It’s one of the most iconic sites in all of Los Angeles: The Hollywood Walk of Fame. Anyone brave enough to fight the crowds (most of whom are zombie-walking with their heads down, intensely eyeing the sidewalk) can get a first-hand glimpse.
But what exactly is the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and what exactly is the process behind a celebrity obtaining a star along one of Los Angeles’ most trafficked boulevards?
Hold up, what is the Hollywood Walk of Fame anyway?
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is 18 blocks long — 15 blocks on Hollywood Boulevard, and an additional three going down Vine Street. There are six main categories for stars: motion pictures (represented by a film camera), TV stars (represented, oddly enough, by a TV), musicians (represented with a record), radio stars (represented by a microphone) and live performance stars (represented by the comedy/tragedy masks).
There are a few exceptions, as some corporations like Victoria’s Secret have stars, as do former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, the LAPD and the Apollo 11 astronauts. And, somewhat controversially, there are even a few fictional characters with stars on the Walk of Fame, like Mickey Mouse, Godzilla, the Rugrats and Shrek.
So how do you get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?
The process is relatively simple — though not everyone who applies gets one.
First, someone — say, RuPaul — has to be nominated. Anyone can submit a nomination — fans, film studios, publicists, the stars themselves — but nominees have to have been in their field for at least five years. Not just that, but the nominations must be approved by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.
If a celebrity is approved — and not everyone is; Kim Kardashian was famously rejected — it’s simply a matter of coming up with the funds. The person who nominated the celebrity must pay $40,000. Half of that goes to constructing the star, while the other half pays for its upkeep. (Some stars’ upkeep is cheaper than others.)
And, finally — a star has to agree to be on the Walk of Fame and appear at the ceremony. Surprisingly, a few do turn down the honor, including Julia Roberts. Dead celebrities can be on the Walk of Fame, but they must be dead for at least five years, and in their stead a relative must attend the ceremony.
Even if a celebrity fits these constraints, getting a star on the Walk of Fame is not always a sure thing. Only approximately 20 stars are installed each year, which means the chamber ends up rejecting 90% of applications.