How To Spot a Celebrity

Kyle Reed // @kylereed

Living in Nashville has provided me a lot of opportunities to see people from “the industry”

What is the “industry”? Great question. I guess it is what the fancy people call the music industry or as you and I like to call them rock stars.

Almost every day I see someone who I think might be in “the industry” but I never know if they are and for that matter who they are, that was until today.

I have come up with a method that will probably change your celeb sighting/stalking habits for life. It is a method that I have had to develop out of necessity, the necessity that is the nagging feeling of knowing that you are in the presence of someone famous but have no clue if they truly are who they pretend to be.

Now there are the easy celeb sightings, the Ben Folds, Bono’s and Nicole Kidmans of the world. Those are layups. This method is more for the challenging celebs that you want to believe they are someone but don’t have a clue who they really are.

My friend Jeremy was telling me a story about how he saw the drummer from the Black Keys the other day. He said the only reason he knew it was him was because he watched their performance on Saturday Night Live. The issue is though, we do not always have those opportunities to see people on SNL the night before, you have to be quick on your feet and steady with your eyes (who knows what that means).

Here is my method for spotting celebrities
The first thing is to pay attention to your surroundings. You will never see anyone if you have not looked around the room and taken notice of everyone. This is a pretty crucial step that will start you off in the direction of curiosity and confusion. Curiosity that you think that person is a celeb and confusion because you do not know who they are. Start here though.

The second thing is their look. Do they look the part? They might have that rocker/hipster look to them so you know they are probably in a band. Or they might be walking around flossing a golden grill as my friends like to call it, they are probably a well known rapper. So make sure they look the part before you start to move onto the most important steps…step three and four.

The third thing is your recollection. You have to be able to recall faces and information of people you have noticed from television, magazines, or websites. If you cannot recall faces or info they you might as well quit here. You have to have a way of recalling certain people. Do not be afraid to tag team this one with a friend. That reminds me of a situation me and my friend Matthew were in a couple of months ago. We were sitting in a well known coffee shop that a lot of cool peeps like to hang and we noticed a guy that looked very familiar with a rather large black man sitting next to him and what seemed to be a businessman sitting across from him. We knew he was someone famous we just didn’t know who it was. We decided to work off each others recollection abilities and headed to the googles and figured out it was Jason Mraz. Ya, it was exciting, really more that we figured out who it was then the fact that it was Jason Mraz (who cares). But we used the recollection abilities of each other to tackle the issue of celeb sighting.

The fourth thing you must do and the most important step is to pay attention to who they are with. To me this is what helps me determine if they are a somebody or a nobody. Now this is not always a luxury and you have to kind of get creative with this one. But my fool proof plan on figuring out who the celeb and non-celeb people are has to do with who is accompanying them.
Let me give you an example: currently as I am writing this post one of the guys that is in Jars of Clay is sitting a table over from me. How do I know its the guy from Jars of Clay? Well I started with step one, then I moved quickly to step 3 and recalled that I had seen them in concert a while back and remembered a video they released talking about their latest album that I watched on their website about 4 months ago. But step four was what really helped me. When he walked in he walked in with what I would presume to be his wife. Now call me a male or call me attentive but I noticed that she was rather attractive. That caught my attention first and then it moved to who she was with. This step just helped confirm my initial thought that this guy was indeed the guy that played in Jars of Clay.
This step can be the very thing that helps you set apart the fakes from the celebs. Usually they are accompanied by an attractive female and/or have a rather large following behind them of people who also look the part.

I hope that this helps you the next time you are out in public looking for that celebrity that just so happens to share the same air as you.

Did I miss any other practical steps? Share with community.


I hope by now that you now I am joking with this post and in fact do not care that much about celebrities. The only celeb that would get a reaction of amazement from me would be Bono and I will probably never see him in a coffee shop. This post is in fact a joke, though can still be very useful. Take it for what its worth.

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Kyle Reed

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I create websites, conversations, and ideas. Advocate for the 20 somethings. Looking to connect everyone to a mentor. Married to my best friend, Ginny. I like my coffee black and my dog Jack. I currently live in Nashville and work at Sony Music/Provident in Nashville
  • Dustin

    I saw MacGyver at an LA Kings game when I was younger. Highlight of my week.

    • Kyle Reed

      that would be amazing.
      It is kind of funny that he was at a kings game and not a lakers game though

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  • Jason

    Kyle, I know this is humor but you’re pretty spot on with it. During my decades in radio the stereotypes of the look and people around the “celeb” you describe is pretty darn accurate. I can probably think of perhaps half a dozen “celebs” over the years I’ve come across who didn’t fit those dynamics.

    • Kyle Reed

      it is kind of funny. Its almost like they have to play the part to be in the club.

  • Laura Anne

    OR you can tweet them and say ‘were you in x coffee shop at x time yesterday’

    Just to confirm the sighting.

    • Kyle Reed

      In my very very limited experience what i have seen is that most celebs will wait about 4 hours to share where they were so that no “crazies” show up to stalk them.
      But I could definitely try that.

  • Jeff Goins

    Funny. I was so terrible at spotting them when I first moved here, I would have a hunch and then Google ’em. Had to do that with Smitty.

    • Kyle Reed

      I think I would recognize him, but i have not seen him in years so I might have walked past him and not even noticed.

  • Mandy

    Funny, Kyle! This is good. I would suggest the typical sunglasses indoors, but that’s almost a given.

    One time I saw Mila Kunis in a club when I was in L.A., and the obvious with her was that she was absolutely trashed. That wasn’t too surprising though, but I didn’t know who she was until someone figured it out. Also, on that same night in L.A. saw Jose Canseco in a restaurant, where he was wearing a bedazzled shirt I’m pretty sure.

    They’re all so different it’s hard to give a list of how to spot them!

  • Jon

    The haircut usually narrows it down for me. If they have what I call the “nashville haircut,” they’re either a famous musician or the pastor of a multi-campus church. :)

    Fun post, Kyle.

  • Ben

    What’s hilarious is that my dad, brother and I always mess around when we’re together, and we’ll find people who LOOK like celebrities and say stuff like, “Oh, look there’s Shaq buying a goldfish at the pet store” and it’ll be a 5’7 dude who may have some Shaq similarities, and we’ll all have a good laugh.

    Then one day when my parents were visiting, we were all eating at Chipotle down in Duluth, GA and he said “Oh look, even Dr. J likes Chipotle.”

    I laughed for a minute, but then went “Oh dude it IS him”

    There he was, in the flesh. Just eating a burrito with some really young children (I’m guessing grandkids?).

    We all laughed some more.