Sixteenth century French philosopher and writer Michel de Montaigne hit the nail on the head when he said “Fame and tranquility can never be bedfellows.” It’s an ancient truth that still holds true in our day and age. Celebrities pay too high a price for their fame and stardom. They not only have to endure the pressure of always being in the public eye and constantly standing before the court of public opinion, they also suffer massive intrusion into their private lives.
Award-winning American actress Julia Roberts expressed it best when she said “I didn’t realize that the cost of fame is that it’s open season on every moment of your life.” The public and media demand full access to a celebrity’s life in front of the camera and behind the scenes, and many times they can be relentless in their scrutiny and unforgiving with their opinions. They believe celebrities owe it to them in exchange for their generous patronage. There are those who think it’s only fair because their support is what makes it possible for these celebrities to bring home fat pay checks and enjoy the perks that stardom brings. It’s often pictured as a give-and-take situation but this sense of entitlement doesn’t draw any lines anywhere. There are no written rules where the boundaries are supposed to fall so some people think they have a right to know what celebrities do and where they go away from the camera. Many feel they have earned the privilege of throwing dirt at a celebrity’s face and say what they want to say without fear of reproach or dire consequences. People forget celebrities are also human beings and not commodities.
Over the past couple of years that I have been closely following the career of Marian Rivera, I have come to the realization that fame is indeed both a blessing and a burden. When Marian first stepped out of the shadows into the limelight, the moment she became a household name the industry’s hunger to celebrate a new success story was satisfied. Marian’s sweet face and lovely smile started to hog the limelight as quickly as her show’s ratings soared and the masses fell in love with a new star. It was the start of an overflow of blessings in this young woman’s life.
But one person’s success doesn’t always translate to everyone’s happiness. When someone succeeds, there are those who benefit from it and those who suffer loss because of it. When somebody reaches the top that usually means another star has fallen. When somebody starts to bag prime roles and major endorsements, that means others have to settle for second or third best. When somebody starts to earn the coveted titles, that means someone else’s reign is over. Marian’s incredible journey to success hit the industry like a breath of fresh air but as quickly as the tide turns, the celebration eventually gave way to acts of demolition.
And so that lovely smile turned to tears as Marian went through a steep learning curve on what it costs to be famous and successful. She had to start defending herself against vicious rumors , innuendos, harsh public judgment and the constant barrage of negative publicity. One doesn’t have to be a genius to understand what this was all about. As it is in real life, love and hate are the two opposing forces in the world of make believe. The human heart is as fickle as shifting shadows and the very people who celebrated her rise to stardom became channels of hatred and deception. The force of media and the full reaches of the internet fell upon Marian to render her powerless.
But you can’t help but admire this young woman’s inner strength and determination. Marian stood firm against the tide. She fought to preserve her realities and keep her values intact and unaffected. She fought against a system that forces people to relinquish their individualities, hide their weaknesses and conform to the standards or suffer the consequences. She fought to break the rules that one has to behave in a certain manner or speak to impress in order to stay on the A-list. She fought against duplicity and the double standards that have broken too many hearts in search of a dream. She fought every battle with the powerful weapons of truth, humility and faith and in my opinion she won every single one of them.
The battle rages on but lately it seems loyalties are starting to shift in her favour as people have come to appreciate the reality of Marian Rivera. She is conquering her enemies one by one, not with the might of vengeance but with the power of love, humility and forgiveness. She patiently waits for walls to come down so she can start to build bridges towards reconciliation and healing. She practices tolerance for other people’s wicked choices and this steers her away from conflict. She continues to make allowances for others knowing that everyone, including herself, is predisposed to mistakes and weaknesses. She accepts the truth that there are just some things in life she cannot change and people she will never be able to please, but she explores ways to turn ill will into good will.
And this is where I catch a glimpse of Marian’s wisdom. Such wisdom and understanding cannot be bought with the fortune that comes with fame but can only come from having a right relationship with God. The best things in life are not for sale; they are freely given to those who make it their conscious choice to trust and obey.