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  • Writer's pictureRyan-O'Neil Allen

REALITY CHEESE. What's our obsession with celebrity and perfection?

Deep dive into the world of reality TV as the industry grows in popularity.

As many people continue to consume the media in whatever shape it decides, there’s a big question that should be asked; Hasn’t it all just become a little bit bland and predictable? I mean, the same smiley, pearly whites, gym shaped bodies with their perfect smiles, at one point was desirable but now, just appears to be the standard society equation. Good looks are all we care about rather than mental health.

And for those, who desperately want to be famous, are captured in the press, with the girl or the guy on the arm, as they pursue a life together - only to find months later, the relationship is over with their social commentary across social media. It all sounds peculiar and appears to be founded on a need to be seen, validated and liked. Life’s not so perfect, and that's okay! Reality and honesty is surely better than pretense. Psychologists share their views of society, who suggests that many prefer the easy route to success, rather than the hard graft. The attention, the fame, the great body...etc.

Yet, for some, watching groups of youngsters or adults on television for a few weeks, are then given titles of celebrity, alongside Hollywood film stars, who give world-class performances are also known as Celebrities. Also, those who were once in the limelight are immediately given another chance of a career, so I see the plus side. But, how did celebrities become so diluted?

“Celebrity has lost it's value - all you have to do is go on a reality TV Show for six weeks and everybody knows your name.” – Jonathan Rhys Meyers

I used these two comparisons because I sense the world of celebrity and true genius, or talent, have now merged into one grey area and perhaps it’s time we, step back and look at the bigger picture.

Should we focus on celebrities at all or on ourselves more? I think the latter is far better, but sometimes our actions prove otherwise. Of course, I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't admire them but there's a cost to privacy, and they're paying for that. It must be difficult to maintain such a sense of perfection, publicly, which no doubt, would cause anyone anxiety of the highest degree. A smile can hide a thousand thoughts. They are very good at that. And, every human mistake they've done, makes front-page news whether they like it or not. That's a hefty price.

'Life is already tough for many and can be a hard place to live with all the noise, if you're not disciplined to ignore, and focus. It comes with both good and bad. ' - Ryan Allen, The Brand Thinker.

Let's face the music. The Celebrity world has and will be forever a fascination for many generations. For those of us, mortals, who never or rarely obsess over celebrities would be generation X. This generation has seen celebrities but has known it in a different way. I say, mortal, as some people view celebrities almost as Gods or Greeks.

As a generation X ambassador - which I am proud to say - I am. I have always seen celebrities as those with a breadth of work and talent combined over the years, who work in the media in some public way. That could be Television, Film, Music or other media led position. There will be other examples, but you get the idea. The outcome is local, national or international recognition known by their name or photograph.

I’m not saying it’s not interesting to see some eye candy, on a reality TV Show but after a point, it's a predictable format. New face. Same body. Gym bunny. The list goes on and for what?

Thinking about it, these shows we call reality - seem more contradictory, than real life. No one wakes up with a camera surgically attached at birth, and to be honest, it’s pretty weird to remain authentic, real, or honest when you're the subject in front of a lens. Yes, we know it's partly scripted and edited.

So, should the name reality, be removed altogether and replaced? It isn't actual reality at all. It’s a well-edited form of entertainment that's become a trend. It ultimately entertains and feeds people's fantasies of fame and fortune, without the need to graft. A glamorous world of cameras and verbal fights, all for our entertainment, seen through a narrow lens of reality, which truthfully doesn’t exist.

Forget Self-Image and Be Yourself

There was a moment in time, when men, couldn’t care less what their hair looked like or whether they had a gut or not. And for women, many wouldn’t dare step out wearing sneakers or trainers as part of everyday wear. That was then, and now, it’s a distant memory of social change and new trends of control.

Where has individuality gone? No one needs to be a follower of anything or anyone and no one should be seeking to validate or be validated by what they see or hear. You choose your life on your terms, I'd say, that’s the reality. What can be said about reality TV is that it is addictive. It can influence us if we let it. Unfortunately, these shows can cause anxiety for anyone on or off-screen. So, should these shows continue? A difficult question to answer, so I'll leave it to you.

'Deep human connection is...the purpose and the result of a meaningful life - and it will inspire the most amazing acts of love, generosity, and humanity.' - Melinda Gates.

The Experimentalists

As much as we see youngsters trying out life as they see it, it’s all experimental. Perhaps ‘Reality Experimental’ might be a better name for the New Gens! The Experimentalists only on Channel ZED. It sounds like a new reality show, that’s not reality at all, but experimental. As a brand designer, I thought, let's create a brand for a channel, so Channel ZED is my brand invention of a future Digital Channel, viewable and interactive.

I transgress so let me get back to reality, for a second. The world celebrity no longer requires one to have had a successful career with an army of awards on the mantelpiece. It’s now become, whether you have 120k likes or more.

It seems odd that we measure the importance of someone, based on their looks, likes and whether they’ve been on television for fewer than 6-weeks. These levels of importance or interest, and making people famous overnight, could give the impression, that, this is a real success and mislead a generation altogether. In the press, they announced recently, Millenials (24-39) are struggling to cope with life, visiting self-help organisations. That's a hint, that real life and what many see on television and on social media is creating a false sense of reality.

To be human, is to be aware of life, living with purpose and not defined by likes, or dislikes or accolades of any kind matter. It's who we are as human beings and how we wish to live and exist should be our priority. To live for self and with no regard for others, is a sad way to exist. Totally in a vacuous level of self-importance, is the biggest virtual delusion of reality. In full technicolor with surround sound courtesy of nature. No Trademark required.

Get Real

Our celebrity fascination and obsession has gone out of control. If we are to grow and evolve in this world and in this reality, we need to reframe our thinking and our ideals. I think as stories continue to flood the airwaves of devastation and loss of lives, it's time that we just get back to reality and decide what's more important.

Thankfully, there are new forms of television to entertain us and teach us, from Facebook Live, YouTube to LinkedIn, where new shows such as Red Table Talk ( my personal favourite) hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith focus on people, who are willing to be vulnerable, share their life lessons and stories, edited narratives with human integrity at the core.

And if you’re dairy intolerant, like me - yes, you read that correctly. I try to avoid cheese and never drink milk. I just can’t stomach cheese or TV unless I'm learning or growing in my life. I prefer reality not the TV version. Of course, everyone loves entertainment, but not at the cost of my reality.

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