When a celebrity appears at a concert or does a Broadway show or stars in a movie or television show, they – or their representatives – negotiate their salary, whether it be money upfront or a percentage of the gross or residuals on the sale of a song.
But there are other things that certain celebrities need as well. You can understand that a singer might need the temperature of a room at a specific setting to protect his or her voice. You get it that someone might want an amenity like fresh flowers in their dressing room. But these are just minor requests in the list of celebrity demands that have been reported.
When a celebrity agrees to appear somewhere, they have a list of things they require of the people who are in charge of the concert or movie or show and that has become known as a celebrity rider. And while you might expect some of the biggest superstars in the world to have what may seem to be over-the-top demands, you’d be surprised at how many – how shall we say it – lower-echelon celebrities have demands that are a little outrageous.
Madonna, whose career is now going on over 30 years, has a celebrity rider that provides for a huge entourage including dozens of bodyguards, personal chefs, an acupuncturist and a yoga instructor.
According to a story first reported in America by the New York Daily News, Mariah Carey (whose diva-like behavior is legendary) wanted 20 white kittens and 100 white doves at a Christmas-tree lighting event in London in 2009 that she was scheduled to sing at. She wanted confetti at the end of event but not just any confetti – butterfly-shaped confetti – and wanted to arrive at the event in a Rolls Royce that would drive up a pink carpet to a pink podium. I can’t make this stuff up, folks.
In one of the most refreshingly normal celebrity riders, pop superstar Rihanna only needs Oreo cookies, Red Bull and mini Babybel cheese in her dressing room.
Katy Perry (according to the Huffington Post) forbids any one driving her to talk to her. The drivers are also not allowed to look at her in the rearview mirror. Jennifer Lopez (who continues to tell us she’s still plain ol’ Jenny from the Block) needed white flowers, white covers for chairs, white candles and white food while doing a tour in Australia. I’m not sure what white food she’s looking for but I suspect it’s not cauliflower.
Kanye West also toured Australia and needed imported Versace towels in his dressing room, as well as a barber’s chair. The drivers who took him everywhere were required to wear only 100% cotton clothes because he doesn’t want anyone near him wearing man-made fibers. And he wanted pistachio nuts too, except only the white ones; no red pistachio nuts for him please.
Taylor Swift (the ever-popular star whose moment of glory was stolen by the aforementioned Kanye West at the MTV video awards a few years ago) is looking for comfort foods in her dressing room. She likes Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Smart Water.
And I think – at least I hope – that the celebrity rider for the great Will Ferrell is a joke but his list includes a three-wheel mobility scooter, a flight of stairs on wheels, a painted rainbow on wheels and a Janet Jackson style microphone.
So next time you wonder why it costs so much to go to a concert, at least you’ll know that part of the cost of your ticket is going towards buying butterfly-shaped confetti or white food or painted rainbows to keep your favorite celebrity happy.