Getting closer to the idols

Shout out platforms like Sqwift Stars connect celebrities with their fans on a direct and personal level by ordering personalised messages

By AZALEA AZUAR / Pic AFP

VOYEURISM might give a certain “dirty” connotation to the older generation, but in the current age of technology where everyone can be a stalker, it could be the keyword to some money-making schemes.

These days, if you have an Instagram or Twitter account, you could end up with a lot of money—if you’re famous enough with hordes of followers.

A good example is the long-running reality show “Keeping Up With The Kardashians”, which follows the personal and professional lives of the Kardashian and Jenner family.

After more than a decade, it’s time to say goodbye to their lives, but the hit E! TV series has created a record on its own.

Kim Kardashian’s marriage to basketball player Kris Humphries alone gained more than 10.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched episode ever.

Throughout the run of the show, the Kardashians have gained fame and fortune which also include sponsorship and endorsement for various products.

Celebrities, the Symbol of Perfection

According to family therapist Dr Kathryn Smerling, everyday people can’t help but romanticise their relationships with celebrities, which usually results in huge commercial gains for the latter, too.

Another therapist from the American Board of Professional Psychology, Dr Cortney S Warren said society has come to the point of idolising their favourite celebrities who are seen as “flawless” — to a point that they do not seem to be human or real.

Unhealthy Obsessions that Lead to Crime

Being too obsessed about certain things can have negative psychological effects. You might have heard of “celebrity worship syndrome” (CWS), which is an obsessive-addictive disorder where one becomes too involved and completely obsessed with a celebrity’s personal life — in detail.

In fact, one might remember a celebrity’s birthday more clearly than their parents’ anniversary.

Researchers have found that there is a link between poor mental health such as depression and high anxiety with CWS among participants.

Though most of the studies have been carried out on adults, it seems to be more prevalent among adolescents.

The survey revealed that there is a relationship between intense- personal celebrity worship and body image among female adolescents aged 14 to 16.

Apparently, teenage girls who identify with celebrities have much poorer body image compared to other groups in the studies.

Individuals who are often obsessed with celebrities usually suffer high levels of dissociation and are prone to fantasies.

They would also be involved with criminal activities, going as far as stalking and harassing their idols online.

One infamous celebrity obsession story would be the John Lennon murder. Lennon’s American fan, Mark Chapman, shot Lennon four times outside his New York Manhattan apartment in 1980.

Well, too much of something that you love isn’t good anyway.

Personally Connecting with Your Stars

I get to personalise their requests for me to sing, share recipes or even wish them success, says Fazley Yaakob (source: YouTube)

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, hardcore fans of certain big names were known to camp out at red carpet premieres.

They’d scream their lungs out with pure excitement as stars exit their limousines wearing fancy Giorgio Armani suits or gorgeous designer dresses.

While such acts are impossible amid the pandemic, but the advent of technology and social media means fans are able to connect with their celebrities, any time, any day.

This “new normal” has prompted celebrities to video messaging; with shout out platforms like Sqwift

Stars connecting celebrities with their fans on a direct and personal level by ordering personalised messages.

Using a streamlined process while removing the “golden ticket” infrastructure, fans and celebrities are able to connect discreetly and directly.

They can ask for well-wishes, holiday or festival greetings, or even motivational messages, tips or advice.

Star power does have its advantage when it comes to promoting products.

Much like how renowned Penang fashion designer Datuk Rizalman Ibrahim uses his Instagram account to promote small businesses.

Sqwift Stars, on the other hand, helps small and medium enterprises and start-ups, which aren’t able to afford hefty endorsement fees, create opportunities for cross-marketing and product launches for niche brands.

The app was launched in July 2020 in Singapore with bigger goals of establishing a cross-border community of the most influential talent in the region.

Sqwift Stars will also foster collaboration and raise awareness for causes through exclusive events and charities.

It thrills me to know that I am able to make someone’s day by just connecting with them, and Sqwift Stars allows me to do that, says Nelydia Senrose (source: www.xtra.com.my)

Its co-founder Ranjeet Rustogi said celebrities are people who are ready to share their lives for public viewing, which creates a purely parasocial relationship with fans.

“In this borderless new world, we should be celebrating these relationships by focusing on creating real connections and solving the needs of the modern fan.

“In less than two months since the app’s soft-launch, we have stars not just from Malaysia, but Indonesia, Australia and India.

“Sqwift Stars’ roster of stars is truly a kaleidoscope of disciplines, ranging from actors, TV hosts, athletes, comedians, magicians, DJs and moviemakers, to name a few,” he said.

Rustogi is professionally a pro- duct engineer who has become a prolific tech inventor and gained recognition in conceiving and designing breakthrough, disruptive technologies, products and services in a wide range of fields.

Via Sqwift Stars, Rustogi is getting more Malaysian celebrities to get closer and personal with their fans.

One of them is Nik Zaris Nelydia Nik Sen, a popular actress better known as Nelydia Senrose. The app has enabled her to connect more with her fans.

“It thrills me to know that I am able to make someone’s day by just connecting with them, and Sqwift Stars allows me to do that,” she commented.

MasterChef Celebrity Malaysia champion Datuk Fazley Yaakob said he now feels closer to his followers with this app.

“I get to personalise their requests for me to sing, share recipes or even wish them success,” he explained.

Actor, singer, comedian and TV host Datuk AC Mizal is equally excited about Sqwift Stars.

“I believe Sqwift Stars creates opportunities for everybody. For me, it gives me the chance to share positive messages and encourage someone. I’m really excited to see where this goes.” he said.

Currently, the platform has 31 A-list stars from four countries. For more information on Sqwift Stars, and to subscribe to it, log on to https://sqwift.com.