I’ve always wanted to be rich but not famous. The downsides to fame seem endless to me — no private life, constant paparazzi, rumors about that ice cream you just ate, rumors about the ice cream you didn’t eat, stalkers, trust issues, and having every move scrutinized by people you don’t even know. These are just the first cons to being famous that come to mind.
As national treasure Bill Murray once said, “There aren’t many downsides to being rich, other than paying taxes and having relatives asking for money. But being famous, that’s a 24-hour job right there.”
From investing in an isolated and well-guarded home, to putting a brown paper bag over your head that says “I’m not famous anymore,” to attacking the paparazzi with an umbrella, many a celebrity has tried to get around the pitfalls of being famous.
One such celeb is Halle Berry. Halle's career took off in the '90s with roles in movies like Strictly Business, Boomerang and Losing Isaiah.
As she become more and more recognizable, Halle quickly realized the pitfalls of fame and, in an attempt to reclaim some anonymity, resorted to a technology that was somewhat novel for its time… the AOL chatroom.
Yes, you read that right. Back in the mid-90s, if you were cruising the AOL chatrooms, dear reader, there is a slim but real chance you were chatting with an incognito Halle Berry!
In an interview with the BBC, Berry revealed that when she was starting to get too famous, she turned to the internet in an attempt to have a regular conversation with people who weren’t going to get caught up with who she was.
"I have gone online before in search of anonymity and an attempt to leave celebrity out of it and just have a normal chat," she said. "I just never disclosed that I was Halle Berry… I was just trying to chat anonymously and just be another person in the chatroom having a conversation."
Obviously when she did reveal (or tried to reveal) her true identity to these new internet friends, they, like any seasoned chatroom users, did not believe her. And of course they didn’t!
During my AOL days, chatrooms were consistently filled with 18/f/cali, so to say that people using the service were somewhat untruthful about themselves would be an understatement.
It’s understandable that if someone you’d been chatting with suddenly told you they were a celebrity, you would have thought of them as "just some kook” (the actress's words), too.
Berry explains, ”When I decided to say: 'Oh by the way, the person you've been chatting with for a week is me, Halle Berry,' they were like: 'Right, sure, get out of here.' They didn't really believe me at that point. So chatting hasn't gone that well for me."
The Academy Award winning actress isn't the only one to try her hand at escaping fame through the internet.
Orlando Bloom, Jennifer Aniston, and even Joan Rivers have reportedly spent their fair share of time trying to stave off loneliness online as well.
Celebrities, they’re just like us. Or at least they try to be.