Recently I was completing a questionnaire and the final question was something like this, “What three celebrities (non-religious figures) would you like to emulate and why?”

Now first, you should know the questionnaire was a small part of the evaluation process for full ordination in my denomination, and there were many more questions that would help the evaluator determine how fit I am for ministry.  But this was by far my favorite question, and one that I thought could be an interesting factor in determining how fit a candidate is for ministry.  (As if humans are the determinants on that…*pushes soapbox to the corner in order to continue blogging*)

Here were my answers (and you should know my husband rolled his eyes at these):

  1. Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Fallon has revolutionized the late night talk show mentality, and I’m not the first blogger to type that.  Christian media has also even embraced Fallon as the archetype for this generation, and patterned him as the type of youth pastor we all should try to be.  I won’t try to rewrite those articles either.  Here’s what I’ll say: Jimmy Fallon is funny, timely, and delightfully awkward at times.  He’s the friend we all want to have and secretly, wish we were (bromance with Justin Timberlake not withstanding…).  Why would I want to emulate Jimmy Fallon?  Because he turns the comedy spotlight on himself, not others, and invites everyone to the party.  He doesn’t hold himself up as the model of maturity or moral, doesn’t turn his nose up  or look down at every celebrity.  He’ll joke about a celebrity in a monologue and let that same celebrity tease him during an interview.  Why would I want to emulate Jimmy Fallon?  Because he breaks character.  Fans hated him on Saturday Night Live because he invariably would break character mid-sketch and start laughing (one of my favorite times he breaks character, about 3:30 in).  He breaks character because he can feel something bigger happening and he wants to be a part of it.

2.  Anne Hathaway.

Anne Hathaway has long been a favorite actress of mine, perhaps because I was an awkward glasses-wearing, frizzy-haired teenager when Princess Diaries premiered.  Whether it’s a silly or serious movie, the way she plays her character is authentic and believable.  She doesn’t seek out the spotlight in the celebrity world.  She’s walked through rough patches and humiliation (such as her first marriage ending with a husband involved in financial scandal), and been willing to share how she’s grown (see Instyle’s September issue).  She’s sweet and relatable.  Her first Instagram post was an ice-bucket challenge video, filmed in her bathtub, where an unmade-up, unstyled “Annie”, as she calls herself, squealed as she dumped a bowl of ice water on her own head.  She dressed up like Miley Cyrus and won a lip syncing battle.  But she’s not just sweet and relatable, she’s courageous.  To have courage is to tell the truth of one’s own heart.  She speaks out against injustice, praises other women for being brave, and reminds us that it isn’t about us.

3.  Bono

I’ve been a U2 fan for several years and this summer saw them in concert in Chicago.  I’ll admit, this isn’t a sense that I know Bono as a real person, but more an awe of his impact on the world.  Am I saying I’m dying to perform rock and roll on stage all over the world?  No—I barely sing in church for fear someone will hear me.  But here’s what I like about Bono:  He doesn’t gloss over injustice in the world—he calls it out and forces the world to see and reckon with it.  Whether he does that in song (Bloody Sunday, anyone?) or action (ONE campaign), Bono uses his resources, influence, and talent to effectively fight injustice.


So…I want to bring everyone to the party, laugh and love with them, encourage and empower them, grieve and celebrate with them, and then go fight poverty.  And have good hair.  I guess that’s what my celebrity choices say about me.

What about you?  How would you answer the question?  What celebrity (or celebrities) would you most like to emulate?