“I’ll see you in Mystic Falls”: intimacy, feelings, and public issues in Ian Somerhalder’s celebrity activism

Kyra Hunting, Ashley Hinck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Critics of celebrity activism often assume that fans blindly follow celebrities who invite them to support celebrity activism and charity. These fans are often imagined as participating in celebrity activism only because their beloved celebrity asked them to — not out of any kind of rational understanding of a political issue, awareness of a public problem, or commitment to a public issue. We contest this view of celebrity activism. Drawing on scholars like Bennett, Ellcessor, and Chouliaraki, we argue that the case of Ian Somerhalder demonstrates that a commitment to a celebrity may actually be connected to a commitment to a public issue. We trace the ways in which Somerhalder plays with the slippage between television celebrity and his character, arguing that such slippage merges the intimacy fans feel for Damon with the intimacy fans feel for Somerhalder and imbues Somerhalder’s environmental appeals with the values his on-screen character comes to represent in The Vampire Diaries. We argue that Somerhalder deploys themes and ideals from The Vampire Diaries in his communication with fans and in his activist appeals. Ultimately, Somerhalder’s celebrity activism demonstrates how intimacy with celebrities might function to connect fans to public issues in powerful ways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-448
Number of pages17
JournalCritical Studies in Media Communication
Volume34
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 20 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 National Communication Association.

Keywords

  • television
  • The Vampire Diaries
  • affect
  • celebrity activism
  • social media
  • fandom
  • gender
  • masculinity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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