“Living out of cases,
Packing up and taking off.
Made a lot of changes
But not forgetting who I was.”
Don’t Forget Where You Belong (One Direction)
I need to get something off my chest and I thought about this blog amidst recent rumors involving One Direction’s upcoming “hiatus.” The rumors–which appear to be relatively accurate–are that the group (i.e., 1D) is taking a one year hiatus to pursue solo careers. In turn, there are now some saying that their fans are going to see what the 1D members are really like.
Huh? What have we been watching for the last 5 years since X Factor? Really like? What does that mean? I never understood this mind set and to me, this sounds like another instance of established stars seeking to take time to “be themselves” or to distance themselves from what made them popular in the first place. I have often thought that the idea is somewhat disconcerting. Let me explain.
There are plenty of examples of this “the real me” syndrome however, let’s consider two real popular subjects; Miley Cyrus and David Cassidy.
In Miley’s case her fame stemmed from her portrayal of a character called “Hannah Montana” on the self-titled show which ran from March 2006 to January 2011.
In the show Cyrus played the part of a young girl who lived a double identity as a normal girl and as a rock star. The show’s overwhelming popularity is not even debatable and it really put Cyrus on the map and even employed her father and helped spurn a comeback of his. However, just to put it in perspective let’s talk some stats, shall we?
•In 2006 and 2008 Cyrus was the recipient of a Teen Choice Award for Choice TV actress in a comedy
•In 2007 at the Kids’ Choice Awards Cyrus won Favorite TV actress
•In 2008 Cyrus won a Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a TV Series – Leading Young Actress
•In 2008 Cyrus won in the category of Favorite TV actress at the Kids’ Choice Awards
•The series premiere was the highest in Disney history.
Ok, you get the point. Following from the above the show only went up from there; in fact, it exploded. Miley, on the other hand, started to take a different course in her real life to the point where audiences (and particularly parents) could no longer reconcile fantasy with reality. Indeed, the Miley in the show was nothing like the real life Miley. Although it occurred after the show was concluded remember the 2013 MTV performance with Robin Thicke?
(Hannah Montana was still on TV via syndication by that time and still very popular). Also, later that year Cyrus would also host Saturday Night Live and of her former character she would have this to say in her monologue:
“I don’t apologize for my VMAs performance. If I owe anybody an apology, it’s the people who make the bottom half of shirts. There are a few subjects I’m not going to get into tonight: I’m not going to do Hannah Montana, but I can give you an update. She was murdered.”
Well then. So much for what Hannah Montana did for her.
Let’s switch over to David Cassidy. Of course Cassidy’s fame was launched by the popular TV sitcom entitled The Partridge Family.
That show ran less than 4 years and it started in September of 1970 and it ran to March of 1974. Ironically, Cassidy implemented the same distancing mechanisms that Cyrus would use decades later; rebellion and a denial of what started their career. Cassidy’s major salvo came when he appeared nude in a cropped photo in 1972 for Rolling Stone magazine care of Ann Leibovitz.
in Cassidy’s 1994 autobiography, C’mon Get Happy: Fear And Loathing On The Partridge Family Bus, he told the story of how he saw his fame in the 70s including dealing with often frantic and out of control fandom. Cassidy wanted to be a respected musician and he often struggled with the “bubble gum” identity that launched his career. In fact, in 1972 Cassidy would have this to say:
“I’m exploited by people who put me on the back of cereal boxes. I asked my housekeeper to go and buy a certain kind of cereal and when she came home, there was a huge picture of me on the back. I can’t even eat breakfast without seeing my face.”
What followed The Partridge Family days was success but also despair. Cassidy would later say this:
“I found myself very lost after ‘The Partridge Family,’ and I lost my dad and I lost my manager, and I lived in a bubble, and it took me 15 years to get through that and a lot of psychotherapy, and I’m laughing about it now!”
I myself distinguish Cyrus and Cassidy to some extent. In Cyrus’ case she embraced the fame and notoriety and then dissed it.
Cassidy kind of did the same thing however, you almost found yourself feeling sorry for Cassidy that he was so successful as Keith Partridge as crazy as that sounds. Ultimately, Keith Partridge became a horse that Cassidy could no longer control or ride.
Returning to One Direction I have to say that to some extent I respect Zayn Malik for his departure from the band which happened earlier this year. He recognized that the band was not for him.
But by the same token, if he knew it was not for him then why did he stay so long? Was it the money? The fame? The attention?
Here’s the point. Actors, musicians, and entertainers sometimes get cast for a role or find themselves in a band that for whatever reason catapults them to fame. Sometimes it’s sudden and unexpected. Sometimes it’s not even wanted in the form it came in. We all have seen this depending on your interests and tastes. The point is embrace the legacy and the benefits that it brought you and don’t look down on it or distance yourself from it. It happened. Yes, it’s not realistic to think that Cyrus could play Hannah Montana at 40 years old or that One Direction will continue for decades but show some respect to the fans who did take it seriously and paid your way. People have the right to change and there is nothing wrong with growing up and deciding to take a different “direction” but just remember where you came from and what took you there.