Carlos Bustamante’s 5 Truths About Hollywood
As a reporter on ET Canada, Carlos Bustamante is used to life in the spotlight. He’s had a front row seat to the glam life of Hollywood and has witnessed first-hand the making of stardom. That’s why he knows all too well that fame is not as simple as it seems. Behind every success story is not only years of struggle, but a team of people to manage everything from hair, makeup and publicity to being responsible for what comes next. What else he sees? Hollywood life is not all it’s cracked up to be, which is something he thinks every star-struck teen needs to understand. We sat down with Bustamante to chat about the realities of Hollywood and fame, and the messages he wants every teen to know.
By Rachel Naud
Your kids are still young but if they become interested in Hollywood glam, what will you tell them?
They’ll understand how unreal a lot of what they see is. I have friends that are makeup artists and publicists that work with actors. There is a community of people that make a famous person famous. They will understand that. If they become obsessed with fame or want people to know who they are, they will understand that there is work that goes into becoming a top-rated movie star. You don’t just wake up one day and have someone discover you. More often than not, it comes from years of hard work, whether you want to be an actor or a musician. Behind every success story is one about a person working for decades before a big break finally came along and 100 more people that never got their big break. The main lesson I want them to learn is that if they choose a career that might end up in fame, their main focus should be their love for their craft. Because if they don’t have that, they’ll never be happy trying to make it.
How do you think Instagram and other social media feeds have influenced the desire to be famous?
I think social media has made fame accessible. Anyone can pick up a phone and record themselves. The possibility becomes so much closer to home. You don’t have to live in L.A. to make it big. But they still have to understand that the YouTubers who have the highest followers or have endorsement deals work every single day, which is why there are stories that some of them burn out for a bit and have to take a break. We think of A-list celebs, there is a bit of separation of what you see on screen and what’s real. But for YouTubers or influencers, their personal life is what people want to see. Authenticity is big for social media stars. It takes a lot of work, and I respect that.
Do you think social media has given teens easy access to find new role models? What is the danger of this?
It’s really important for teens to be media savvy. They need to know that a picture is photoshopped or filtered a million times or that someone paid them to go to St. Lucia to take that picture. I think it’s easy to get caught up in the fantasy of it all.
Parents of teens need to explain the reality of things. This is work. This person got paid. Be frank about those things. It’s key because the access to social media is immediate. Most teens have phones and their phones are the majority of their life and they can get caught up in it. That’s why they need to have a good balance of being able to use their phones for entertainment but still go out in the real world and have real relationships with people. Teens are so vulnerable. It’s important to get them to understand what’s real and what’s not and empower them to make choices and have self-esteem to know if they see a celebrity on a beautiful beach wearing great clothes – it’s not the most important thing in life. And they don’t wake up like that. They have people doing their hair and makeup. There’s a whole thing that goes into it.
For those who think Hollywood culture and fame is everything, what do you want to tell them about the 5 truths of Hollywood culture that they might not know and/or realize.
1. Stars didn’t wake up like that. There is a whole team of people that go into making someone look fantastic on screen or in a photo shoot. People can be in makeup for hours before they look like natural beauties. That’s important for those teens concerned about their appearance. They think the person is flawless and has no pimples or wrinkles but, yes, they do. They’re just covered up.
2. It takes long hours. Being a movie star looks like all glitz and glam but shooting a film means working 12 to 18 hours a day. And, they are expected to do that day after day. Sure, they’ll get days off but imagine a 60-day shoot of 18-hour days. I would go stir crazy. Those are long hours.
3. Green screen is king right now. Actors are still getting used to acting in front of a giant blue wall. Josh Brolin in Infinity War was in front of a coloured screen using his imagination. It’s fantasy. In terms of green screen and super hero movies, a lot of what you see in the movies is green screen—even a street or sunset. It may look real but it’s not actually there.
4. It takes a village to make a star. Actors need agents, managers, publicists and social media to elevate their success. As hard as they work on their craft, they have teams of people working at their own craft to elevate that personality to make sure the world knows who that person is.
5. Love what you do. For anyone obsessed with fame, the idea is you have to love the craft more than you love fame. You have to love the act of creating —whether acting, influencing, or making music.