Celebrity culture is inescapable. Although the phenomenon of celebrity predates the 20th century, in today’s society it is ubiquitous. It is something that we all revel in, regardless of how old we are or how much we claim not to be. Through no fault of our own, we have fallen victim into idolising and becoming positively obsessed with certain people from the film, fashion and music industry. In the grand scope of media we are fed to believe although these people walk the same planet as us, they are somehow living in a different world to ours.
So stumbling upon British actor Douglas Booth in Leeds train station took me by surprise to say the least. His critically acclaimed performance as Boy George in Worried About the Boy (2011) saw him burst into the film industry and he’s gone from strength to strength. Voted last year as Hugo Boss Most Stylish Man by GQ, it’s pretty clear to acknowledge that Booth has fast become a style icon. It goes without saying Booth is a very good-looking man (in real life as well as on screen) and his chiselled features have only aided him in his career. Yet it is prudent to realise that Booth’s career is just one of the many things he cares about.
In light of recent events regarding the refugee crisis, Booth has been a vocal activist on the issue for quite some time. Using the celebrity platform he has been given and taking due advantage of social media, he has managed to raise awareness and inform the hundreds of thousands of followers he has gained. His Twitter feed has countless tweets urging his followers to read articles, donate and become aware of the turmoil refugees are facing. Booth clearly feels very strongly about the issue, having travelled with UNHCR to Greece and meeting refugees at the island of Lesvos. Since then Booth has taken to the streets of London alongside thousands to protest in favour of the refugees, urging the British government to do more. An online profile of Booth is set up on UNHCR website where Booth requests the people of Europe and more specifically the British public to understand the hardships refugees face: ” I urge people to take some time – even just 5 minutes – to look beyond the headlines and get to know one of the millions of people around the world who have been forced to flee their home.“
It is clear to see that Booth wants to do something more worthwhile than to simply be a poster boy. Perhaps Booth feels obliged to help simply out of compassion, not to add to his golden boy status (albeit it will help). In his statement on the UNHCR website Booth states: “No one chooses to be a refugee. No one hopes for war to find them, for friends and family to die, for their home to be destroyed, their education and plans for their future to be interrupted so brutally.” Booth has also attended Tedx Thessaloniki where Melissa Fleming, UNHCR’s Chief of Communications, gave a very moving account of the tragic mass drowning off the shores of Crete and of the unbelievable heroism of one young refugee girl who became a saviour. As well as this, he has also supported UNHCR’s Syria Crisis Appeal and the iBelong campaign aiming to end statelessness.
On the surface Booth is deemed a rising star, working alongside some of the biggest names in cinema today. His popularity grows day by day and with it comes the inevitable gossip and speculation of which female celeb he could be dating, who he went to lunch with etc. Of course, you can’t be friends with Miley Cyrus and expect the tabloids to make no remarks on how friendly your relationship with her is. However, does Booth see himself as this A-list celebrity? Despite walking every red carpet and being well acquainted with some of the most successful faces in the film and fashion industry (Eddie Redmayne, Emma Watson, Cara Delevingne to name but a few), Booth is simply a 23 year old working hard at his day job. How does one make this conclusion? When asking Booth what he’s doing in Leeds, he quickly and quietly replied telling me he was filming a movie there but had taken time out to visit a friend in Sheffield. Douglas then swiftly moved away from the topic of his working life to asking me for help in finding his train after accurately pointing out “The screen keeps on f****** changing!”
A rising star, golden boy celebrity he may be, but with Douglas Booth there’s definitely more than meets the eye. A view I’m sure he’s waiting for many more to grasp.