Childrearing

My Daughter Wants To Be Famous. Kill Me Now

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My 8-year-old daughter wants to be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Make that, she really, really wants to be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Two weeks ago, she had no idea who Ellen DeGeneres was. I don’t watch the show (even though I really, really like Ellen). I just happened to come across a clip on the internet from Ellen’s show featuring two young British girls, Sophia Grace and Rosie, who are, pardon my French, bloody hilarious.

Sophia, who is also eight years old, speaks like a true diva, saying things like, “I lost my tooth! I HAD to spend the tooth fairy’s money!” She talks like a very outgoing adult comedian and, while it’s cute, it is also kind of weird. But that’s not all. She can belt out songs, too! I showed my daughter the clip of Sophia Grace singing an Adele song on the Ellen show. Which was a mistake. My daughter immediately wanted to go on the Ellen show, too, and sing. Her face showed ambition and envy while watching Sophia Grace perform.

I asked my daughter why she wanted to be on Ellen. “Because I want to be on television,” she said. “Why?” I asked. “Because I want to be famous.” Crap, I thought. Ever since that day, my daughter has been begging for me to put up clips on YouTube of her singing, so Ellen can see her perform, and then she’ll get to be on Ellen’s show. I don’t really know how to explain to my daughter, without dashing her hopes and dreams, that the chances of Ellen, or one of her producers, seeing my daughter on a YouTube video or on my Facebook page, and then ASKING her to be on the show, are about as good as me winning a $24 million jackpot. Perhaps even less so.[tagbox tag=”television”]

Although I think my daughter is fabulous, she in no way can compete with Sophia Grace and that is an objective fact. But what is more disturbing to me is this obsession my daughter has with being famous. She wants to be on American Idol (even though we are Canadian). She wants to start her own blog. She’s eight!

On the one hand, I suppose that the drive to be famous is something. She wants it…bad. And I do know that when you really, really want something, you have a better chance at getting it than sitting back and doing nothing. But, on the other hand, I can’t help but wonder, “Why? Why? Why?” In this day and age, there are just too many people who are famous for the wrong reasons. In fact, their lives are ruined by fame. I don’t think Lindsay Lohan is a lost cause just yet. (Yes, I know. She has been to jail and rehab and is posing for Playboy. But, somewhere lurking beneath is the fact that she DOES have talent.) Unlike, say, Heidi Montag, who became famous on The Hills and then ruined her life and her career and her body by getting boobs the size of watermelons, can’t seem to get any work, is estranged from her family, and is a laughing stock and an embarrassment to all humans.

And while you may not like Jessica Simpson, who became famous because of her reality show, she has somehow managed to turn her fame into an almost billion-dollar empire, without ending up in jail. Quite frankly, I don’t even know what fame means anymore, thanks to people who are famous for just being famous (like the Kardashians).

Last week, I had a new letter carrier deliver my mail. I just happened to be pulling up in my driveway and getting out of the car when she was dropping off my mail. “Are you Rebecca Eckler?” she asked me. I said yes, because, um, I couldn’t exactly lie, since she was dropping off my mail (and I want the checks to keep on coming!). She told me that she loves reading my stuff and thought that I was very funny. I thought it was nice…and sort of creepy. For some reason, I did feel like my privacy was invaded, that this stranger knew where I lived, and, also, that I had to be nice. Not that I wouldn’t have been nice, but when someone compliments you (and you are known), you really DO have to be nice, even if you are in the worst mood and your dog has just died.

I often go out with a friend who is actually famous because he’s on television and television people are generally way more famous than writers. Heads turn when we walk into restaurants, we need a table not close to anyone so we can actually talk, and he always tips 30%, even if the service is bad, because all he needs is for someone to go around town saying that he’s a bad tipper and an asshole, and thanks to Twitter, this can be done instantly.

So, yes, I want my daughter to have dreams, even if that includes being on Ellen DeGeneres. But, in this day and age, who really wants to be famous? Your life is not your own, you have cameras following you everywhere, you have mothers telling you that you should do Playboy, and people saying you fathered their baby (Justin Bieber).

Being really famous seems like a royal pain in the ass, and who knows what talent is anymore. So, yes, if my daughter wants to be famous, that’s fine. But somehow, she needs to back it up with talent. Ellen, if you want a perfectly normal, sweet, 8-year-old who likes to draw, goes to school and is the light of MY life, then, please, do call. I’m not holding my breath. But my daughter is waiting.

(Photo: Creatas)