For the most part.
Meet Joe Fitrzyk – or, as we’ve come to discover, the world’s biggest celebrity magnet. He’s gotten thisclose to the crème de la crème of Hollywood, but here’s a random fact: it’s all been totally random. He bumped into Gosling during a breakfast run in Soho. He went to catch a movie on the Fourth of July and sat near Manganiello. He chatted with Swift at a pizza place on Melrose Ave. and – get this – she was with Selena Gomez. And he’s got proof of all his escapades.
His tumblr blog, Famewreck, features photos of each and every encounter. (He was nice enough to lend us a few for your viewing pleasure, and we’re starting with the man who makes True Blood so worth it – plus T-Swift for good measure.)
His latest coup: running into Twilight star Kristen Stewart as she celebrated her b-day during lunch in Los Feliz – and actually making her smile. Yes, you read that correctly.
“She was so sweet,” says Joe. “I stopped by her table to wish her a happy birthday and since Kristen was so gracious, I rambled on about our mutual love of horror movies like The Shining and Lost Boys.”
So how did Joe become a virtual celeb magnet? It all started, as it usually does, with a young kid who had stars in his eyes. *cue sappy music*
“I grew up in Detroit,” he says. “TV was not just a means of escape – actors were my imaginary friends and role models. Eventually, my Lucy Ricardo obsession with celebrity evolved into a more celebratory Andy Warhol fascination – Pop Cultural Anthropology.”
And the celebs are celebrating right along with him – so much so that the kid from Motor City doesn’t even have to chase them down.
“I used to seek them out – now I just let them come to me like Gorillas in the Mist,” he says of his (animal?) magnetism. “I seem to attract artists and icons. It could happen anywhere. Last month, in the middle of a crowded beach in Miami, I bumped into Dorota from Gossip Girl with Andrew Rannells from The New Normal.”
He’s also been behind Roseanne Barr on an airport security line. He saw Maria Shriver holiday shopping in Beverly Hills – and getting denied at Paper Source when she asked if they’d wrap her presents. Bruce Springsteen once asked him where the restroom is at Barney’s New York; he got directions to the nearest Hollywood liquor store from RuPaul.
Janice Dickinson planted a Valentine’s Day kiss on him out of nowhere at a John Varvatos shop. And he recently found himself sharing a mirror with Scott Disick at a Beverly Hills department store.
“We made small talk while trying on leather jackets,” Joe says of Kourtney Kardashian’s better half. “He was quite humble and charming, the opposite of his TV persona.”
Joe was even invited to Lindsay Lohan‘s birthday party after spending the day poolside next to her mom Dina at a hotel. *insert Lindsay/Dina joke here* Oh, and he’s made the acquaintances of Snooki, Keanu Reeves, Colin Egglesfield, Salma Hayek, Josh Groban, Larry Hagman, Michael Buble and Mick Jagger. And Adam Levine. Sigh.
Still, Joe – who makes his living as an ad man (“like Don Draper but without all the Catholic guilt,” he says) – doesn’t approach each and every glittering star in the sky.
“I chickened out on Justin Timberlake once,” he admits. Also too intimidating to approach: Sean Penn.
“I tried to work up the nerve to say hello while he was smoking and talking on his cell phone outside Urban Zen in West Hollywood. But with his history of paparazzi fisticuffs and allegedly tying Madonna to a chair and yelling at her for 24 hours, I thought it would be best if I passed.” Editor’s note: We stress “allegedly.” But the visual is still awesome.
And, truth be told, every celebrity encounter isn’t smooches and snapshots.
“I once pretended to be texting but instead took a picture of Hilary Swank, on a public street, outside a crowded restaurant we were waiting to get into,” he says.
What happened? Well, this is the woman who famously played a tough-as-nails boxer in Million Dollar Baby. You do the math.
“She stormed after me and shamed me in front of my date, saying I made her feel like she was on display at the zoo. I was humiliated.”
His embarrassment subsided when Swank put away the verbal boxing gloves and proved that – surprise! – stars have hearts, too. Says Joe: “She then kindly asked me if I wanted a photo.”
Other awkward encounters had a similarly happy ending.
“I asked Mark Wahlberg for a photo at an event, and he said he needed to use the restroom,” Joe says. “A polite decline, I thought, until he searched me out 10 minutes later in a crowd, and graciously posed for me. He’s a man of his word.”
Also on Joe’s list of friendliest celebrities: Robert Downey Jr., Swift and Gomez, Gwyneth Paltrow, Chastain, Pitt, Betty White, the entire the casts of Mad Men, True Blood and Glee; Levine, Stan Lee and every Bravolebrity from Andy Cohen and Jeff Lewis to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. And, of course, Mr. Clooney.
And who’s the nastiest celeb?
We don’t want to badmouth anyone (okay, we do, but karma is a bitch), so we won’t say. But here’s a clue: she’s a fashion-savvy celeb who’s known for her often-changing hair color. And Joe is remaining tight-lipped about their less-than-enchanting encounter.
“I’m leaving her out of my will for reasons which are well known to her,” he says.
But despite the aforementioned hits and misses of celebrity-spotting, we’re betting that you (and your inner Lucy Ricardo) want to rub elbows with some A-listers too. Fortunately, Joe isn’t hoarding them all for himself. He’s a giver – and he’s got a few tips for the budding star-seeker.
“When I see someone I recognize, I believe it’s polite to say ‘hi,’” he says. “And always give a real compliment — most celebs will recognize it’s sincere. Amanda Seyfried was dubious — until I ran down her IMDB resume off the top of my head.” (P.S. She was with Dexter‘s Jennifer Carpenter. OMG moment!)
If you’re in L.A., know this: “Actors love to shop at Fred Segal, Barney’s or The Grove, which is like a celebrity petting zoo.”
Another piece of advice: “If you’re having a real human moment, don’t ruin it by asking for a photo. Generally, never ask for a photo if a celeb is with their kids, in the restroom, or peeing outside Chateau Marmont.”
And never, ever, pretend to be texting and secretly snap a photo of a celebrity. Hilary Swank just isn’t having it.
To see more of Joe’s endless celebrity encounters – and we mean endless – head to Famewreck. But before you do, tell us: who do you think got Joe’s vote for nastiest celeb? Our lips are sealed, but that doesn’t mean yours have to be!