Carrie Fisher Has Advice for Young Hollywood: “If You’re an Actor, Learn Another Skill”

Tragically, the first things that come to mind when I think of “Young Hollywood” are Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. If I could scream something into Lindsay’s ear, it would be, Stop for a minute to appreciate where you could be, where you’ve been, and what you’re jeopardizing. Her self-worth is dependent on the approval of others, and people are obsessed with approving or disapproving of her—mainly disapproving. She’s a mess. She should back out of the whole scene and move to the fucking south of France.

Life in the spotlight can be cruel. It sets you apart from other people, so that life becomes more about what you are than who you are. That’s what happened to me. It’s a privileged job, which is why everyone wants it, but it used to mean you earned those privileges based on talent. Now you can become famous for being a spectacle, and there aren’t as many restrictions on your behavior, so if you’re inclined toward excess, you will submit to it.

Acquiring celebrity can be an exciting thing, but there never comes a time, once you have it, when you can relax and say, Okay, I’m famous now. Isn’t this great? Fame is something you have to maintain, like a weird garden, and you’ll probably have to try to reassert (or replant) it at some point. Celebrity is made for ongoing newness, but everyone wants to maintain these franticly brief careers. Don’t imagine that Julia Roberts is just kicking back in her house with her kids.

My advice to Young Hollywood? If you’re an actor, learn another skill. Write a book or play an instrument—at the very least, learn to manage your own finances. Don’t leave everything to someone else. I wish I’d known all of this earlier, and I wish I’d paid more attention to my life as it was going by, but that’s something you do when you get older, once you realize that there are limits to everything.

Fame is based on merit, while celebrity is based on circling the drain. Celebrity can be pursued by anyone willing to open their mouth or legs in a gross way. Yesterday’s town drunk has become today’s reality show star. You can now buy fame with great tits and a great ass, like the Kardashian sisters. No wonder everybody wants to be a celebrity.

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