Hollywood singer Nick Jonas is the latest celeb to come out into the open about a health issue.
Many people think that celebrities are the modern equivalent of Greek Gods and Goddesses. They are placed on a high pedestal and looked up to.
In a departure from stars from the previous generation who were hesitant to talk about their shortcomings, new-age celebs do not want to paint a picture of being perfect. In the recent time many celebrities have come forward to talk about their health/mental/personality vulnerabilities in a bid to relate to their fans.
The latest one to join the bandwagon is US singer Nick Jonas, who recently revealed that he has been living with Type 1 diabetes for over a decade. Reflecting on his health journey, Nick shared a collage on Instagram of himself just a few weeks after being diagnosed in 2005 at age 13, juxtaposed with a shot of him looking happy and healthy as an adult.
He wrote, “Prioritising my physical health, working out and eating healthy and keeping my blood sugar in check. I have full control of my day to day life with this disease, and I’m so grateful to my family and loved ones who have helped me every step of the way. Never let anything hold you back from living your best life. Thank you to all my fans for your kind words and support. Means more than you know. Love you all (sic).”
Talking about this trend, image consultant, Chhaya Momaya, says, “It is an absolutely fantastic step that the stars are taking. Connecting themselves to their fans in a more humane and down-to-earth manner will only make their fans believe in them more. In today’s information age, it only makes the situation worse if a celebrity is trying to hide something. If you speak up openly, the media and the fans let it rest in peace rather than trying to dig for more information.”
Many other Hollywood and Bollywood stars, including Tom Cruise, Selena Gomez, Parineeti Chopra and Sonam Kapoor have previously talked about many issues that they dealt with or are still dealing with. In fact, Priyanka Chopra recently revealed that she is asthmatic. “Those who know me well know that I’m an asthmatic. I mean, what’s to hide? I knew that I had to control my asthma before it controlled me. As long as I’ve got my inhaler, asthma can’t stop me from achieving my goals & living a #BerokZindagi (sic),” she tweeted, alongside a video where she is talking about how asthma did not stop her from achieving her goals.
Explaining this change in attitude among the celebrities, film critic Rajeev Masand says, “Most of the celebs want to be just like the average Joe and that’s all thanks to the social media. I think one of the major reasons why they share their vulnerabilities and weaknesses with their followers is to create relatability. To show that they aren’t unlike us. I remember Anushka Sharma telling me that she doesn’t think that there will be another set of superstars like the Khans. Because in those times, when the Khans started out, the audience wanted to be like the superstars; it was aspirational. However, with the stars of this generation is the reverse. They want to be like their fans and thus celebs are working in movies that are rooted in reality.”
Rajeev also feels that as public figures and influencers, it is also the celebs’ responsibility to talk about issues that are taboo. “Many of the stars influence the young generation. So, when a celebrity like Parineeti Chopra shows off her stretch marks in style, young girls who follow her will feel more confident about their own bodies. Similarly, when Deepika Padukone talked about battling with depression, many people who have suffered from or were suffering from mental illness got the courage to speak up. So celebs talking about these issues also creates awareness about them.” Personality development expert Suneeta Kanga, however, feels that a celeb should not just talk about their issues, but also do something about it. “They are people all of us look up to. And so when they talk about flaws in their lives it is shocking. However, I feel that while sharing about their shortcomings is a great way to start a positive conversation about a taboo issue, celebs should also work towards helping people dealing with it,” she concludes.
— With inputs from Oishani Mojumder