How Deep Does Celebrity Go?

A recent incident made me wonder about celebrities. In general.

Are they really as superficial and shallow as it sometimes seems? Or is there a deeper dimension to their position and status that lets them make a real impact on their audiences and fans?

Aamir Khan makes films with a profound social message like ‘Taare Zamin Par‘ that turned the spotlight on dyslexia (and in a broader way, on children with special needs).

Angelina Jolie, who starred in Hollywood blockbusters, is arguably better known for her efforts to help refugees and orphans in the most war-ravaged and strife-ridden parts of the world, raising awareness about their plight and struggle on a global stage she strides like a colossus, thanks to her success as a film star.

World chess champion Viswanathan Anand, whom I’m happy and proud to know as a friend, has not only inspired a generation of Indian youth to dream of ruling the world of sport, and led millions to eagerly embrace a game that was born in India. He is also a vocal and visible spokesperson for children with cerebral palsy and AIDS, leveraging his worldwide recognition to make a difference in the lives of under-privileged little ones.

“Angry young/old man” Amitabh Bachchan, probably Bollywood’s only real SUPER-star, writes one of the most fascinating blogs I’ve ever read by ANY celebrity. What makes him more special to me than his stupendous acting career with so many glittering successes is his donation to our sister foundation that helped fund 10 heart operations for under-privileged children. Meeting him in person was nice; seeing him give generously for this purpose was nicer still.

Seth Godin, best-selling author and business thinker, is my friend and mentor. He is constantly pushing the envelope with his book launches. Sure, he sells a ton of books. But so do many other writers. Seth does something more special than simply write and sell books. He powers many charitable ventures through them. Like when he launched LINCHPIN – and raised over $100,000 for The Acumen Fund through the process… in 48 hours!

And there are ‘mini-celebrities’ who are making waves in their own (if slightly smaller) way. Among their 1000 true fans.

Whenever I read a book by a new author, I try and reach out to them via social media.

Recently, I’ve been in touch with Adam Jackson (author of “The Flip Side”), Madhuri Banerjee (author of “Losing My Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas”), John Locke (author of “How I Sold 1 Million Ebooks in 5 Months” and “Saving Rachel”) among others.

All of them responded. Conversations happened. A seed is sown for a potential relationship to take root, grow and bloom.

Who knows what it may lead on to? It all depends on how deep these celebrities are.

So…

You wrote ten books. I’ve read them all. What’s next?

You acted in 5 movies. I’ve seen them all. What’s next?

You won the game for your team. I cheered. What’s next?

You got an award or prize. I clapped hands. What’s next?

You were elected. I voted for you. What’s next?

If all you do is what made you a “celebrity”, then there’s little else.

It’s what’s left AFTER this point that matters more.

What you DO.

Who you ARE.

Because otherwise, celebrity is so shallow and transient!

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