Friday, May 16, 2014

Sara Hantz: Is celebrity all it’s cracked up to be?

I’m often asked by people where I get my ideas from, so I thought I’d blog about my latest book WILL THE REAL ABI SAUNDERS PLEASE STAND UP. This story is about a young girl who is a kickboxing champion but because of her stutter hates meeting new people. So, when she gets the chance to become a stunt double to a famous movie star instead of being excited about it she’s petrified.

I do love fish out of water stories, and I’ve always been fascinated by celebrity and, in particular, young stars and how so many of them seem to go off the rails, either through drinking, taking drugs, or eating disorders. Look at Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Byrne, Britany Spears, Justin Bieber, to name a few. It all seems too much for them to cope with. And this has been going on for years. Remember what happened to Drew Barrymore as a child star. She has managed to work through the drinking and drug taking, but she seems to be one of the rare ones.

I often wonder why it is that they go off the rails, and in my opinion one of the reasons could be because they don’t have a formal education, in the traditional sense, and so their view of the world and their coping skills haven’t developed in the way most young people’s do. The one star who springs to mind who appears to have not been affected by child stardom is Justin Timberlake.

Anyway, for me it seemed the perfect book to write, mixing a fish out of water and coming of age story with the backdrop of celebrity status and Hollywood. What’s your take on young stars going off the rails? Should there be more restrictions on young children/teens on TV or in movies?

I’d love to hear your views. There’s a prize of a $10 Amazon gift card to someone who comments.

***Sara's winner is Erin!  Please email with your mailing details!***


Liz Flaherty said...

This is interesting. I'd like to know the right answer. Do you think Ron Howard and Justin Timberlake could do a tutorial or something?

Laney4 said...

I think that Andy Griffith had it right about keeping family values on the set of his show, as Ron Howard has talked about how he played catch with Andy and the others during their breaks. Ron said he had two families, and both kept his head screwed on straight, so to speak. It is up to the child star's parents/family to keep the child focused on what's right and wrong in the world ... to keep the drugs and other temptations away as much as possible ... to find other ways for that child (and their other children) to find joy in life itself. I applaud Andy Griffith and Bill Cosby for instilling these family values on their sets as well. It would be nice if ALL movies/tv shows enforced family times on the set, but, alas, all that is really a priority is making money, and not spending it....

erin said...

Oh I definitely agree that there should be more restrictions and rules. All the examples you mentioned are painful to watch. Definitely interested in your book!! Thanks for sharing!

Alina P said...

I don't think those restrictions would help. I think the education the parents give and, more importantly, the example they set are more important than anything.

Karen H said...

It's a case of too much, too soon. And the parents are as star-struck as the teeny boppers following the latest Teen Star! The parents are often not a whole lot older than their celebrity child and they don't know how to handle it either...let alone advice their children. With the benefit of strong family influence to help guide the youngster through the pitfalls of the glitz and glamor of that life, he or she will ultimately grow to be a responsible adult. Education is also a factor. Just look at Jodie Foster. She started in TV commercials at age 3, starred in many films, won many awards and went on to graduate, with high honors from Yale University.

Laurie G said...

Too much adulation- These children need to have their parents with them to guide them and teach them normal rules and behavior. They need to have time off to just be a normal child. Psychology counselors would probably help. Maybe talks with other child stars to tell them how to deal with their success.

Candace Cameron, Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen, and Kristi Gold all had to deal with anorexia and bulimia issues.

I think Angela Cartwright, Shirley Temple- Black, Jerry Mathers and Tony Dow turned out OK too. What did they do differently for these old child stars?

Sara Hantz said...

Thanks for all your comments, it's certainly an interesting topic.