Stuck at home, celebrities are finding new outlets in cars, pottery and more.

By Marissa Lee.

Thanks to the increased time at home in the past year, many have turned to hobbies and side hustles to help pass the time. Whether it’s playing an instrument, learning to cook, or finally opening that Etsy shop, this year has been one of pastimes and new skills.

What’s most interesting are the celebrities who have taken part in this inundation of hobbies. Since life went essentially virtual just over a year ago, celebrities have developed a new sense of closeness with their fans. Left to their own devices, these individuals are taking the time to share their interests with their audience.

One particular standout is Canadian actor Seth Rogen’s foray into the world of pottery. What started with small, misshapen ashtrays soon morphed into collections of artistic carafes and decorative pots under his cannabis company Houseplant. Internet users have since relished in the thought of Mr. Rogen making pottery, loving the idea that he sits in his garage in LA over a lump of clay and a spinning wheel.

Another homegrown hobby broadcasted onto the internet is Euphoria star Sydney Sweeney’s vintage car restoration project. Under the TikTok account @syds_garage, Sweeney posts videos of herself restoring a 1969 Ford Bronco truck to the delight of fans everywhere. The account has quickly gained over 150,000 followers and reached up to 1.1 million views on certain videos.

There’s an authentic quality to these hobbies—more so than in some of the other celebrity businesses to have emerged over the years. It’s one thing for a public figure to make clay pots in their garage in their spare time, it’s another to put their name on a bottle of tequila or a lipstick that they weren’t necessarily involved in making. The regular celebrity side business, which usually involves a celebrity endorsing a product through a licensing company, has frequently been called out in recent times. The newfound closeness social media affords allows fans more intimacy but it also allows them to more easily see through celebrities’ thinly veiled attempts at business practices. Fans want to see what their favorite celebrity is all about, not how much money they can pay to license a perfume.

What’s most truthful about this phenomenon is the ability to see what these celebrities, occasionally seen as unreachable, are really interested in. Steve Lacy, famed R&B singer and songwriter, started his own fashion archive, sardonically titled FitVomit. With over 56,000 followers on the account, Lacy doesn’t follow any other pages, simply using the page to archive his favorites of the outfits he’s styled, an interest he came upon in depth after coming out as queer in 2018. The outfits he displays offer a new dimension to his character, showing his deep love for androgynous and genderqueer fashions.

The paradigms of fame are certainly shifting, with just as much attention being paid to the Hype House as is to Hollywood. The attraction of these celebrity hobbies is undoubtedly the looking glass it allows us to look through into their character, allowing a different, more genuine perspective into the morphing notion of the “celebrity.”

Image credit: Peter Novosel/Houseplant