By Asher Hancock:
The personalized celebrity message website, Cameo, has gained immense popularity after launching in 2018. Users can buy videos wishing them or a friend a happy birthday or helping with a cute promposal. Celebrities on the site range from The Bachelor Host, Chris Harrison, to the former host of To Catch a Predator, Chris Hanson.
I have been lucky enough to beta test a soon to be released feature of the website simply known as AFC meaning Audition for Cameo (not to be confused with the Asian Football Confederation). During this quarantine, many celebrities are down on their luck and struggling to get by, and many of them are turning to Cameo for their well-needed paychecks. As celebrities become more desperate for cash flow, Cameo is introducing the AFC feature where they can audition and compete with other celebrities to be chosen to give a personalized celebrity message. Whereas the talent were previously able to list their own prices, with the AFC feature the users set the price. For jobs as low as $10 celebrities have been seen going to great lengths just to get by.
For the beta test Cameo gave me $1,000 to offer to celebrities for different types of messages. I started by posting a request for a simple birthday message for a payment of 50 dollars.
The first audition I received was from John Legend who wrote a beautiful and weirdly romantic original birthday song for me. His wife, Chrissy Tiegen also auditioned for the job separately, primarily out of spite because Legend had spent their remaining money on a new Louis Vuitton coat. She simply offered to send me the coat in return for the job. Although reselling the coat would’ve made them a lot more than 50 dollars, Tiegen is a self-proclaimed “woman of principle,” and in return for the $3,000 coat I was more than happy to pay her the $50.
The next job I offered was for a coronavirus well wishes message with a pay of $200. I was surprised to see that one of the top coronavirus experts, Dr. Anthony Fauci, was one of the first to respond. He told me that Trump has stopped paying him because of in-house disagreements and he was looking for some extra cash. While he provided valuable facts and white house secrets, he did not compare to the following audition.
Brad Pitt who played Fauci on SNL a few nights ago, auditioned after Fauci, playing the role of Fauci. Pitt’s performance was much more realistic and unlike the first I could really believe it was actually Fauci.
After I witnessed Soulja Boy eat an entire cake with his bare hands for $250, I offered the remaining $500 to any celebrity with any self respect left. I was hopeful when the Rock sent in a video but was disappointed when he broke down midway about how being in Moana was the only thing that ever made him happy.
Since no one else auditioned for the job, Cameo let me keep the leftover money and asked me to write an article providing my biggest takeaway from the experience. I’m still not quite sure whether there’s any message beside being stuck at home brings out the worst in people. Except for Owen Wilson though. I feel like he’s probably doing well. At least I hope he is.