Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson routinely tops yearly lists of highest paid actors, with some even naming him the highest paid actor ever in Hollywood. Do I think Johnson merits being the highest paid actor? (And please note I’m pronouncing it in my head with a Laurence Olivier flair as acTOR!) If we’re talking about acting as a craft/art form, then no, I do not. But I totally understand how he’s amassed the hefty paydays, and I enjoy the comedy and physical agility he brings on screen. What I enjoy about him most, though, is how consistently and genuinely he pays it forward. From donating seven figures to keep striking actors afloat, to surprising fans on a celeb tour bus in his LA neighborhood, to setting up UFC fighter Themba Gorimbo with a new, furnished house in Miami, Johnson is like a huge, jacked fairy godmother. Over the weekend Johnson took to Instagram to answer a fan’s question on the drawbacks to fame… he had none:
A lucky son of a b: “I have been a lucky son of a bitch to have been famous for a long time, and I realize that there are no drawbacks to fame because I remember how s— once was,” he added. “Back in the day, the alternative to fame [was] not being famous, and I couldn’t pay rent, I was struggling to figure out who I was, I was broke as f—. I try my best to keep all of that in the forefront of my mind.”
He lives like he’s ‘a day away’ from losing it all: “I never let that go,” he continued. “I always say, ‘I’m a day away from being evicted again’ so it keeps me hungry. So for me, there are no drawbacks to fame. I got a lot of celebrity friends who completely disagree with me, and that’s okay. We have had healthy discussions about fame. And that’s okay, having a difference of opinion. It invites dialogue. It invites discussion. But for me, there are no drawbacks.”
LOL, he misses the mall: “I miss going to the mall. I miss going to the stores. Just hopping in my car and going [to the] grocery store, drug store, the mall, wherever,” Johnson said. “All that has gone away years and years ago, so anytime I go, it’s a thing. Gotta call ahead, logistics, security.” Johnson also admitted that every now and then he does get the urge to go shopping by himself, but things eventually turn into a “zoo.”
Don’t chase fame: “I always tell people this. There’s young digital influencers out there, social media, entertainment, singers, athletes, all these young bloods who think, ‘Hey, I gotta chase fame, greatness equals fame, fame equals greatness.’ And I always share this with everybody I talk to,” Johnson added.
Chase greatness: “I learned over the years to not chase fame, and I share that with people today who are on the come up,” he continued. “Don’t chase fame. Chase being great at something. Chase greatness. Fame will come, or it won’t, but if you’re great at something, that’s enduring.” Johnson then shared a quote from legendary running back Walter Payton: “If you’re good at something, you will tell everyone. If you’re great, they’ll tell you.”
Ok, so at the beginning I felt like he was equating “fame” with “success.” To me, they’re very different animals. Success helps you pay the rent, success contributes to your sense of self. Fame is what’s making it hard for him to go grocery shopping (allegedly, though I love the image of him calling Ralphs for a security briefing, “I need bananas — cover aisle 10!”) I wholeheartedly agree with his comment on greatness, lofty as it sounds. Someone once said to me that pure concentration is the key to happiness. If you’re working towards greatness, you have to be fully concentrated on mastering each facet, each level. And I bet Johnson would concur that happiness is even greater than fame. Now someone treat that man to a normal, low-key visit to a mall, pronto!
Photos credit: SI/Avalon, Acero/Alter Photos/Avalon and via Instagram
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