How to meet a celebrity or rockstar!
some of my idol signings and after party adventures....
I have been lucky enough to meet quite a few celebrities in my time, ranging from my favourite chefs, to my favourite musicians as well as some of the local new readers. Most of the time I have just happened to be in the right place at the right time to be lucky enough to have these encounters, but there are a few things you can try to increase your chances next time you may be faced with the chance to meet your idol....
The most obvious things you can do is be on the look out for when your idol comes into town. If they are a musician they will most likely be doing a concert, and then you can check out the big record stores in your area as they may be doing a record signing? This has happened quite a few times however, it was more likely when the band isn't huge yet, so make sure you become a fan in the early days. I remember a good 10 years ago I was lucky enough to go the Killers signing and got to meet them all there as well as other bands like the Bravery....the line up was intense but definitely worth it. This is often also the case if you are a big fan of an Author or Chef as they often do book signings in big or well known book stores and sometimes also do a conversation - this was the case for Stephane Reynaud (a great french chef). Also if your idol has recently released a book they can sometimes do signings as well.
Actors on the other hand are a bit trickier. When I was in Paris a few years back now my tour bus drove past the front of a theatre located in Opera district and a big red carpet was set up with loud music and quite a few fans for the Hancock premier.....? Me being the nosey one decided to wait to and about an hour later I was lucky enough to shake hands with the famous Will Smith, it was very brief, but definitely the highlight of my Paris trip!
So if your idol is not doing a signing or premier not all hope is lost yet. Perhaps if they are a chef they are doing a food show or festival, and if this is the case there will usually be a designated area and time for that chef to appear to sign books and do photos - I was lucky enough to meet Ainsley Harriott this way - possibly the loveliest man I have ever met! Or if they own a restaurant in your area or something else in the food realm; they might be doing a specific opening or appearance there - just check their whereabouts often. Jamie Oliver came to his Ministry of Food in Queensland and did a cooking demonstration, he invited people to come have their book signed and to meet him afterwards - however this was a bit of a mob fest and you have to be quick to get in (just remember you won't really get the chance to say much to your idol in this instance, but a photo and signing will be very lucky if you can get it). I did :)
Another thing is going to a concert, while I can guarantee you will see your idol on stage its not always easy to get into the after party or backstage, but it can happen. I have had the most luck waiting near the front of the stage after the concert and looking out for those people who are roadies. Often they will be the ticket in as they will be handing out after party passes (if there is one) or will be able to get you backstage to meet your idol, however you have to be calm and prepare to have a quick few minutes before leaving. Another thing, by hanging out at the front of the stage after the show you may be lucky enough to get the set list or guitar pick or a piece of band memorabilia. I was lucky to get to the after parties of a few bands in my time such as the Killers, Muse, Maximo Park, Kasabian, Arctic Monkeys, MGMT, Kings of Leon and The Vines to name a few and whilst it was fun, it was only a brief convo with the band members and a brief photo op which I did not always take up due to the nerves of being in the company of such music legends in my mind.
If you know anyone who works in the local music venue they can often point you in the right direction of the whereabouts of the after party and if your a good talker you may be able to get yourself in that way. Otherwise be on the lookout for the unsuspecting guy handing out flyers or cards or wristbands as he can often be holding the tickets to the after party. I have a couple of friends who are in the local music industry which has helped at times also. Just be friendly and show some enthusiasm, just not too much!
There is also a bit more of a stalker-ish approach and that is to find where the back of the venue is and wait until the band leaves for the night or sometimes the security guard at the back will be kind enough to let you in for a few minutes - honestly its worth a try to you never know your luck! In saying this though its important to not get to crazy or headstrong if the security guard says no more than once or twice its probably wise to give up and try next time, no point getting on anyones bad side as this will definitely not get you in anywhere.
If its an actor you will need to go to film premiers, or know where they are filming (this is harder said then done) all else failing become an extra and hope you get a part in the same scene. I have heard of this happening quite a bit, but unfortunately not had much luck in this department.
My previous employment was in a high end clothing store as well as a high end department store in the city and this saw me dealing with local government as well as new presenters and the occasional drop by celebrity who needed clothing. I got to meet Wayne Brady this way as he was just walking through with his entourage. This was a great way to be able to meet a few of the household names also, but depends on your location as it has to be one of the few main places to go.....I think working in a high class restaurant would also see you meeting a few of the big names.
So there are a few of the tips I have used in the past 10 years to meet a few of the big names. My methods have not always worked, but I would say it has allowed me to meet 75% more celebrities than if I did not try. Also majority of my celebrity meetings occurred in Australia which has a lot less chances of meeting famous people randomly unlike places like New York and LA for you lucky Americans!. Just remember if you are keen to meet your idol, please keep it clam and realise that they deal with a lot of people daily. Just remember to keep out of their personal space, and be polite and keep it brief, they will appreciate that a lot more! I in no way have posted this information to condone stalking or relentless behaviour to meet your idols, just always remember they are people to and deserve as much respect as everyone else. I hope you will find this information useful and take it as a bit of fun....Lastly good luck and if you have any luck to meet your idol be sure to let me know I would love to hear your stories :)