With the unfortunate rise in popularity of such publication as InTouch, Us Weekly, Star and People, many adolescents hope to become celebrities to get their names strewn across these glossy rags. Whether famous for an instant, famous because of others, or famous for being famous, that’s what they want and they want it now. The question remains: how does one become a celebrity? Strangely enough, among life lessons one can learn at Princeton, such as how not to get hosed from an eating club and how to explain your low quintile ranking, is how to achieve this sacrosanct status. This case study will examine the story of Theo Ellis, Outdoor Action runaway, to determine exactly how celebrity is attained.


In attempting to conduct research, no research was actually conducted. This became sufficient research. (See ‘Repetition for Emphasis’). Theo himself participated willingly in this endeavor, as did one member of Theo’s support group. Approximately another eleven people were contacted to participate in this survey. Most (READ: ten) did not return correspondence. (See ‘Rude’).


Theo is famous. Only the few and far between and socially awkward do not know about Theo. Rumors swirl around Theo but the people closest to him won’t talk. Theo has two groups associated with him—‘OA is not OK: The Theo Ellis Story’ and ‘Theo’s Playhouse’—so Theo must be really cool. Theo did not bring his celebrity upon himself, he contends, though he does find it amusing. Theo sounds more reasonable when you talk to him in person, though with everything you’ve heard previously it’s difficult to completely believe him.

Theo’s story is as follows:

After two days in the Black Forest—days Theo remembers as “rainy, and miserable”—Theo decided that he would rather be at home in Princeton with his friends who were leaving shortly for university. Staying with OA, he believed, would only make him miss out on the “magical time” of summer after senior year, plus he did not want to have to deal with “summer camp games, poop in the bags, bears bags and stuff and rain for a million hours.” Theo had wanted a “meditative” experience with OA and claimed to have an allergy to mosquito bites to get evac-ed. when this did not work out. Though what occurred at the hospital (where he was treated for this allergy) is unclear, afterwards he went back to the motel with his support leaders. There, Theo claims, they were all “buddy-buddy” and, contrary to popular belief, no excessive food-ordering took place. When given the option of going back to his OA group the next day, Theo declined and instead explored ways to get home, which he insists he told his support leaders about. When he found a bus home, a bus that left when his support leaders were out and the only one of the day, he took it. Theo insists that he warned his leaders that he might leave while they were gone. Theo thanks OA for the test they gave him in independence because (A) he had to figure out how to get home by himself and (B) his OA experience showed him that “life is too short” to go traipsing around in the rain. He contends that he did not spread his story and that he thinks that it is hilarious that people—i.e. the Triangle Club and his friends who claim to have Theo merchandise—think he is hilarious.

Thus Theo became a celebrity and went down in Princeton lore.


“Theo became a huge running joke on our trip and the rest of the week everyone joked about ‘pulling a Theo and running away from OA’…He’s a great guy but I have to say that I was in the Black Forest too and it really wasn’t that bad. Theo was just a huge, resourceful wimp.”


Celebrity is induced through stunt (see ‘multiple weddings and multiple divorces’ or ‘nipple exposure à la Janet Jackson and almost Lil’ Kim’) and by the masses lapping up your stunt and spreading rumors. Furthermore, one must piss people off enough and/or ruin their OA trip enough for them to not want to participate in a case study and for that to then become part of the story (see ‘mildly inexplicable rise in fame, since he is fat and ugly, of Harvey Weinstein’). In conclusion, it seems that Theo became a legitimate celebrity while at Princeton by running away from Outdoor Action since (a) the myth, and thus celebrity, were not self-induced, so the fame cannot be seen as self-aggrandizing and is then kind of a testament to the frivolity of the masses in choosing what to talk about, (b) the story produces such virulent feelings in both directions and is bound to be passed on, (c) it was a ridiculous, inconsiderate and mildly psychotic but nonetheless cool thing to do and (d) people can hear it and hope that they will gain their fifteen minutes of fame by doing something more significant. Like dating a guy who won an Oscar for screenwriting (?!) (see Footnote 3) ( see ‘shock-horror’). Or being Vin Diesel. I pick dating Vin Diesel.

Very grassy, historic knoll, painfully idyllic little town, and institute of higher learning where much silliness equivalent to celebrity silliness goes on.

A case study is the study of a certain case of something in determining something else whereby a question is proposed and then answered, possibly with competence but most likely with total incompetence. It is used in this case as a twist on an article in which no one would participate and should demonstrate the pretentiousness and ridiculousness and repetition-ness which come with celebrity and the need for a degree of self-awareness and self-deprecation when discussing this status.

‘Repetition for Emphasis’ is employed here in the vernacular sense. This phrase can also be applied to celebrities who repeat the same formula of movie or romantic lifestyle (see ‘Vin Diesel’ or ‘Bennifer’ in any publication from this century) with the end of gaining more and more exposure, to the point of redundancy. This cannot be applied to Theo. He cannot run away from OA twice. This would not be possible.

The ‘support group’ is a colloquial term given to an overarching network of OA groups in the same region who share the same support leaders. Support groups are the first instance of Princeton networking. If you did not belong to a successful support group, you will most likely die poor and alone.

People who do not return e-mails. This does not only apply to this scenario.

Many things about this sentence are to be noted. First, that thankfully, Theo surely had a ‘meditative’ time when he got back to Princeton and partied with his friends. Second, that ‘evac-ed’ means being evacuated and in this case, meant Theo’s OA group waiting around for 3 hours for support to pick him up. Third, it is alleged that one cannot have an allergy to mosquito bites. Theo would not comment on this.

Horrible and distinctly unfabulous expression rarely used by true celebrities.

Home, apparently, and not to New York.

Only documented comments of case study- aside from Theo’s testimony- from one Sarah Unger. Everyone likes to talk about Theo, so aside from Sarah, where did they all go?

New fabulous expression to be ripped-off of the British and used by fabulous celebrities while being fabulous at fabulous parties.