Are you familiar with Cameo?
In case you’re not, a primer: Cameo is a site filled with a huge range of celebrities—think TV, movies, sports, music, and yes, social media influencers too—who will record a personalized video message for you, at costs ranging from $1 (for people you’ve never heard of) to $2500.
Many are there to fundraise for charity, others for themselves, which you can’t blame anyone for when the entertainment industry is at a temporary standstill. But BOY are they all there. Names you’d never expect in a million years (Val Kilmer, $150) sharing web space with others that don’t surprise you at all (Kato Kaelin, $60). The most expensive celebrity you can book: Caitlyn Jenner ($2500.00).
This update on Dick Van Dyke’s page fills my heart with joy: “Due to overwhelming demand, Mister hasn’t been able to accommodate the influx of requests in the allotted time. He puts thought & care into each video. Please reorder, if expired ❤️” (For the record, the last time I looked he cost a well-deserved $1000.)
The $500+ club includes Wesley Snipes ($500), Chaka Khan ($600), Criss Angel ($999), Craig Kilborn ($900), Marlon Wayans ($500), and bajillionaire Dr. Oz ($500), who, by the way, is in the “actor” category. More budget-friendly options: Cindy Williams (Shirley of Laverne & Shirley¸ $50), 90 Day Fiancé’s David & Annie ($57), Doug E. Fresh ($75). Once you dive in and start yelling out names and comparing prices, it’s hard to come back out.
I bought a Cameo for a friend of mine’s birthday (Doug Jones from Star Trek: Discovery, who was delightful and worth every penny), and then considered all the other reasons to send someone a video from someone they love… or even someone they love to hate.
In these uncertain times, how about a pep talk from Anthony Michael Hall ($150) or Montel Williams ($100)? Maybe you can get Tommy Lee ($400) to record your friend’s outgoing voicemail. You could have The Chew’s Carla Hall ($60) or Master Chef’s Graham Elliott ($30) congratulate them for finally baking that loaf of bread or get Montell Jordan ($50) to console them after a disappointment. Malcolm McDowell ($140) is even on there. John Cleese ($300)!
You could ask LeVar Burton ($250) or Ed Asner ($200) to thank them for going to protests, or have Loretta Swit ($125) thank your friends who work in hospitals. Maybe you have a friend who just needs a virtual hug from someone they’ve always loved, like Elijah Wood ($225) or Debbie Gibson ($195)— or even someone they always found ridiculous (David Hasselhoff, $300).
If you want to pool your resources with friends, you can even assemble a group, although of course they can’t record together. There are a bunch of Real Housewives on Cameo, a nice selection of folks from The Office, a smattering of cast members from Lord of the Rings, and a lot of awesome Star Trek stars. You can make your own America’s Next Top Model judging panel with Janice Dickinson ($50), Nigel Barker ($45), and Miss J. ($50). You can ALMOST build a boy band: ‘NSYNC’s Lance Bass, Chris Kirkpatrick, and Joey Fatone are there—get all three for $549. For something edgier, how about the Night King ($60) AND Hodor ($75) from Game of Thrones?
Want to support GLAAD in honor of Gay Pride month? You can go snarky with Perez Hilton ($90), retro with Debbie Gibson ($195), Lisa Loeb ($100), or Mark McGrath ($99), or trendy with Queer Eye’s Carson Kressley ($65). They’re all donating proceeds.
There are categories for drag queens, motivational speakers, YouTube creators, along with magicians, Tarot card readers, Santas, and yes… Furries. Under “politics” you’ll find Stormy Daniels ($250), Sebastian Gorka ($45), and impersonators of both Trump and Obama. Just do us all a favor and don’t give $199 to Sean Spicer.
A transplanted Canadian living in New York, Laurie Ulster is a freelance writer and a TV producer who somehow survived her very confusing adolescence as the lone female Star Trek fan in middle school. She writes about pop culture, lifestyle topics, feminism, food, and other topics for print, digital, podcasts, and TV.