Zac Efron Wouldn't Take a Photo With Me, but That's OK — No, Really, I'm Fine

I'm not totally empty inside, but I am a sucker for a pretty face and a slammin' bod. I have this stupid joke I make (that I'm mostly serious about) that I want to be the ugly one in all my relationships. I want people to look at me and be like: Why would he ever? I'm shallow. So what? You are too. 

Although I get easily starstruck, I can usually take my fear of whatever famous person is in front of me and push it deep into my soul and then make a total fool of myself (case in point: this). You never know when you'll get another chance to be in the same room as, let's say, the best-looking man ever and Ken Doll who made a wish to become a real boy, Zac Efron.

Now, Efron is the one famous person I actually fan-out over. I mean, he's got it all — at least looks-wise. But I also think he's actually a good actor. I laugh unapologetically at Seventeen Again and think it was a wonderfully hilarious film in part because of this former Disney star. 

So when I heard that Efron was hosting an event at Miami club Grand Central to promote his "EDM" film We Are Your Friends, I tried my darnedest to get into his delicious little green room. Luckily, the folks over at GC are the actual best ever (you guys rule). Also, I don't think anyone else who's been partying in this town as long as I have was vying to get backstage.

In this movie, which — judging by the trailer — looks like a justification for drowning all millennials like a bag of rabid demon puppies, Efron plays a DJ. The quote in the trailer — "If you're a DJ, all you need is a laptop, some talent, and one track" — it turns my stomach. I mean, I'm not a music snob per se, but eww. This is the kind of shit that made being a music editor at a certain alt weekly for three years and three months very taxing. And check out the obnoxious glass of rose set down right by his turntables and mixer. At any actual party, some drunk dude would have fist-pumped that directly into all those wires by now.  

At Grand Central, Them Jeans enthusiastically played for hours, a mix of hip-hop and popular electronic tracks, and then SNBRN went on after midnight. The crowd was basically 21-year-old girls and gays thirsty as hell to score a glance of this statuesque (yet surprisingly slim) man-god. I realized, with peace in my heart, that I am a shameless 19-year-old girl wandering around in a 36-year-old woman's body. I'm literally eight years older than Efron and, like, pee-peeing my pants ’cause we're in the same room. Getting into the roped-off side area to watch Efron seriously engage with his cell phone was a thrill, though. This is mostly because he looks exactly as gorgeous in person as he does in the movies.

Dead sober and straight out of a Weird Al Yankovic concert, it took some time before I conjured the courage to speak to him directly. My friend asked if I smelled food. I did, but it wasn't food; it was my hippie-ass sweating out dinner. I was, of course, very nervous and now had the aroma of onions swirling around me.

But I took a deep breath, held my nose, and walked up to the man to ask for a picture, just a simple selfie. He barely looked at me but seemed almost shocked. I stood there, like a half-frozen microwave meal. He said, "Uh, I'm kinda not on the clock right now." Not only was this awkward but a blatant untruth. He was clearly there for work. 
But I remained calm and realized I'd overstepped some boundary. I said something along the lines of, "No prob. That's cool. Nice to meet you." He asked, "Who are you?" I stuttered something embarrassing, mumbling the word "writer" at the end of a rambling sentence. He asked my name. I said, Liz. We shook hands. "Have a good night!" I patted his perfect arm. It felt like marble wrapped in silk.

My approach was a little too forward, not friendly enough. I realized this when I saw him take a photo with some dude who looked like a "DJ" and approached him like they were old best buds (put probably were not). Whatever, physical perfection is a little intimidating, Zac.

But life is short, and "Trap Queen" was playing (again?), so I danced and lingered until it was time to get a drink(s). I will be honest, I was a little miffed. He couldn't take one photo with a psycho middle-aged fan who finagled her way into his private hiding area? I mulled it over a bit and was just kinda like, "Meh, let's get another shot." Because I don't really care. I'm totally fine about it. 

Then, last night, when I caught Efron on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, it all became clearer. He's just not very natural when it's time to be unscripted. And my pity kicked in. Where's the sense of humor, the chill vibes, the joie de vivre? My charm (like my odor) is strong and is best received by another Jedi charm master. We can't all be superstuds, and superstuds can't all be supercool. That's the good news for all you fugly fools out there. The bad news is, you don't look like Zac Efron.  
I'm going to watch this movie now. I think, though, this will have been my final fangirl moment over someone who is simply lovely at which to leer. From now on, I'll save my freakouts for someone special, like the brilliant, gay, and hilarious director and writer John Waters. He will always make me feel like I've wet myself in public, have a huge face full of zits, and am waiting on my first kiss.

And even that hero has taken a few photos with me.

The lesson? Dream big, not pretty. Or, introduce yourself to Zac Efron first if you want to take a selfie with him. 
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Liz Tracy has written for publications such as the New York Times, the Atlantic, Refinery29, W, Glamour, and, of course, Miami New Times. She was New Times Broward-Palm Beach's music editor for three years. Now she plays one mean monster with her 2-year-old son and obsessively watches British mysteries.
Contact: Liz Tracy