Coexisting with Celebrities
Written by Garrett O’Brochta
“AMY POEHLER!” I shout. I swore in that moment I had a stroke. What have I done? Fumbling through my words, I find the right name, “AMY SEDARIS!” Too late. She’s gone. There I was on 7th Avenue, between 28th street and hell, realizing my life was over.
I called Amy Sedaris by the wrong name. I still can’t believe it. What did I expect Amy to do, say hello and chat about the weather? I couldn’t help myself, seeing a celebrity is like seeing a zoo animal out of its cage; you either gawk or shout to get its attention.
However, for my three friends Cristina Fernandez, Spencer Richards, and Emily Delay, each find it somewhat easier to coexist with celebrities in New York. Apparently for New Yorkers it’s normal to see a zebra walking down the street.
After telling my friend Cristina about my mortifying run in with Amy, she takes a deep breath and says, “well, at least you didn’t hit Susan Surandon.”
Cristina goes on to explain her awkward encounter. “It was like seeing an elephant leave a room,” Cristina starts, “all I remember are the doors opening, and accidently running into someone, so I grabbed them by the arm and said ‘I’m sorry,'” Cristina pauses, “she looked at me like I was fucking crazy.”
As did the other people in the elevator. Realizing what just happened, Cristina turned to a girl and asked “was that?” and the girl replied, “yeah,” all Cristina could say was “oh, shit.” I ask her how she felt about her run in and she explains it as “surreal and cool. I love awkward situations.”
Since then Cristina’s sightings include Usher, Brooke Shields, Kiera Knightley, Alec Baldwin and Isaac Mizrahi. “It’s surreal to see a celebrity and it’ll never be ‘normal,’ but I’ve realized not to draw attention to them, they’re just trying to go about their day,” she says with a sympathetic tone. “Although,” Cristina interjects, “it’s odd how they pop up out of nowhere. They have a familiar face and inside you’re like, ‘oh my god it’s you.'”
That’s the beauty of New York, a celebrity can be just around the corner, waiting for you unexpectedly. This was true for my friend Spencer Richards, when he found himself standing behind Parker Posey at a coffee shop.
“I saw her at la Colombe and she seemed really nice so I was like ‘ok, I’ll say something.'” He turned to Posey and bravely spoke, “I’m sorry, I’m geeking out cause I’m a huge fan.” Spencer was getting coffee for the whole office and Posey responds with “thanks, you’re really gonna be geeking out if you drink all that coffee!”
He smiled and looked down thinking it was over, but then Posey asks “do you come here a lot? Their coffee is amazing!” Spencer almost shouts in response, “I know!” He then followed Posey outside and wished her a good day. Telling his story, Spencer looks at me and almost whispers, “I melted.”
I can see the satisfaction as he says, “it’s a good feeling when a celebrity meets your expectations, she was so cool that I still admired her and was relaxed around her at the same time.” I ask if it feels normal to run into celebrities, and he explains he “worked on a T.V. production set, so [he] became kind of immune, but seeing them in the real world still makes [him] giddy.”
As for Emily Delay things are a little different. “I’m always extremely calm around celebrities, I’m usually excited to see them but I care less and less the more I’m around them” she says with confidence. Maybe living below John Legend has something to do with this lack of excitement? “I think so, it’s not like I’m going to text someone every time I see John Legend in the elevator or hear him singing, he’s just a neighbor, but it’s something fun to tell people.”
Although, Emily does get a little choked up telling me about her encounter with Paloma Herrera (famed Argentinian dancer with American Ballet Theatre). “I was standing at the stage door of the Met at Lincoln Center,” Delay gushes, “when she stepped out of the door I immediately started tearing up and ran to take a photo with her.”
I wonder what the difference is between John Legend and Paloma Herrera and Delay responds, “there are certain celebrities that are relevant in your life or you’ve put on a pedestal, those are the sightings worth cherishing.”
She’s right. The more you’re surrounded by something, the more it blends in. Although, each person has that something, no matter how long it’s been there, it still stands out; the same goes for celebrities. What do I care if I saw that guy from Project Runway? But put me in front of Amy Sedaris and I’m a crazy buffoon.
In my opinion, we all have that celebrity. The one that makes us melt. But, for these three New Yorkers, the more they live in the zoo, the less exciting it is. However, living among zoo animals is pretty damn cool.