It’s not just college girls carrying glossy heart banners or Katniss braid sporting 14 year olds holding blown-up photos of Josh Hutcherson showing off his Peeta muscles. When it comes to seeing Hollywood movie stars in the flesh, there is no such thing as age limit.

Young or old, as long the portable futons, collapsible chairs, and cameras are all set, these folks will camp in that small little space – their sanctuary – behind the steel barricade and wait for that big moment when the limos start rolling in. And they would scream their hearts out and it’s never embarrassing.

When Reese Witherspoon graced the red carpet at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival for the premiere of “Wild“, Jen and Richard screamed like they were 20 years younger than their current age. The couple made their way to the campgrounds of Roy Thomson Hall at 7 in the morning, just an hour after their friend Doug with the stepladder and the telephoto lens found a good spot right across the entrance to the venue.

“You have to be here early,” said Jen who endured 12 hours of waiting just to get a good view of the red carpet. I wasn’t early but the kind Doug who arrived even before half of Toronto thought of having eggs for breakfast cleared the way for me to take a good shot of Reese from the barricade. I thanked him for his kindness but he simply replied, “Nah don’t worry about it. You’re too short anyway.”

Thanks, Doug.

reese witherspoon tiff
Keeping in mind the tips I got from Jen, I found myself standing right in front of the TIFF press area two days later with a group of middle-aged women who were as excited as I was to see Benicio del Toro for the festival premiere of his movie, “Escobar: Paradise Lost“.

And when Benicio arrived, all hell broke loose. Together, we screamed the star’s name on top of our lungs and it broke records that day, including the program manager’s patience:

“Excuse me! Ladies, we have to finish these interviews and they (movie stars) are being paid to do these interviews. So please, I need your cooperation to be quiet until the interviews are over!”

As far as I can remember, the last reprimand I got for my rowdiness was way back in high school. It never crossed my mind that I’d be in a similar situation 16 years later all because of a man named “Benicio”.

benicio del toro tiff
I remember laughing sarcastically at Twilight fans who’d spend days camping out just to get a glimpse of KStew or R-Pattz. But now, I totally understand why so I would like to apologize to all the Twihards or to any movie fan for my ignorance.

I now know what it feels like to be right in front of a celebrated actor or actress. And I now understand that it’s never easy to control one’s emotions or reactions especially if your biggest Hollywood crush is right in front of you (ahem, Benicio…).

So it’s never just college or high school kids. We – Jen, Richard, Doug, the middle-aged women, and everyone else including my 33 year old ass – were all starstruck. We waved at the stars, took selfies, said I love yous and all the praises, and endured hours of waiting to experience that ecstatic Hollywood moment. Most of all, we screamed our assess off and we were never embarrassed.

Here’s Josh by the way. You can start screaming too.

josh hutcherson TIFF

NOTE: I altered the names of the persons involved (except for the movie stars) to protect their identities.

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