When Celebrities Are More Than Just Celebrities

Why do people sometimes hold a high level of regard for certain celebrities – people who, in most cases, they’ve never met and only know about on a superficial level?

I find myself asking this question while thinking about meeting one of my favorite singers a few weeks ago.

Adam Lambert was in Atlanta earlier this month as part of a radio promo tour, and I had the opportunity to briefly meet him. Now, I’ve met my fair share of celebrities in the past; it’s one of the perks, if you will, in working in entertainment journalism. I can’t say I’ve ever been quite as excited about meeting a celebrity as I was about meeting Adam, though.

Seriously. I’m shocked I wasn’t speechless when I actually got to meet him. On top of that, after he posed for pictures with me and my boyfriend, we briefly talked about Atlanta nightlife and drag queens. It’s one of those incidents that just felt…surreal.

So why would meeting this person in particular turn me into someone who squeals like a schoolgirl (something which, thankfully, only happened once I’d left Adam’s presence)?

Maybe it’s because Adam’s more than just an entertainer to me. I don’t mean for this to sound like he’s taken on the form of a deity in my life. But Adam’s impact on my life feels…stronger than most entertainers.

For starters, there’s the gay pop singer factor. Adam was the first openly gay pop singer to sign to a major label. As somebody who follows pop culture, it felt significant. I normally gravitate towards female pop singers in my listening habits. Adam’s one of the few male singers to grab my interest, not only because he fits the style of music I like, but also because I can sing along to his songs and not have to do a gender-flip (seriously, his song “Fever” is my jam).

Then there’s the role model aspect. Even though I certainly don’t have a problem with the stereotypical gay man/pop diva relationship—don’t get me started on my fascination with Madonna or Lady Gaga—I like the idea that there’s now a gay man who can serve in a similar aspect.

I am, of course, aware of Elton John’s decades-old out status, but…Elton’s a little too cranky for my liking. Adam, though…Adam’s pretty cool. He’s confident, charming and charismatic, but he also doesn’t put up with shit. I like that. And again, as much as I appreciate that in my favorite pop divas, there’s something more powerful about it coming from somebody who I can identify with more easily.

Obviously, other people have their own reasons for liking celebrities. Sometimes it’s nowhere near as deep as my example, which really isn’t all too deep in the first place. Other times, the reasons are more profound for the person involved. I sometimes roll my eyes a little when I see someone say that, for example, Britney Spears saved their life. But when I stop to think about it, who’s to say that it’s not true for that person? People we’ve never met can affect us in powerful and unusual ways.

I know that Adam Lambert’s one of the people who fills that role for me. That’s why meeting him was exciting. Just don’t get me started on the idea of meeting Madonna or Lady Gaga. I’d go crazy.

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