Excerpt: Fame 101 by Jay Jessup & Maggie Jessup
What is Fame? The Most Powerful Force in our Oprahfied Universe
“Fame is found at the intersection of publicity, marketing, personal brand strategy and business development. This crossroads is ground zero for our fame formula and best of all, anyone can use it.” – Jay Jessup
Fame Converts Hard Work Into Success
Are you giving 100% in your career and in your life? Perhaps you are but often that’s just not enough. A less-talented actor gets picked for your perfect role, an opposing candidate with half your vision wins the election in a landslide, or the lawyer next door gets the high dollar clients although his courtroom skills pale in comparison to your own. Guess which of these people knows about the fame formula – here’s a hint: it isn’t you.
Our parents and teachers tell us that it takes hard work to become a big success; others speculate that some people are born with natural talents that assure a rise to the top of their field. In our experience, based upon working with hundreds of personal brands over more than a decade, it’s not hard work or talent that puts people in the top one percent of their profession.
Don’t misunderstand us; hard work makes a big difference in your life as does natural talent but the distinction between the talented hard workers and the immensely successful is either an intuitive or learned understanding of what we call the Fame Formula. It’s the secret known to winning candidates, bestselling authors, top actors, corporate-types with meteoric careers, thriving consultants, business owners with a seemingly golden touch and the great news is it can work for anyone.
Fame might be a misnomer as many people confuse it with Celebrity. Paris Hilton has celebrity, John Travolta has fame. Lindsay Lohan has celebrity, Barrack Obama has fame. The faces on the covers of magazines at the supermarket checkout aisle are of celebrities; celebrity is about paparazzi and selling baby pictures for millions. Fame is professional success enjoyed by society’s true elite; it’s what you get when you apply the fame formula.
Our definition of fame is very big and very visible personal success. Some people are on life’s stage, while others merely play background – you’re likely reading this book because you want to be the one on stage or at least to see if it’s an option for your life. Here’s the headline - anyone can use the fame formula to capture the spotlight and turn that visibility into unprecedented professional and personal success.
Even better news, you can use that spotlight to create success beyond all imagining and you can do it in any field. This is what fame is all about and we have discovered the formula that makes it all happen. You’ll find that formula detailed in another chapter but first we need to understand this concept that we call fame.
What is fame?
Fame is our society’s most powerful force; celebrities, those that have it, are the super elite of our culture. If you doubt the concept, drop in on any DC cocktail party and watch Nobel Prize winners, powerful Congressmen and Fortune 500 board chairs become blithering idiots when introduced to Brad Pitt or Tiger Woods or John Grisham. Fame is more than sex appeal, it’s more than charisma and it’s not just for rock stars. Quite simply it is raw power of the most exciting sort.
- Fame doesn’t lend itself to simple definition but you can explain it by example:
- Fame is why the latest Diet Doctor gets 10 times more press than the world’s most promising stem cell scientist;
- Fame is why the first photos of J- Lo’s baby sold for millions and pics of your child are languishing on Ebay with a one dollar bid;
- Fame is why Paula Deen could run for Congress in Georgia and probably win;
- Fame is why we pay attention to Paris Hilton, cleverly branded as America’s party girl;
- Fame explains President Obama’s election, Governor Terminator’s second term and it’s why the guy who graduated at the bottom of your law school class has a book deal, the very best clients, and is always on CNN.
We all know fame when we see it but perhaps we don’t recognize exactly what it is; rather, we just know that the famous are somehow just a little bit better or at least more interesting than the rest of us. In essence, fame is that difference between us and them; defining that difference and learning their strategies and secrets is what this book is about.
The famous are actors on the world stage; they’ve developed their role and they know their audience. Fame isn’t wealth, lots of people are rich but don’t have the power fame delivers but many have discovered the path to wealth is much easier for the famous. It isn’t breathtaking physical beauty although Jen, Angelina, Jessica and the rest have leveraged their genetic advantages into very public roles with adoring fans following their every move.
Of course if you’re the doc who enhanced Jen’s figure, did Angelina’s lips or helped Jessica lose those troubling extra pounds, you too can have fame. Oprah’s best friend gets a book deal by branding herself as Oprah’s Best Friend and even the bigoted cop, Mark Furman from the OJ Simpson trial, makes 7 figures as a television star. What are we all thinking? But, that’s fame in action.
In our opinion, although some critics consider the celebrification of our society to be a dangerous cultural trend, we think they’re wrong. We believe that fame, when used to benefit yourself and others in a positive manner, can be a good thing. Further, it provides entertainment in a sometimes troubling world, observing it in action is just plain fun and capturing it for yourself is the most phenomenal experience anyone could ever enjoy.
Whichever side of the Oprahfication debate you’re on; our position is that we might as well accept the world the way it is and enjoy the characters we elevate to our society’s highest positions. Even better, why don’t we apply the fame formula to become one of them? We’ve discovered how you can make that happen and we share the tools, techniques, and technology in the following chapters.
Do you think these concepts don’t apply to you because you’re “just” a lawyer or “just” a garden guy? That fame is only for the entertainment folks? You couldn’t be more wrong. Fame can be created and used in any field. We know it because we’ve created it for clients in more than 50 fields. Professional fame is partly show business and entertainment; you must accept and use this idea. Yes, we’re saying that the local garden guy can be in the business of entertaining, not to be confused with the entertainment business.
If you’re an attorney who wants to be a professional speaker, you must be entertaining because that’s the business you’re in when applying the fame formula. You’ll need a head shot, demo reel and resume in the same format as an actor trying out for 90210 version 2.O. We talk about exactly how all this works throughout the book but it’s important that you have the mindset that when you step into the fame arena, joining the elite of your field, you’re in show business.
What do you get? Wealth, Credibility, Recognition, and Fun
Do you think this fame business is just too superficial? Consider this, the Dalai Lama and the Pope totally understand and use fame to spread the reach of their message; they just don’t use it to get new Lamborghinis although they surely both have chauffeurs. If you still think fame is always shallow or phony skip ahead to the section entitled Mother Teresa’s Publicity team in Chapter 2 and think about the number of lives she touched. The immensity of this small woman’s power and reach would not have been possible without fame.
No one would ever call her a phony. She was able to geometrically expand her impact from the slums of India to a worldwide platform because she used this thing called fame. Maybe you saw this living saint on Larry King in one of her final appearances and she definitely didn’t fly coach to get there.
Perhaps you’re investing the time to read Fame 101 to understand how our world works but in my experience everyone at least wonders from time to time what it’s all about and how some small difference in their personal history could have led to personal fame. Every one of us senses that there is some easier path for our own specific life; whatever road you’re on, it becomes easier and much more impactful if you have fame. It’s okay to want it. Let’s look at what it delivers.
We’ve already seen that fame, or what some call celebrity status, is pure and simple power. It’s why people stand behind ropes for hours on just the hope of seeing a second tier celebrity and it’s why celebrity autographs can sell for $20,000 or even much more. So the first thing you get from fame is recognition and that really helps get things done.
What’s cool is that you don’t have to be Superbowl star Peyton Manning to be recognized. You can be the rock star teacher in the local high school because of your new book or a rock star pharmacist because of your syndicated blog. Recognition opens some amazing doors; many you never even knew were there. A curtain opens for the famous revealing life opportunities beyond the vision of the non-famous.
Fame also gives you immediate credibility; whether or not it’s been yet fully earned. Society gives more credibility and value to the attorney who is the talking head expert on CNN than to the president of your local bar association. If she is a luncheon speaker I promise that whispers are going around the room letting everyone know this celebrity lawyer is a CNN regular and when she speaks she has the credibility that comes with fame. People buy her book at the back of the room and jockey for a photo op; all because her PR people got her the CNN gig and she got fame.
While recognition is valuable and credibility is another great benefit, what about money? Fame does not automatically make you rich. There are hundreds of examples of people who achieved immense national fame or even just fame in their community or industry that did not make a dime from their celebrity status.
We’re not talking about the Hollywood stars who got the lucky break, thought it would go on forever and squandered their early millions. This is about those people in other fields that captured fame but didn’t know how to monetize it.
What we’re talking about here is one of the most important messages of the book. Celebrity status is an assured way to get your name in the paper and to be the expert on television but if you don’t develop a way to use fame to put food on the table, it’s just vanity gone public. So fame can and should also be partially about creating and growing personal wealth.
The money, the recognition and the credibility are all elements of what you get with fame; and remember, anyone who understands the fame formula can have all this. Big picture though and the most fun of it all is that you get to be one of the special people; one of the famous.
You’ve seen them. They’re composed, articulate, and fun. We want to know them; to be like them. The famous are people you would love to have as friends. We want to be near them and we want them to like us. When they arrive anywhere, they unconsciously make an entrance and they don’t leave someplace; they make an exit.
What is really cool is that, with work, you can develop these traits and become famous by developing the best authentic you. To discover how it all happens we need to see where it all started – Hollywood, California.
Hollywood Coins the Phrase “Movie Stars”
Hollywood executives were the first to spot the cash value of fame and reduce it to a specific film industry fame formula that could be applied to actors, producers, and others in the business. The very first powerful personal brands came from the film industry and every single one was created with the fame formula.
A half century before digital rights, DVDs and product spin offs became the new entertainment industry business model, there were only three money values in the movie business: the films themselves, the actors who became “Stars”, and the very visible people who turned these assets into cash – the producers and directors.
With panache, audacity, and an intuitive sense of what the public wanted, the studio executives hardwired magic into the film industry by selecting a handful of genetically beautiful people and giving them real life roles. From Mary Pickford to Rock Hudson and everywhere in between these people became the idols of the times.
These new celebrities lived a role and the world became a stage around their lives. The Hollywood fame factory didn’t just put these new idols into cars; they drove automobiles. Who can deny that any man was simply more attractive when driving a Duesenberg, a Cord, or piloting a classic motor yacht? Similarly, a fantastic looking woman went from small town Potato Festival Queen to top tier celebrity in part by showing a little leg while exiting an Italian convertible.
Studio wardrobe departments, top designers with unlimited budgets, and the very best hair and makeup people joined voice coaches, and acting teachers to polish the studio talent into movie stars. Everyone’s role was completely scripted; they knew their parts. And who do you think coined the term Movie Stars? It was people like us – then.
The audacity of the tinsel town fame makers was almost without measure. Take the annual Academy Awards for instance. Although the event’s Neilsons have lost their luster, in old Hollywood it was the event of the year. If you analyze Oscar night, it probably started with five studio execs having drinks at some So Cal eatery when someone suggested they actually start giving themselves awards!
What an exceptional idea. Television audiences would eat it up and every studio could trot out their talent with a show that started on the Red Carpet where studio wares, the actors themselves, would be delivered by limousines, each with just the right companion. Publicity people covered pre-parties, arrivals, gowns, couples, countless awards, exits, post parties, the losers, and the winners alike.
The result of this publicity coup – being nominated for an award or actually winning one caused the value of the studios’ ultimate product, films, to skyrocket. Every man wanted to be like Rock Hudson and every woman wanted to sleep with him.
Studio photographers captured every moment of the stars’ lives but in true film industry style – they would take 150 shots to get “just the right one” which would then be distributed everywhere from the front lines of whatever war was happening at the time to the covers of the magazines that were heavily supported by movie studio advertising and copy.
Hollywood entertained the American public with fame while making immense profits that continue today, all with the fame formula. In reality the Hollywood-created fame influenced the world in much bigger ways. We’re convinced that the image of the American Dream created, packaged, distributed, and sold by the film industry enabled the United States to become a Super Power (a well crafted Washington DC publicity word) as the soldiers of our enemies secreted touched-up pictures of Doris Day at Malibu beach.
Even today Baywatch is insanely popular across all those recently named countries that were part of the old USSR. Who would have thought that Pamela Anderson would do more for world peace than the United Nations?
Celebrities Rule – New American Royalty
While Hollywood used fame to spread the American Dream it’s historically ironic that in doing so they created a class of uniquely American royalty – the Super Elite. The privileged and powerful grew beyond Hollywood to include the successful famous people managing personal roles in several new categories well outside of the entertainment industry.
New celebrities appeared first in the music industry, a logical outgrowth of the film business as music became more about entertainment than art. The fame formula was clearly in play as musicians embraced their elite roles and the public clamored for the most personal details of their lives.
Music industry fame grew from Glen Miller in the 1940s, who grew from band leader to celebrity and finally to legend as he heroically flew into danger’s path during the war and didn’t make it back. Heroic certainly, but clearly a James Dean or Marilyn Monroe-like example of how much more tragic is the death of our celebs. It’s another quirky result of fame; people you never met care when you die.
Concurrent with the growth of music legends like Glen, Elvis, Mick, Madonna and today’s crop of music starlets and country hit makers we saw sports royalty arise. Baseball, football and ultimately golf produced a class of the famous that every American boy followed from childhood.
What was so brilliant about Hollywood’s marketing of celebrity and stars was that, unlike European royalty which you had to be born into or of the class that could marry into, these celebrities were our neighbors, our schoolmates, our friends who were “discovered” because they were “Special” and they made us all believe we could have that too. So, this stardom was not only someone we could relate to – but, it was attainable and we all drank the koolaid with gusto. In many ways, we continue to do so today.
Somehow an early baseball trading card can easily be worth $50,000 and Tiger Woods can have a billion dollar net worth; this is fame outside of Hollywood. Fame in sports alsoexplains the incredible lives and business branding in the tennis industry; starting with Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, Arthur Ashe then on to Jimmy Connors and Chris Everrett to the modern day with the Williams sisters and whatever 17 year old superstar is thrilling the cameras today – on and off the court.
As the world became ever more fame-obsessed and every sector demanded more leaders in the spotlight the next logical celebrities came into play. In our country, which based on money business titans grew from the modest early legends of Vanderbilt, Crocker, Hendy Ford to modern day tech gods Jobs, Gates and the rest of the Forbes 400.
Malcolm Forbes and his Forbes Magazine grasped early the public’s desire to connect with the famous. While Hollywood and gossip magazines were chronicling the daily lives of the entertainment stars, Forbes Magazine was doing the same in the business sector. Stars were born, brands like Donald Trump became possible and there became a very direct presentation of that sexiest of all combinations: fame and money.
The same formula is followed by Fast Company Magazine and others as the idea of business fame expands like the universe with new galaxies of stars being created. It was quite a trip from Cornelius Vanderbilt to whatever global technology kid is the latest billionaire; but that trip was powered by fame as business people joined the super elite.
So, do you have to land a big movie role, whip Serena at Wimbledon, or invent the next killer software app to become part of the new royal class? No, and that’s the whole point of Fame 101. Fame is the ticket to becoming one of the super elite and anyone, in any field can gain admission. There are neither boundaries nor any limitations on the number of people invited to step behind life’s velvet ropes.
All you need is fame to play and it’s available to those people who have the formula, then use it to create an interesting unique role for themselves that captures and maintains the attention of a community. Celebrities in every field do indeed rule – they’re the new American royalty.
Your Maximum Authentic Self
Fame is special and few will do what it takes to earn it for themselves. It would however be much easier to grasp if there were a simple definition but likely at this point in your reading you understand it’s a force of life, different for every person, rather that something that can be defined.
Likely we’ve already uncovered some things about fame that you knew intuitively from observing real life but perhaps never realized it was something you could use for your own success. Consider these several points as you move forward through Fame 101:
- Fame is way beyond money; although it can deliver wealth as one of its benefits. It’s a powerful tool you can use to get many things that money can’t buy;
- Fame is based to some extent on showmanship. The successful fame seekers use entertainment industry concepts and techniques to promote themselves;
- Fame is the key to admission into the special group we call society’s super elite. You’re not invited to join this community; when you create a place for yourself you simply become part of it;
- Fame determines who succeeds and who doesn’t in many cases. It’s an unbeatable competitive edge in any industry or life sector.
Ideally you see that fame gives you hidden advantages in everything you do; it magnifies your actions and it maximizes your results. The remainder of Fame 101 looks at the many things you can do to build a powerful personal brand around yourself to become the best authentic you; only famous.
If you have Any doubt that fame can be yours consider that Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen are a billion dollar industry, one of the country’s best known lawyers was at the bottom of his class at a third-tier law school, and the author keynoting at your industry convention simply used the formula you’ll learn from Fame 101 to cause people to elevate her to onto the stage.
Fame, as we write about and create, is very specifically creating your Maximum Authentic Self. The finished product is really you, but it’s the you that is hidden just beneath your present self. Your famous self is a media trained, polished, informed, and prepared genuine you.
Fame is simply a better and more effective way to live your life. Now let’s look at how you can harness its power to catapult yourself to the peak of your profession in about a year.