1. a famous person.
    The state of being well-known.

Celebrity Coronavirus Isolation Tricks: The Good, The Horrible, and the “What the…?”

To many, celebrities are these mystical individuals who go to extravagant parties, travel to the far reaches of the world, and live lavish lifestyles that most of us couldn’t even dream of living. These cultural icons amass millions of followers across social media due to the general public’s morbid curiosity. We want to see the expensive good they purchase, or the high-end hotels they get to stay in so we can get a sneak peek into the lives of the rich and fabulous.

But with the spring months of 2020 essentially “cancelled” due to our current health crisis, instead of seeing private jets and red carpet events on our favorite celebrities’ social media accounts, we’re seeing pictures of them sitting on their couches, or perhaps spending time with family. That illusion of grandeur is shattered, and suddenly we realize that these celebrities are really just like us. Aren’t they?

Credit: The National

Well, no. Not really. But they still want us to relate to them.

“The celebrities definitely, definitely are not in charge right now,” Spencer Kornhaber from The Atlantic says, and that certainly rings true.

Many celebrities are ditching their usual postings in favor of a relatablity factor, and it is working better for some than others. By now, everyone and their mother is fully aware of the infamous “Imagine” video orchestrated by Wonder Woman actress, Gal Gadot. Perhaps the video would have landed better if it was comprised of actual musicians, but Natalie Portman, Jamie Dornan, Pedro Pascal, Jimmy Fallon, and so many more come off as particularly tone-deaf with the backdrop of the pandemic shaping this video. The performances are dull, lifeless, and vapid because while the song implies unity, these stars couldn’t be further from that.

 It is great that these actors wanted to put forth a symbol of hope, but when they’re singing to us from their well-stocked mansions in sunny California, it’s no wonder the gesture feels hollow. They’re isolating, sure, but that is about as far as their similarities get with the average American. Most are working from home, juggling child-care, and struggling with funds due to cut hours. To these people, the “Imagine” cover is more of a slap in the face than an extension of kindness.

The “Imagine” cover only seems more ridiculous when you compare it to a Walmart commercial released not too long after. The ad features Walmart’s essential workers singing the late Bill Wither’s “Lean on Me,” in a video that features images of communities coming together to help one another. While the company has received some backlash for not properly paying their employees, the sentiment of the commercial rings better because it is workers from their stores or normal homes offering a helping hand to people just like them.

But celebrities are doing more than halfheartedly singing songs to keep the attention of the masses. The “naked pillow challenge” took Instagram by storm recently, and the “challenge” implies exactly what one may think. Those who partake in the “challenge” strap a pillow to their fronts and call it an outfit. Stars such as Halle Berry, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Tori Spelling have taken part in the challenge.

Credit: US Weekly

In a post that has since been taken down, pop-icon Madonna took to Twitter to share her thoughts on the crisis. While the words she shared certainly were not a bad message, it was the way that she presented them that rubbed people the wrong way. What were supposed to be words of inspiration were given naked in a milky bath full of rose petals.

Madonna / Twitter

Credit: BBC

Billionaire David Geffen shared his “quarantine woes” on Instagram by posting pictures of his luxurious yacht out on the ocean. Though he spouted a message of staying safe, it almost seemed like a jab. He has since deleted the post, but it didn’t stop the inevitable backlash that he received.

While the number may seem small in comparison to the bizarre posts we often see from stars during these strange times, some celebrities have found the correct balance of entertainment and relatability to keep their audiences engaged. Actor from Will & Grace and American Horror Story, Leslie Jordan, uses his amusing, southern charm and stories of his youth to put a smile on the faces of others.

People find comfort in his trademark ways to start videos– “What are y’all doing,” “Hello fellow hunker-downers,” and “Well sh**–” probably because it echoes how they feel. He doesn’t preach to his audience, he simply relays his boredom in a way most people can relate to.


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I decided to take an online spinning class. #spinfattyspin #nopeletonneeded #tourdecondo

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Pop culture analyst Will Swinburne commented on the slew of celebrity social media posts during the coronavirus:

“It seems that even our film, sports, music, and other celebrity talents are suffering doubly from the isolation. The mortals, namely you and I, only have to worry about coronavirus and the ensuing economic impact on our lives and loved ones. The stars are also suffering from attention withdrawal. Celebrities like Madonna and Gal Gadot may have good intentions, but their social media stunts merely end up looking strangely annoying and even downright tacky in light of the thousands and thousands of deaths the world has experienced. I guess it is not easy being a star in isolation, away from flashbulbs and microphones. Perhaps one of the benefits of the coronavirus phenomenon will be that those performing acts of heroism and kindness, form doctors and nurses and orderlies to neighbors and emergency workers, will finally get top billing in our mediasphere.”

Credit: ABC76 New York

The celebrities making a genuine impact with their social media, however, are the celebrities who had or currently face the coronavirus. From pop-star Pink, to television host Andy Cohen, to movie-star Idris Elba, and to next-in-line for the throne Prince Charles. These celebrities use their platforms to educate on the symptoms of the virus, advocate for social distancing, and share organizations to which donations are much needed.

One of the first celebrities to report catching the virus was Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson. The couple spoke of the exhaustion they felt, along with the other symptoms they faced. Wilson reported to Gayle King that she was so achy that she “didn’t want to be touched,” and that she experienced “chills like [she] never had before.” Hanks says Wilson’s case was far more severe than his own.

“She had a much higher fever and she had some other symptoms. She lost her sense of taste and smell. She got absolutely no joy from food for a better part of three weeks … She was so nauseous she had to crawl on the floor from the bed to the facilities.”
While the couple have thankfully since recovered, Hanks and Wilson prove just how trying the awful disease can be. The two have donated not only money, but blood to be used for coronavirus research. Hanks has even given back in smaller ways that make a huge difference– he gifted a Corona-brand typewriter to a young boy in Australia who has been bullied for having the name “Corona.”

Credit: Public Radio International

Hanks’ story warms the hearts of many, but for once, it isn’t these stories that are at the forefront of our news cycles. It’s just as Swinburne and Kornhaber said: for once, it isn’t celebrities who have the attention of Americans. Doctors and other medical workers are taking the spotlight due their selfless desire to keep us all safe. We’re seeing more about workers that we never realized were essential until now. We’re learning about the kind actions of cashiers, we’re realizing just how hard it is to be a delivery driver. Neighbors are extending a helping hand in ways that many thought was lost.

While those in the entertainment industry provide us something to occupy our minds, we’ve come to a realization at a nation that they aren’t what helps the world go ’round. They might post videos, but that isn’t the answer to the fight we face. Our essential workers are truly fighting that fight, and we have to continue maintaining distance for them.