When I lived in Japan, I recorded a few commercials, television shows, and movies with famous actors and celebrities (including members of the boy band SMAP). I didn't have any connection to their material, so I approached them without the awe, elation, and bewilderment that a Japanese person would bring. I could tell these stars often vacilated between feeling relieved and unnerved that I addressed them like a regular Joe or Jane.
If you've had an experience like this, as a traveler, it offers a chance to reflect on the nature of fame. It's like a strong forcefield to which the disconnected are totally immune.
During the 5th season of Road Less Traveled, I hooked up with the Ducati motorcycle club in Manila. One of the riders in the group happened to be something like the Brad Pitt of the Philippines. He was just one of the dudes to me, but gradually, over the day, I noticed locals fawning and tripping over themselves in his presence.
What an interesting life experience this guy must be having. In a way, this is the ideal way to be a celebrity. When Brad Pitt travels, he can't just walk into a public space without creating a commotion, but Richard Gutierrez could potentially travel to places where few would recognize him. I think it could provide a lot of insight to dip in and out of your sphere of celebrity.
I'll do another post on my thoughts about celebrity and power. What do you think about celebrity in general? If you had it, how would you like to wield that power?