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“Without obsession, life is nothing” – John Waters

It is officially February. A month when many people celebrate love, pink and red abound, and everything is offered in a heart-shape. In celebration of all of these fun, lovey things, I thought I’d write a post detailing my celebrity obsessions over the years.

It is no secret that I am a lover of pop culture. Movies, TV shows, books, music — I love it all. I also have a tendency to get obsessed with things. Sometimes it’s a TV show, sometimes an author, and sometimes it’s a person. This post is going to focus specifically on the celebrities I have been obsessed with over the years. It is a selective list. I’m not just talking about the people who I “really like” of whom there are many at any given time. The celebrities that make the cut below are the ones that I LOVED, and in many cases, that love has never actually gone away. Once a celebrity obsession takes hold, it’s ingrained in your heart — it’s a bit like real love in that way, I suppose. Or, at least that has been my experience.

The celebrities are listed below in (more or less) the order that I became infatuated with them. If you know me well, you may feel like some things got left out — boy band are notably missing, for example, and I was certainly obsessed with them. However, those loves were more about the band as a whole — not a specific member in the band (though I of course had my favorites, and my loyalties were also known to shift). I can’t say I have truly left any of the loves listed below behind, but some are certainly more relevant to my life today than others. So, without further ado….the list!

Jonathan Taylor Thomas

This photo was chosen because of that shirt. I am almost positive I owned a similar shirt, and it was my favorite. It’s entirely possible that I owned it because I saw it on JTT in this picture. That’s how I roll. 

Jonathan Taylor Thomas, better known as JTT, was the first true celebrity infatuation I can remember. I had celebrity crushes prior to this point — most notably Michael J. Fox, Kirk Cameron (forgive me…I know better now), and Scott Baio (see: Kirk Cameron) — but they had never reached the status that JTT quickly rocketed to.

I’m not sure what it was about him, exactly. I would venture to guess it was the whole package: The long, soft-looking hair framing his face, the way his eyes sparkled and crinkled in the corners when he smiled, those dimples(!), and that raspy voice. I loved it all. I’m pretty sure I only watched Home Improvement because of him. I was thrilled when he did anything outside that show – it was like bonus JTT! I was thrilled by finding out he starred in Man of the House – a 2-hour movie STARRING him? Yes, please! Him adding his voice to the character of Simba in The Lion King was also very exciting. It didn’t even matter that I couldn’t see him, it was his voice, and that was enough to make me love Simba.

He was also a turning point in celebrity crushes for me, because I loved him so much that I felt the need to write him a letter. It was’t enough to just love him — he needed to know. I wrote him a letter when I was probably in about 3rd grade, sending it to whatever address was listed in the teeny bopper magazines that I bought for posters of him.I no longer remember what the letter said, and it was probably terribly embarrassing. The best part, however, was that I received a post card in return! The postcard featured a picture of him on the front, and on the back detailed information about his starring role in the upcoming Pinnochio movie (which I knew nothing about), along with his “signature.” That postcard was my most prized possession for at least a solid year. I showed it off to everyone at school, and it lived in my desk at school, so that I had it on hand to show to people whenever the opportunity presented itself. I needed it close to me. I now understand JTT himself likely had absolutely nothing to do with that postcard, and probably never read my letter. It matters not – that postcard made my 9-year-0ld life.

Will Estes

Image result for will estes kirk
I feel like my men have always had pretty good hair…

If you, dear reader, recognize the actor above it is likely not for the same reason I fell in love with him. You may know him from American Dreams or his current show, Blue Bloods. I have seen neither, though realize I really should (Will Estes is in them!).

No, I fell in love with Will Estes thanks to the short-lived TV series Kirk, on which he played the best friend of Kirk Cameron’s title character. I loved him, quickly and unabashedly. I’m honestly not sure why. In looking at pictures of him from Kirk, pre-haircut, I don’t know what I saw. I think it was that he was cute and kind of goofy, and there was nothing more I loved in a man at that point than a good sense of humor.

While I’ll be honest in saying that this obsession pales in comparison to most of the others on this list, he makes it anyway, mostly because he was the first celebrity that got the designation of “celebrity husband.” In his case, this was quite literal, as in the make-believe game I played with my best friend, I was actually married to him. He was a truly fantastic husband, and we went on a lot of really great vacations, including a romantic honeymoon in Hawaii.

Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani - YM - April 1997:
I still have this magazine somewhere, the cover tattered and torn. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to part with it. 

No, Gwen Stefani is not a dude. And I have never swung her way. That does not make this girl-crush any less potent. I adored Gwen Stefani. Her music spoke to me, and I loved the message about being a girl and not having to apologize for that. I loved the way she embraced her womanhood, and even her heartbreak.

I wanted to be Gwen Stefani. More than anything in the world.

I would pretend to put on concerts as her. I danced like crazy, imagined being her best friend, and wished I could pull off her sense of style. There was a period of time where I pushed really hard to bleach my hair blonde to be more like her. On some level, I think I knew that this whole bleached-blonde thing would not only not work out for me, but that it wouldn’t actually make me that much more like her. I did, however, pore over every magazine with her in it. The YM magazine pictured above was purchased because she was on the cover, and I adored her. I must have read through it a hundred times, looking at her pictures and reading about her. I bought old No Doubt CDs, from the ska days, and just wanted to know everything I could about her. The fact that she was dating Gavin Rossdale, and that they were the musical power couple of the 90s didn’t hurt my admiration either.

I still adore Gwen. Yeah, she’s a little nuts, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve started to learn she’s as flawed as anyone else. But I still kind of want to be her….

Hanson

YESSSS!!!! I have to explain this to people all the time...100% my thoughts:
That’s right…shut it! 

Hanson then and now:

Yes, Hanson gets multiple pictures. They deserve it. If this this was ordered by which obsession has been the longest and strongest, Hanson would win, hands down.

“MMMBop” changed my life. That sounds hyperbolic, but I really don’t believe it is. Discovering Hanson did change my life. I had never known an infatuation that rivaled the way I felt for them. There are so many vivid memories I have of the early Hanson days, and there is so much I could say about these three — this obsession deserves its own dedicated post. Which it will actually probably get this year (which will mark the 20th anniversary of Middle of Nowhere. I can’t even with that). So I’ll keep this short.

It was more about how cute I thought they were, though I certainly did want to marry Taylor Hanson (and then, later, Zac). I loved their music. I loved that they wrote their own songs, played their own instruments. They were amazing to me, in so many ways, and the wholesome package only made them feel more worthy of my devotion. They were nice Midwest boys! Taylor was MY AGE. There was something so relatable and sweet about them, and over the years I grew up along with them. That is not something I can say about any other celebrity I have loved over the years. No matter how far I may stray from them over the years, I always do come back.

Honestly, I’m not even sure the words exist for the amount of love I hold in my heart for these three boys, and the affect they have had on me over the years. I tend to roll my eyes when people say that a band, or a celebrity, or a book “changed” or “saved” their lives, though I know that in some cases that is true. But Hanson really did, in some ways, change my life. There is a very distinct “before” and “after” they existed in my life. Maybe the fact that my discovery of them happened when I was in Jr. High, and also as the internet was making its way into home life is part of this reason. Whatever it is, there is a significant part of my heart that will always belong to them. I am, unabashedly, a Hanson fan for life (and yes, they really are still around and are making new music, and it is awesome. Not that you’ll believe me and check it out or anything. Even though you really should).

Topher Grace

Nice. Approachable. Not overly glamorous or sexy. Confident. And that is glamorous and sexy.:
Ugh. That smile.

Ugh. Topher Grace. He’s just freaking adorable. He epitomizes the nerdy-cute style that I love. He was adorable, and funny, and sort of nerdy and all kinds of adorable. I was obsessed with That 70s Show because of him. He was the first actor I remember loving so much that I needed to track down everything he was in because I just needed to see everything. I have probably watched Win a Date with Tad Hamilton like 300 times, mostly because of him (I watched it, like, every single day for a long stretch of days in college).

He just seems so smart, and adorable, and relatable. I’ve never been into the guys who are all full of muscle. I go for the ones who actually look like they could be attainable if I ran into them in the real world: kind of scrawny, smart, and into nerdy things. Topher seemed like he was all of those in real life. I still think he is. He’s certainly earned his nerd cred over the years, what with a super-secret supercut of the Star Wars movies, and created a website called Cereal Prize that was super cool, and full of nerdy stuff (but appears to be gone now. Boo….). He was more than just a pretty face, and I’ve always loved that. Also, probably need to revisit Win a Date with Tad Hamilton soon….

Shane on the L Word

Image result for Shane L Word

Alright, so not only is this another girl on the list, I’m not actually putting the actress (Katherine Moennig) on this list, I’m putting the character of Shane. I’m sure it’s predictable that the straight girl goes for the tomboy lesbian on the lesbian show, but you know what? I adored Shane.

I think part of the reason I adored her is, like Gwen, that I kind of wanted to be her. She was so unabashedly herself. I loved the way she embraced her tomboy nature. I always wished growing up that I could dress like a boy. Their clothes were looser, cooler, and just looked way more comfortable. Shane was like the real-life version of just dressing and acting like the boys, which was what I so desperately wished I could have done when I was young. As an adult, watching the L Word, though, I just found that self-confidence really, really sexy. My love of Shane definitely pushed me a little further up the Kinsey scale.

JGL

a whole lotta JGL is still not enough:
Why choose just ONE picture of JGL if you can use a collage full of great pictures instead?! 

I’m not going to say I’m saving the best for last (though…I sort of am. Hanson notwithstanding), but….I adore this man.

This is my celebrity husband. I hope the obsession never fades. If I think back, my love of JGL really did begin back in the Angels in the Outfield days. I always thought he was cute, and if I ventured to watch 3rd Rock from the Sun he was the main draw. Yes, even with that long, dirty hair and squeaky voice.

JGL totally fits the “cute and nerdy” bill that many of my celebrity crushes have. It’s hard to pinpoint when an appreciation for him hit full-on obsession. I’m fairly certain it began with 500 Days of Summer, became heightened as a result of Inception (there are few things sexier than a good looking man in a nice fitting suit), and hit full-on obsession when 50/50 came out.

He’s just SO good-looking, AND so talented! That’s the thing, for me — I’ve never really been super into the pretty faces with no talent. Even with my shallow celebrity loves, I need something a little more substantial to help justify the infatuation. And if we’re going to talk about the total package this man is IT. He’s cute, he’s such a great actor, he can sing, he can dance, and he just encourages the making of art. He created HitRecord to encourage other people to collaborate and make great art, which I think is really, really amazing. He uses his own celebrity to help build others up and put more great, creative art into the world. I love that. And I love that, despite him having really blown up in the last few years, he seems fairly private and level-headed.

I have certainly made my way through his back log, and I won’t pretend to have loved everything (Brick is so highly recommended, but I just couldn’t…), I do appreciate watching his range. It’s really incredible. I can’t wait to see what he does next, and doubt that this obsession will fade any time soon.

 

 

So….those are my obsessions. This was probably really long, and possibly incredibly boring if you’re not me. Hopefully it was enjoyable on some level.

Feel free to share your own celebrity obsessions — no shame!!!

Image result for Cure for an obsession: get another one.

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2 thoughts on ““Without obsession, life is nothing” – John Waters

  1. My favorite JGL movie will always be “10 Things I Hate About You”! While everyone else was drooling over Heath Ledger, I wanted a guy exactly like Cameron. He was so sweet, a little nerdy, and did such nice things for Bianca when she so did not deserve it!

    1. Yes! Although I have to admit, a huge draw for that movie is that it does contain both JGL and Heath Ledger (who almost made this list, but has still never come close to JGL for me). I would definitely have gone for the Cameron type. Bianca was blind!

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