I know I’m a bit late but I finally got around to watching Almost Famous (2000), about a teenage boy getting the break of a lifetime after being hired by Rolling Stone Magazine to follow a band around the United States, in the early ’70s, in order to write a story. I was feeling a sense of nostalgia as I watched this very sweet and earnest story about a young man striving for independence from his overbearing mother, and credibility as a journalist in the world of sex, drugs and rock & roll.

I don’t often talk about my very early days in the entertainment industry, back when I was, first, a roadie for In & Out, a popular band that was part Duran Duran, part Glass Tiger (Oh, man, am I ever showing my age!), and, then, lead female vocalist for an ’80s pop-rock cover band, performing songs by Bryan Adams, Madonna, Journey, Alannah Myles, Bon Jovi, Led Zeppelin and The Eurythmics.

It was as a roadie for In & Out when I learned just how suffocating  and disturbing  it can be to have dozens of fans follow you around everywhere and who just won’t leave you the fuck alone. Anytime I was with any member of the band, shopping at a mall, going to the movies, taking a walk through a park, there they were, chicks following us, giggling, gawking, asking them for their autograph. It was at one of In & Out’s concerts that I received my very first request for an autograph, from a girl who wanted my signature on a piece of paper, just because I worked for the band. Strange, yes, but I complied with her request because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings.

Then, there were the hardcore groupies to contend with which, as a roadie, was part of my job to manage. Thirteen, fifteen, eighteen year-old girls who pulled every stunt imaginable in an effort to get backstage, and who would do anything to score a romantic interlude with one of the band members, who were all very handsome, very intelligent and talented young men, aged 18 to 21. I was 18/19 when I worked for In & Out but, more often than not, felt like their babysitter  and moral compass  trying to keep them happy, do their bidding and, yet, keep them out of trouble I knew they might later regret.

Being the 20 year-old lead female vocalist in a band, called Mirage, was another eye-opening experience. The four male members, age 42 to 49, and married with kids, hired me to complete a six month contractual obligation to perform at various venues across Ontario, after their female singer was seriously injured in a car accident. While we didn’t have giggling teenagers following us wherever we went, there were still the groupies to deal with. Women in their 20s, 30s and 40s, who tried to get noticed by the guys, deluding themselves into thinking that they were more than just a quick fuck or easy blowjob in a nightclub washroom. This was also my introduction to a more public life as a semi-celebrity, with my own fan base of adoring men of all ages, trying to seduce me. I never once had sex with any of them and, a few months before my 21st birthday, became the girlfriend (and later wife) of a radio broadcasting celebrity, who had his own issues with being a public figure with a stalkerish female fan base.

It were these very early lessons about being a public figure and handling the adulation (and soul-crushing criticism) with class and maturity that helped me when I later became known, worldwide, as an actress, voice-over artist, comic book writer, celebrity publicist and talent manager.