Being in a constant spotlight puts inhumane pressures on real people


(Courtesy of Mark Salling official Facebook page)

By Isabelle Marseille, Collegian Correspondent

On January 30, 2018, the entertainment industry was once again shaken with the loss of an actor. Mark Salling, best known for his role as Noah “Puck” Puckerman in the smash hit show “Glee,” had passed away from an apparent suicide. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time this show went through a loss. In July of 2013, Cory Monteith, who played Finn Hudson, died of a drug overdose. This brings the question: could the show possibly be cursed? And in a more general sense, why is the entertainment industry so gilded?

In the entertainment industry, many audience members who watch television and film either consciously or subconsciously believe the actor and the character they portray are one and the same. In “Glee,” Cory Monteith was a 31-year-old playing a high school student. In reality, he has been struggling with drug abuse since the age of 13. Although he entered rehab at 19, his struggles were never fully put to rest, eventually succumbing to the deadly combination of heroin and alcohol and never waking up again. Salling was the same age as Monteith and also played a high school student. Throughout the years, he was surrounded with scandal, with an accusation in 2013 by ex-girlfriend Roxanne Gorzela of forced unprotected sex. Later on, in 2015, he was arrested for possession of child pornography. After being released on a $20,000 bail, it was discovered that he possessed over 50,000 images of child pornography. As a result, he pleaded guilty, registered as a sex offender, and entered a treatment program. His sentencing date was set for March 2018.

In today’s age, it isn’t uncommon to see a celebrity’s mugshot across the front pages. Naya Rivera, the actress known as the feisty Santana Lopez, was arrested in November 2017 for domestic abuse against her husband Ryan Dorsey, after hitting him in the face and head over an altercation about their child. Charges were ultimately dropped by request of Dorsey, but the event had added to the turmoil surrounding the “Glee” cast. Although all of these situations happen every day among everyday people, these are blown up onto the big screen because of the spotlight these celebrities are put in.

Due to the pressures of having to look and sound perfect at all times, celebrities often suffer behind the curtains, and don’t know how to handle it. Because of their social status, everything they could possibly want is at their fingertips. Although the purpose of entertainers is to entertain, it’s inevitable that fans look up to them as role models when someone “makes it.” There is no messing up when you’re a celebrity—once you do, it’s part of you forever. If anyone mentions a name such as Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Chris Brown, or Justin Bieber, everyone immediately thinks of all of the negative things they did and said, even if it was years ago. There is no justification for their actions, but their mistakes have now become who they are. It is often forgotten that they are just normal human beings trying to get through life, just like everyone else.

But they’re people, with inhuman pressures and expectations (constant diets, very little breaks, traveling, etc.) that can easily overwhelm them and cause them to act out—it is often said that celebrities don’t even know who they are outside of their brand. Even though it seems the cast of “Glee” have really had the worst luck, maybe there is no curse to the show at all. Maybe it just gathered people who were fighting demons and making bad decisions together. Is it a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Who knows, but these instances don’t seem to be stopping anytime soon in this business.

Isabelle Marseille can be reached at [email protected]