Congratulations! You’ve mastered your emotions and learned to control those sweaty palms. You’ve done your research and have sufficiently stalked your prey across the social media serengeti. Today you stand, prepared to meet your celebrity crush—girl or guy—-and make that connection you’ve been waiting for your entire life. Alas. It has finally occurred to you. You might know everything there is to know about Marcus Lemonis, but none of that is going to matter if you’re never able to actually make his acquaintance. He’s never going to know how cool you are until he knows you exist! So what to do now? Meeting your celebrity crush may be easier than you think. Try these methods on for size:
1. Ask for an interview. Depending on how “celebrity” we’re talking, you may not need to be the Editor of Time magazine to schedule a chat. If you’re wanting to have a sit-down with the CEO of the company, making that connection may be easier than you think. Whether your article is for a magazine, blog, podcast, or journal, be up front and then do your very best to get that article as noticed as possible. Writing for yourself? Pitch the story to a magazine in your market or some other publication. If it’s good, you might be doing the CEO a favor, making your relationship valuable to him as well. Just remember, if you are able to score an interview, keep in short. Don’t assume they’ve got thirty minutes to chat. Keep it to five, and if they want to continue, be prepared for that. Additionally, offer to do the interview over the phone or over Skype. If they want to do it in person, travel to them. Finally, if you’re having trouble getting a more lengthy interview, request a response to a situation, and write an article about that topic, quoting them at some point if you can. If you’re worried you’re being a pest, don’t. The worst they can say is no.
2. Write a letter. There’s a difference between squealing out a high pitched, “I love you!” in a VIP’s ear, and writing them a thoughtful, personal letter that clearly defines how he or she has been an inspiration to you. This letter might provide a good opportunity to request a five minute audience, and if you are persistent in your letter-writing, you might just get through.
3. Use a conference. Chances are, if your celebrity crush is really a celebrity, he or she does public speaking from time to time. Go out of your way to attend these events, and whenever possible, attend the events that come after such as lunches or cocktails. This is your opportunity to engage them on the issue of their speech and say something moderately more intellectual than a gushing, “You were brilliant!” After speaking, the celebrity’s adrenaline will be flowing and they may be feeling more open to making conversation. Of course, that means getting your prey away from all the other hungry lions—another skill entirely.
4. Connect those six degrees. If you’ve ever heard of “The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” you already know how close we all are to one another. I may not know you and you may not know me, but chances are that somewhere along the line, we are linked, whether through professions or people or places we’ve been. We’re being connected right now on this very blog! LinkedIn allows you greater ability to make those connections and get in contact with high level celebrities. After all, you may not know Donald Trump, but maybe, just maybe, a friend of a friend went to high school with a guy who interned for someone who works at one of his companies, does know him. All you have to do is follow that train.
5. Give them an award. If you belong to any group that is capable of giving distinguished awards, use this power to your advantage. After all, what VIP is going to say no to attending a dinner and award ceremony in their honor? If you are successful, this will be the perfect opportunity to introduce yourself and insert your presence into your VIP’s consciousness.
6. Go where they go. If you know where your celebrity crush hangs out, don’t just haunt their social media pages; make yourself a regular at their favorite spots. Warren Buffett, for instance, is known to love Gorat’s Steak House in Omaha. There are worse methods that will lead you to “accidentally” bumping into a celebrity than going out for steak once a week. Sooner or later, you’re bound to get lucky.
7. Make a movie. You don’t have to be a director in Hollywood to meet Bradley Cooper. Despite the fact that “Harry Potter Puppet Pals” on YouTube was only loosely based on the books, I can guarantee you that J.K. Rowling has seen it. Rather than making fun of the VIP’s work, however, you may want to go the route of appreciation. Did your client recently do some important foreign aid work that made a significant difference in the world? Make a video about it and send it to them or post a link to it on their social media page. While there’s no doubt that celebrities are busy, everyone has time to troll the interwebs and watch a two-minute video inspired by them. Just be sure to keep it short.
While it’s a pretty slim chance that Zach Galifianakis is ever going to approach you in your local bar and ask if you want a drink, being proactive and reaching out might just get you a two-minute exchange. So what are you waiting for?