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Caution: Celebrity Train Wrecks Ahead

October 26, 2012

Caution: Celebrity Train Wrecks Ahead

Written by Garrett O’Brochta, Edited by Alex Kuhn 

“CHOO-CHOOOOOOOO!” Crash. I hear from the kitchen window. I stop baking an apple pie and throw off my apron.

I run for the woods. Sprinting through the yard, my legs try to keep up with my feet. I begin to lose my breath. A bead of sweat drips down my face as I push through branches of trees.

I feel like I’m running in circles. I look up and see smoke in the sky; running towards it I find my way to the train crash. I can’t believe my eyes, it’s worse than I expected. Only one person was harmed.

Female. Blonde. 5’4″. Name: Britney Spears.

This was the night of February 17, 2007. The victim- Ms. Spears- walked into a salon in Hollywood, CA. After previously dying her blonde locks to dark brown, no one thought Spears could do anything worse. Oops…she did it again.

This was the night of the infamous head-shaving. Once being the epitomy of a blonde-bombshell, Spears’ head-shaving goes down as the moment Brit-Brit lost her marbles.

Britney Spears 2007

After a series of some seriously unfortunate events, the one time sex-pot had finally crashed. As if talking in a British accent, wearing  her wedding dress while shopping, or hanging out with Paris Hilton didn’t show this, the head-shaving finally made people take notice.

I wish I could say the crash stopped there, but it kept chugging along. Over the course of the year, Brit continued  to derail. Spears fired manager Larry Rudolph, lost custody of her children to ex-husband Kevin Federline, wore a pink wig and hit rock bottom when she was wheeled out of her home on a gurney. From there she was committed to the psychiatric ward of Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

After being released, Brit’s family decided to step in. She was placed under temporary conservatorship of her father. Spears is still under this conservatorship today.

That’s what conductors like to call, “off the tracks.”

Amy Winehouse 2003 (Left), Amy Winehouse 2009 (Right)

Although Brit has made a tremendous comeback, this reminds me of another train wreck. It was in the Summer of ’11. While on my patio barbecuing shrimp, I heard the screeches of a train. I ran through the woods, swam across a pond and found myself at the site of a train crash.

July 23, 2011. One person dead. Female. Brunette. 5’3″. Name: Amy Winehouse.

Amy’s train crash was a long time coming. Going from voluptuous brunette to stick thin crack head, Winehouse lost herself to drugs. Literally.

When your number one hit is titled Rehab, you can’t help but expect the worst for Ms. Winehouse. From physical fights with then husband Blake Civil-Fielder to cancelation of shows due to overdoses on heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and alcohol, Winehouse only added fuel to the flame.

She stated in many interviews that she dealt with issues of self-harm, depression and eating disorders. Sadly, I found myself always thinking Winehouse was a lost cause; going down the wrong tracks with no one capable of stopping her.

Sounds like someone I know…

Lindsay Lohan 2004 (Left), Lindsay Lohan 2012 (Right)

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to my third train wreck. Although this one has yet to fully crash, it’s only a matter of time. Let me predict the future.

One person harmed. Female. Natural red-head. 5’5″. Name: Lindsay Lohan.

Where do I start with Lindsay Lohan? DUI. Arrested. Drug possession. Arrested. Thievery. Arrested. Failed drug test. 30 days in jail. 24 days in rehab. Late for work. Can’t get work. Looks like she’s forty. I guess this counts as a train crash huh?

As I write this I find myself getting upset. These are talented women. Britney Spears has been a legend since she was 16. Winehouse was a 5-time grammy award winner, and an amazing musician. Lohan had the running start and such potential. Where did things go wrong?

Sadly, Britney, Amy and Lindsay are not the only fallen stars. The train wreck celeb dates back to the 1940s. Actresses such as Frances Farmer, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe and Gene Tierney all faced their own personal struggles. Whether it be an arrest for a DUI (Farmer), sentences to psychiatric wards (Farmer, Tierney, Monroe) or popping pills (Garland, Monroe), Hollywood has been derailing celebrity train wrecks for years.

Frances Farmer (far Left), Judy Garland (Second), Marilyn Monroe (Third), Gene Tierney (far Right)

I don’t want you to think women are the only conductors crashing their trains, there are male train wrecks too. However, women have the most trouble escaping their past. No one seems to remember Robert Downey Jr.’s druggy ways, or Tracy Morgan’s DUI, and how about Michael Jackson?  Every time a criticism was made it would be followed with “king of pop.” Women are not weaker by any means, it just seems the public is more fascinated with replaying their crashes.

Essentially, the male celebrity’s reputation is more resilient. Men are looked at for their strength and talent, while women are first seen as more fragile and beautiful. A female celebrity’s image is her most important feature, if that image is altered, the harder it is to gain it back. There’s more at stake for women in Hollywood.

However, there’s a fascination with these train wrecks. There’s a beauty in the breakdown. There’s a thrill with the crash. The crash makes the celebrity not only more entertaining, but more relatable. While they crash and burn you see their true essence; you see them for who they are, people.

I will admit, I put celebrities on a pedestal as higher beings. I’ve read countless articles on their pitfalls and know useless information that will not help me graduate college. However, while documenting these train wrecks I feel sorry for them. They’ve sold their lives to Hollywood. No longer are they their own person, they are a toy; a toy that is played with until a new one comes along.

I just can’t help but ask, who’s our next toy train?

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