What It's Really Like To Be A Cumberbitch

Photo: Jim Smeal/BeImages; designed by Ly Ngo.
On July 19, British treasure, thespian, and heartthrob Benedict Cumberbatch will celebrate his 39th birthday. Of course, if you're among the star's superfans, colloquially referred to as "Cumberbitches," you already knew that. You might even have a party planned — or, at the very least, a Sherlock marathon.

You're not alone. The Cumberbitches Twitter feed has 216,000 followers. A Facebook page, also called Cumberbitches, has 4,900 members, with devotees from all over the world sharing fan art, photos, and tips on getting tickets to his upcoming London performance of Hamlet.

Among them is 46-year-old Alison Tramontin. The Canadian became "hooked" after watching Sherlock, though The Imitation Game is another favorite.

"I guess I consider myself a Cumberbitch, but I feel kind of old to use any name," Tramontin shared over email. "I try not to be too obsessive, but it's hard. I really love his acting, to be honest. Of course he's good-looking, but he's absolutely brilliant as an actor — the best of his generation, in my opinion. I love that he is outspoken on political issues and lends his name to lots of causes."

Lais Marujo, a 27-year-old from Santa Catarina, Brazil, is also quick to point out that it's the Oscar-nominated star's acting skills that are the real draw.

"At first I just saw that he was all over the internet," she wrote us about her first impression of the Englishman. "And I loved his name, really. But I just knew who he was in the photos, I had never seen him acting. Then one day I was at home and decided to watch The Imitation Game... and OH MY GOD, he was so good! I mean, how did I never watch him before?

"And then I started watching Sherlock, and that was it," she continued. "Suddenly he was my favorite actor of all time. And for the first time, I was in love with how he works, you know? I mean, he is a beautiful man and everything, but I'm not attached to that. I really love his work. He is a great actor. He makes us fall in love with his characters, he makes me want to work with him, I want to watch him act, live, and then applaud for hours."

Unlike Tramontin, Marujo has fewer qualms about describing herself as a Cumberbitch.

"At first I didn't like the name that much," she explained, "but then he said [on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon] that he once asked about the name and the fans said, 'Oh, we're just having fun with your name.' And I found that funny, and understood that it's just people who really like him and his job. It's people (from all over the world) who reunite on Facebook to share news about his movies and his work. It's not a crazy thing, you know? It's not people obsessed with him and his personal life. We love him, but we also respect his private life. And that's what being a Cumberbitch means to me."

Being a fan has its downsides. For Marujo, it's feeling sad when she considers that the star "doesn't even know I exist." Tramontin, meanwhile, sometimes struggles with how fans are perceived, not only by the media but by Cumberbatch himself.

"I have to admit to being a little annoyed with his attitude towards fans a bit," she shared. "Even though I totally agree that celebs deserve privacy, when you put yourself out there like he has and go for the big Hollywood roles, you know what you're letting yourself in for. The paps will be after you, no doubt. There are some crazy fans out there, but a lot of us are just amazed with his acting and would like nothing more that sitting down for a nice chat and a cup of tea. I hope he realizes that."

He will now. Happy birthday, big guy.

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