A red carpet is unrolled under Malibu palm trees in this graphic. Malibu is a quiet beach town, but students often see celebrities out and about away from busy Los Angeles. Graphic by Addison Whiten
Living in Malibu as a college student is a unique experience. Proximity to both the beach and a major city, Los Angeles, as well as its stunning natural beauty are some of the things that make Malibu a one-of-a-kind college town.
One unusual aspect of being a Malibu resident is the presence of celebrities in town. The opportunity to meet famous people sets apart Waves from most college students who would have to go to an event like a concert to see them, junior Shelby Schering said.
“Here you’re able to literally just go for a walk or go to the store and you might end up seeing someone, which is super fun,” Schering said.
Schering works at Sunlife, known for its smoothies and acai bowls and a favorite spot for many stars. Over the course of her three years working there, she’s seen numerous famous people, such as Jonah Hill, Cindy Crawford, Noah Centineo, Patrick Dempsey and so many more that Schering said there’s no way she could list them all.
“At this point, I’ve lost track of who all I’ve seen and who all I’ve met,” Schering said. “I have to ask my friends because they remember more than I do.”
This fall semester, Schering had her most notable celebrity encounter at work when she served Harry Styles at the front register. Schering said meeting him was nerve-wracking, but also something she will remember forever because she is a big fan of his. Despite her excitement, Schering did what she always does when famous customers come in — remain professional as if nothing is different.
“I definitely had a moment with Harry where I had to excuse myself to the back so I could calm down,” Schering said. “But, genuinely, I did stay pretty calm, and I still had to ask him ‘Oh, can I get a name for your order?’”
Sophomore Emily Piccirillo had her own experience with Styles last spring. While her family was visiting in Malibu, they went to Howdy’s for lunch, she said. She later discovered Styles also ate there that day — only twenty minutes after them.
“I was so mad about that,” Piccirillo said. “That’s the only time I’ve ever been angry about missing someone.”
Like Schering, Piccirillo has an extensive list of celebrities she’s seen in Malibu, and even some of the same sightings as Schering, such as Centineo, Hill and Dempsey.
One day last spring, Piccirillo said she was out to eat at Lily’s with friends when Centineo cut in front of them in line. He turned around, they realized it was him and had a surprisingly ordinary conversation about it, Piccirillo said.
“It was weird because it was such a normal conversation,” Piccirillo said. “We didn’t say, ‘Oh my god, you’re Noah! Can we take a picture?’ He just had a normal conversation with us, which I think is really interesting.”
Piccirillo is from McKinney, Texas, far from any constant celebrity sightings, so she loves to tell her friends and family back home when she sees stars. Sharing her stories is exciting, but Piccirillo thinks people who don’t live in Malibu overestimate just how often A-listers are seen by the average Pepperdine student.
“All my friends when they come to visit they’re like, ‘I want to see a famous person,’ but you can’t just go out and expect to see someone,” Piccirillo said. “I feel like it’s better if it happens randomly.”
Both Schering and Piccirillo have numerous celebrity sightings under their belts, and their best advice for people who spot stars in Malibu is to leave them alone because they live here too and are just going about their daily routines.
“For a lot of people, when you see celebrities you want to go up and talk to them, but they really are just normal people,” Piccirillo said.
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Contact Addison Whiten via Twitter: @addisonwhiten or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org