Admiring celebrities is nothing new, and it’s not unusual for anyone, especially the youth to take fandom to the level of obsession. But is there a point at which this fascination should be of concern?
Betty Muindi @BettyMuindi
You cannot describe the joy that comes to some people with a mention of their favourite celebrities rumbles. When fans meet celebrities whom they’ve long-admired, it is not uncommon to feel star struck, a feeling of excitement that prevents you from behaving as you would around others.
Lavine Akello’s love for a popular rockstar singer runs in her veins. The 24-year-old literally eats, sleeps, dresses and even the walls in her room are covered with his posters.
She has a massive obsession on Jacoby Shaddix. She can’t stop watching interviews of him on YouTube or watching any videos that involve him.
“I have got about 100 and something pictures on Facebook and 200 and something on my computer of Jacoby. I mention him to anybody, my friends always wonder why I am so obsessed with him yet he is so ugly! But I think he’s hot,” says an elated Lavine.
She is not alone, Mercy Wambui, early this week awed her followers on her Facebook page, when she admitted to have had a near distractive obsession with a local musician, who is also a TV show co-host.
“It was one year after I joined college. With a lot of free time in my hands and free Wi-Fi, I didn’t know what to do with my life, so I turned to YouTube. I started listening to all genre of Kenyan music and one particular pale singer caught my eye, ears and heart.
He had me intrigued. I then realised that he also acts and is a TV show co-host with a local station. Now I had more to obsess about: voice, then acting ability, then eyes, then his entire being,” she narrates.
Wambui admitted to spending about months being completely obsessed with him. She watched everything he’d ever been in, including every episode of a local drama he had a minute acting role in.
The obsession became worse. She wanted to meet him, but didn’t want to join the throngs of people clamouring for an autograph because then she did not want it to be like every other person who was obsessed with him. She wanted to meet him so she could marry him.
“It was bad. I was convinced I was going to be his wife and the mother of his children. I had serious conversations with myself about if I could be happy raising children. I imagined the fights we’d get into about it.
Then I’d imagine the fun signs the children and I would make to welcome him home at the airport. I imagined the discussion he and I would have about boarding school and the funny stories he’d tell about me on talk shows.
The one problem I saw with this future is that I wanted him to marry me for me and not for future children. I mean, what if I couldn’t get pregnant? How would we cope?” she poses.
According to Janet Chemutai, a psychologist, after taking an interest in a celebrity for years, seeing them in the flesh can be quite a strong emotion.
Most of the time, this behaviour is harmless, but she warns that intense levels or adoration for a celebrity can be linked to depression and anxiety.
“Problems can arise if the line between reality and fantasy starts to blur. It can be particularly dangerous, if you start to expect something in return,” she explains.
“You probably don’t have an actual relationship with any celebrity. Continue to follow your favourite stars on Twitter and Facebook, but don’t let their posts trick you into thinking they want to be friends with you,” she advises.