the editor and eventually the magazine was forced to change the review on their website at his 'request' - twice!
My second interview with A. Khan was not very pleasant either. He wanted to see every word of the interview after I composed the draft. Later, he wanted to add more questions of his own. The final-straw was when he added an imaginary question by himself, according to which it sounded like he was a 'good guy' who never partied or drank and people were surprised by his puritanical lifestyle. When I told the editorial team about this they had a good laugh.
Models are to be seen not heard
A weekly fashion magazine asked me to interview male fashion model E, who had made waves in the industry after appearing in a television commercial for a new bank.
E sounded very pleased with himself when I contacted him for the interview. "Hi, I am a great model and I have worked with so many agencies. Check out my new shoots. I look dashing!" but then "Who the hell are you? Where can this magazine even be found?" he asked.
An editor of another magazine shared a similar experience. She had tried to interview E as well but was met with a snobbish response. "Should I try?" I asked her. "Forget it," she advised "he is a snob and too rude!"
I still could not believe that a celebrity who always smiled pleasantly on television was so obnoxious. Despite her warnings I tried to interview E again - the results were pathetic.
The next celebrity is quite strange. The musician, Z has his own band and production house. He strategically adds me to his network whenever he is about to make a new song or video but after I give him some coverage, he deletes me from his network. This has happened four times!
In another case my Facebook status became a celebrity death match after I interviewed a famous female vocalist. The lady is classically trained and recently featured in a song with Xavier. When I shared the link to the interview on my status earlier mentioned A. Khan began leaving negative comments about her. At first I tried to moderate and removed most of his comments. But his criticism was harsh. Perhaps he had some sort of professional rivalry with her but my status certainly wasn’t the place to work it out!
My worst experience on Facebook was after the sad demise of Imran Lodhi of Aunty Disco Project. A music website posted news of his death and it was very shocking. I changed my status to “RIP Imran” over which a very famous celebrity instantly messaged me. “Hey, remove your status - he committed suicide. You must never write about him. He died a “haraam” death.” This was the most insensitive and inhuman response that I have ever received.
Remembering the little people
Underground singer A. Shahid was grateful when I had interviewed him before he was signed by a famous company. But afterwards he asked me to not write anything about his music. Ironically, a manager from the same company contacted me and insisted that I should write something on Shahid's new piece. What was this? The singer asked me not to publish anything and the manager asked me to write. I decided not to write anything.
In a similar situation a very young singer, (who many feel is over-rated) hid behind his manager. Whenever I contact him for an interview, he asked me to contact his manager. "For God’s sake, I am not interested in contacting the manager," I thought. How could a manager tell me about his inspiration, desires and passions? A manager could tell about his recent events, upcoming shows and live performances. He is not even “big” enough to have a manager!
Holy but not humble
I received a taste of celebrity attitude from a singer who has two recent claims to fame - being religious and singing the original version of a song that was covered for a racy Indian movie.
I contacted him for a magazine interview but the response I got was “Please don’t bother me again.” But when I told him about the name of the magazine that wanted his interview his tone changed drastically. “Oh, great! I have read your work and it’s really good.”
Where is my interview?
When you write for a quarterly magazine, the publishing cycle can take more than four months. Celebrities I interview are impatient about their interviews. The result is an inbox full of messages like “Hey, when would it come?” and “Why the delay?”
Last year I wrote an interview of a former Aaroh band member. When the interview came up, he opened it from his cell. But some web pages don’t open completely on phones. He only viewed a part of his interview and told me that the interview wasn’t visible and started scolding me. I asked him to open it from a computer. Of course when he did everything was fine.