The Ultimate Test: Being Yourself Even When Others Are Watching

As I sit watching people pass me by on this monstrosity of a boat, I can’t help but laugh at the irony that is smothering me. I have embarked upon my first cruise…a 25th birthday present from my mom…and the entire experience is equal parts dismaying and hilarious. This isn’t any typical cruise however. We are sharing the ship with some famous brothers who have climbed the success ladder on HGTV by utilizing their real estate and home renovation prowess (if you don’t know who I am talking about, you might want to take to Google to figure it out). The people that I am sharing this cruise ship with are…interesting to say the least. To call them super fans would truly be underselling their devotion to these brothers. Listen, I have worked at Disney. I know what crazy obsessed fangirls look like and these women (75% of the ship) were far beyond “fangirl” status. They were so over the top that I found myself overwhelmed and exasperated by them basically all the time. This is not to say that I did not enjoy my time on the cruise…I did; I just had a little different experience than these average women did.

The first night (my birthday), we attended a special meet and greet session with the brothers where we were supposed to be able to mingle with them and get a free professional photo. The photo I got…the mingling, eh not so much. Apparently my mother and I have bad luck in picking seating because we literally were always in the one section of the room where the brothers never made it to…awkward. When I went to have my photo taken, one of them noticed that it was my birthday (from my not-so-subtle birthday button I was wearing) and proceeded to take a photo that I am still laughing about days later. After taking a regular photo, one of them dropped to his knee and took my hand in front of God and everybody to pose for a special birthday photo. It is not the photo that I keep laughing about, but rather my reaction. If I was any more awkward during that exchange, I may have spontaneously combusted in awko tacos right there in front of everyone. Like, even now, I still just cannot.

These two guys were super nice and super down to earth…a nice change of pace from the celebrities that I am used to dealing with. During my time at Disney, I came into contact with a handful of different celebrities and those interactions were not always the most pleasant. They were often demanding and irrational in their demands of the cast members that were trying to assist them, which often led to frustration and displeasure for everyone involved in the situation. However, these two guys were the exact opposite of that. They made it their mission to interact with as many individuals as possible on a ship of 2000 passengers…men, women, children, elderly, and all those in between. They treated this cruise more as a gathering of friends than as a publicity stunt to make them look more accessible to the general public. What you see on their TV shows are truly who they are and that is commendable. However, the thing that made my experience different is the one thought that I have been hung up on all week. Yes, they are famous. But, more importantly, they are human beings.

While observing interactions between the brothers and people on the ship (not creepy if I say I am a sociologist by trade), I found a kindred spirit in one of them. As an individual, I am not one to initiate conversation with people that I have not been formally introduced to. I am uncomfortable in large groups. I am an introvert who needs time to recharge. And this does not mean I don’t like people or don’t enjoy having a good time…it just means that I have to do it on my own terms. One of these brothers feeds on the energy while the other is more comfortable to sit back and let his brother take the lead. Being a person who understands this personality, I cannot begin to imagine how I would handle being famous or famous-adjacent. Having people constantly clawing for your attention. Having to constantly be on point personality-wise. Having every aspect of your life dissected and analyzed. This is what we expect of celebrities…we don’t allow them to be any less than this. But, again, they are humans. Humans who sometimes need space. Humans who cannot always be happy and jovial and excited. Humans who should be able to live however they want without being criticized for it. This is the important part of life that many of my fellow cruise-goers seem to have forgotten. As I watched all of these people clamor over one another for a glimpse at these men, I was able to empathize (I know, I know…not a word I have ever used). People got downright ridiculous at times, completely losing the ability to understand that these guys were just doing their job and trying to live their lives. And, through it all, the brothers maintained a degree of composure that was admirable. They were 100% themselves at all times and that is exactly the kind of celebrity I can get behind. To rip off Ralph Waldo Emerson, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

So, I thank you Scott Brothers, for being excellent TV personalities and even more exceptional human beings.

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