how to start a celebrity memoir

How to Start a Celebrity Memoir

Wondering how to start a celebrity memoir?

How to start a celebrity memoir can be a tricky issue. After all, the readers know and love the authors—or at least their public personas or identities. Readers who purchase these books know the films and TV shows the authors have appeared in. They know the concerts they’ve given, the outrageous things they have said on talk shows, how many times they’ve been married and divorced, the causes they support, and more.

Because of this, there can be pressure on the celebrity memoirist to write as the persona the public knows, rather than the person they really are. To come out swinging with a funny story or outrageous statement rather than with a previously unknown anecdote that reveals the person beneath the facade.

Some celebrities happily highlight the public identity in their books, while others try to show us the person underneath.

Here are ten examples of the opening paragraphs from popular celebrity memoirs. As you can see, some have tackled the “how to start a celebrity memoir” question by highlighting the persona, while others have tried to pull back the curtain.

1. Start with an amusing story

Anna Faris, Unqualified 

Remember when you first spotted him sprinting across the playground, schooling how to start a celebrity memoir, Unqualifiedthe other boys in a heated game of tag? Or the moment you noticed him at his desk, brown spiky hair sticking up in all the right places?

He was the first boy to make you crave the male gaze; he made you wonder what it would be like to have a boyfriend; he inspired you to start a diary.

You’ve been there, dear reader, haven’t you?

For me, that boy was Jason Sprott.

2. Begin a celebrity memoir with insight into you and your world 

Steve Martin, Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life how to start a celebrity memoir, Born Standing Up

I did stand-up comedy for eighteen years. Ten of those years were spent learning, four years were spent refining, and four were spent in wild success. My most persistent memory of stand-up is of my mouth being in the present and my mind being in the future: the mouth speaking the line, the body delivering the gesture, while the mind looks back, observing, analyzing, judging, worrying, and then deciding when and what to say next. Enjoyment while performing was rare—enjoyment would have been an indulgent loss of focus that comedy cannot afford. After the shows, however, I experienced long hours of elation or misery depending on how the show went, because doing comedy alone on stage is the ego’s last stand.

3. Open with your birth and childhood

Carole King, A Natural Woman: A Memoir how to start a celebrity memoir, A Natural Woman

In the first decade of the twentieth century a man and a woman from Poland, another man from Poland, and a woman from Russia undertook to cross a continent and an ocean with little more than a fierce determination to find a better life in America. They were my grandparents, and they found that better life in Brooklyn, New York. Had my grandparents not emigrated when they did, I might have been born Jewish in Eastern Europe during World War II, or I might not have been born at all. Instead, I was born in 1942 in New York City.

4. Start a celebrity memoir by describing a situation laden with possibilities, good or bad

Keith Richards, Life 

Why did we stop at the 4-Dice Restaurant in Fordyce, Arkansas, for lunch on Independence Day weekend? On any day? Despite everything I knew from ten years of driving through the Bible Belt. Tiny town of Fordyce. Rolling Stones on how to start a celebrity memoir, Lifethe police menu across the United States. Every copper wanted to bust us by any means available, to get promoted and patriotically rid America of these little fairy Englishmen. It was 1975, a time of brutality and confrontation.

Open season on the Stones had been declared since our last tour, the tour of ’72, known as the STP. The State Department had noted riots (true), civil disobedience (also true), illicit sex (whatever that is), and violence across the United States. All the fault of us, mere minstrels. We had been inciting youth to rebellion, we were corrupting America, and they had ruled never to let us travel in the United States again. It had become, in the time of Nixon, a serious political matter. He had personally deployed his dogs and dirty tricks against John Lennon, who he thought might cost him an election. We, in turn, they told our lawyer officially, were the most dangerous rock-and-roll band in the world.

5. Begin a celebrity memoir by showing the hero headed down the wrong road 

Ozzy Osbourne, I Am Ozzy 

My father always said I would do something big one day.

“I’ve got a feeling about you, John Osbourne,’ he’d tell me, after he’d had a few beers. “You’re either going to do something very special, or you’re going to go to prison.”

And he was right, my old man.

I was in prison before my eighteenth birthday. 

6. Open a celebrity memoir with poetry

Pamela Anderson, A Memoir of Prose, Poetry, and Truth 

I picture myself at 5 years old –

In detail –

I look at her from head to toe – 

I watch her for a while

playing,

animated, ludic, theatric – 

though on the beach alone.

I call her name to get her attention – 

She takes a moment to recognize me

and then runs to me

with open arms.

7. Open by establishing a relationship with the reader

Jessica Simpson, Open Book 

The kids are asleep, and my husband is reading in the other room. so, it’s just you and me.

Every night after we put our children to bed, I come down here to the study to write. It’s cold here in Los Angeles, so bedtimes have been creeping later. My daughter Maxwell is six now and my son Ace is five, and they have the kind of energy that needs to be burned off outdoors or it will just add up like a bill that needs to be paid at the end of the night….

8. Begin a celebrity memoir with a memory from childhood

Kris Jenner, Kris Jenner…And All Things Kardashian

I remember the candles. Thousands of them. Green and blue and silver and gold. Cancels in all sizes and shapes-angels, pillars, balls, and flowers-made of beeswax and paraffin, all so beautiful and smelling divine.

Most of all, I remember the Gloomchasers: crushed colored glass glued onto a jar, grouted in gold, then polished and placed on teak stands with glass votive candles inside. when the votives were lit, the candles would glow and the colors would glisten, and supposedly any gloom in the room would be immediately changed away…

9. Open a celebrity memoir with your beginnings

Seth Rogan, Yearbook 

I wanted to try stand-up comedy. I imagine if most twelve-year-olds told their parents something like that, they’d be met with a healthy dose of skepticism. Fuck, if a thirty-year-old told me they wanted to try stand-up comedy, I’d probably do my best to talk them out of it.

What makes it even more incredible is that not only did my parents not scoff at the notice of it, they looked in the local paper and found a stand-up comedy workshop to enroll me in. 

How to start a celebrity memoir? 

As you can see from the examples above, there is no hard-and-fast answer to the “how to start a celebrity memoir” question. It depends on whether you wish to write as your persona or the person underneath, your theme, slice, and more. To learn about theme and slice, see “How to Write a Memoir.”

And for more on how to begin a memoir in general, see our “How to Start a Memoir.” You can also see examples of how specific types of memoirs are started in these blogs:

“How to Start a Family Memoir”

“How to Start a Political Memoir”

“How to Start a Sports Memoir”

“How to Start a Military Memoir

IF YOU’D LIKE HELP WRITING YOUR MEMOIR…

how to start a celebrity memoir

Contact us!

We’re Barry Fox and Nadine Taylor, professional ghostwriters and authors with a long list of satisfied clients and editors at major publishing houses.

For more information, call us at 818-917-5362 or use the contact form below to send us a message. We’d love to talk to you about your exciting celebrity memoir – or another type!

Please Note: Although we’re based in Los Angeles, California, we travel around the U.S. and abroad to meet with our authors. We do not ghostwrite screenplays, books for children, poetry, or school papers.

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