A mate of mine who was hosting What Now? saw one of the original hosts, Simon Barnett, in a coffee shop in Christchurch. He was so excited to see his idol – a guy whose job he now had – but he was too scared to go up and say hi.
I was working with Si at the time and so I laughed when he told me this. I think Si would have thought it was cool to meet him.
My friend kicked himself a bit over this, but considered Si to be too famous to approach.

I realised then that there are many different levels of fame. So I thought I’d try to map out the stages.

Talked About
You know the guys who caught the cricket balls at Seddon Park and won $100,000? Do you remember their names? Yeah, nah – me either, but for a while everyone was talking about them.

Are We Friends?
This is when someone is famous enough that you think you know them but you just can’t remember where from. Was it school? Is a friend’s friend? It’s only much, much later, after you’ve been staring at them for a while that you realise you’ve never met them before. Awkward.

I Know You
You know them but you forget that they don’t know you. So you chat like old mates and they’ll often respond with some polite conversation. But if they don’t, you assume they’re a snob. Even though you’re really just some random stranger to them.

Be Cool
You know they’re famous, but you don’t want them to know that you know. You want to be cool about it. So you might give them a nod to acknowledge them, and maybe even try to take a sneaky photo without them seeing.

Pointed At
Look over there! It’s a famous person! Let’s point them out and be obvious about taking photos but not actually talk to them.

Famous Who?
You know they’re famous but you don’t know why. Who is that again? You’ll most likely interrupt them and ask for a photo or a signature so you can show your friends and ask who it is later.

The Star
You rarely see this person casually in public, just at events relating to their profession. They’re getting their photo taken with everyone – including you!

You know everything about them. And you tell them that.

You think that one day you’ll have a proper conversation with this person and that they’ll fall in love with you and you’ll both live happily ever after.

You scream, you chase them, you take photos, you shake, you blush… you don’t really know what to do around them.

Have I missed any stages of fame?