Celebrity Encounters: A Guide to Keeping Your Cool

It’s not everyday you go to work and find yourself face-to-face with Robin Williams. Especially if you live in southeastern Michigan, are gearing up for the Christmas rush and have nothing more remarkable to look forward to than sitting on the couches at Pottery Barn on your lunch break. And yet, standing in front of you, requesting a doppio espresso, is Mork.

To say the least, you’d be a bit flustered. You might drop things. You might utter a nonsensical paragraph on how much you loved Good Will Hunting. After all, this is not LA.

Or is it? With Hilary Swank shopping the farmer’s market, George Clooney on set at Detroit Metro, and upcoming the Rob Reiner film Flipped filming in Saline, Hollywood is pouring into Michigan. We seem to be inundated by celebrities—which is all very well and awesome until we’re face-to-face with them on a midnight run to Meijer wearing jammies. If this should happen, don’t panic! Here are a few tips on playing it cool:

1. The Approach. Approaching a celebrity is tricky. You know it happens to them hundreds of times a day, and most of them are gracious about it—but there’s always the risk that they’ll refuse you. Quick way to up the odds: If you run into a celebrity in a place of business, the best time to ask for a photo or autograph is as they’re leaving. This way, you’re acknowledging that they’re busy and won’t hold them up. However, you still have to ask…

2. The Request. Speaking to a celebrity is even trickier. First impulses are to gush uncontrollably, spouting praise and losing all track of time while the celebrity’s eyebrows creep closer and closer into her hairline. This is natural, but avoidable. If you can control what comes out, try to keep it short and genial. A smile and an “Excuse me, but do you have the time for…?” is polite, charming, and hard to resist.

3. The Result. Usually, you’ll get what you want. It’s easier than refusing, and takes less time. Say thank you, and move away with a smile. Resist the urge to offer some sort of follow up, such as a phone number, your Twitter, or your first born. Also, don’t get on their case if they do something you don’t like. So they didn’t tip the barista; neither did 50 other nameless people. Unless you’re putting everyone under the microscope, let it go.

Now, let’s suppose the celebrity is incredibly attractive. A sex symbol, even. And that you are off the opposite (or similarly appreciative) sex. And that you have been caught entirely by surprise.

4. The Hard Part. If you are a customer service employee and are approached by a celebrity, try to keep calm. Treat them as you would any other customer, even if they are tall, British, and have swarthy, graying temples. Smile and get them through the line quickly, purposely not calling attention to them. When other customers have gone, find a pillar to stand behind to commiserate with your coworkers about how attractive/tall said famous person is. Find it hard to concentrate. Giggle. Resist, resist, RESIST texting all your friends to tell them you’re staring at six feet of handsome. Fantasize about hading him another latte. Spend next hour heavily embellishing that story. Drop things. Feel huge swell of relief when Clive Owen leaves center court so you can do your job again.

Wonder when Angelina Jolie is going to drop by to demand an ice water.

[reprinted from AnnArbor.com]


Kevin said…
Is it okay to demand your $8 back because you went to see, oh I don't know, Patch Adams?!?
Sarah Smallwood said…
If it were, I'd be right behind you with "License to Wed? Really?"

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