As we all know, the nature of the celebrity is that they are put on pedestals to the point of almost losing their human, more relatable qualities. Yet we also simultaneously acknowledge that celebrities are not immune to various ills, including that of self-consciousness. By self-consciousness, we mean that self-awareness that becomes almost crippling, making people uncomfortable in social situations -- the type of self-consciousness that can be a symptom of more pressing mental health issues, like social anxiety, the third largest mental health problem facing people today.
This article is a call to celebrities everywhere to talk about their self-consciousness, their awkwardness, their anxiety. This would make mental health issues less taboo, less of a stigma, even less “weird.” Indeed, many other celebrities are already using their platform to discuss these topics, whether it is Lena Dunham, Beyonce or Jared Padalecki discussing depression, or Demi Lovato discussing bulimia. We salute these celebrities who have used their place in pop culture in a way that is meaningful.
Here are 15 of the best candidates who would potentially speak about their anxiety. (Of course, let us be clear: we do not mean to say that everyone on this list is suffering from mental illness -- some may only be a little shy).
15 Jennifer Lawrence
14 Ryan Reynolds
13 Larry David
The brilliant Larry David, co-creator and co-writer of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, makes some astute social observations about social norms and the way humans interact with each other, observations that are the center of the each hilarious episode. Perhaps it is Larry's very own awareness of others, however, that makes him uncomfortable with others, fearing that they, too, might be looking at little too closely at him.
12 Jim Parsons
11 Megan Fox
10 Joaquin Phoenix
The sphinx-like Joaquin Phoenix is one of few Hollywood celebrities to retreat from its very own alluring world. He rejects, in the nicest way possible, celebrity culture, denouncing award shows and self-promotion and when he does appear in the rare interview, if he does them at all, he often pulls some sort of stunt or prank, like telling people he is engaged (when he is not). It is clear that he would rather keep his personal life close to him and is uncomfortable when he is on the receiving end of attention. Part of this is likely due to his reserved, maybe even shy, nature.
9 Jesse Eisenberg
If you are in search of an awkward twenty/thirty something to cast in your next film, Jesse Eisenberg is basically acknowledged to be that guy (he seems to have taken the place of Arrested Development’s Michael Cera). Indeed, Eisenberg is basically known for playing the socially anxious nerd. His reputation in recent years is that of an awkward, jittery and yet simultaneously arrogant.
8 Aubrey Plaza
Fun fact: did you know that the role of April on the beloved Parks and Recreation was specifically created for Aubrey Plaza? Indeed, April’s character and her deadpan style of comedy that made her so popular is actually how she is in real life. This will not be a surprise if you’ve ever caught an interview of Plaza on late-night television. It will also not come as a surprise to see Plaza on a list of “most self-conscious celebs.” The interesting thing is that her personality has really worked in her favour. When Plaza first met the casting director for Parks and Rec, the casting director was so uncomfortable due to Plaza’s quietness and lack of emotion that she actually felt so compelled to contact the co-creator of the show to tell him that she had just met “the weirdest girl I’ve ever met in my life. You have to meet her and put her on your show.”
7 Kristen Stewart
The Internet has not been kind to Kristen Stewart. Indeed, she has landed her fair share of “socially awkward celebs” lists that would make anyone want to hide in bed all day. Take just about any interview featuring Stewart and it is clear she is nervous, shy, and some even say awkward. Her infamous interview with David Letterman in 2008 when she was promoting Twilight, landed her a spot on Time’s list of “Most Disastrous, Yet Memorable, Late Show Interviews.” Ouch.
6 Kanye West
When we dissect Kanye West, it becomes clear that beneath his arrogance is a man who doesn't truly feel like God, Shakespeare or Steve Jobs. Kanye is actually very self-conscious. He is deeply concerned with the public’s perception of him and goes to great lengths to convince us that he is brilliant, highbrow, that he matters. In interviews, however, when he is not ranting, he actually comes off as very uncomfortable and even shy. He can barely even smile. Kanye has commented on his self-consciousness himself, but even that particular statement was cloaked in insecurity, saying, “We all self-conscious. I’m just the first to admit it.”
5 Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp couldn’t be more different than the larger-than-life roles that he plays on the big screen. Interestingly, he is one celebrity whose level of self-conscious might arguably surpass everyone on this list. He has made it public knowledge that he hates interviews and comes across as very nervous when doing them. Part of this might have something to do with this shyness, which he has also spoken out.
4 Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain: lead singer of Nirvana, one of the most influential artists of the grunge era, but took his own life when he was only 27 years old. Cobain was a complex individual, plagued by a deep discomfort of being in the spotlight. His introverted nature and shyness didn’t suit him well to being in the public eye, a fact very evident his performances. His MTV unplugged performance is a particularly good example of this. Cobain's voice is powerful but yet lacking emotion; he stares at the ground without making eye contact with his audience. He also had a great disdain for the press’ constant criticism of his relationship with Courtney Love. He was even self-conscious about his own appearance, his personal style of flannel shirts and layers only constructed because he was self-conscious about his thin frame. Cobain felt the media's microscope very troubling.
3 Harrison Ford
2 Donald Trump
If self-consciousness involves a degree of self-awareness, it would appear that this trait is not as developed in Trump as it is in other humans, particularly when we consider his appalling remarks about an entire country being r*pists and murderers (of course, he does assume that some are good people). Trump may not be self-conscious about anything that comes out of his mouth, but he is self-conscious about one little thing -- some might say very tiny things: his hands.
1 Ben Affleck
We may not initially think of big movie star Ben Affleck as self-conscious. But if you’ve watched interviews with him, what emerges is that of a very self-conscious and highly critical individual, particularly about his career choices. In 2006, in an interview with USA Today, Affleck said “I’ve been in movies that earned a lot of money that … I wish I wasn’t in, honestly.” When he eventually landed a role in Hollywoodland, he was happy that “I don’t have to feel, like, embarrassed anymore.” Affleck is deeply self-conscious about the public’s perception of him: he laments about taking less than respectable roles, about always being in Matt Damon’s shadow or being perceived as boring. This self-consciousness about his career has extended to a self-consciousness about his very own being; his high-profile relationships (particularly his relationship with low-brow Jennifer Lopez), his lack of education, his drinking and more. The now viral GIF of Affleck's deeply melancholic face while listening poor reviews of Batman v Superman is perhaps a symbol of his very own life.
Sources: <span style="font-weight: 400;">ABCNews, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Buzzfeed, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Complex, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">HuffingtonPost, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">USMag </span>
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