In 2017, Danny Pellegrino became a dwelling in Los Angeles, appearing in sketch and standup comedy at venues around the metropolis. Just as his career changed into simply starting, he changed into confronted with some professional and personal setbacks that prompted his tension and despair to behave up extra than it ever had earlier than. “I all at once felt like I wasn’t even able to exit and perform anymore; my depression was so excessive,” Pellegrino recollects now. “I didn’t even need to leave the house.”
One of the most effective matters that might carry Pellegrino a bit of joy all through that point was watching the TV channel Bravo, specifically the Real Housewives. So, he began to make and share Real Housewives memes on social media as a small innovative workout, and different Bravo lovers caught on. “I had this form of Bravo network forming on social media,” he says. As the memes went viral, he had an idea: why now not begin a podcast approximately popular culture and Bravo-celebrities? “That’s what I love and am enthusiastic about anyhow, so it became an awesome fit,” he recalls. Plus, it allowed him to perform once more from the comfort of his very own domestic and below his very own terms.
The result became Everything Iconic, a podcast covering pop culture, all things Bravo, and often intellectual health topics. This yr the podcast, which’s on its 180th episode, amassed greater than four million streams, and Pellegrino will carry out some life suggests within the fall. “The impact the show has had [on people] has simply been so excellent, and I’m so quite thankful to all of us,” Pellegrino says. “I similar to understanding that so lots of us join on these stupid things, and all of us like the equal stuff.”
Pellegrino’s revel in reflects what experts have long recognized, approximately fandom and mental health. Research has very sincerely suggested a hyperlink between being a fan of something and stepping forward in psychological health. If you do not forget yourself keen on something — whether it’s a sports activities crew, the Vanderpump Rules cast, or a K-pop band — it now not only enhances your identification but lets you interact with different human beings who have similar pastimes, explains Dan Wann, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Murray State University, where his studies application centers on the psychology of sports fandom. “What you get on account of that are quite a few connections to different humans,” he says. Social connection is one of the key determinants of fitness, and these relationships will have a shielding impact on growing a selection of health situations, together with heart sickness.
Besides locating commonplace floor and connecting with humans who’ve shared pursuits as you, fandom can also be a private interest, Dr. Wann explains. As all of us who are spent hours on Reddit forums for precise suggestions or turn out to be emotionally invested in a Facebook watch thread knows, the net has allowed human beings to grow to be instant specialists on the subject that they care about. “It lets in for a greater expanse of those social connection networks,” he says. Consider the way that we devour TV now: maximum of us have a computer or smartphone open. At the same time, we watch, so we can effortlessly textual content a pal or fireplace off a tweet to other fans when something epic happens. Even if you’re looking for something by yourself, you can feel like you are with a massive group online.
Internet fan way of life isn’t all wonderful, though. In the past few years, “stans,” or overly passionate “stalker enthusiasts,” have created a somewhat poisonous environment on-line. This fan is short of protecting the celebrity that they stan and come for everybody who indicates otherwise with robotic fervor. Studies propose that folks who rank high on “celeb-worship scales” additionally tend to display complex psychosocial traits, including narcissism, addictive inclinations, and stalking. Those who’re at the far quit of the movie star worship spectrum may have poorer mental fitness and enjoy signs and symptoms of despair, tension, and social disorder. “For the large majority of humans, [fandom] is probably a great element,” Dr. Wann says. “Still, it’s crucial to apprehend that there are potential features out there for folks who get too wrapped up in it.”
Another factor that can decrease the nice consequences of fandom? When a superstar does something intricate. There’s a psychological phenomenon referred to as “self-thought,” which posits that humans tend to be fans of those we imagine as idealized versions of ourselves. But being a fan and supporter of a person additionally manner growing coping mechanisms once they do something we disagree with. To keep a healthful distance from the character or team you stan, it is vital to remember that anything they did, you’re no longer answerable for it, Dr. Wann says. “You shouldn’t feel extra responsible about that then you definitely must accurate and proud if that person does not do something correctly,” he provides.
Pellegrino says he frequently hears from his listeners that his show gives people a break from the current political weather stress. “I suppose pop culture additionally affects an escape,” he says. “Latching onto a selected thing in pop culture refuels us and is the sort of a necessity in particular in the time we’re in proper now.”