Like so many girls of my generation, it all started when I went with my then best friend Miranda, to see Baz Luhrmann’s edgier version of Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, at the tender and impressionable age of 14. As the two of us pubescent girls shuffled into the Fireweed Theatre (circa 1996), found our seats and settled into the previews, I was completely unaware of the fate that awaited me.
All was as could be expected. I was struggling to understand why some weird gang of ruffians with pink hair and a banana yellow SUV were fighting with John Leguizamo (and some other random individuals of Latino decent) at a gas station, speaking some strange version of English. What the strange news reporter flashing in and out kept trying to convey. Why the women in the car was clearly so upset about her son…… and then (cue Radiohead – Talk Show Host), there he was. Sandy blond fringe falling into his eyes, staring broodingly off into the distance, lost in self-reflection on some strange Mexican beach, whilst writing, the sun peaking through whatever the hell kind of dilapidated stage it was he was sitting on…smoking…
After promptly buying the soundtrack and a paperback copy of Shakespeare’s ‘version’ of Romeo & Juliet (which had ultimately exasperated me, since The Bard had clearly got so much of the story wrong), I locked myself in my room for nearly two whole weeks playing the CD on repeat and crying over the fictional tragedy. All the while, falling madly in, ahem, infatuation? Lust? Obsession? with Leo.
Luckily for me, I was not alone in this downward spiral, and discovered shortly thereafter, that Miranda had also been bitten by the Leo love bug. Together, we began creating our very own Leo scrapbooks and spending hours at lunch, after school, and on weekends, talking of little else. We passed the hours arguing over various rational ‘what ifs,’ like who was better suited for a relationship with him…which indisputably was me since an article in Bop magazine clearly stated that he preferred Air signs like Gemini, Libra and Aquarius. I’m a Libra but Miranda is a Scorpio, so clearly out of the running as far as I was concerned. Although, said article also claimed he was a fan of brunettes, while his serial dating history plainly suggests otherwise.
In 1997, Titanic came out and it was game over. How many times did I see that in cinema you ask? 12 that I’m sure of, but it could have easily been more. Either way, it was enough that I was able to memorise and recite Rose’s ‘trepidation about marriage’ speech to Jack verbatim, in a monologue for my high-school drama class. A course which I was irrefutably taking to help me one day become a famous actress myself, thereby finally aligning the stars for Leo and I to meet. I imagine it goes without saying, that said monologue left my classmates and teacher bewildered in more ways than one. This was before the days of easy internet access you see.
In my Sophomore photography class, my teacher actually held a parent-teacher conference with my father, purely to inform him of his concerns with the pictures I was handing in; mainly (ok only) photos taken from photos of Mr. DiCaprio, in various different magazines I found on newsstands. It got expensive to keep buying all the issues of Seventeen, Bop, Teen People, etc. so I found more cost effective, and industrious, way to fuel my addiction, add to my scrapbook and finish some of my assignments simultaneously. This was also around the same time I ate Twizzlers daily because reportedly they were his favourite snack. For the record, I actually prefer black liquorice myself.
This was my personal favourite…
When my mother decided to become a silk screen artist (during one of her many erratic entrepreneurial idea phases), I convinced her to make raglan t-shirts with ‘I (heart) Leo’ printed across the chest, promising huge profits from other girls at school. Weirdly, they didn’t sell as well as I had anticipated. Nevertheless, I did have a fully stocked closet of said t-shirts, in case I ever lost one. So it worked out for the best really.
In the summer of 1998, I actually wrote a letter to Leo’s fan mail address (listed in some teen magazine) letting him know that I would be getting a drivers license very soon. I also recall drawing a picture of a tree frog on the envelope, because I had read somewhere how much he liked art. To this day…I’ve literally no idea what the f*** that was all about. To my amazement, he never wrote back. At the time, I was concerned that it was because I was simply too young for him, being that there’s an 8 year gap between us and all, but given that in recent years he’s been dating women much younger than I…I presume that perhaps he just isn’t a big fan of tree frogs?
When the time came for me to do my required two years of a foreign language Junior year, I took German, knowing full well that Leo is half German himself. I came out of those two years only able to summon up the phrase, ‘Darf ich bitte auf Klo? Ich habe Scheisse in Meinen Hosen.’ Which roughly translates to, ‘Can I go to the toilet? I have s*** in my pants.’ (Long, off-topic story) The silver lining in that however, is when I moved to Munich, and didn’t feel like waiting in the queue for the toilets at the Oktoberfest, I blurted that one right out parting all the ladies in that line, like the seas did for Moses.
Time went on. ‘Real’ boys entered my life and the yearning began to fade. I hadn’t really thought about him much in ages, until the spring of 2004, when my best friend Kyra and I went to visit her father in Malibu Beach, California. Suddenly, I found myself extensively researching Leo’s favourite local hangouts and planning our activities around some vain attempt at happenstance contact. Even weirder… Kyra was somehow supportive of this.
Sadly for me, all I came home with from that trip was a photo of us with Kenny G over some sushi in Nobu, memories of getting lit with Crixus from TV series Spartacus (actor Manu Bennett) on Zuma beach, before (literally) running away from his cringe-worthy attempts at a threesome and a bag full of scrumped lemons and avocados. I may have tried to scale Cher’s fence at some point as well, but I’m not entirely sure.
These days, I do not plan my life around the possibility of finally snaring Leonardo DiCaprio. Yes, he’s gorgeous. Yes he’s in great films for the most part, with the exception of The Man in the Iron Mask, of course. Yes, I would probably throw up and faint at once, if I ended up in an elevator with him, but no, I am far too mature these days to obsess anymore…or at least that’s what I thought, until I saw that viral Twitter video of him doing some strange sort of interpretive, martial arts style ‘dancing’ to MGMT at Coachella this year, and discovered my hands researching ticket prices for the festival before my head knew what was even happening.