a novel by JOHN GRABOWSKI

Lonely and hurt

Jennifer Lawrence

It sounds like a scene from Entertaining Welsey Shaw. Many scenes, in fact. Jennifer Lawrence, one of the most sought-after actresses in the world, says she is in fact lonely most of the time.

Lawrence said in a magazine interview recently that she spends most weekends home and has a hard time meeting people. That is indeed tricky to do when you’re more famous and worth more than literally every other person you come into contact with.

This mirrors what other A-listers—Kristen Stewart, Sienna Miller, Keira Knightley, Claire Danes—have said about their lives in the past.

“I feel like I need to meet a guy, with all due respect, who has been living in Baghdad for five years who has no idea who I am,” Lawrence said in the interview, adding, ““I am lonely every Saturday night. Guys are so mean to me. I know where it’s coming from, I know they’re trying to establish dominance, but it hurts my feelings. I’m just a girl who wants you to be nice to me. I am straight as an arrow.”

It’s hard for most of us to believe that someone with everything—money, fame, looks, glamorous friends—could be unhappy. For that matter, it’s hard to believe they could be lacking anything in life.

This was the very premise that got me writing Entertaining Welsey Shaw, the thought that people who look like they have it all so often don’t. After all, why would someone like that feel insecure? Or unhappy. As Lawrence herself says:

“It’s strangely exhilarating, because you keep trying to fight for that validation. You want to have [validation] before you get married, so that you don’t seek it out once you are.”

This need to be validated sounds familiar. Claire Danes has famously said, “People confuse fame with validation or love. But fame is not the reward. The reward is getting fulfillment out of doing the thing you love.” And also, “Acting is the greatest answer to my loneliness that I have found.”

The major theme of Entertaining Welsey Shaw is how, despite her incredible success, she is lonely and isolated. I find it odd that novels and other fiction featuring celebrities rarely deal with this side of their lives. They’re usually portrayed as imperious, egocentric, mercurial…everything but vulnerable. Of course this is the image they have to project, as it’s part of their brand. And the cynical contrarian in me says they may sometimes overplay their “ordinary guy/gal” as well, because that’s good for their brand too. After all, nobody likes a star who is constantly reminding us how much better than us she is, no matter how clean her bowels are.

Jennifer Lawrence may know this too. She’s hardly the first star to claim she spends date nights home alone, watching TV and maybe spooning some Haagen-Dazs. We like to believe this. It makes it seem like we could sit down on the couch next to them and maybe have a conversation. Now change that to sit across from them in a coffee shop and talk about everything and anything in your life and you have the very premise of Entertaining Welsey Shaw. It’s a premise I think a lot of celebrities would be able to relate to. —I wonder what Jennifer Lawrence would think of it?

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