Celebrities are our ideal of confidence and beauty. The feeling is that they are of a separate fabric than us mere mortal, fumbling, shy, awkward, lumpy regular people. While it’s true that many celebrities were blessed with good genes and ambitious, connected parents, it’s also true that celebrities are not immune to shyness and insecurity. In this article I want to show you just how frequently celebrities battle the fear of judgment, so that you can realize how not-so-different they are from you. Perhaps then you will are also able to connect to their level of confidence, radiance, opportunity, and success. It really is mindset y’all.
The ideal queen of celebrities. She is affable, friendly, funny, talented, AND gorgeous. Plus she’s quoted as always having known she would be famous. The truth is though, that she’s really human like the rest of us. Recently she told The New York Times, “I have a prescription. I find a certain peace by thinking of ‘me in public’ as sort of an avatar self. You out there can have the avatar me. I can keep me. And I just try to acknowledge that this scrutiny is stressful, and that anyone would find it stressful.” This “avatar” concept is a common one in celebrity confidence and it’s an advanced piece of my program, Shy to Shining On Video. It makes sense that it’s a common celebrity occurrence, since their very jobs are portraying other people. When E News asked her if it would every be easier to be under scrutiny, she replied, “No, I’m always just very nervous. I never feel like, ‘I’ve got this.’ I’m always very nervous and aware of how quickly people can hate you and that scares me.” Simply becoming aware that nervous feelings and/or preoccupation with judgment is a totally normal feeling can help you. If you KNOW that it’s normal to feel that way, then you can also know that it’s not personal. You can know that your fear doesn’t come from a place of personal inadequacy or unworthiness, but from a totally normal genetic reaction that takes place in pretty much everyone. Actually, probably the only people immune to this one are psychopaths, so be glad you have the fear; it means you have empathy and normal emotional function. 😉
TLDR; FEAR OF JUDGMENT IS SO NORMAL THAT EVEN “PERFECT” PEOPLE HAVE IT.
This woman is arguably one of the loveliest singers in the world, and yet she too has had terrible stage fright: Once she told Rolling Stone that, “I’m scared of audiences.” How scared is she? “One show in Amsterdam, I was so nervous I escaped out the fire exit. I’ve thrown up a couple of times. Once in Brussels, I projectile vomited on someone.” She added, “My nerves don’t really settle until I’m offstage.” But cue our girl, Beyonce: “I was about to meet Beyoncé and I had a full-blown anxiety attack,” she told Rolling Stone. “Then she popped in looking gorgeous, and said, ‘You’re amazing! When I listen to you I feel like I’m listening to God.’” Too bad we can’t all have Beyonce popping in to give us pep talks. (however, I’m definitely the next best thing to being your private Beyonce pep-talker).
The hit singer of “Royals” told The West Australian that her nerves can be so bad that they make her sick! She explained, “I, like, totally threw up before my show last night. I am reduced by nerves. I can be completely crushed by feelings of all kinds […] I get nervous, I get freaked out, I get, you know, the usual stuff.” Everyone who has to battle stage fright comes up with a way of coping and managing the stress to be able to perform. Lorde’s method? “[I] just try and tell myself that ‘You’ll be in your zone. The lights will be on and … people will be cheering and, you know, it’ll be okay.” And that’s the truth; it WILL be okay. Even if your absolute worst nightmare went down, people boo, your ex boyfriend flings a rotten tomato at you, you forget the words, you fumble, you stutter, WHATEVER, the sun will still rise on a new day tomorrow, and you’ll be all the more experienced for having faced your personal mountain. No one stays fixated upon your goofs, except YOU. You are the only one who can hold it over your head, or self-shame, or ruminate upon it. If something goes wrong, be compassionate, and be curious about how you can improve. Always remember that you don’t shame a baby when they are learning to walk, and likewise, you shouldn’t be hard on yourself when you are learning to put yourself out there in a new way. It’s hard for everyone, even celebrities, but this anxiety can absolutely be overcome with specific strategies.
Can you even think of someone who comes across as more fun and self-confident?!?! I was shocked to find out that she experiences some anxiety before shows. Her method for calming nerves? In 2011, she told Esquire that before each show she takes a sip of liquor in soda water or juice. “I have to have it. I take [performing] very seriously, so there is a level of anxiety, always; the drink calms my nerves. I sip it while I watch the opening act from my dressing room.” I’m not weighing in on whether this is appropriate for everyone and I am in absolute non-judgment about it. I, myself, occasionally have some wine before a show. It’s not for everyone and I certainly don’t before most shows. Most of the time I find that it can cause me to fumble, which doesn’t enhance my confidence. But I’m sharing this Rihanna anecdote because it adds proof to our catalog of celebrity anxiety in front of others.
5. hayden panettiere
Playing a singer on Nashville, helped this singer get over her live stage fright. I chose to feature Hayden, because she credits her ability to perform as being due to playing an alter ego, “It’s one thing when you put yourself out there (as a solo artist), it’s another thing when you’re playing a character.” She also said, “Beyoncé has her alter ego, and people create these alter egos because it seems like a little bit more protection when you put yourself out there for all to see.” BOOM, another vote for Sasha Fierce. Now let’s get to the Queen B herself!
ARE YOU GASPING? Does it shock you that Beyonce has experienced self-doubt or anxiety on stage? Beyonce is known for having a stage persona, “Sasha Fierce” that is sexy and confident. She has said that it’s different than her true self, but that she steps into this persona when she takes the stage. If you can find a way to shift your perspective or adjust your mindset in this way, you’ll be able to quantum leap your level of self-confidence in front of others.
7. emma stone
Okay, I love this one, because Emma uses acting and being in front of others TO battle anxiety. She’s openly discussed her tendency towards panic attacks, and when she began going to a therapist, she found that acting was the biggest help to her when it came to battling her anxiety. “There’s something about the immediacy of acting,” she said in a 2015 interview with Wall Street Journal. “You can’t afford to think about a million other things. You have to think about the task at hand. Acting forces me to sort of be like a Zen master: What is happening right in this moment?” Emma uses the immediacy of acting to take her our of the mindspace of anxiety. Could you try that? Could you focus on productivity instead of ruminating? Could you throw yourself into making videos instead of making up stories about what could go wrong? There is no harm in trying!
We’re all normal. We’re all human. Even celebrities. Stage fright, screen fright, fear-of-judgment, etc., are ALL NORMAL reactions that can be handled. You can manage your fears and anxieties. If celebrities can experience panic mode and insecurity, then no one is immune, amiright? But that’s ok. That means we can accept and internalize that our anxiety signals and feelings are not alerting us to true DANGER. These systems have been in place in our brains since the cave and savannah days when there were actual predators coming to eat us. Nowadays those systems still get triggered, but what’s more likely to happen is me binging on comforting snacks and hiding out in my own cave (comfy cozy bedroom). Thankfully, we can keep this knowledge in our pockets as a superpower. We can take it out when we are feeling anxious or insecure and we can remember that it is a normal response, that it doesn’t mean real danger, that it can be managed, that we can take deep breaths, that tomorrow will be okay, and that we are okay in this moment.
And of course I am always more than happy to help you on your journey, like your confidence fairy godmother, secret weapon. Check out my blog for more articles on finding confidence doing your thing, even if you feel insecure, shy, or different. If you’d like personal support, you know you can call me!