Breakfast host on The Hits, columnist for nzherald.co.nz Life & Style.

Polly Gillespie: Did I want to be truly famous?

As Kiwis we tend to look suspiciously at other semi-famous Kiwis. Photo / Supplied
As Kiwis we tend to look suspiciously at other semi-famous Kiwis. Photo / Supplied

Did I want to be famous as a kid? I wanted to be Mary Poppins and Maria Von Trapp. I guess I fundamentally wanted to be Julie Andrews. Did I want to be truly famous though?

I think perhaps I did.

One of my earliest theatrical flops was a puppet show I invited everyone in my Papatoetoe East neighbourhood to attend. The trouble was, despite the fancy invitations all lovingly handmade with crayons, there was no actual puppet show: No puppets and absolutely no show. The crowd of at least 12 people arrived at 2pm as instructed on the invitations. Mum was a life saver. She told me to yank the heads off my dolls, shove them on my stubby little 5-year-old fingers and "ad lib".

Excellent. I go into a black out at this point, which is probably a good thing.

I'm on my way to Sydney to interview the absolutely fabulous and absolutely famous Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders. I will get a very small pocket of time with which I hope to conduct the world's greatest interview.

(Don't forget pics for social media. Don't forget to update Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Don't forget to hire a social media manager or influencer or influencer manager.)

Fame. In New Zealand, none of us are famous. Not really. As Kiwis we tend to look suspiciously at other semi-famous Kiwis, unless they've climbed impossible mountains and won a swag of gold medals. Get a Victoria Cross and you can be famous.

As a Kiwi quasi-celebrity it's pretty simple. If you want to be famous you have to stand for something. You have to be someone people either love and are passionately addicted to or hate and are passionately addicted to loathing. This requires a few things:

1. You are going to have a loyal, courageous, loud and wonderful group of fans who feel like family and friends.

2. You will get trolled with vitriol and poisonous insults. It's very easy to avoid being affected by not reading comments on news sights or social media, other than your fan pages. I don't read comments about anything on news sites like the Herald because I don't care what other people think of news. (Possibly one of the reasons they loathe me: I'm terribly opinionated!)

3. You will be sitting on a plane to Sydney and the lady behind you will freak out when you stand up because she's reading your article in Woman's Day and looking at a giant picture of you. The gasp-come-scream will only draw mild attention.

4. You will get strange mail from people who say they are psychic and want to help you avoid your impending fiery death.

5. Your kids would rather eat their own hands than be famous.

6. People will assume you can't hear them when they're talking about you.

7. You will be asked "Are you famous?" At this point you can choose to say one of two things:

• "No. No I'm not."

• "Why yes, I am! You may recognise me from a little something I did... blah blah blah!"

There is a third option. My option: "Oh my god that is the meanest question to ask! Ya big goof ball!" *Laugh and walk away.*

8. People will send you cool stuff and invite you to cool things that most of the time you don't feel cool enough to attend.

Most of the time I feel like the South Auckland kid who sent out invitations to her terrific puppet show and who knows she actually has no idea what she's doing, or why anyone would want to come to her show.

Pulling the heads off dolls doesn't really cut it now. Not when I'm being paid. I wonder if Mary Poppins had such paltry issues. Somehow, I think not. Though that whole long distance, angsty relationship with Burt must have been tough. Poor Mary.

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- NZME.

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Breakfast host on The Hits, columnist for nzherald.co.nz Life & Style.

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