Saturday, 17 October 2015

Thoughts On Meeting Your Idols


On Sunday, my friends and I went to see Carrie Hope Fletcher at the Cheltenham Lit Festival. It was a really cool format because she did an interview thing with a lady called Anna. She was asked about all her projects, All I Know Now, Les Mis, her YouTube and her up and coming novel, On The Other Side! She was so natural and down to earth; it was a lot of fun to watch. Then it came to the signing afterwards, I went to get my kindle case signed and a picture with her. Honestly, I’ve never left a signing completely satisfied (though I’ve only been to a few), it’s a bittersweet experience.

When you admire and love someone as much as I love Carrie, you often feel as if they are one of your closest friends. They’ve shared so much with you through social media that you form a real attachment to them. You think that you are so similar in interests and sense of humour that if you two met, you would hit it off immediately and you would maybe stick in their memory of that day. So when you have the opportunity to meet them, no matter how organised it is, you have really high expectations of meeting them.

Frankly, it isn’t fair to put that level of expectation on yourself.

At these signings, the person you are lining up to see will see a LOT of people and sign a LOT of books so you really don’t have long to make this impression. There are usually some staff lurking around hustling you along so that perfect meeting you had envisioned is growing shorter and shorter. There is a lot of pressure being put on you, not to mention the fact that the person you have watched for 3 years is right there in front of you!

So as I queued up to meet her, I had all these ideas of what I would say to her. I was going to go up to her and be extremely enthusiastic. I would tell her how much I loved All I Know Now, all the things I’ve learnt from her and this adorable story about the Hopeful community. I would ask her to sign my kindle and get an adorable picture with her, maybe even going in for a hug at the end!

No prizes for guessing that this didn’t exactly go to plan! In reality I got extremely starstruck and simply said hi and asked her to sign my kindle, repeating “if that’s okay? Thank you so much!” about a thousand times. Then when the picture was taken … I blinked! I was painfully awkward and I’ve been repeating that moment every night since, what I would have said. It makes me feel guilty for wasting this opportunity but that is not okay.

Honestly, I’m kind of put off these meet ups and signings because the illusion of a genuine two-sided relationship with these YouTubers is washed away. Sure, some fans may achieve this but it comes back to the issue of “us and them”. There is an issue with fans treating YouTubers as characters on TV but it kind of goes the other way. After someone gains a certain amount of subscribers, their viewers change from a group of individuals to a faceless statistic. Of course this is no fault of anyone but I must admit that it is disheartening when you come face to face with someone you’ve spent hours listening to and they show absolutely no sign of recognition. The only way to change this is to tell them how important they are to you and this is a tall order when you take into account how brief these meetups are.

I am not saying that I regret meeting Carrie; she signed my Kindle case and was so lovely! The actual event was awesome too. However, like I said before, it was a bittersweet experience. You watch someone for years and when you finally get the chance to tell them how much you appreciate them, the pressure to do so completely overwhelms you. Don’t put that expectation on yourself! It’s different for everyone but for me, I can’t possibly say everything I want to in that brief interaction that meet ups allow for and that’s okay because one day I will get that chance, on social media or a more relaxed type of meetup.

This is just my personal opinion, obviously not everyone will agree with me on this one!

What do you think? Have you ever had a really awesome meetup experience? I’d love to hear about it!
Have a wonderful week!
Hattie xo

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