Friday, October 29, 2010

Dori Hartley on fans, fame, and raising her daughter

"I'm only into her self-esteem, her happiness and her individuality. Her life belongs to her, not me. I don't own her, I only love and guide her with everything I have in me."

Rocky Horror Picture Show star and ParentDish blogger Dori Hartley generously agreed to give us an exclusive interview this week. Thank you, Dori, for giving us your time. Dori talks openly about being thrust into fame, how she dealt with overzealous fans ("I was horrified," Dori says), and raising a grounded and well-adjusted child.

15 minutes Gosselin Style: You were just 18 years old when you first became “a star.” What was it like to suddenly be thrust into the spotlight?

DORI: It was a delight, actually, because at that age, I was ready for fun and had the energy to do everything and be everything, everywhere. It all really happened as a fluke. Getting famous for what I did wasn't part of the plan. I was simply a teenager who happened to have done something that nobody else did before me, so it caused a lot of attention. Being that it was a theatrical type of event, the attention it caused was theatrical in nature. Had I done something else, like figured out some kind of math equation, I'm sure my fame would be somewhat different.

You talk about how people lined up for your autograph. Did this kind of attention ever go to your head?

Quite the contrary. Nothing ever went to my head, in fact, as the years went by, one of the strangest things that I had to (somewhat) combat, was that something was always assumed to be going to my head, by those who'd never met me or had spoken with me. Much of being a public figure comes with what people project on to you, as opposed to what is real. I've had people throw themselves at my boots, kissing them. I was horrified. I remember pulling the girl up and begging her to please never disgrace herself like that again, that no human being should grovel before another. I am only just me. Not better or worse than anyone else. As for autographs, if it makes someone happy, then it is fine with me. I do not wish to be worshipped.

Some celebs are notorious for blowing off their fans. How do you feel about your fan base and do you have interactions with them?

If I have fans, then I respect them as human beings with minds, hearts and the generosity to find a place in their hearts for me. We are all the same. Respect is the name of the game here. No respect equals no relation equals no communication.

You have your hands on a lot of different things, from writing for ParentDish to your music to web design. How important is it to the longevity of a career in the business to spread yourself around and diversify?

Diversity is not always a great thing. Not when it comes to professions. I have been involved in so many projects in varied fields of the arts, and not always does this work for me. My main focus is writing. I am a novelist. Everything else is just part of the contingency plan. Right now, my main goal is to get my novel, Angels and Echoes, published.

Do you think it’s difficult to be the child of a parent who is in the public eye? What kind of effect does this have on children?

I think it's very different for a child who grows up under the parenting of celebs. I can't imagine how that feels. On one hand, the money must make for great opportunity. On the other hand, the parent may not possibly be available on a steady basis. I wouldn't want to take away anything that my child deserves, especially my love and million percent attention, if that's what she wants. We have one life to live, as ourselves, in these forms. Now, really is the moment. I will never be the parent who will ever say, "where did the time go?" because I am with her all the time. It's a very good life. Every moment of my life is for my child, and since the day she was born, she's had my full attention.

Why do you think we hear about so many people who become instant celebrities who end up with serious problems--such as losing all their money or turning to illegal substances?

Probably because fame is so invasive. Between people constantly judging you and freely insulting you for whatever it is that gives them power that day, and the influences around them that tell them they can escape through drugs, a celebrity who isn't grounded in what works for them, might fall prey to advice as well as threat.

Any comments on the appeal of reality TV and America’s fascination with real families? Quite different from the Rocky Horror phenomenon which is all about transforming into someone else.

Rocky Horror was more than a phenomenon -- it was a phenomenon that was a product of the times, which were the 70's. In the 70's, this was break-out thinking. Now, Rocky Horror is sweet, even naive. Rocky Horror's appeal is both daring and wholesome. I do not watch reality tv, so I do not know what the appeal is. I watch Law and Order, The Event, House and some news. That's about it.

Why do you think your daughter isn’t really interested in the “exciting” lifestyle you had?

I'm only into her self-esteem, her happiness and her individuality. I love to support her thinking, and it doesn't even slightly affect me, whether she's into discovering my past or not. To me, that would be oppressive, and I'm just not that. Live and let live. Her life belongs to her, not me. I don't own her, I only love and guide her with everything I have in me.

Would you like your daughter to have a career in the public eye when she grows up?

Only if that's what she wants. I know she's interested in being behind the camera, possibly directing videos. She'd be great at that, she's a naturally gifted director.

Do you think about how you would introduce your past to your kids before you had your daughter? Was there a reason you did not mention it to your daughter until she was older?

I never mentioned it then, now or at any time in between. It follows me. I was out of Rocky Horror for years and years before I had my child. It wasn't a part of my life, in fact, it's not a part of my life now, I am a part of its life. I'm a part of its history. It asks for me, I don't ask for it. When letter after letter comes in and my child notices it, that's how she's introduced to it. When VH1 Behind the Music came to interview me, my daughter was in the crib, in the next room, asleep. Rocky Horror is always there, it's like the background. She sees it's the background in my life, and so it becomes the background in her life as well. You have to understand, Rocky Horror is not something I have any kind of conscience for. It's just there, like the Mafia. And I'm that godfather-type figure. No matter where I go, they keep pulling me back. I don't mind, in fact, I've come to accept it. If my daughter never sees the movie it will be the last thing on my mind. I respond to things related to Rocky Horror, because there are people who care about what I say on the matter. For these people, I will continue to share my experience.

Do you share photos of your daughter with fans?

No photos of my daughter. Ever. This is my strict rule.

8 sediments (sic) from readers:

Doris said...

Dori sounds like she has her priorities straight where children are concerned, and has a good grasp of the fickleness of fame.

Quite the contrast to the fame whoring, pimp Kate Gosselin; who has sold her children's child hood for rotted scraps from the empty life of fame. Kate is an pathetic, empty shell.

I hope that some day she will turn back to her roots, but based on the endless depths of her narcissism...I doubt it will happen.

PJ's momma said...

Wow, I got teary-eyed reading this. She's an amazing person and an amazing mother. I wish she'd been my mom, or at least given her counsel. I love the second to last paragraph where she said in essence that the fame is just there, and it asks for her, she doesn't ask for it. I haven't seen anything that insightful in a very long time,and NEVER from the Gosselin parents.

Hippie Chick said...

I'm only into her self-esteem, her happiness and her individuality. I love to support her thinking, and it doesn't even slightly affect me, whether she's into discovering my past or not. To me, that would be oppressive, and I'm just not that. Live and let live. Her life belongs to her, not me. I don't own her, I only love and guide her with everything I have in me.


How refreshing!! And the part of her saying she would never share photos of her daughter. If only certain people would see that there are parents out there, in the public eye, who want to protect, nurture & keep their children away from prying eyes. Great piece Admin!

A Pink Straight Jacket For Kate said...

Dori is a very grounded person, her daughter is fortunate to have her for a mom.

Too bad certain people put money and fame before their children.

Remember: Kate + 8 is scheduled for Nov 7.
If you want to make a difference, BOYCOTT Kate + 8 and any show that exploits children.

Free the Gosselin 8, vote with your remote!!

Happy Friday ya'll...

Crabitha Codswallop said...

Dori sounds like a great mom.

Very smart lady who is able to discern what's really important in life. Her daughter is very fortunate to have a mother whose priorities are in order.

Ronda said...

Loved this, thank you!

NancyB said...

Delightful and very heart warming to read her intelligent responses to your questions on her experiences with celebrity. She seems to be a very solid, grounded down to earth person. So focused on dgt's feelings and protective of her. Strict rule of no photos ever. Loved that. How refreshing!

Betsy said...

So glad to hear that not everyone thinks filming your kids bowel movements or them in their undawears is for everyone to see.

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