Over the weekend, comedian Amy Schumer said on social media that she was no longer taking photos with fans. According to the superstar comedian and actress, an overzealous man approached her on the street in Greenville, S.C., invaded her personal space, and asked for a photo, and when she declined, he said, “No, it’s America and we paid for you.”
Schumer wrote on Instagram, along with posting a picture of the man, “I was saying stop and no. Great message to your kid. Yes legally you are allowed to take a picture of me. But I was asking you to stop and saying no. I will not take picture with people anymore and it’s because of this dude in Greenville.” She later clarified in a tweet that she would still take photos with “nice” fans but only if it’s “a good time for that.”
While the man who approached her responded in an interview with Fox Carolina disputing the way the alleged incident went down, no one wants to be that guy. No one wants to get on a celebrity’s bad side, tread on personal boundaries and in turn get blasted on social media. So, the question is, what’s the best way to approach a celebrity in public and ask for a photo?
Because it’s a tricky, potentially embarrassing proposition to talk to a potentially famous person on the street, I’ve broken down seven simple ways to ask a celebrity for a photo.
This is the golden rule of approaching a stranger on the street: Just don’t.
2. No, seriously. Don’t even think about it.
I’m being serious. The easiest way to avoid being put on blast on social media for acting a fool around a celebrity would be to not act a fool around a celebrity. Do you talk to strangers on the CTA? If the answer is yes, you can’t be saved, but if you’re like everyone else, apply the same sense of shame and social faux-pas to approaching a celebrity. It’s simple!
You’re right, though, many celebrities are totally cool with fans taking photos with them! That’s fine and totally awesome that they can step up and be grateful and friendly to the hoardes of people who approach them. But at the same time, celebrities, like you and me right now, have bad days. When you’re having a bad day, would you react kindly to a camera in your face?
3. Sure, celebrities implicitly sign up for fame, but at the same time being a fan doesn’t guarantee your right for a photo in return.
This is the weirdest thing about asking a celebrity for a photo. It’s basically saying to a stranger, “Hey, you were in that thing! Can I leverage your status even though you’ve never met me for likes on social media and greater social capital?” Even if you ask nicely, it’s a strange thing to ask any human if you really think about it.
4. If you must approach, say how much you appreciate their work.
I completely understand the urge to talk to a celebrity. I’ve done it before! But! I’m also in a position where my job not only allows me to talk to celebrities but also encourages it. (Sorry! Tough shit, peasants!)
Kidding aside, there are acceptable ways to talk to a celebrity if their body language says, “Sure, you normie can talk to me.” (1) Talk about normal stuff, say how much their work means to you, ask about what they’re currently working on, joke about the weather or I don’t know, whatever. (2) Make eye contact, but don’t be too intense. (3) Don’t be weird.
5. Be a person.
Related to the point above: If you absolutely must approach them and the initial conversation is fine, ask politely for a photo and be grateful no matter their answer. Don’t scream, be a gross fanboy or be a total weirdo. This is “Being a Human 101.” No matter who you’re talking to, be it Amy Schumer or your sibling, you should understand basic social cues, learn to never be pushy and always be polite.
6. Be a child. (Bonus points if you’re a cute kid.)
Because they’re tiny humans without fully developed prefrontal cortexes, children get a pass for things that would be viewed as terrible, antisocial behavior if done by adults. If you’re a child and approach a celebrity, you’re 100 percent of the time better and more cute than the weird guy avoiding eye contact trying to meet Jessica Alba or whatever.
7. Be at an official meet and greet with said celebrity.
Actually, this is the only time it’s 100 percent acceptable no matter what to ask for a photo with a celebrity