In the age of iPhones and Instagram, selfies with celebrities have replaced the traditional autograph. It’s hard to imagine a star encounter these days without fans leaving with some sort of digital evidence of their meeting. And while it’s become so much easier to document significant moments like meeting your idol, it’s also put a ton of pressure on celebrities who may not be picture-ready at every moment of their lives.
Though we’re not ones to harp on the negative side effects of technology, there is something to be said in regard to the way camera phones have significantly reduced the intimacy of face-to-face celebrity encounters. Instead of spending a minute to tell their idols what they mean to them, you’ll more commonly see fans using that minute to whip out their phones for a quick selfie. Some celebrities have taken a stand on the matter, issuing a hard pass on taking photos with fans. Find out who they are, ahead.
A version of this article was originally published in August 2017.
Big Little Lies star Shailene Woodley went on the record with Glamour in September 2016 regarding why she doesn't take any photos with fans on the street.
"I'm like, 'I'll give you a hug, but I'm not going to take a photo with you.' And people ask why, and they don’t understand why," Woodley said. "With social media, so much of our lives I feel like is a projection of who we want to be or who we wish we were. And I refuse to buy into that, especially for younger generations. The more we allow a certain projection, the more we’re feeding a generation to distance themselves from self-awareness and self-realization, which I think will create a lot of issues for them on a personal level later on in life."
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According to ScreenRant, The Vampire Diaries alum Ian Somerhalder addressed a crowd in Paris in Mary 2015, telling them he wasn't taking any photos.
“Hey guys, listen. No, no, stop. Everybody, listen, I love you guys. I’m not taking a single photo today; it’s my day…”
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Game of Thrones' Kit Harington is a massive star, especially overseas. When he opened up to The Guardian in October 2017 about the GoT fandom, he spoke about how he eventually has to turn down photos with fans.
“Like, being in Spain and there being a crowd of 500, maybe 600 fans camped outside the hotel every day, and you have to get through them. It feels like being Bieber or something.”
He admits he even has days where he won't take pictures at all with people. “But you just have to, otherwise you start feeling like a mannequin," he says.
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As one of the biggest actresses in Hollywood, Lawrence is bound to have her opinions on fame.
In a 2013 interview with CNN, the actress opened up about having a microscopic lens trained on her and how it has affected her mental health. Something that's helped her cope is sometimes saying no to fans who request a selfie.
"Sometimes I'm nice, sometimes I'm in a bad mood. Like, if I'm at dinner and I'm eating and somebody wants me to stand up and take a picture, it's like—that's actually helped with my anxiety, is knowing that I don't have to say yes and I can say no," Lawrence said. "Because it used to be I didn't want to go out, I didn't want to go to dinner. If I went to dinner, I was wrapped up and then I was like, you know what? I don't have to do it. I can just say no, and that's helped a lot. So it is hard because you don't want to feel rude, because they're people, but at the same time, I have to defend my life and my mental wellness."
Since his explosion as a movie star, Pratt has become familiar with the downside of fame. In an interview with Cigar Aficionado in April 2017, the actor revealed that he no longer takes selfie because of how disingenuous the encounters have become.
"If I go out and want to do normal things, I have to be comfortable disappointing people. So I just don't take pictures with people. Because that's not about enjoying the moment; it's about stealing the moment to brag about later," Pratt said. "Now, when he's asked to take a picture in public, he responds, "'Would you settle for a handshake?' And then they take the picture anyway.”
For the Harry Potter star, fan selfies can potentially lead to an unsafe situation.
In a February 2017 interview with Vanity Fair, the Beauty and the Beast actress opened up about her qualms with with fan hysteria in a social media age.
“For me, it’s the difference between being able to have a life and not. If someone takes a photograph of me and posts it, within two seconds they’ve created a marker of exactly where I am within 10 meters,” she said. "They can see what I’m wearing and who I’m with. I just can’t give that tracking data."
After a man rushed her last year, demanding a selfie, the comedian swore off pictures with fans. The Inside Amy Schumer creator said that although she asked the man to stop taking pictures of her, the assailant told her, "No. It's America and we paid for you."
"Yes, legally you are allowed to take a picture of me. But I was asking you to stop and saying no. I will not take picture with people anymore and it's because of this dude in Greenville," she wrote on her Instagram in April 2016.
As someone who started in Hollywood as a preteen, the singer has become quite jaded with fame. After being called a "prick" by a fan for refusing to take a picture, Bieber took to Instagram in May 2016 to announce that he's sworn off taking selfies with fans. Along with canceling his meet-and-greets at the time, Bieber also argued that just because people buy his music, it does not give them the right to invade his privacy with ceaseless pictures.
“If you happen to see me out somewhere know that I’m not gonna take a picture. I’m done taking pictures. It has gotten to the point that people won’t even say hi to me or recognize me as a human, I feel like a zoo animal, and I wanna be able to keep my sanity,” he wrote. “I realize people will be disappointed but I don’t owe anybody a picture. and people who say ‘but I bought ur album’ know that you got my album and you got what you paid for AN ALBUM! It doesn’t say in fine print whenever you see me you also get a photo."
In an April 2016 interview with Nylon, the Game of Thrones star opened up about her newfound fame since her television show exploded in 2011.
When imagining herself in the shoes of fans, Williams said she would prefer to hang out with someone she idolizes, rather than snap a photo with them, which is why she's become put off to taking fan selfies.
“If I was really in love with someone, I wouldn’t just want a picture. I would want to hang out with them,” she said.
In a now-deleted tweet, Lorde ranted about how fame has led people to film and photograph her without her consent. The tweet—which Lorde posted in 2014, around the time her debut single "Royals" became a hit—called attention to how, despite being legal, photographing people in public is is an invasion of privacy.
"I understand that people of note are supposedly fair game for everyone to photograph and film but that doesn’t make it acceptable,” she tweeted.
In a December 2013 interview with Paper magazine, the Parks and Recreation star slammed the public's obsession with celebrities and social media. In the interview, the comedian revealed that she has a hard time saying "yes" to fans who ask for pictures while she's out in public.
"The amount of Instagram selfies seems crazy out-of-control. The idea of, 'This is my face and everyone needs to see it all the time,' is so far from the privacy that people used to seek,” she said. “If I'm hanging out with a friend, and they take a picture of me, it's like, 'Ugh.' I mean, I hate looking at pictures of myself. It immediately takes me out of the experience."
The former Disney Channel star has been in the Hollywood game since she was 11. But that doesn't mean it's gotten any easier.
In an interview with Barbara Walters in 2013, the "Malibu" singer revealed that she's extremely awkward in fan pictures, which is why she usually sticks out her tongue to nix any awkwardness.
"I get embarrassed to take pictures. That’s actually the truth. I’m so embarrassed, because people are taking pictures of me, and I just don’t know how to," Cyrus said. "I don’t know how to smile."
As a royal, Prince Harry is fairly old-fashioned. While at an event in 2015, the 33-year-old reportedly turned down a fan who requested a photo, telling her, "No, I hate selfies. Seriously, you need to get out of it. I know you're young, but selfies are bad. Just take a normal photograph."