We’ve all had it. That little flutter when you meet your favorite celebrity for the first time. That thick-tongued, slurred bit of speech that falls out all over, stumbling over words that will be swapped out later for larger, more intelligent sounding ones while we pick apart what we wished we would have said. How we should have smiled less. We flush from having been too enthusiastic or not enthusiastic enough. “Why were my hands so sweaty?!” “What did I even say? I can’t remember.” “Oh my god… was that in my teeth THE WHOLE TIME?!”
It’s enough to put anyone on edge.
The effect these types of people have on others is impressive. Take dashing, world famous actor Tom Hiddleston, for example: female fans across the globe sigh as he hands his jacket over to a shivering interviewer, blush as he compliments his co-stars and melt into a puddle when he quotes Shakespeare. Last summer, when he began reciting a favorite adage in near-perfect French, the panel audience collectively groaned “WHY,” as if they couldn’t believe someone could be so flawless.
Obviously, Hiddleston isn’t perfect. Nor is Robert Downey Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Evans, Thor (no, he really is Thor), Jensen Ackles, David Tennant, Matt Smith, Richard Armitage, Jared Padalecki, basically anyone from The Hunger Games and anyone who plays a superhero or aspires to be one in real life (I’m looking at you, Misha Collins). But we like to think they’re pretty darn close.
…And that’s definitely not a crime.
It got me thinking: so what if this is your motivation? Plenty of good deeds happen because of gentle prompts like this. Whatever helps you do and be better to others is alright with me.
So you like Tom Hiddleston but you really love his work with UNICEF? Great! Maybe you flailed a little bit when you met Josh Hutcherson but you really jumped for joy when you learned about his collaboration with the LGBTQ ally group, Straight But Not Narrow. You’re crazy for Nathan Fillion, but even crazier about his partnership with the non-profit, Kids Need To Read, which raises funds to purchase books for underprivileged schools.
If Tom Hiddleston takes to his Twitter account and challenges you to Live Below the Line for a week or donate to feed underprivileged kids, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to look into it and get involved. If you feel more motivated to do good because you want a killer story to hypothetically tell him over tea and biscuits one day when he hypothetically asks you on a dream date, go right ahead.
If it makes you feel better to think, “WWRDJD? (What Would Robert Downey Jr. Do?)” when faced with a downtrodden colleague at work, that’s perfectly fine. If you see a woman struggling with her groceries and a stroller full of toddlers, and you run to assist her, there’s no shame in feeling that Hugh Jackman or Tom Hanks would be proud. Some of the best and most dedicated do-gooders I’ve ever met got started because someone they looked up to introduced them to a worthy cause.
Nerd Machine co-founder and Chuck star Zachary Levi, for example, spent last summer taking photos for charity, hosting panels and generally going hoarse from chatting with his incredibly loving fans at the annual Nerd HQ festivities across the street from San Diego Comic Con, where volunteers and fans alike were able to raise over $200,000 for the charity Operation Smile. Supernatural fans aren’t just obsessed with angel Castiel, they want to make him proud: through actor Misha Collins’ charity, Random Acts, followers have donated enough to not only change lives but allow others to do the same. Collins and his charity encourage others to make kindness a habit by performing small and random acts of generosity around their community and across the globe, and it seems fans are always more than happy to take the reins.
Following your favorite celebrity into a charitable cause or pet project may not be the monster problem some think it is. Many psychologists might even say it’s a fantastic idea, as studies have shown that positivity and generosity may actually be “contagious”. Collins himself says, “When the Haiti earthquake happened, I registered with UNICEF to set up an account and posted to Twitter for people to donate to it. In a matter of a couple of hours, $30,000 had been donated. That, to me, was eye-opening.”
Although I honestly don’t think anyone will be making “WWRDJD” or “What Would Tom Do” bracelets any time soon, there’s no harm in keeping them in mind the next time you’re at the coffee house, airport or grocery store. A generous act or a kind word can go a long way, after all.
Now go on, kid– make Tom proud.
Featured image via USAToday