November 17, 2014 - Posted to Writing tips
Admit it. When you get an essay assignment of a certain type or on a certain topic, you spend some time reading essay examples to figure out how and what you should write.
I did it all the time as a student, and to this day I can still remember the hours I spent pouring over personal essay examples, to find some inspiration for my college application essay.
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Need an essay about the dying coral reefs? No problem – there are good essay examples for this topic in several places on the web. Need an essay on A Tale of Two Cities? Check out “Google” for essay samples on every theme in the book!
Finding sample essays on anything, in fact, takes only a few clicks and the right keywords.
Famous essays – those that have become all time classics – are famous for a reason.
The authors had something important to say, and they said it so well, that enough people took notice to make them popular and timeless. No one will forget Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail!”
If you search for famous essays online, you will find a variety of lists, but most will not include a celebrity essay – one written by a an entertainer or famous athlete, for example. I am here to correct that.
My list of epic essays are contemporary, and each is written by someone you know for something far different than writing.
Each, however, is as compelling and as inspired as those that get all of the acclaim. The themes are important; the points are beautifully made, and, at least for me, they are honest, strong pieces that evoke the full range of emotions.
My list of celebrity essays is far from complete (after all, there are only 12), but I will keep searching and updating it regularly.
So, here they are – my favorites so far.
Ashley Judd has written a scathing and rather appropriately harsh piece in response to a media blitz, following a television interview in which her face was “puffy.” She weaves the incident into a larger conversation about the misogynistic nature of American society. (Untitled, but you can find it at jezebel.com)
Why I Like It: Great depiction of the shallowness of our society and the immature focus on gender-specific notions of what men and women should be.
Susan Boyle: “My Secret Struggles with Asperger’s,” is a compelling description of her difficult life with this undiagnosed condition, her ultimate triumph, and the peace that comes with finally understanding why she is as she is.
Why I Like It: honest, compelling, and a theme that pushes us all to a higher level of tolerance and empathy
Killer Mike: Untitled essay, in rapper-text style, speaking to the pain of the parents of an unarmed teen killed by a police officer, an event that made national news and resulted in nights of unrest in St. Louis, MO.
Why I Like It: Takes the “Blackness” out of the issue and focuses us on the death of a child as a human tragedy.
Beyonce: “Gender Equality is a Myth.” There is much work to be done by both genders, young and old, if true equality for everyone it to be attained. Both genders are necessary to humanity.
Why I Like It: Short and to the point; forces the reader to see that gender equality is still a goal not achieved.
Brian Scalabrine: “I’m Coming Home.” Scalabrine provides an explanation to sports fans regarding his return to the Boston Celtics as an announcer rather than a player.
Why I Like It: There is a larger theme here – part of the human condition is to seek “homes” in many places, but returning to one’s “roots,” either physically or spiritually, is where peace and comfort lie.
Laura Simpson: Who is she you may ask? She is the best friend of Jenifer Lawrence who also happens to have written a beautiful piece on friendship, through the description of a single event at an Oscars’ night. Though untitled, you can find it online – New York Magazine, March, 2014.
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Why I Like It: Humorous and poignant at the same time; speaks to the deep value of unshakable friendship.
Leighton Meester: “I’m Not a Tart: The Feminist Subtext of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.” Playing the part of Curly’s wife, Meester has an epiphany about the willingness of an audience to “go along with” the cruelty the character faced at the hands of the men in the tale.
Why I Like It: Meester quite astutely discovers a theme of this work that no one else has – degradation of women degrades us all.
Lena Dunham: (For those of you without HBO, she stars in the series, “Girls”: “On Sex, Oversharing, and Writing about Lost Girls.” A great feminist piece equating gender equality to the core value of human rights.
Why I Like It: Such honesty and openness, even when revealing life experiences that were horrifying and embarrassing. Her catharsis is to write about them!
Kwasi Enin: “A Life in Music.” This young man experienced a brief moment of fame when he became the first applicant to be accepted by every Ivy League College (and he really did apply to them all!). A beautifully composed piece about the importance of music to his intellectual development.
Why I Like It: The prose is beautiful, and the case made for fine arts in school curriculum cannot be argued!
Angelina Jolie: “My Medical Choice.” A moving piece about this actress’s decision to have a double mastectomy, as a prevention of a cancer for which she has a specific gene. Family trumped everything!
Why I Like It: How often will a famous beauty choose to disfigure herself for more worthy goals? Modern bravery!
Russell Brand: “For Amy.” This British comedian and Amy Winehouse shared something huge – addiction. By writing a poignant eulogy to his dead friend, Brand challenges us all to accept addition as a disease, not just character weakness.
Why I Like It: First, Brand is a master of words. Second, his description of an addict’s life is real and harsh, and difficult for the loved ones who must wait for the inevitable phone call.
Dax Shepherd: “My Father’s Horniness.” Shepherd speaks to the last months of his father’s life, and the bond that was established between the two men who had barely known one another. This blog post will pull every emotion out of the reader!
Why I Like It: Very simply, I was immersed in this essay and have found myself reading it many times since. The story itself is compelling, but the presentation is just unequalled.
There you have them!
When you don’t just need ideas or essay samples for an assignment, go online, find these essays, and just enjoy the fat that celebrities have great things to say!