I admit, to tell the truth, I had never been to California before. And I was a little desperate to visit there. Why? Well ever since fifth grade, I have been obsessed with the celebrity world.
It all started when I picked up a copy of US Weekly in a ski lodge. Within minutes, I was hooked. I loved to read about the celebrity lives—their homes, their fashions, their lap dogs and, of course, their love lives. From then on, I read those magazines whenever I could. I even volunteered to go grocery shopping with my father. When he would go around with his cart, I would spend the time at the magazine stands flipping through People, US and In Touch.
I decided I had to go to Hollywood. I heard that there were A-list stars left and right. So you can guess how excited I was when my mom announced that we were going to L.A. for February break last year!
Before this trip, I had not seen any major stars. I wanted to see as many as I could. I hoped to go to all the hip restaurants, boutiques, you name it. I totally assumed that I would see them in these places doing perfectly normal things that normal people do. Since the first night of our stay we would be staying in a chic hotel in Santa Monica, I just assumed I would see some stars there. But guess what? None. That’s right, not one. I was disappointed but knew it was only the first night and we still had plenty of time to see celebrities.
The next day, my family moved to a new hotel near Universal Studios. I heard it was poppin’. I was so excited that we were also going to visit movie sets. It was really cool to see where they filmed movies and shows like Jaws and Desperate Housewives. But…zero celebrities.
One day, for lunch we went to The Ivy which I heard was a celebrity hotspot right in the heart of Beverly Hills. While waiting for our table, a woman stepped out of a Rolls Royce. My parents thought it was Bo Derek. I never had heard of her at the time, and since she was not that well known, I didn’t really care. My dad walked up to a young casual looking guy, laden with cameras, standing by this women’s car and asked who she was. The guy told us that she was not Bo Derek, but Pamela Bach, who apparently had been married to some B-lister, a name I didn’t recognize. This did not exactly satisfy my celebrity sweet tooth.
We ate at The Ivy but saw no other stars (except someone named Chris O’Donnell who I had never heard of). After eating, my parents and I walked around the shops on Robertson Boulevard. When passing by a clothing store, we saw a group of guys that looked similar to the guy we saw earlier. Very casually dressed, also carrying lots of camera equipment. I soon learned a new word: Paparazzi. And I soon learned that if there’s paparazzi around, there are stars around. Kind of like vultures circling over a kill. They told us that Brandi, the singer, was inside shopping. Of course I knew who she was, so my mom and I decided we also wanted to shop in that store. We got a real close-up look at Brandi, who was trying on lots of outfits but after a short while, it was like…whatever.
When we went outside, mom decided to turn the tables on the paparazzi. It was sort of annoying how they were stalking this poor singer. So mom started shooting pictures of them with her camera. It was a riot. But they actually loved it and started hamming it up.
I guess you can say I learned a lot from this little episode. I learned that stars don’t have much privacy, but I also learned that if it weren’t for the paparazzi, there would be no pictures in the celebrity magazines I read. So don’t waste your time hanging out in chic hotel lobbies, name-name restaurants, and other possible star hangouts. If you really want to see stars, just look for the paparazzi.
Just-Teens Travel is written by Justine Seligson.