“An idol-a person or thing regarded with admiration.” I do not think I have ever idolized anyone really, even as a teenager (though I can name all 5 Backstreet Boys).
As a quarter life crisis-plagued, arts graduate student with unclear job prospects, I often Google “how to figure out the necessary steps towards achieving the career I wish for”…or more condensed versions of the likes. Linkedin keeps telling me to stalk my idols, people who inspire me and see how they “made it”. Since I love a good list, I tried to compile 5 living people who I admire. While looking at the names and researching their careers, I realized, it is not so much about me emulating their exact job history but more about what qualities each of them represent and how I could incorporate those into my future choices.
#5 Betty White
What is there not to love about Betty White, she has been in the business before TV was a thing! I admire the longevity (I can never say that word, I always want to say longetivity…) of her career, in one form or the other, she has rolled with the punches and molded her personality into the current times. Plus, White represents a woman who is nice, smiley, everyone loves her (besides the late Bea Arthur), yet at the same time she is far from boring, even in her 90s she is kinky and funny and gets away with it. The best of both worlds.
#4 Buzz Aldrin
I must admit, I do not know too much about the man other than him strolling around on the Moon. So in case he is crazy or controversial in some way, tell me in the comments. I was and am a huge Trekkie, the monologue in the beginning about space being the final frontier and boldly going where no one has gone before, is the most inspiring piece of writing from my childhood. There are no limits, other than those you set yourself. These days, a robot lands on Mars and we’re like “nah, gotta go play Grand Theft Auto V”. But back in the day, Aldrin was part of blowing peoples minds as to what is possible and achievable. I do want to inspire others but mostly, I want to let my own mind expand on the ideas of what my career could be, because as Buzz proved, the sky is not even the limit.
#3 Tom Hanks
I was never obsessed with the box of chocolates quotation but come to think of it, Hanks’ career fits that metaphor pretty well. He has done a huge variety of good guy characters in some of the most entertaining films of the last 25 years. Hanks might not be a good villain but neither am I. Instead, he is an astronaut, a single dad, a sheriff and a cast away, the everyman that shows us life’s different facets in 120 minutes. I would love to create that much variety in my future career. Obviously, being admired by ones peers but be beneficial too but read the thing with him, Chris Hardwick and the type writer. Hanks might be filthy rich but he is nice and nice is relatable.
#2 Karen Gillan
Speaking of relatable, Gillan probably seems like the odd one out on this list. But she has something, most seasoned and successful people do not have anymore, she is very relatable. I might not be a tall, Scottish redhead who talks really fast and is making geek hearts happy around the world but she makes me aspire to be myself in every situation. Sometimes I think I should be tough to be taken seriously or cute and vulnerable to get people to help me BUT successful people like Gillan make me realize that it is OK to be either, both or just gangly, insecure and weird.
#1 Jon Stewart
Stewart was an actor, a host on MTV but is more widely known as the anchor of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central. A fake news show on a cable channel that has more credibility and informs more young viewers about current politics than the real news shows. On the show, Stewart is hilarious, silly, self-deprecating while offering the audience an intelligent conversation with presidents and Twilight actors, alike. What a great combination, I would love, in the future, to be able to do work concerning serious issues but in a way, that makes people care about them. Sounds naive but there is an art behind breaking down information without making the viewers feel like you think they are dumb or are shoving your views down their throats. All while making people laugh.
Many cool magazines have photoshopped pictures every year of the perfect man or woman, Angelina’s lips, Jen’s hair, Brad’s smile and so on. I have created the perfect future career direction for myself: as inspired (and inspiring) as Aldrin’s, with a positive yet cheeky personality like White’s, dealing with important issues in a lighthearted and entertaining way like Stewart, while staying genuine like Gillan, and varied like Hanks’ career.
I do not own any of the pictures.