Filipino celebrities

Should you ask off-duty celebrities for selfies? Stars, netizens weigh in

Rappler Entertainment Team

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Should you ask off-duty celebrities for selfies? Stars, netizens weigh in

STAR SELFIE. A fan takes a photo with Jake Gyllenhaal in 2013.


Is it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity or an invasion of privacy? Lea Salonga, Love Añover, and everyday people share their thoughts

MANILA, Philippines – It happens sometimes. You’re walking at a grocery store or having dinner with your family at a restaurant, and out of the corner of your eye, you spot them – that famous person whose movie you grew up watching or that pop star whose songs you play on repeat while you’re in the shower. 

You do a double-take just to be sure, but it’s definitely them, and suddenly you’re faced with that gnawing question: should I go up to them and ask for a selfie?

There’s a compelling argument to be made either way. On the one hand, that sighting is likely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share a real-life moment with a person you truly admire.

On the other hand, they may not appreciate being approached while they’re enjoying their own free time. You can imagine that if a random stranger came up to YOU to ask for a photo, you’d probably feel weirded out to some degree.

We asked Rappler readers to weigh in on this eternal dilemma that people face when they come across celebrities in real life.

Both celebrities and non-showbiz people shared their thoughts, and for the most part, there were no absolute yes or no answers.

Team Feel It Out

For Broadway legend Lea Salonga, asking for a selfie isn’t totally off the table, but there are certain situations where you should automatically just leave a celebrity alone.

“My opinion might be unpopular, but: never [approach] while they’re eating, in church, at a funeral, at the gym, at the salon, or under any circumstance where their image, likeness or person is compromised,” she commented on Instagram. 

“As for when the yes is, you gotta feel it out. You might get someone to say yes, and even then, be respectful. And if they decline for whatever reason, move on,” she said.

Stressing how asking for selfies might affect a celebrity’s image, fashion designer JC Buendia shared an instance where he went grocery shopping with TV host Kris Aquino, and she was hounded by fans throughout. 

“At the feminine napkin section, she told a group of women taking her photos – ‘Please ask permission first, not here. Let’s go to the other aisle.’ And so we went to the Purefoods Corned Beef section (a brand she was endorsing at the time) for some proper photos. A real trouper and a very good endorser!” JC said.

Others agreed that people should feel out the situation before approaching a celebrity for a selfie.

Team Just Ask

As someone who gets approached for selfies herself, TV host Love Añover said that she always says yes if fans ask politely. 

AKO lang po ito ha. ANG PUNTO KO PO KASI, YUN NA ANG AKING PASASALAMAT SA SUPORTA nila sa AKIN (This is just me. My point is, that is my way of thanking them for their support),” she said, but added that it’s different for everyone, and regardless of whether a celebrity agrees to take a selfie or not, their choice should be respected. 


(I believe that if they agree or not – give respect, don’t get angry, and don’t judge them based on what happened. Sometimes, there are situations. So, let’s always have patience, respect, and with love and everything.)

TV host and dancer Regine Tolentino also said that it’s okay with her.

Other fans said there is no harm in asking, especially if it’s a celebrity you’re really a fan of.

As Instagram user @gloferlopez said, she wouldn’t approach just any celebrity “but has to be a favorite and yes will approach respectfully, especially if it’s one of those once in a lifetime moment.”

Team Leave Stars Alone

For some fans however, the answer is more clear-cut: they simply wouldn’t ask. 

@sola.teadoe on Instagram said that while it isn’t necessarily wrong to ask a star for a selfie, “it would be considerate to just leave them be.” She also stressed that it’s categorically wrong to take unsolicited photos of celebrities.

Another Instagram user @angelanavatojavier is also for not approaching celebrities in their free time, sharing that she supposedly saw Iza Calzado at a park walking with her baby in a stroller, and several people asked her for a selfie.

“I saw how uncomfortable it made her feel having her personal space invaded. I think when they’re not working, don’t approach them. We might traumatize them and make them never go out anymore,” she said.

Those who believe in leaving stars alone in their free time shared the same opinion: that celebrities are people too, and their personal time and space should be respected.

With that in mind, it may be better to just let the stars go on their merry way and just be grateful you have the memory of seeing them in real life.

However, if you really can’t resist, it seems that the rule of thumb is to ask politely – and don’t bitch about it if they decline. –

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