#EDITORSNOTE: MR. WILL RESPONDS TO READERS
It’s been a while since I’ve had a good Chat with my Readers and Followers, so I reached-out to everyone on Facebook and Twitter for their most burning questions and replied with as much insight as possible. Enjoy and thank you for your continued loyalty and support, Wongsters!
@Cindyandtheboys asks, “What was your motivation to get you started on what you do?”.
Hey Cindy! I’ve been a Stargazer for many years and my love for Film and Pop Music is unparalleled. I used to be the Kid who rushed to MuchMusic after class waiting by the window for Gwen Stefani to come out and sign an Autograph and I have been attending TIFF as long as my Bank Account permitted.
By 2009, I had amassed so many Photos of my Celebrity Adventures that I created my Blog as an Outlet to combine my passions for Photography, Film, Music and Writing together in one and kicked it off around TIFF. It would’ve been a severe waste having them sit dormant on my Computer or just on Facebook. From there, I developed a passion getting Photos with my personal Heroes and Heroines because it gives me something to immortalize the experience by and well, it’s fun!
Word-of-mouth spread locally fairly quickly about my Blog. Some loved the idea, calling it one of the few true Celebrity Blogs to come out of Canada and some thought it nothing special. Before I knew it, I was booking time off work to interview Bradley Cooper and Channing Tatum, and was on TV talking about Stars and even profiled on the National Post. Last year, CBC listed me as one of the three most key People in the City to follow during TIFF. So that’s that. I love what I do as tiring as it is juggling three or four things on-the-go constantly and have no plans to stop because most of the time it doesn’t feel like work.
@MRDISCO3 asks, “What do you top your burgers with?”.
Hey Paresh! Good question. I’ve been off meat for three months now. Pitching-in my part to reduce my own Carbon Footprint as a Citizen of the Earth. Meatless Mondays, People. Google it and do it!
But to answer your question, if I could create my own Veggie Burger it would have: Jalapeños, Lettuce, Tomato, Sriracha Hot Sauce, Honey Mustard, Avocado/Guacamole, Sautéed Mushrooms and some crumbled Blue Cheese. It would be like a foot tall, really. Maybe I’d throw a fried Egg on for added Protein too. Is that too decadent? Is it?!? I also recently accidentally discovered Salsa on Fries and it is incredible!
@CTRice asks, “What was the first screening you ever saw?”.
Hi Tristan (Scene Creek, everybody!!!), I could never forget my first Screening. It was back in April 1996, Jane Eyre at Alliance-Atlantis Cumberland 4. My Cousin Nancy had won passes and we were going to trek Downtown from Scarborough for a Movie and some amazing Ice Cream at Mövenpick (Richtree Markets) after.
I remember getting into a huge misunderstanding with my Dad that day right in front of my Cousin who came over for Dinner about something terribly mundane. My Dad offered to wash dishes so I could hurry to the Movie and I asked, “Really!?” maybe perhaps a little too excited, which he interpreted as sarcasm but really it wasn’t! I basically got a lashing verbally for no reason and remember sobbing all the way to the theatre because I was embarrassed and two, I was looking forward to my first Screening for days and felt my night was ruined. By the time I got home, things were fine again.
It wasn’t a v. exciting Adaptation of Jane Eyre to be honest and obviously I’ve been to many more enjoyable Screenings ever since. It’s a miracle I wasn’t scarred from wanting to go to the Movies ever again!
@Typo_eh and Kathi on Facebook ask, “Who was your worst Celebrity experience?”.
Hi Siobhán!! Hi Kathi!! Are you guys psychically-linked or something?! Well, other than being shouted at by Ashley Judd after asking her nice and civil for a Photo, which then spilled over into a debacle on Twitter, I’d say the worst experience ever was Lady Gaga. A couple years ago I was being harassed daily by someone over E-mail and on my Blog. I had Tracking Reports pulled and he would view the same page over and over 20-30 times some nights in the wee hours of the morning. This Reader thought he’d do himself a favour and entertain himself by emailing Lady Gaga‘s Management a slanderous E-mail with my Photo, claiming that I was violent and dangerous, essentially getting me blacklisted when she visited Toronto.
Not realizing this, being the huge Fan I was, I asked her for a Photo upon exiting her Hotel amidst the hoards of Fans and Autograph Seekers. I cannot say that I enjoyed being shoved against a Topiary by her Security Guard Ed and once I recovered, he forcefully shoved me a second time as several eye witnesses watched. Of course, nobody genuinely cared as they were there to see Lady Gaga, admiring their Photos with her and their Autographs. It was particularly heart-breaking because I love her Music so much and at that point I had gone to every single Toronto Show she ever had, owning all her Singles and CDs. I had T-Shirts and Posters. I was gaga for Gaga.
This Jerk who has been chasing Celebrities for years, tried the same tactic multiple times, including a Jessica & Ashlee Simpson appearance at The Bay, which I actually was invited to in order to snap Photos in the Pit for my Blog. I was escorted out by Security once they matched a sent Photo with my face. Of course, another Blogger who absolutely despises me, caught wind of this and went to town, spreading word quickly that I was ejected from the Venue. Hmm.
I knew this was really getting serious when the Head of Security at a major American Network in New York City called me to clue me onto an E-mail he received from him regarding two Actors from the Network who were filming a TV Movie in Toronto. Of course, he knew right away that this Person’s intentions were malicious from the E-mail and just wanted to give me a heads-up out of the goodness of his heart. Multiple Publicists also reached out to me around that time regarding similar type E-mails, which thankfully they knew better than to believe.
Eventually, I got one step ahead of the game when a certain British Boy Band came to town. Their Security Guard noticed me, pulling me aside to show me one of these slanderous E-mails on his Phone. Low and behold, the Jerk showed-up also, hoping to get a Photo and like an episode of Cheaters, I outed him in front of everybody including the Band, who chimed-in, giving me hi-fives and encouragement. He was a mess and left in tears.
The messed-up thing is that after that occurrence, I’d receive messages from this Jerk threatening to inflict harm on himself because of my actions and he’d gone about posting my Home Address on Twitter. Essentially, I was being stalked and didn’t even know it. I and others know well that this Person is not mentally stable, so I feel bad even writing about this and bringing it up, but at this point I really don’t care anymore. And such a Drama needs to be heard because I get so many Tweets and messages from others who wish they were me because apparently my life is so perfect!
He’s left me alone ever since, but the damage has been done and I’m sure someone who didn’t know me better might have a skewed perception of me from what they’ve heard. Looking back though, I don’t know why I didn’t do more about it. I’ve moved on and hopefully he has found some sense of balance.
@CTRice asks, “Has a Celebrity ever denied to take a photo with you?”.
Impossible! LOL Just kidding, of course! I’ve been turned down before and it’s inevitable it will happen and I respect that, but I’d say one of the harsher Declines came from Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Once I was one-on-one with him and he chuckled at me and walked off after I asked nicely for a Photo. Hence, when I hear stories from those who have had positive experiences with him and what a great Guy he is, my eyes just roll.
Or how about running into Claire Danes at the Grocery Store only for her to react as if I had SARS or something when asking her for a Snap? She quite literally jumped three feet back. I saw her in the neighbourhood a few times after that and didn’t bother her again. That was fun. Some are nice when the Cameras are on, some value their Privacy more than others.
Of course, it’s the few who got away that I remember most when in reality a vast majority of Celebrities I’ve met have been more than nice and accommodating. Once, Nicole Kidman came over to take a Snap with me during TIFF and then some super-annoying Girl got in the way, getting her Photo and then Nicole was pulled away by her Handler. That hurt. And do you believe the Girl eventually found my Blog and had the audacity to ask me to remove the Photo I snapped of her and Nicole? Go away.
Last year Penélope Cruz said “yes” to the Photo but then suddenly changed her mind when her Publicist said she had to go. That hurt equally bad on a Nicolean level. I also met Julia Roberts once candidly and although she said “no” to the Photo she was still nice to chat and be kind, offering to sign an Autograph instead which still was gracious. She wrote “TO WILL, PEACE, JULIA“. That was “pretty” epic.
@apluswagvantage asks, “You despised the Celebrity’s Album/Movie/TV Show/Persona. How are you gracious when interviewing him/her?”.
Hi Charles! I generally don’t approach a Celebrity for a Photo unless I have some admiration for their Work, so that takes care of the forced graciousness thing, I guess! 🙂 Autographs are something I used to love collecting, but now I do it more for my Readers and help them experience a part of the magic when they can’t physically be there with me. The Photo-with means much more to me.
I have however been a part of Press Tours where the Talent promoting the Film literally are in the Movie for like one scene and it’s like pulling teeth to concoct something profound and throught-provoking to ask. That horrific feeling that you’re going to say something foolish… your palms get sweaty and your throat gets dry. At that point, you just have to take the reins and broaden the scope and somehow find something to connect and relate to about the Film. That’s happened more than a couple times!
Sari on Facebook asks, “Who was the nicest Celeb that you have met?”.
So many, Sari! Adele, Katy Perry, Linda Hamilton, Hugh Jackman, Jessica Chastain, Nia Vardalos, Colin Farrell, Colin Firth, Michael Fassbender, Bradley Cooper, Channing Tatum, Michael Bublé, Abbie Cornish all go beyond and above the Call of Duty and consistently do it time and again! I even brought a tear to Adele’s eye letting her know how much her Music meant to me once. So personable!
I understand that the scale of Celebrity “niceness” often depends on how their day’s going, but these named individuals consistently wow me every time and I’m sure there are several more I’m neglecting.
Terri on Facebook asks, “Seems to me that in recent months you have achieved some of your childhood dreams….What dreams of Celebs or Events have still eluded you and what bigger dreams Mr. Will are you hoping to reach for?”.
Hey Terri! There is so much to accomplish still. The end goal is to continue building a groundbreaking Fan-centric Website and go-to source for Celebrities and Entertainment in Toronto. I am continually trying to expand my scope further and build new Partnerships for my Readers, getting them a taste of all that good stuff first! I aspire to do this full-time and slowly am getting there. One day we’ll perhaps have a more national presence even!
I’d love to attend the Oscars and Grammys one day as basically I live for those two, and I am kinda obsessed with the Golden Globes too! I’ve still never visited L.A. One day. My dream Interviews would be Natalie Portman, Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway or Kate Winslet. I’ve met Mariah Carey before, but would really want to reflect on her Career with her over some Champagne. That would be perfect.
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#EDITORSNOTE: THE STATE OF PAPARAZZI AND AN OPEN LETTER TO JUSTIN BIEBER & OTHER PAPARAZZI-HATING CELEBRITIES
As reported last night, Justin Bieber took to Twitter to voice his disappointment over his 19th Birthday, Tweeting “Worst birthday”. In addition to his Entourage having a bit of an altercation with Club Security at London’s Cirque du Soir. Some are saying that Will Smith‘s 14-year-old Son Jaden simply wasn’t old enough to get into the Venue and this caused a riff. Earlier in the evening, Alfredo Flores, who is a part of Bieber‘s Crew and a self-proclaimed Director, oddly without a directing credit to his name on IMDB, expressed his anger Tweeting “Paparazzi are disgusting. Wont even allow a 19 year old enjoy his Birthday. Hurting fans? Makes no sense
#ashame”. Reports on Twitter are stating that some Photographers were being particularly aggressive, shoving Fans who were lined to get a glimpse of or possibly try to meet Bieber.
I’m sorry, but I’m with the Paps on this one. There are plenty of ways to enjoy Privacy and I’m all for freedom of self-expression through Fashion, but if you don’t want to be noticed Bieber, you may want to rethink the way you present yourself to the World like this or this. This just screams “Look at me”, “Take my Pic”, “Keep your eyes on me” … and “Are you guys talking about me? Really? What’s wrong with you?”. There are ways to be discreet with the amount of money you spend on Security, surely you’re a Pro by now at maintaining your Privacy. Just ask your Toronto Fans (we supported you first) who camp outside your Hotel in the freezing cold to not be rewarded/be rewarded for their behaviour with Hot Chocolate, while you basically hide from them.
There are two types of Paparazzi in this World: crazy ones and kind ones. Most of my dealings with them – to clarify, I do not see myself as a Pap although I’ve been called one – veer towards the latter with the occasional Creep. Don’t confuse the two. Like us, Paparazzi have bills to pay and Families to go home to and the ones I know on a personal level are surprisingly normal. It infuriates me when I hear comments like, “I hate Paps” or “They should get real jobs”. Honestly, when you watch Programs like Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, TMZ, Fashion Police or eTalk, where do you think some of their Content comes from, when they have “Breaking News” of Rachel McAdams being back in town? Think about that the next time you flip through the pages of People or US Weekly and admire/criticize a Celeb for what they’re wearing. I’ll bet you feel the same way you felt when you learned what really goes into McDonald’s Food.
Celebrities who consistently complain about being photographed by Paps perhaps don’t understand fully the value of being photographed. When your Photo is picked-up, the viral potential of others discussing you is something that money, a Promotional Team who call it a day after they leave their Offices and an elaborate Press Tour can’t buy. It is a way for Fans and the general Public to build a connection with a Celebrity, which contributes to the overall picture of making someone into a Star.
I’m not saying it’s okay for Paps to be abusive and invade the Personal Space of Celebrities, but there also is an unsaid rule that you kinda, sorta are sacrificing some of your Privacy when you enter this Business.
That is all.
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)