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Celebrities who conceal their identities for privacy

Facing a life in the spotlight and constant public scrutiny means being famous is not necessarily a luxury. Although many stars have worked extremely hard to be in the positions they are in now, some have expressed concern over being recognized outside of their artistic projects.

In 2022, BuzzFeed posted the article “19 Celebs Who Have Spoken About How Much They Hate Being Famous,” which attracted attention overnight. From George Clooney to Kylie Jenner, many of these celebrities expressed how their fame added more stress and anxiety to their daily lives, while others said the amount of attention they received from the press became addictive. 

Interestingly, celebrities who dislike their fame have found ways to hide themselves from the public eye. This trend is not new, as celebrities have used disguises and other tactics to avoid being spotted in public. This makes sense, considering celebrities were everyday people before their big breakthroughs.

Sia is one of the most notable stars known for wearing wigs and masks to hide her face in public. Even though the singer is beloved for songs like “Chandelier” and “The Greatest (feat. Kendrick Lamar),” she has been quite vocal in the past about staying away from fame. In 2013, she submitted an article to Billboard titled “My Anti-Fame Manifesto (By Sia Furler).” 

The singer was honest about her experience with the media and online trolls, saying, “Imagine the stereotypical highly opinionated, completely uninformed mother-in-law character and apply it to every teenager with a computer in the entire world. Then add in all bored people, as well as people whose job it is to report on celebrities. Then, picture that creature, that force, criticizing you for an hour straight once a day, every day, day after day.”

During a time when social media platforms were first becoming a part of day-to-day life, Sia exposed the unbearable hate she received online and in public, as well as the treatment she received from the media about her self-image and weight.

Likewise, H.E.R. is another artist who has chosen to opt for sunglasses in public as a form of protection. This tactic is purposeful, as the singer has said she wants people to focus on her music, not her appearance or the other celebrities she’s tied to.

In an interview with Elle, she said, “I think it has allowed me to make the music the focus, and for people not to care about the superficial things or who I'm associated with, what clique I belong to—all those things that don't matter. It's really made people focus on the music, and that's what's special about it.”

Keeping her anonymity is crucial for H.E.R. and her mental health, and this tactic has now become more popular for artists to retain a sense of normalcy. Instead of using her public persona to make statements in interviews, the singer also said she prefers to expose her inner thoughts in her lyrics.

Daft Punk, the EDM music duo who emerged out of the late 1990s, shifted to wearing metallic helmets after achieving success. Similar to H.E.R., the duo noticed how the media was becoming too invasive of their personal lives and thus decided to wear helmets to allow for a deeper focus on their music. Daft Punk also never intended to be famous in public, wanting its music to just be an outlet for fans.

Half of the duo, Thomas Bangalter said, “One thing I like about the masks is that I don’t have people constantly coming up to me and reminding me what I do. It’s nice to be able to forget.” This proves how hiding behind a disguise comes with many advantages for celebrities, easing the fear of constantly being watched or approached in the real world.

While these stars have found comfort in disguises, there are still many who have expressed their dislike for fame. Recently, Paul Mescal, who is set to star in “Gladiator 2” next fall, said to The Times UK he would be “profoundly depressed” if his level of fame increased. He even hinted at disappearing from the spotlight completely, taking on roles that nobody would recognize him for.

The actor said, “I’ll have an answer next year, but if (the film) impacts my life in that way, I’ll be in a bad spot. I’d have to move on and do an obtuse play nobody wants to see.”

In the next few years, it’ll be interesting to see how celebrities continue to adapt to a toxic media environment and if some will follow in the footsteps of Sia, H.E.R. and Daft Punk. It’s not surprising why celebrities choose to hide from the spotlight, as it has proven to drastically impact their self-image and mental health.


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