Reddit‘s r/iama forum is currently lousy with AMA threads from reality stars like Zach Anner and The Real World‘s Katelynn Cusanelli, but the thread that’s most captured our attention is the account from a paparazzo with fascinating insights into the strange push-and-pull between celebrities and photographers.
Redditor djengel96 – known as “Dan from TMZ” to many — is surprisingly candid in actually dropping many recognizable names. Though there are certain questions he simply won’t answer, like which reality stars sleep with paparazzi to improve their chances of getting photographed, he doesn’t shy away from sharing tidbits about stars like Lindsay Lohan, Jason Schwartzman, and everyone’s favorite little Scientology heir Suri Cruise.
While the upcoming documentary $ellebrity casts the rich and famous as victims of these money-grubbing paparazzi, Dan instead illuminates how symbiotic the relationship really is. For instance, did you know that many companies will pay celebrities to tip them off as to their whereabouts? It’s news to me. When asked if celebrities arrange their own paparazzi run-ins, he answered,
All the time. Mostly reality stars. They call them selves. Lindsay Lohan will even let you pay her for pics and she’ll pose as if she’s avoiding you or doesn’t see you. But most actors, singers, and athletes won’t. Only a few.
…Lindsay doesn’t call, but if you approach her you can drop like 5 thousand and she’ll do it. Kim [Kardashian], Paris [Hilton], Tila Tequila, and the twins that dated Hugh Hefner will call. The worst is a couple of really pathetic ones will pay you. I won’t take their money, it’s too embarrassing to send in those pics because it’s so obvious.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have celebrity kids who probably have cell phones but — we hope! — don’t have the means to call TMZ. Dan acknowledged that it’s definitely taboo whether or not to snap pics of famous offspring:
Oh God, that’s a tough one. I won’t, really. Not without the parent’s permission. (You can ask Milla Jovovich about that one) But I would take one of Suri because it would pay my bills for a year. I literally think I would quit being a paparazzi and start my own business if that happened.
She’s actually not followed. The Cruise family knows how to get around with anyone knowing. They don’t mind photos, and are very nice but the paparazzi get a little crazy with them so they try to avoid it for that reason.
I seriously do ask. And they almost always say no. But the places that I go to rarely have kids. I don’t go to parks. Sometimes at plays people will bring their kids.
In that vein, the photo he feels worst about taking involved a Magic Mike star and his young brood:
Once Matthew McConaughey was leaving the airport with his wife and kids and there were so many flashes. Nothing bad happened but he had his kids with him and it was just too much. It was kind of sad to be part of that but Matt and his wife were handling it like pros.