On being Megastar

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Hi, welcome, I’m Megastar and this is my story….it’s been emotional.*hangs head* Slowly raising my head with dramatic effect I meet your eyes, staring directly into the camera and into your hearts. My eyes glisten with tears, that hang like carefully constructed diamonds from my exaggerated fake lashes communicating emotively and manipulatively with you my audience. You are willing to give me your empathy and understanding as we strike a deal that needs no words. We agree I’ll take you on my entertaining  journey away from the mundane minutia of your daily life. You want to escape into my hyper reality because my visuals are glossy and the soundtrack is banging. This is #mylife. Let’s go…

In the beginning Megastar didn’t exist. She created herself as my alter ego during the two years it took to explore glamour in its contemporary guise while completing a film which saw me travel to Las Vegas in search of the glamour and extravagance that is used as a humourous reference point in my home town. Megastar insidiously took over my identity to such an extent that I have decided to present my ideas collected in video, photography and film as 3 online episodes of a fictional reality TV show called, #mylife.

Originally, I intended to work as a participant observer and interview people in Las Vegas, Nevada. But something stirred in my psyche as I experienced just how much people were willing to respond to the project and I was so inspired by their willingness to join in the fantasy that I reinvented myself as a full-on Trow Vegas celebrity with a new name, Megastar. I started to see the things I filmed as ‘events’ that could be manipulated and used in Megastar’s story.

I ended up taking my home town of Trowbridge on and adventure inspired by the glitzy constructed world of Las Vegas. I began to act like a fictional celebrity and interacted with people differently – not even explaining my ‘fame’ or what Trow Vegas was or how it came to be. I started to mirror diva behaviour and self-promoting strategies and brought out a fictional perfume and life story, merchandise, clothing range and started selling myself through products. Megastar is also a social media character posting 100s of narcissistic ‘selfies’. I embraced all things social media, twitter, instagram, fb, and built a kind of online language. In other words, I began branding and packaging myself and worked out how I could create and manipulate my ‘story’ by creating a persuasive image of my new glamorous self.

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When I put this new persona on display in public, I observed how people interacted with me in new and intriguing ways. I was mesmerized to discover how far people who didn’t know me were willing to go along with Megastar’s demands. All the people featuring in the film are new friends who were mostly younger and savvy to the language of social media and they all ended up playing parts in the events that I organised. When I reviewed all the filmed events over two years I started to be interested in ‘real life’ and how reality TV shows put a ‘spin’ on real life events or stage them to look more entertaining than they really are.

Megastar’s persona is based on a mix of personal messages from my family who through my observations I understood to have the ability to create glamour as positive, dramatic, charming and most importantly inclusive. I observed in particular the strong women in my family and I was always agog for my Gogs! Gogs was my grandmother, my muse and best friend. I learned from her and in turn assisted her to use the glamour she developed through her life as a tool to stay vital and in tune with life and young people. I loved her spirit and I had watched her closely for 8 years making a film Agog: The Grandmother Diaries about our close and unusual relationship. On the darker side Megastar’s persona is based on the messages of pop princesses, popular culture and a personal understanding of the vacuous and narcissistic side to contemporary culture that saturates our daily lives in the media.

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It was a strange experience for me being Megastar especially when the lines blurred. I experienced real emotional heart ache when my grandmother passed away during the making of this film. At one point I found myself crying about my grandmother at a ‘Megastar’ event dressed in a dramatic gown on the top of a glitzy stair case in my local town hall to an audience in Trow Vegas. It was too strange! Life had got complicated. I also experienced other emotions like the dread and exhaustion that happens trying to maintain a glamourous persona in public. The endless photo shoots and costumes and merchandising ideas. I had no team or entourage just a couple of friends to help so it was all a huge amount of work constantly. It wasn’t an easy couple of years, depressed about my grandmother I found myself dreading Megastar’s next showy events, my online life not reflective of my ‘real’ life and me somewhere caught in the middle often laughing, often crying! The final film is presented as 3 episodes of online reality tv show #mylife however it seems to display a funny hybrid of ‘Meg’ and the creation ‘Megastar’. By episode 3 I have become Megastar and I chose to reflect as her in character on all the filmed footage in a in a celebrity interview where I am vain, narcissistic and down right plain bitchy!

It was my inquisitive nature and desire to understand things through experiencing them that kept me going. I decided to complete the fictional experience with a take on a pop song by Katy Perry called, ‘Part of me’ because it resonates with me for its redemptive self-empowering message. So, as Megastar, I set about creating a narrative for my music video in my home town of Trow Vegas. In this film, I am mirroring the trend to do this online in homage to your favourite star. As Megastar I present this myself as not a fan but as a diva using self-expression as part of my fame and my ‘story’. This music video will be launched on YouTube during the #mylife exhibition. For me the music video is the final emancipation of Megastar!

 

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