Celebrity crushes go beyond appearances

Celebrities often seem like unreachable, impossibly beautiful super-beings. If you ask around, it seems like almost everybody has a crush on at least one. This concept sparks a commonly asked question that frequently triggers debates on campus: Who is your celebrity crush?

This surface-level concept may go a bit deeper than mere attraction to celebrities’ looks. When carefully picked apart, it can cause new questions to arise: Are we attracted to celebrities in the same way that we’re attracted to our significant others or peers? When we have a seemingly endless selection of near-perfect people to have crushes on, do we pick based solely off looks, or does the attraction ever go deeper?

DeSoto freshman Lars Erickson said he feels a connection to his celebrity crush, Anna Kendrick, mostly because of her voice and laid back style.

“Her voice is like an angelic wind whispering through my heart,” Erickson said. “I follow her on Twitter and her posts excite my heart. They show she has a unique personality. She has 2 million followers but she’s not afraid to show her goofy side.”

Relationship counselors Linda and Charlie Bloom wrote in a February 2013 Psychology Today article that, beyond looks, attraction is based around a person’s “capacity to bring more healing, passion, peace, exuberance, ease, fulfillment or joy into our life.” The article goes on to claim that the vast majority of people enter adulthood with a sense of emotional insufficiency and a diminished sense of self. People often enter relationships with people they feel will fill these voids and provide emotional fulfillment to their lives. Professor and Director of KU Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Dr. Elizabeth Penick said a celebrity crush may stem from a similar need.

“If that uniquely melded image [celebrity looks and personal] touches some sort of longing or desire or lack in the individual, then a crush is formed,” Penick said.

The thought of celebrity crushes filling some emotional void is not necessarily the all-encompassing rule. For Austin Haugh, a senior from Olathe, his crush on Mila Kunis stemmed from looks, but also from being impressed by her acting resume.

“She’s had a variety of roles, from TV shows like ‘That ‘70s Show’ to Hollywood movies,” Haugh said. “I find it attractive that she’s been able to make this jump and play such a variety of roles and bring both her humor and sincerity into them.”

Despite the existence of people’s non-shallow feelings for their celebrity crushes, looks play a very important role in the attraction process. According to a September 2013 Huffington Post article, physical attraction stems from a combination of factors, from symmetrical faces to the eye and hair color of your opposite-sex parent.

Emily Harsh, a senior from Topeka, said her attraction to James Marsden bloomed mostly from his looks.
“I could stare into his eyes all day,” Harsh said.

Penick said she thinks celebrity crushes start with a basic attraction to looks, then allure to the celebrity’s personality manifests.

“I would estimate that looks do play a primary role,” Penick said. “After looks comes the persona that the celebrity is attempting to project, for example macho versus sensitive for men or provocatively sexy versus strong and virtuous for women. Then, the theory goes, the individual puts those two things together in his or her mind to form a uniquely melded image.”

  • Updated Mar. 5, 2014 at 8:42 pm