Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Timeline of Shelby's Celebrity Crushes

My family is an obsessive one, just ask my brother's elephant collection (and he and I aren't the only ones and you know it!). Being a fan and devourer of period drama my obsessions tended to lean towards the leading men in the films of the hour. This makes sense right? Every girl crushes on celebrities from movies.  What's different about me? Maybe nothing, but I don't know many girls whose first legitimate celebrity crush was on a 50 year old...when she was 12.

First we have Gabriel Byrne, from Man in the Iron Mask. My very vivid memory recalls drawing pictures of Musketeers in church and daydreaming about D'Artagnan's luscious silver streaked locks and his Musketeer uniform. Byrne was 50, and I was twelve. A friend of mine was obsessed with the Scarlett Pimpernel at the time so we wrote fan fiction, passing a manuscript back and forth writing the adventures of some sort of Pimpernel Musketeer amalgam. It just so happened that almost immediately after having discovered him he starred in an ABC Friday night comedy called Matigan Men in which he used his real Irish accent. That just sent me over! I remember watching the premiere after I'd put the kids to bed during a babysitting job. I'm pretty sure I put the kids to bed a little earlier than necessary to make certain I could get their TV working. And so it all began!

Second of course, as my close friends can't forget was Josh Groban. I bought his debut CD with money from my 13th birthday and was lost. Groban was almost 20 at the time. He took up most of my mental free space from 7th, 8th and the beginning of 9th grade. I had Josh Groban parties, his website's fan forum was my first source of social media. My parents should feel lucky his fans are so wholesome. Josh Groban's Closer tour was the first and only arena concert I've ever been to. My dear parents drove me to Ames, IA and back the same night so I could see him. It was a big deal. With Gabriel Byrne I remember drawing Musketeers, but with Josh Groban I began my celebrity portraiture. By far the Groban period was my most prolific. I have many Joshes in pencil, a rather large piece in pastels and some in water color, the one on the left done when I was 14 and still one of my favorite works. 
I can't say exactly what made my love for Josh dwindle, but the void he left was the perfect size for Masterpiece Theatre and Daniel Deronda, the film I credit with not only making me realize I could design costumes for a living, but that also introduced me to Hugh Dancy. Isn't he adorable? Oxford educated, Burberry spokes model and English. Daniel Deronda aired at the end of my Freshman year and Dancy lasted me through the first semester of Sophomore year. I'm fairly certain I did this portrait at a later date and in rather a hurry, but it's still pretty good I think. I'd just turned 15 and Dancy's 13 years older than me.

Dancy was dethroned by the Phantom of the Opera himself, Glasgow born Gerard Butler. With my new found calling as a costume designer Marek from Timeline and the guy in the second Tomb Raider was my new best friend in a black cape. I was most in love with the Phantom, but kept an eye on Butler and followed him to Dear Frankie but that's about as far as I got. Mainstream Butler just doesn't strike my fancy despite how dreamy he is and the fact he talks to the side of his mouth. I was barely 16 at the time and Butler's 19 years older than me.

While trying to figure out this timeline it comes to my attention that I had an overlap with Phantom and Master and Commander. And so entered Russell Crowe. Oh Mr. Crowe. I got the M&C soundtrack for my birthday and that's all I listened to on my portable CD player. I saved the TIME magazine that had Captain Aubrey on the cover (portrait left). I got the Patrick O'Brian books for Christmas and even special ordered the autobiography of Lord Nelson Russell Crowe read as research. When the DVD came out I bought it the first day. When I realized I had bought a copy with no extras I bought the special edition version the next day and watched the film every night for a week. Obsessive personality? yes. I was outraged when the last Lord of the Rings movie stole all of its thunder at the Oscars that year.

I'd still keep Russell Crowe as an active celebrity crush. I've been collecting his films one by one and saw Robin Hood in the cinema in London, twice and bought the UK GQ bc he was on the cover. I watched RH about five times within the first month and a half I got it and Russell Crowe on a horse is on a short list of things I can't not bust out smiling at. I'll fight anyone who says he was fat in that movie. You can tell me he's a terrible person and try to convince me he's not a good guy, but if Gladiator is on TBS you'd better believe the next three hours of my life are booked. Russell Crowe is a winning 24 years older than me.

Back in the day the BBC had a specific drama website that linked to the sites for all their period dramas and updated fans on upcoming dramas, hence my knowing about the BBC's North and South 18 months before it aired in America. I spent the summer between my Sophomore and Junior years working in a costume shop in California. North and South aired on BBC America the week I went away to girls' camp. I had my sister record it on VHS and send it to me. I opened her package the day I got back from camp and watched it straight through right away. Needless to say it changed my life and Richard Armitage as Thornton was my new number one. How could he not be? It took some months for it to come out on DVD and when it did of course I rushed to Barnes and Noble and bought it with birthday money. Like Gerard Butler I think I was in love with the character more than the man because sadly Mr. Armitage didn't last long, but I am happy that he's landed other roles in British and American film (although I don't appreciate him in the BBC's Robin Hood as much as some assume I naturally would).

Now my obsession with Anderson Cooper had a strange and different flight path from the others seeing as Mr. Cooper can be seen nightly on TV rather than in a film. I have distinct memories of watching him on CNN while babysitting my niece when she was an infant, so about 7 1/2 years ago, BEFORE Hurricane Katrina. And I know I would watch him while I lived in California, I insisted on it, which was right before Katrina, so when Katrina hit and everyone took notice of this silver fox I felt like they'd been rather blind not to see him before. Of course I bought and read his book. He has the best portrait because my Senior year I finally had the time to take an art class and used him as my subject for my free choice painting. I'd say it's more than rather good. I still admire Mr. Cooper and will pause on AC360, but he really only lasted about a year and a half. Don't let the silver foxiness fool you! he's only 21 years older than me! And I know he'll never be mine for more than one reason.

 And bring on the Doctor!!! Again, my obsession with David Tennant started rather oddly. I started watching Doctor Who during the Rose and Tennant season because I fancied David Tennant, but I honestly can't say what got me really into him. He was the spineless vicar in He Knew He Was Right but now I don't really see that role as such a draw. At any rate I credit Tennant with getting me obsessed with Doctor Who, I'm sure the case for many a young girl. I still pine for him. I will pine for the tenth Doctor until I die and that's not an exaggeration. I will have been married for 50 years with grandchildren and when I make them watch Doctor Who I'll get a far away look in my eyes and they'll all know I'm pining for Tennant. It will never stop. Of course I also adored his Hamlet and was heartbroken I went to London the year between Hamlet and Much Ado. I didn't get far on his portrait as Tennant saw me into my college years and don't ya know I've had no time. He's 17 years older than me. I would also categorize David Tennant as an active crush.

And then there was Bollywood. After seeing Krrish at the end of my Sophomore year in college I became rather obsessed and watched some 50 films in three months. At roughly three hours each that's quite a time consuming phase. I made my coworkers listen to Bollywood music and that's all I blogged about (on my other blog). I of course started crushing on Hrithik Roshan after Krrish, but quickly moved to Shah Rukh Khan, his films making up the majority that I watched and Swades being one of my favorite films overall. I still love SRK, but my Bollywood consumption has dwindled immensely. SRK is 23 years older than me.

Other minor crushes:
JJ Feild
Tom Selleck
Toby Stephens (whom I've MET)
Colin Firth
Ioan Gruffudd
Prince William
a devoted group on my study abroad to London that met Toby Stephens after The Real Thing at the Old Vic, May '10

If you've read this ENTIRE post, 100 points to Gryffindor and Happy New Year!


  1. I think you sent me scans of some of those pictures when we were writing letters back and forth. I remember Josh Groban very well, haha

  2. What am I obsessed with? I'm pretty sure I'm not one of "those" Lukes... ;)

  3. I'm definitely an obsessed Luke.

    I'm still mad that you've met Toby Stephens.

    And I can't believe you don't appreciate Richard Armitage more. He was fantastic in Robin Hood.

  4. Even if Russell Crowe is pretty cool, I was completely pleased with Lord of the Rings pushing M&C aside. I mean, Aragorn? I'll take him any time over Captain Aubrey. I mean it. I think he saw me through middle school, high school, and still going strong in college.

  5. Also, I tried to watch Man in the Iron Mask but was repulsed by Leonardo DiCaprio's American accent...but now I want to give it another try...