Monday, March 9, 2015

It's raining Swedish celebs (sort of)

Can we take a minute to talk about my recent Swedish celebrity sitings? Two in the last month! I know these are minor celebrities in the big scheme of things, but that's besides the point - I spotted them! On my own! And was somewhat star-struck, which I wouldn't have expected for these Swedish celebs. But there's just something special about going through a normal, routine activity, and all of a sudden, you look up and recognize a face that you usually only see through your TV screen. 

Like last week: I was waiting in line at the post office to mail a package. The gentleman in front of me was collecting one, and asked if he could leave the extra packaging to be thrown away. It took me only a second to recognise this man:


His name is Johan Rheborg and in Sweden, he's famous for being one of four main characters on the Swedish TV series, Solsidan. On the show, Mr. Rheborg plays "Fredde", a middle-aged, quirky, very wealthy man with a severely receding hairline and a gorgeous wife. In real life, I'm sure this role has allotted Mr. Rheborg at least some degree of the wealth his character has; I'm not sure about the wife.
So what did I do? Like a true Swede, I played it cool (sort of), aka did my best not to appear that I was even ever-so-slightly looking. Everyone else in line behind me just went about being as normal as possible while Rheborg unpacked his things and stashed away what looked like a few bottles of specialty shampoo. (Which I'm sure no one else even noticed because they weren't looking.) I couldn't help not glancing over at least every few seconds. 

My other Swedish celebrity siting was a few weeks ago. NS and I were walking along a snowy sidewalk when I spotted this woman:


crossing the street ahead of us. Judging from this photo, she's hard to miss, but on said day, her hair was in a tight bun and she was bundled beneath bulky winter outerwear. Her name is Jessika Gedin and she hosts a Swedish program called Babel on which she interviews various authors about their books. I've not actually seen a full episode, and don't know many Swedes who have, but I was proud to have recognized her. Oddly enough, I saw her a second time the very next day passing outside my apartment. Stockholm really is a small city. 

In both cases, no words were exchanged, no autographs requested, no photos taken to document these chance meetings. It's just not the way celebrities are approached here. Whether a top idol or an aged star, Swedes will not do anything to intrude on their bubble .... that is, unless they've had a drink or two. Then all bets are off. 

I will say that, proof or no proof, I do feel a bit more ingrained in Swedish society now ... but will probably never be able to keep myself from glancing over at any celebrity I spot at least a few times.


  1. My recent experience at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah was a stark contrast to Swedish non-recognition of famous people. During my walks up and down Park City's Main Street, I saw groups of excited people staring intently in one direction with cameras/smart phones poised. They were waiting for a star siting! Many did not know who would be exiting a building, but they did not want to miss the chance to capture the moment. At another point, I approached a young man who had just posed with an attractive young woman (who was an apparent star). I asked him who she was. He candidly remarked that he had no idea, but had the picture taken 'just in case.' No doubt, one of his friends would know who she was!

    1. Yes, that is definitely a big difference to the celebrity scene here in Stockholm. I guess it's partly that there are so many Swedish celebrities in this city, people almost get used to seeing them around. I can't say that I do, though - especially since I usually don't even recognise them!