True stories of celebrity tantrums

Published: August 14, 2010
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Dealing with celebrities can mean handling attitude problems and managing unreasonable requests

The best part about being a journalist is meeting celebrities of whom one has been a great fan. However, at times staying in touch with celebrities can be a miserable job. Celebrities can live up to your worst nightmare of stereo-typical narcissistic social-climbing artificial materialistic horror – and they can do it in spike heels.

As a free-lance writer for several English language magazines I have gone through some bitter experiences.

Interviewing a celebrity (with fangs!)

A. Khan is a singer and song-writer who I have had the misfortune of interviewing twice.

The first piece I wrote appeared on my blog before it was printed in a weekly publication. The singer (popularly known for a vampire themed music video) was furious that the editorial team had altered the language and style to their own standards.  “What is this?” he had asked. He was extremely rude and arrogant. I explained that drafts often undergo editorial modifications but he was still extremely angry. He scolded the editor and eventually the magazine was forced to change the review on their website at his ‘request’ – twice!

My second interview with A. Khan was not very pleasant either. He wanted to see every word of the interview after I composed the draft. Later, he wanted to add more questions of his own. The final-straw was when he added an imaginary question by himself, according to which it sounded like he was a ‘good guy’ who never partied or drank and people were surprised by his puritanical lifestyle. When I told the editorial team about this they had a good laugh.

Models are to be seen not heard

A weekly fashion magazine asked me to interview male fashion model E, who had made waves in the industry after appearing in a television commercial for a new bank.

E sounded very pleased with himself when I contacted him for the interview. “Hi, I am a great model and I have worked with so many agencies. Check out my new shoots. I look dashing!” but then “Who the hell are you? Where can this magazine even be found?” he asked.

An editor of another magazine shared a similar experience. She had tried to interview E as well but was met with a snobbish response. “Should I try?” I asked her. “Forget it,” she advised “he is a snob and too rude!”

I still could not believe that a celebrity who always smiled pleasantly on television was so obnoxious.  Despite her warnings I tried to interview E again – the results were pathetic.

Facebook favorites

The next celebrity is quite strange. The musician, Z has his own band and production house.  He strategically adds me to his network whenever he is about to make a new song or video but after I give him some coverage, he deletes me from his network. This has happened four times!

In another case my Facebook status became a celebrity death match after I interviewed a famous female vocalist. The lady is classically trained and recently featured in a song with Xavier. When I shared the link to the interview on my status earlier mentioned A. Khan began leaving negative comments about her. At first I tried to moderate and removed most of his comments. But his criticism was harsh. Perhaps he had some sort of professional rivalry with her but my status certainly wasn’t the place to work it out!

My worst experience on Facebook was after the sad demise of Imran Lodhi  of Aunty Disco Project. A music website posted news of his death and it was very shocking. I changed my status to “RIP Imran” over which a very famous celebrity  instantly messaged me. “Hey, remove your status – he committed suicide. You must never write about him. He died a “haraam” death.”  This was the most insensitive and inhuman response that I have ever received.

Remembering the little people

Underground singer A. Shahid was grateful when I had interviewed him before he was signed by a famous company. But afterwards he asked me to not write anything about his music. Ironically, a manager from the same company contacted me and insisted that I should write something on Shahid’s new piece. What was this? The singer asked me not to publish anything and the manager asked me to write. I decided not to write anything.

In a similar situation a very young singer, (who many feel is over-rated) hid behind his manager. Whenever I contact him for an interview, he asked me to contact his manager. “For God’s sake, I am not interested in contacting the manager,” I thought.  How could a manager tell me about his inspiration, desires and passions? A manager could tell about his recent events, upcoming shows and live performances. He is not even “big” enough to have a manager!

Holy but not humble

I received a taste of celebrity attitude from a singer who has two recent claims to fame – being religious and singing the original version of a song that was covered for a racy Indian movie.

I contacted him for a magazine interview but the response I got was “Please don’t bother me again.” But when I told him about the name of the magazine that wanted his interview his tone changed drastically. “Oh, great! I have read your work and it’s really good.”

Where is my interview?

When you write for a quarterly magazine, the publishing cycle can take more than four months. Celebrities I interview are impatient about their interviews. The result is an inbox full of messages like “Hey, when would it come?” and “Why the delay?

Last year I wrote an interview of a former Aaroh band member. When the interview came up, he opened it from his cell. But some web pages don’t open completely on phones. He only viewed a part of his interview and told me that the interview wasn’t visible and started scolding me. I asked him to open it from a computer. Of course when he did everything was fine.

Sadaf Fayyaz

Sadaf Fayyaz

A freelance journalist, photographer, blogger and writer's take on life, culture, media and everything else.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://thatis.me/wasijaved/ Muhammad Wasif Javed

    Nice post shows how people get change with getting bit of fame & attention plus the jealousy factor though before only heard about it but good to see someone shares his experience on it :-)
    Nice write up though sharing your bitter experience but the way you put on paper made me LoL at several places :-)Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    It seems funny but was bitter for me,,,LOLsRecommend

  • Shiraz Hassan

    haha!! well written article!!
    I totally agree with the writer. I have passed through the same experience, once during an interview with Famous Fashion Model I asked her about fav hollywood films and books, she said i’ll tell ya later and at the end of interview she said ” wo book n movies wale sawaal mai na, ap koi achhi achhi films n books ka bata dena” Lmoa!Recommend

  • http://theterrorland.blogspot.com Rehman

    Thanks Sadaf for telling us the “True stories of celebrity tantrums”… it’s really a strange behavior!Recommend

  • http://thatis.me/wasijaved/ Muhammad Wasif Javed

    @Shiraz: RoFLoL :-DRecommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    @Shiraz,,,,I am not shocked, since some show very strange behavior….On the contrary, some are very humble and down to earth……They look snob during a public appearance……but sweet other wise….Recommend

  • http://www.sonyarehman.wordpress.com Sonya Rehman

    Sadaf,

    Being a journalist, means putting up with cranky and at times, unprofessional ‘celebrities’.

    It goes with the territory. I’m glad you decided to write about your experiences, good. Trust me, a majority of us journalists go through the same thing.

    I’ve had a few strange experiences myself, but I never let it deter me from my job: and that is to write a balanced piece and/or an interview. One of my worst experiences was dealing with a runt of a musician who indirectly threatened to have me fired after I reviewed one of his music videos :) And that was just one experience. Obviously my Editor and colleagues supported me the entire time.

    Still, it left a bad taste in my mouth. It was unpleasant. And it made me think; what, these people think they can bully journalists into writing what they want written about them? Well they can spin on it.

    Those in the spotlight, really need to pull up their socks vis-a-vis dealing with the press. Because it’s bad publicity for them.
    That being stated, it’s a two-way street – see, some journalists and/or fans pen pieces and give their ‘friends’ rave reviews in the press. The trouble with that is, the piece turns out one-sided and soggy with starry-eyed admiration. Similarly, an inexperienced journalist may misconstrue something – knowingly or unknowingly – and wind up writing an article that could harm the celebrity’s image. So, you have your bad cops on both ends: the journalists and the celebrities.

    Regarding Facebook – don’t accept friend requests from the people you interview.
    Accept requests of those who know YOU, who you have a professional rapport with and who you KNOW will never be indecent with you.

    Draw the line – if they act unprofessional, or speak to you in a belittling manner – tell them off politely. But do it. Don’t take their crap – online or in the flesh.

    It’ll make them respect you in the long run. And don’t feel bitter about any of these experiences, take it with a pinch of salt!Recommend

  • Pawan K

    It’s shocking to read about celebs that have become icons for the mass who follow paki rock music but its good to reveal their identity in some way or the other so that they shud knw that no matter how much fame you derive from us, it jus takes a fraction of a second to ruin your careers…so beware of the mass cause we lift u together n also bury together…nice wurk SF! Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    @Sonya Thanks a lot for your detailed comment….It was bitter when started, now I dont take it very seriously…..:)) part of our profession…..
    @Pawan, these are rare cases only….I wont say a tantrum exactly, but insensitive attitude,,On the day of air crash, some music people were poking like “Listen to my new song,,,”….”What about my interview?”…kind things/////Recommend

  • http://shirazhassan.blogspot.com Shiraz Hassan

    and sometimes the Interviewer have to add something “Sweet & Nice” .. mostof the musicians/writers/painters dont even know about their own field and philosophy and works!Recommend

  • Ali Qureshi

    long time back a teacher of mine said there r people who r like “khali bartan” they gonna be laud on everything except substance, characterRecommend

  • foziazafar

    I hate this type of atitude of these so called STARS…hungry for fame n publicity…they always forget if media can boost them then media can highlight their stupid acts too which is nt good for their career…well done mame for sharing such an interesting topic with us.Recommend

  • Hamood

    Sadaf, I really wish you had used the real names.Recommend

  • zainabedi

    Its bad luck for us that people with less knowledge or vision are given more importance and their attitude is changed.Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    @Ali…[email protected]…..not all like that,,,only a few….
    @Hamood try to guess….very obvious hints are there……:)Recommend

  • Ghausia

    This was just so much fun to read! :DRecommend

  • Hamood

    Sadaf, I can correctly guess a few but not the others. Disadvantages of living outside Pakistan:) Nice article though.Recommend

  • Humera Shuja

    Very well-written article! The real-side of celebs when it comes to real life. Great post!Recommend

  • sadaffayyaz

    Thank you! I won’t call it a tantrum, but a celeb is collecting money these days in the name of religion, and fooling public. The money he is collecting in the name of charity, is simply used for launching his new album…..and the money goes to his personal accounts….Recommend

  • Mian Irfan Ahmed

    Sadaf,

    Being a journalist, means putting up with cranky and at times, unprofessional ‘celebrities’.

    It goes with the territory. I’m glad you decided to write about your experiences, good. Trust me, a majority of us journalists go through the same thing.

    Those in the spotlight, really need to pull up their socks vis-a-vis dealing with the press. Because it’s bad publicity for them.

    That being stated, it’s a two-way street – see, some journalists and/or fans pen pieces and give their ‘friends’ rave reviews in the press. The trouble with that is, the piece turns out one-sided and soggy with starry-eyed admiration. Similarly, an inexperienced journalist may misconstrue something – knowingly or unknowingly – and wind up writing an article that could harm the celebrity’s image. So, you have your bad cops on both ends: the journalists and the celebrities.

    Regarding Facebook – don’t accept friend requests from the people you interview.
    Accept requests of those who know YOU, who you have a professional rapport with and who you KNOW will never be indecent with you.

    Draw the line – if they act unprofessional, or speak to you in a belittling manner – tell them off politely. But do it. Don’t take their crap – online or in the flesh.

    It’ll make them respect you in the long run. And don’t feel bitter about any of these experiences, take it with a pinch of salt!Recommend

  • Haris Masood Zuberi

    Nicely narrated Sadaf, enjoyed reading it!
    As a freelance writer myself, I understand the volatile attitudes some are prone to. Another painful genre is the behaviour patterns which writers have to face when on an assignment, and with a deadline, and the subject/person starts playing hide & seek…! :pRecommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    @Mian Didnt you have your own comment? Recommend

  • Ammara Hikmat

    lol very honestly written,,
    I can SOOO relate to the models are to be seen not heard..I once called a very famous female model (+ tv anchor) to get a two lined review for an article in a quarterly..although i explained to her how 12 more models & actresses’ reviews would also be squeezed in this two paged article but she would unreasonably insist in a rather imposing way that i give atleast 1/8th of space to her picture (quarter of a page? hell no).. in the end i had to hang up telling her “Sorry, but i have no space and you are too self obsessed”

    During another interview, this other top female model ( a pakistani blonde i would call her ) after finding out that we both share the same star sign, would pull away from every question saying ‘JANI ye to tum khud hi likh do, (godforbid) aik jaise hi hain hum toRecommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    @Harris :)
    @Ammara I agree this must have happened…Whenever asked for an interview, most of models demand they would only give an interview if the magazine features them on cover page…..and ask qs. like, is it coming in front pages…..etc….Recommend

  • Mango man

    Let me guess ,
    That singer known for his (VAMPIRE music video) would be Abbas Ali Khan. That singer who is somewhat religious would be Najam Sheraz. That Aaroh band member would be Farooq Ahmed(vocalist). That musician ‘Z’ who has a production house would be Zulifqar jabbar khan(former call and EP member) ??
    that female singer would be Zara MAdani, she has a beautiful voice no doubt.
    I’ve got no clue about that male model or the younger singer. But what a crazy, funny reaction by Mr ‘E’. Wonderful article though. And that message you got was sick ….Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    Only two of the guesses are very very correct….:)Recommend

  • Sarah B. Haider

    Hilarious.
    LOL @ Mian’s copy pasting :PRecommend

  • Anonymous

    Sadaf, maybe because journalists are often perceived as cold and biased people in this industry. No one really likes the press wale. Like it or lump it. Hah!
    You got what you deserved perhaps. Maybe you shouldnt be so damn forward next time, add a little sensitivity, empathy and humility to your character… and you might just get somewhere.
    Its the media and press that give people such a bad name, you enjoy making people stars, but what you enjoy the most is tearing them down.

    Take care.Recommend

  • Kamran Butt

    You have written a true and very nice article. I agree and I also know a couple of such celebrities who were popular but were in-decent intheir real life especially dealing with the Media Peoples, Sponsors etc.Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    Thanks kamran…..Recommend

  • uzair

    nyc experainceRecommend

  • Adeel Ali

    AOA
    urs article on True stories of celebrity tantrums is good but what we can do, this is not the case of celebrities the people whom we met often do the same things.after using u they treat u like “tissue paper” but this type of behaviour from celeb. is not good as thier fans consider them role model.i can’t post detailed comment as i don’t know any body of them.once i met with moin akthar on my cousions wedding and i found him more nice as he is on screen this is my only experience.in this sense this article was very informative for me. Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    @Adeel,,,,These are only rare ones…..who show idiotic attitude,,,,The rest I found very nice, down to earth and humble….I have met Shan, Iman ali, Nusrat fateh, Abrar, Vital Signs(1990s), Rahat fateh, Abida perveen(in 90s), singer Mahmood Khan, and so many…..No Tantrum from them,,,,,Recommend

  • Tayyab Raza

    @ Sadaf

    can i ask who was your favorite person that you interviewed ? ?
    :)Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    The rest, (apart from these in the blog) were all my fav :)Recommend

  • Shehryar Kureshi

    Aslaam-o-Alaikum Sadaf.
    I agree wid whatever u have written in ur posts. It’s sad but true that youngsters who havent hit anything big have such an arrogant attitude. May Allah have mercy on them and open up their eyez b4 they fall flat on their faces and hit the ground really hard.
    keep up ur gud work. I’m a big fan of urz;-)
    regards
    Shehryar.Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    @Sir….You are a senior……:) You never threw me a tantrum……never…..I was a great fan of you when I was young. In fact no one from the senior class throws tantrums…These are almost young kids and people of my age who are good at tantrums. I have already mentioned in above comments that apart from the ones i mentioned in the blog, all were all my fav…(including your band) keep rocking…….:)Recommend

  • Sumaira

    Sadaf , this articles exposes your jealousy towards famous and talented people. If u are unattractive, and cannot sing or act, then you must blame your parents for the bad genes. Publicly humiliating these celebrities sHows just how immature and unsatisfied u are. Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    This article topic was suggested by ET editors………;) I dont think that ET is jealous with celebs? I never get jealous with the people I promote,,,,:PRecommend