Lindsay Kriz: Having celebrity influences can be a good thing

Lindsay Kriz

It’s true. So often our generation will look to someone whose face is plastered on our TV screens in favor of those whose flesh and blood we can touch whenever we want. Is this always a bad thing? Not necessarily. Sometimes those who glamour us from cameras and radio waves actually have good messages for us, believe it or not. Personally, I have influences who are both.

My mother is the main influence in my life. She’s a one-woman wonder, who’s been single for 10 years, and is thriving far better than any married couple I know. No matter what issue is going on in my life, no matter whose opinion I get on an issue, her say is the final say. Period. She’s encouraged me in whatever I’ve wanted to do. She respects my nerdy passions and actually participates in them. She’s one great handyman (well, woman). If I ever lose her, I will lose the only foundation that I truly have. Suffice it to say, she’s my influence.

And who’s her influence? Lady Gaga. Constantly, my mom blares “Born This Way” from any type of sound device she can. You know what? I’m glad that my mom loves an artist who is one of the most influential singers of our time, despite the criticisms.

Gaga talks about loving yourself, and being born this way and accepting that, despite what society may say. To me, that’s the exact kind of role model our youth need in this day and age, when equality is such a “hot topic.”

Some kids, who may not have a voice or approval from family, may turn up the radio in their rooms as they cry, and what will they hear? “Just love yourself and you’re set.” “You were born this way.” “God makes no mistakes.” They’ll wipe their eyes. They may smile. Someone who is known and loved by millions is having direct affect on that child. That’s the best kind of influence.

Another person who’s had a type of influence in my life, or at least gives me confidence, is Heath Ledger. Yes, I am aware that he is no longer with us, and I am aware of the circumstances of why he is no longer with us. But have you heard of him? Yes, and that’s what’s so impressive about him. When he was young, about 15 or 16 years old, he and a group of his friends took a van all the way across Australia from Perth to Sydney so they could start their careers. Now he’s one of the most celebrated actors of all time, and will inevitably be considered a legend 50 years from now (or even now).

All because he worked hard, had talent and didn’t take no for an answer. When people started offering him the same kind of roles because they believed him to be just a pretty face, he turned them down and played intense characters in movies like “The Four Feathers,” “Brokeback Mountain” and, of course, the most famous, “The Dark Knight.” He was already well-known in Australia and became a hit in the United States all before he turned 20.

That’s what inspires me about him. He is so revered and well known, and that’s what I want. I want to leave this world with people echoing, “She was one of a kind,” or “She worked hard and look where she ended up,” just like they’ve done with Heath. I want people to know that I was an advocate for equality, just like Lady Gaga. I want people to know that celebrities can be a good influence. You just have to choose your influences wisely.