I just read an article at Billboard featuring Andrew Gertler, Shawn Mendes’s manager, about his career strategy for the next couple of years. It’s work talk, my favourite. For Shawn and his team, the short and long range plan is to position him as a “touring… artist who’s going to do this for 20 years”. As we’ve seen over the last 15 years or so, with streaming services changing the industry and disrupting the traditional model of music releases and specifically how much (less) money artists can make from album sales, touring income remains stable and lucrative. It’s the focus for most mainstream acts like Shawn who want to appeal to a broad fanbase – the goal is to fill as many people as possible in the biggest venues possible. That’s one of the reasons why, for the artists who can mount stadium tours, they make a point of telling you that it’s a stadium tour: the flex is that they can sell out night after night in huge locations. Team Mendes is trying to build to that. They’re not there yet, but they’re definitely working on it. 

So that’s what’s happening in his professional life. And then there’s his personal life which seems to be intersecting with his professional life. Earlier this summer, Shawn and Camila Cabello released “Señorita” and since then… well… they’ve been inseparable. They were together in LA and San Francisco. She was seen with him on his tour stop in Salt Lake City. And this weekend, she was with him in Tampa. 

Fans saw them exploring the city, in coffee shops and bookstores, and shared it all on social media: 


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Here they are kissing again:

They’re definitely not hiding. And they’re not being precious with what’s happening between them, even when fans approach – and these fans, they’re not shy about approaching. There’s no holding the fans back: 

This is where the cynicism comes in. Because we’ve seen other celebrities, most celebrities nowadays, run for cover when they’re with whoever it is they’re dating and that behaviour has established a norm and its opposite, so that when they DON’T run for cover, it must mean that it’s not real? I mean, I get it. And I also wonder if the celebrities who weren’t legit about their romances and turned them into showmances kinda ruined it for those who are legit and simply don’t want to hide. Celebrities being the way they are, they’ll never blame their peers for it and it’s always the media and the public taking the blame, but, really, it was other celebrities themselves who were establishing the showmance as a publicity tool. That play came from inside Hollywood, not outside of it. 

The uncynical way of looking at Shawn and Camila would be that it’s young love. And when it’s this new and this intense, you can’t bear to be apart, especially not when you have the time and the resources to not be apart. It’s also suffocating to be together and to stay inside a hotel room so as not to be seen and to avoid being accused of faking your sh-t. Maybe you could argue then that this is real because they obviously have no f-cks to give about running into people and everyone pulling out their phones. You’re f-cked either way. You stay in the hotel room and you’re not living. You leave the hotel room and go out there and live and you find yourself in a fishbowl. If those are the two options presented to you, do you stay indoors or do you go outside?