“She was an absolute f*cking legend,” the actress Gemma Chan “happily” tells an interviewer from The Guardian. Who might the legend be? There are plenty of icons Chan might have encountered since her big break in 2018’s “Crazy Rich Asians.” Ellen Degeneres. Reese Witherspoon. Mindy Kaling.
But Chan is, thankfully, talking about Céline Dion.
“It was the best half an hour of my life,” she says.
Actually, she’s not just talking about Céline Dion, but about pole-dancing on a party bus with Céline Dion. And how could that not be the best half hour of her life? In a time where nobody seems to be having any fun at all, where everyone is submerged in a jerky and unrelenting river of pessimism and bad news, the 51-year-old icon appears almost otherworldly, prevailing and thriving against all odds. (Keanu Reeves, one might say, has achieved a similar state.)
Watch: Céline Dion’s street style moment at Paris Fashion Week 2019. Story continues below.
But anyway, back to Chan’s story. The 36-year-old movie star had just left this year’s camp-themed Met Gala where she was wearing, as one does, an Elizabeth Taylor-inspired look designed by the one and only Tom Ford.
Chan was completely blown away by the atmosphere of the party, a “surreal” experience she compared to “being in Madame Tussauds,” the international wax museum where sculptures of major celebrities from various moments in history — Rihanna, Queen Elizabeth II, Marilyn Monroe — hang out together like old friends.
“I had Joan Collins on one side, Kim Kardashian and Kanye in front of me. Gwyneth just there,” Chan said. “They’re all talking to each other, because they know each other, and you’re just standing there going, ‘This is mental.’”
When it was finally time to leave the star-studded party and change into another outfit back at her hotel, Chan ended up on a party bus that was headed to an afterparty.
But it wasn’t just any bus. This is New York City, after all. Instead, this was a bus that Céline Dion, certified Canadian legend, just happened to also be on.
“It was me and her and her dancers, just dancing on this bus,” Chan says, as though hesitant to trust her own recollection. “I can’t believe it happened. Nothing will top that.”
Then, for good measure, she adds: “I pole-danced on a bus with Céline Dion.”
She pole-danced on a bus with Céline Dion!
There is, apparently,video evidence of the occasion. But that video will never see the light of day, Chan assured The Guardian. She didn’t exactly say why, but the reason can be carefully inferred: what happens on a bus with Céline Dion, stays on the bus with Céline Dion. Period. No questions asked. (The same goes for that other legend: Beyoncé.)
It’s probably fine. Céline Dion — note that I’ve written her name out in full, as though it were a title as much as it is a name — has given us plenty of material to work with.
Whether she’s casually trotting down the street, wearing one of her decadent couture getups, or has just said she would do car karaoke but, instead, delivers a performance deserving of a standing ovation, or is saying, in an interview, “I’m not playing bossy. I am the boss,” Céline Dion’s power has become a kind of permission in and of itself, an invitation to be the happiest, most successful, most glamourous version of yourself that you can access.
It may not be possible to be Céline Dion, but we can certainly try to be like her. We may as well. It’s already her world. We’re just living in it.