"Not since Leo, circa Titanic, has a young actor been so aggressively beloved by 13-year-old girls worldwide," writes Evgenia Peretz in her Vanity Fair profile of Robert Pattinson (Twilight's Hot Gleaming, December 2009). Peretz is right—and I would know. I was one of those teenage girls who got caught up in the "Leo-mania" fan frenzy in the late 90s. The first copy of Vanity Fair I ever bought was the January 1998 issue with Leo on the cover. I hung Tiger Beat and Teen Bop posters of Leo on my bedroom walls. And after I saw Titanic in the movie theater six times, one of my friends and I even created a Leo Web site, at a time when you could only access the Internet via a dial-up modem.
Sure, there were other Hollywood stars that set our teenage hearts a-flutter (Home Improvement's Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Camp Nowhere's Andrew Keegan, and Casper's Devon Sawa come to mind), and the Backstreet Boys and N*SYNC boy-band craze that prompted one of my friends to paint her bedroom baby blue (it was Justin Timberlake's favorite color) came close to rivaling the Leo pandemic. But among us teenagers, it was only DiCaprio who orbited in the true superstar stratosphere.
Although I personally don't understand the infatuation with Pattinson (luckily, I grew out of my teenage obsession phase long ago), I certainly understand where today's teenagers are coming from. But I'm still not sure that RPattz hysteria is as intense as Leo-mania was. What do you think? Vote after the jump
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