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Still Mad about the Girl

September 14, 2011

Was anybody else struck by the amazing press conference Madonna gave at the launch of her directorial debut “W.E.” a couple of week ago?

The format was the usual – star sits at desk, flanked by advisors, hangers’ on and security. The press sit facing them, photographers crouching in an empty space at the front. Nothing too controversial is asked, nothing too revealing is said, but everybody gets a story… and some write it up as an “exclusive” if they’ve managed to ask a question.

Where this particular event varied was right at the end. Normally, everybody smiles at each other and leave the room. This time, there was a pause… and exactly the same moment everybody (including me, watching on TV) had the same thought… “I wonder if I dare…” Simultaneously, spontaneously, everybody did.

Do remember that even to get in to these press conferences you need some kind of accreditation – and in achieving it, most of those present would have attended hundreds, with some major stars as the subject.

I’ve watched more than a few myself, and I’ve never, ever, seen hardened journalists behave that way before.

That surge to the front, every hardened journalist in the place waving a blank piece of paper hoping for an autograph HAS to strike the biggest blow ever for the campaign that proves older female performers are the most valuable of all.

As Madonna’s security obviously panicked (nobody, as I said, expects journalists familiar with stars to act that way) the star herself merely smiled and left the stage. Nothing, and everything, proved in a single moment.

One extraordinary event, two vitally important lessons demonstrated for all. First, that age and gender don’t matter a bit if the star quality runs deep enough. That’s extraordinarily deep, but it can be reached if…

… second lesson: it’s really, REALLY worked for. Sure, luck and talent play big parts, but literally millions of hours of practice, image forming and sheer determination against all odds were the root of it all.

With a new round of “X Factor” both in the UK and now (sorry, guys) in the USA, and all those contestants wanting to become stars, perhaps they should think about the fact that if they avoid any shortcuts and believe totally in what they do, they too might just end up a star who can make even the most cynical journalist take the same chance as any other devoted fan.

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