By Anne T. Donahue
I have no idea where famous people go or what they do on any given day, let alone the ten that make up the Toronto International Film Festival. I am but a peasant. My favourite Toronto hot spots are any/all malls, restaurants that are familiar to me and my temperamental stomach, and the inside of my car as I leave to go home. Currently, I am writing while deeply regretting drinking a cranberry ginger ale far too fast. Nothing about me is cool. Except for this: my inherent belief that we could all be mistaken for celebrities if we really tried, provided the following advice is followed.
Why? Because I am just delusional enough to believe that you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it enough. Also, because we all deserve free gift bags.
The easiest: hide behind sunglasses
I am unable to spot celebrities in a group setting ever. But I do know that when I see somebody wearing sunglasses, I believe in my soul that they are a) famous, b) kind of a dick, and c) a combination of both, which often adds up to a good number of famous people. We know that famous people want to seem inconspicuous and also babely, likely simultaneously and for good reason. So that is where we begin: sunglasses on inside, outside, while watching a movie, and while approaching a stranger to ask if they think you’re famous. They might say yes, and that’s when the first burst of confidence arrives.
A worthwhile challenge: thank every celebrity you see for their support
That’s right: these are your fans. And because the pool of movie stars at TIFF is so large, not a famous soul will risk being rude to someone who might be, well, someone. So you see Harry Styles and you say, “Harry! Thank you so much for being here, your support really means a lot to me.” And he, eager to avoid all embarrassment will say, “It’s my pleasure! I’ve been excited to come!” Now you are equals. Now you may have been the one to not spit on Chris Pine.
Give it a go: walk past any/all crowds and sign anything they hold out
“Who is that?” they will ask as you stop for photographs nobody asked you to be in. “I don’t know, but let’s figure it out later.” And so you will have just attended your first meet and greet. Fluttering from one person to another, signing the name of anybody you wish, this is how you find yourself in the news. Because not only were you nice enough to stop, you were nice enough to call over a reporter to document this moment of unyielding generosity. They don’t know who you are either, but it’s TIFF, baby: you could be anyone.
A walk in the park: refer to all movies as films
I’m not actually sure whether or not famous people do that, but I do know film people do that, and I out myself as a plebe every time I talk to one.
Time well spent: linger outside party venues
The key to lingering versus loitering is very simple: to linger, you must act mysterious. Preoccupied. Consumed by your phone or vape pen or whatever else it is that Ben Affleck does when he’s photographed by himself. This is your stage on which to act busy. You’re busy worrying. Busy basking in sorrow. You’re busy looking concerned because you are famous and that comes with a lot of baggage and a lot of speculation about your love life. This is the vibe that will repel any/all bouncers to ask you to please leave, Anne, Austin Butler isn’t even here. Instead, should you play your cards right, you will be asked in, only to learn that most industry parties are not parties at all, but an exercise in standing and staring at other people while being served canapes. AKA: just another Friday night if you’re privy to watching movies on your laptop and consuming an entire shrimp ring. (See: mine.)
A valuable hack: the knowing nod
There’s a type of solidarity found in experiencing chaos that can only be realized through a certain look. The look that comes with being overwhelmed. Bored. Over it. In desperate need of sneakers and pants with an elastic waist. It’s a knowing look, and it’s the fastest way to show a famous that you truly get it; that you know this world – this mad, mad world – and wish for you both to be free of it soon. And it’s easily executable: upon seeing a celebrity, you lock eyes and then roll yours, insinuating that you’re a kindred spirit who understands what it means to be in demand and also very tired. Will this confuse them? Absolutely: you are a stranger, and a regular one at that. But the bond formed by implying that you get them (get this, get us) will outweigh the nagging feeling that you’re a just a random person who’s been waiting outside the bathroom you saw them walk into. After all, fame can look all types of ways.
Need a little more Anne? Read more from Anne T. Donahue right here!