Hollywood’s Universal Appeal

It's fascinating that while Aussies drive on the opposite side of the road, use words I've never heard, eat Vegemite, and play cricket, that we still have something in common - Hollywood. Being from America, I'm always surprised at how influential our entertainment industry is on the rest of the world. Whether it's movie posters on street corners, Jay Leno recaps on their morning news or a waiter inquiring about whether I'd ever seen a movie star in person; Hollywood's impact is worldwide.

In today's world we have the ability to share our ideas, our cultures bleed together and our influences are often international, transcending both boundaries and borders. One of my favorite things to do when traveling is people watching. I love seeing how the social norms impact people, from the clothes they wear to the way they walk, talk and eat; you can learn so much about a country and the people in it when you watch them doing the most basic things.

One day, my mom and I sat at a restaurant in a very busy square in Brisbane on Queen Street. We ate lunch and silently giggled at all the differences that in America would make a person stick out like a sore thumb and yet here, were completely acceptable, if not normal. We saw emo boys, mini skirts and mirrored high heels, Crocodile Hunter attire, punk piercings and the best accessory worn by all, a thick Aussie accent.

Since I live in Los Angeles, I sometimes don't realize how influential our culture is not only on the rest of America, but the rest of the world. While the entertainment industry may not tell people what to think, it certainly influences what they think about. I've had conversations with young Aussies wanting to move to California to pursue music, a girl on the train aspiring to sing in the lounges of New York and the hopes of one day seeing the Hollywood sign.

While I think other countries are powerfully influential in business, religion, politics and fashion; the USA clearly packs a big punch when it comes to celebrities. In the past I always heard that a smile transcends country, language or culture. I venture to say so do our A-list celebrities. I was asked about Christian Bale’s outburst on set, Julia Roberts making a comeback, my thoughts on the Bachelor’s finicky behavior and Natasha Richardson’s unexpected skiing accident.

I think it’s both an honor and a responsibility to know that we spearhead an industry as influential as Hollywood and that as a country we have a voice heard around the world. I can only hope that we are conscious about our thoughts, our words and our actions, as they are being broadcast on a universal microphone, received by and influencing the entire world. For our actors, the industry’s best storytellers, musicians, producers, directors, athletes and the other most influential players — you now play the 21st Century role of the gods we read about in mythology, the kings and queens of the Medieval period, the ruling class of Roman times and governments of today.

As power has an inseparable shadow of responsibility, may history look back on your reign as those who used their power for good, inspired their people, encouraged the weak and provided an example by which society was made better. We are only as strong as our weakest leaders, so don’t let us down Hollywood, we need you more than ever.Images courtesy of Visitingdc.com, Hollywood.com

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