Never Meet Your Heroes

Words by: Soraya Rezal
Art by: Madison Marshall

People always say, ‘never meet your heroes’. Often the expectations are set so high that when you finally get the chance to meet them, you’ll be disappointed when they’re not at all what you imagined them to be. Not for me, though. The first time I met my idol was definitely one for the books, despite me making a complete fool of myself. 

Firstly, let me introduce my idol: Janna Nick. She’s a Malaysian actress, singer and host — a triple threat, if you will. I first discovered her in 2017 on a show called My Coffee Prince, which is a Malaysian remake of the South Korean TV series Coffee Prince. The moment she appeared on-screen, I was instantly obsessed, and she’s been one of the biggest inspirations in my life ever since. 

The first time I met Janna was a pure coincidence. I was at the mall, getting a cup of bubble tea after eight long hours of class. While waiting for my order, I did what I’m sure any of you would do — put in my earphones and scrolled through my Twitter feed, because we’re all kinda anti-social like that. When I looked up from my phone, I was in for a big shock. Janna was standing right in front of me, waiting for her order as well. My initial thought was that there was no way a popular celebrity would hang out at the mall like any other ordinary person. I guess I was wrong. 

So, what do you do when your idol is standing in front of you? I, for one, made a complete fool of myself. All of a sudden, I had the world’s most buttery fingers and dropped everything in my hands onto the floor. I also had a moment of panic and called my mum. I said, “Mum! I’m not even kidding, Janna is right in front of me. What do I do?”. Being the cool mum that she is, she pretty much told me to get my shit together and go introduce myself. So I did, in the most not-so-subtle way. 

I went up to her and the first thing I said was, “can I just say, you’re a really big inspiration in my life and I’ve been binge-watching your show every day after class”. I’m not even sure if she fully understood what I said because I was practically stumbling over my words. She nervously laughed and said, “thanks”. Then, she noticed I was in my school uniform so she started asking me about school and exams. She was so cool! She made me feel like I’d known her for a while, not like she’s a celebrity with 6.2 million followers on Instagram.

I’ve met Janna a couple of times since that first encounter, and she’s always as sweet and humble as she was the first time, despite her growing number of fans. So, whoever said “don’t meet your heroes” might’ve had a bad experience, but that doesn’t mean it’ll happen to you, too. It’s important to remember that celebrities are people too, and like everyone else, they also have their off days. Some people expect celebrities and public figures to always be approachable, but that’s unfair and not always the case. Personally, I’ve met other celebrities that are more standoffish and when that happens, I try to remind myself that they might have stuff going on in their personal lives that affected their mood that day. I don’t think we should immediately label celebrities or public figures as rude based on one bad encounter. However, if it’s happened more than once then you’d probably want to reconsider putting that celebrity on a pedestal. Ultimately, all that matters is that the celebrity and their fans have mutual respect for one another. So if you have the chance to meet your idol, then go for it! Who knows? Maybe you’ll end up being really good friends with them. 

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