In the past, Justin Bieber said he feels more like an animal in a zoo than a normal celebrity. The toxicity of fame has reached the 23-year-old's core and it's starting to show. When he's confronted by hordes of fans on tour, he's brash, unfiltered, and rude.
And I don't blame him — I would be, too. Most recently, he told a teenage girl "you make me sick!" when she approached him for a selfie. Her mother later commented that her daughter was devastated and couldn't stop bawling. And Bieber's comment was really harsh and delivered dead-pan. This is upsetting to hear, as no one wants to see their child upset, but this interaction feeds into a growing problem with Beliebers. If I were in her position, I'd probably tear up over the embarrassing and heartbreaking incident, too. But I'm not, and am here to instead offer this advice: Overeager fans, like the ones Bieber has shut down time and time again, are representative of all the obsessed superfans around the world who don't necessarily care about the person behind the music, but rather their own .05 seconds of fame by interacting with someone famous.
It's strange to see someone as prominent as Bieber have such a brazen conversation with a fan. But that's what is different about him — he actively seeks out his fans. He wants to say hi and interact with the Beliebers to which he owes his career. What he doesn't want is to be treated like a static object — a wax figure of himself, a living, breathing piece of tour merch — who's only there to be photographed and documented. In the now-viral video of Bieber rejecting the fan, you can see how close the fans are standing to him — yet no one is looking at him. They're all staring at their cameras, trying to capture their brief interaction. Of course, when you're truly overwhelmed, it's difficult to filter out emotions. I'd probably stand next to him, stunned into silence. But others may just freeze with their phone set to record.
While there's no exact etiquette of what to do when you meet someone famous, I think it's valuable to use this video of Bieber as an example of what NOT to do when you are starstruck and within arm's distance of a celebrity crush or idol.
I've compiled a brief list of the 7 Things To Do When You Meet Someone Famous Like Justin Bieber. Scooter Braun — feel free to print the below and paste it outside of all his upcoming venues.
1. Do not touch them.
Personal space exists for everyone. I'm sure Bieber has the softest skin, but you will never know unless he really wants you to.
2. Do not take a picture of or with them without asking them first.
Anyone reserves the right to refuse to have their picture taken. Think about how you would feel if someone took your photo on the street without asking.
3. Do not scream or cry.
It's hard not to get overwhelmed, but think about how much better of a conversation you would have with the celebrity if you can just keep it together for sixty seconds.
4. Read their body language.
If you get the feeling that the celebrity is open to a picture or signing an autograph, then feel free to ask. You should be able to tell from the moment you begin interacting with them if they are available to chat, or want to be left alone.
5. BE RESPECTFUL.
These are people, not objects. If you want to gawk, then Google them in the privacy of your home.
6. Thank them.
If you are lucky enough to meet someone like Bieber in person, then smile, say hi, and thank him for his music.
7. Compliment their work.
Famous people love compliments, just like non-famous people.