What does FAME really mean?

Taking Stock Diary: A little insight into a PopCultureDiva’s thinking.
by Angela Guillaume

So, after a two plus month ordeal, 33 trapped men were rescued from a mine in Chile while the world looked on and sympathized with their plight. For a time, these men became famous, the fulcrum of international news. They met with their country’s President and were promised fancy book and movie deals about their ordeal. It seemed like their fate would change. They’d go from gang-ridden neighborhoods to a nice, comfortable home, like those in the US suburbs, where they could raise their families in peace. The reality? Although some donations came through, the future of these men is far from certain.

Some of the men may take other jobs, be offered better opportunities. Yet, there was a dark side to all of this. It appears some of the water consumed, for lack of an alternative, had a metallic taste. This could translate to serious health issues in the future. Also, their residency below ground brought on some tensions among the men. They are still waiting for the government to offer concrete help. This story was not just a story of solidarity and overcoming odds. It was also a story of extreme adversity, media spin, and the outcome of it is hazy at best. The good thing that came out of it was that all men were saved. Yet, life from here on will still be a gamble, especially on the financial and health side.


This type of situation isn’t new. I’m not referring to people being horribly trapped in a mine (which we know has happened before) – but I’m talking about poor, underprivileged people being offered an ace card for a few minutes, only to have it stripped from them at the end. People who got 15 minutes of fame, and that’s all. Many have followed the controversial story of the “Slumdog Millionaire” movie protagonists, the child actors who garnered world fame with well-received performances, only to be sent back soon thereafter to the slums they came from without so much as a by-your-leave.

Luckily, some have a bigger break. After being given her fame card through Julia Roberts’ portrayal of her in a blockbuster movie, Erin Brockovich, for instance, got her own show for a while and her book Take It From Me: Life's a Struggle But You Can Win made it to the NYT bestseller list.

The Subway guy, Jared Fogle, wrote a book and is still known for his Subway diet. Many participants on reality TV shows get their dream to be in the limelight fulfilled.

Jon and Kate plus 8. The Bachelor. Survivor… and the like - these are just a few examples. How long will their fame last and what gifts or curses will it bring them?


Sometimes perseverance plays a part in achieving fame, success and recognition. At times, being at the right place at the right time is the main contributor. What is always important, however, is that one has good representation, that is, someone with them who has their interests at heart. The miners in Chile and the actors in Slumdog Millionaire will never improve their lives unless someone—someone important, someone with clout—is willing to go to bat for them and be their voice. A person or institution who’s not there just to draw the news of the hour, make a buck, lift ratings, make a good impression and/or offer empty promises. Some think that fame can come in an instant – this is true, but is it always lasting? Does it bring positive change? Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy or clearcut. As the sayings go, quite truthfully, there are moments when life's a bitch then and shit happens. But it's all worth it anyway, at least I think so.

And here's the question of the hour: If you had the opportunity to get your fifteen minutes of fame, how would you like that story to unfold?

Till next time...

~ Angela Guillaume ~
Author of Romantic Fiction.
No formulas. No rules. Just love.
Website: http://www.angelaguillaume.com
Facebook: Angela Guillaume
"Mile High to Heaven"--Go the extra mile for love--Contemporary short.
"Mr. & Mrs. Foster"--A toasty warm holiday tale
Both books can be purchased from: Whiskey Creek Press Torrid


  1. Wow, dear Diva, you ask a very tough question...

    15 minutes of fame, to be used wisely. Makes me think of those questions at the big beauty pageants. :)

    I really dunno how to answer. While thinking on it, I'd say I'd want the time/story to unfold in such a way that it makes a lasting impact. For example, 15 minutes of fame brings long-term exposure to a cause, a little like what the late Princess Diana achieved with the stuggle to eradicate landmines (though yes, hers was not 15 minutes only of fame!).

    But on the moment these minutes happen, who knows how we'd respond...?

    I'd love to see what the other commenters will say.


  2. Ah Angela, a very provocative post - I agree with you about the miners in that the media was looking for a happy ending and that's what they created - fade out/end credits.

    It's up to some industrious writer or filmmaker to now seek out the real story of what went on down there and the aftermath of all that "heroism and glory".

    Interesting point you make comparing the miners to reality stars - the miners were thrust into a dangerous situation and became international news - and "reality stars" without seeking fame to begin with - whereas people who go onto reality shows are hungry for fame - whether that 15 m translates into anything substantial remains to be seen.

    As for your question-I don't think I would want that kind of notoriety. I think the people who crave fame without anything tangible to back it up (i.e. acting talent or writing talent or musical talent or athletic talent) are sad individuals - who cannot find happiness in "real life" and try to look for it in "reality".


  3. I can't add anything to Jojo's comment, because I agree with it exactly. So I'll say:

    What she said.

  4. I think we all want immediate gratification - the fast story rather than the whole story. But I will be waiting to read the various accounts of their terrible ordeal - hopefully in their own words. And I hope that the physical, emotional, and spiritual strength that got them through will help them build better lives for their families and their village.

  5. Thanks for all the comments. They are thought provoking.

    Zee - I do agree that if one had to gain fame it would be much more rewarding if a worthwhile cause were involved.

    Jo - It seems that the "reality" stars of today, those who choose to put their private life on display, are dominating the screen, although I read somewhere that "reality TV" is fading out. What it will be replaced with, I don't know. I just wish that when things happen we could be allowed, even just for a few moments, to see through all the spin and frills to the true story beneath. I suppose time will give us those answers a little at a time, one piece of the puzzle after the other.

    Julia - I agree, too!

    Vanessa - Interesting and true point about immediate gratification. It's human nature, after all - we want things NOW. It's the irony of life.


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