The most annoying thing which I hate to hear is when people say “…but you’re famous”. As if fame supercedes everything in life and all logic. There are a series of expectations that go hand-in-hand with that phrase which sometimes I don’t understand. So imma break it down:
1. Not all fame is treated equally.
First things first, let’s put things in perspective: Beyonce famous is different than Sarah Lian famous. With the world’s obsession over paparazzi and celebrity-dom, being in Malaysia’s Urban side of fame allows me to “know my place”. Maybe I’ve hit a threshold to some but at the end of the day it is all relative. Plus, I have enough difficulties telling people where the country Malaysia is located relative to Thailand and Singapore.
2. Limited use on your Fame card.
THEM: “You’re famous right? I’m sure you get free passes to everything!”
ME: “Actually no, Just a pass through the Security Border in America cuz they like famous people.”
I only use it during US Border Security. It’s true. The Americans eat that shit up. Not that they don’t believe me, but thank goodness my IMDB has enough legit work for me to say, Google me. (It’s happened more than once)
If a police officer in KL were to pull me over, you can imagine I wouldn’t be able to have that kind of conversation.”Kenapa u tak boleh cakap Melayu?” (sigh)
3. Living it up.
THEM: “You must be on fancy yachts everyday, right?”
ME: “My life is not a rap music video.”
Everyone has a weird idea of what fame is and what it looks like. Its a reflection of what people would do if they were famous. Most of the time, we have to work, I guess the rest just need to date someone with those luxuries… or someone that works with boats, or live in Hong Kong, they have lots of boats right?
4. Be careful what you wish for.
THEM: “Hi, are you Sarah Lian?”
ME: “Sorry, not right now.”
Recognition is a funny thing, but you can’t always choose when it happens. I spend more time in Kopitiams and small neighbourhood cafes sans makeup while stuffing my face. Half eyebrows + sweaty upper lip = not the choicest time to be Sarah Lian.
Being in the limelight is great, I talk for a living and I try to look pretty while doing it. I prefer my little happy moments with family and close friends, the ones that have loved me pre-celebrity. I know its the content of my character that will win people, not a false image that I’m trying to sell to girls. If I’m going to sell anything, I’d rather point them to the real heroes like Malala Yousafzai who take a bullet for what she believes in; or the men and women who dedicate their lives in servitude for others without a voice.
Bottom line: Thanks for the acknowledgement but being famous doesn’t mean I have to live a “materialistic-famous-life” you have in your head.