*It’s a short list considering…but one worth recognizing. It’s not easy staying poised and graceful when cameras are all up in your grill; and reporters are asking you questions of the most personal nature. Most luminaries either get outright nasty or decide to shy away from reporters altogether.
But then there are those who are doing (or have done) their due diligence and have come out on top. They have landed in a comfortable place with the paparazzi and reporters who seek them out; be it at airports, on red carpets, or anywhere in between. And reporters have responded in kind.
Some celebrities appear to intimidate reporters, to the point that they stumble and stutter when approaching the celebrity with a question.
Take Jada Pinkett-Smith…
She was approached as she deplaned at LAX. The obviously star-struck female reporter was tripping all over her words, trying to ask Pinkett-Smith a question, but couldn’t seem to get her words out. And Jada taking notice of this didn’t make the attempt any easier saying…
“C’mon, spit it out!”
Eventually the poor woman did.
Pinkett-Smith uses social media brilliantly, and often posts articulate, eloquently written editorials on life that are well read by thousands. And have you ever seen her Red Table talks?
And then there’s Halle Berry.
When people are not tripping over her obvious beauty, she is still found to be a very gracious and extremely nice person; not intimidating at all. Reporters don’t seem to scare her and she, in turn, treats them like old friends. This has won Halle a lot of respect in the media.
I recall interviewing Laurence Fishburne years ago along with his wife, Gina Torres. Laurence, if I am being completely honest, has a sort of arrogance to him, but he is still gracious in his own way. I feel he interviews differently with women than he does with men. Just my personal opinion. I’m even surprised to see him on a comedy such as ‘Blackish’ because he seems to be such a serious person, but that’s acting for you, right? And you do whatchu gotta do to work! He’s certainly come a long way from the 1975 film ‘Cornbread, Earl and Me.’ He is a man reporters don’t mess with. Respect.
Dude doesn’t even look like someone a reporter can phuck with. Some people just come here with a degree of “presence” that let’s you know exactly who they are and what they will allow you to get away with.
Sam is one of those people.
Did you see how he busted the white news reporter on video who confused him with Laurence Fishburne? Even laughing he made the dude look like a fool saying, “You’re as crazy as the people on Twitter. I’m not Laurence Fishburne. We don’t all look alike!”
John was a special person from day one. His music, not unlike his persona, reflect an authenticity that really spills over into his real life. Audiences and media alike just love him.
Not unlike her husband John Legend, Chrissy has a really authentic persona and additionally, such a fun-filled spirit. Not to mention her adorable apple-shaped face. She doesn’t seem to shy away from anything, and even appears very transparent when being interviewed. Media respects this greatly. And even if this is this woman’s marketing ploy I say, “Keep it up girl, it works!” I’ve got nothing but love for Chrissy Teigen.
Mr. Denzel Washington.
Denzel may have earned all of our respect once we saw him in ‘Glory’ but he certainly earned mine when, as a young journalist in a room full of press years ago, a white female reporter several rows back tried to take over the interview by asking a series of questions as I struggled unsuccessfully in the front row to get my question in and he stopped her, and turned to me.
I could’ve died right there.
But thankfully I didn’t and hopefully asked a very intelligent question (I forget). Denzel too, has his arrogance, but it works. It’s like that George Clooney kind of cocky. It’s not a put-off, just a self assurance and confidence that you morph into after doing what you do for so long. It just looks different on different people.
In this video we see Mr. Washington as he accepts the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2016 Golden Globes. Look at how he lovingly surprises his wife of more than 20 years by gently taking her hand so she can accompany him to the stage; along with several other family members. Denzel is highly respected by his colleagues, audiences and the media.
It’s easy to get caught up in the drama of media attention. It’s not easy having cameras in your face all of the time. Just put yourself in their position. There are days they are having personal issues and just want to get off of that plane, get home and eat and go to bed. Maybe they just want to make a quick Target run; or stop at Best Buy to pick up a new charger.
They don’t always feel like sending an assistant; or taking security with them. After all, few celebrities (aside from the Kardashians) signed up for all of this. And they shouldn’t be punished just because of their chosen career.
When I signed up to be a journalist in the early 1970s while living in New York City (and I am aware that I am aging myself), it was with the intention of exploring and revealing this side of celebrity humanism, and how it should be respected. Bordered. Appreciated.
Little did I know at the time that audiences are more intrigued by drama. And this is why the paparazzi hangs out at airports, hotels, in trees and anyplace else and are paid big bucks to “get that shot” or reporters to “get that quote.”
Oh god. I recall one time while I was covering The Grammys, I happened to be in the press photography room. Some celebrity entered and all the photogs WENT NUTS. They were practically salivating and falling over one another to get the shot. I was stuck in the middle of all of this and yelled out, “My god. It’s only a picture!” The entire room fell silent, with all eyes on me.
As you were.
Oh well. I suppose my idealism is why this job will never make me rich. And finally, I’m OK with that.
I am DeBorah B. Pryor, and I approve this message.