Family holidays: When it's not OK to ask for a celebrity autograph

The ocean is the colour of tourmaline, the bures built for lounging, and the food fit for a queen.

But the top tourist attractions in this Fijian paradise are unannounced, aside from a sound that echoes, sotto voce, throughout the restaurant: "It's HIM." The island of Vomo – which was once frequented by royalty – is visited by the modern kind, in the form of world-famous cricket and rugby players, during our stay.

I refuse to name them, as their privacy is already invaded. There they sit – with their families – as a conga line of children, pushed by their parents, line up for a meet-and-greet. Yes, I get it. They're paid a lot of money to play sport. Part of the package is giving back.

But on a family holiday? With their children? During a well-deserved break?

For goodness sake, leave the poor blokes alone. Sure, they don't mind, handling their fans with equanimity. Heck, maybe it's part of a publicity campaign. But it makes me wonder – where should parents draw the line?

We have a similar internal debate during a trip to The Broad, a new contemporary art museum in downtown Los Angeles.

My hubby is a cameraman, with an exceptional eye for detail. He notices a tall woman and a short man being shepherded by security through some rooms to our left. As we're drawn towards an enormous work by Jeff Koons, we realise it's the actor Jude Law and his partner.

"I LOVE him," I mouth to hubby, somewhat inappropriately. "Don't STALK him," he mouths back.

I covertly point behind my hand to alert the children to the presence of Hollywood royalty. They couldn't care less, preferring to mimic the poses in Warhol's works.  

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Judging by the number of security guards, Law and his partner aren't interested in signing autographs. Respectfully, art gallery attendees leave them alone. But stumbling upon celebrities is a more common occurrence in LA than it is in the Pacific.

So, should you encounter this rare species at a family resort, I have three key pieces of advice.

1. Please, don't take a photo. In my experience, these types of birds scare easily, and may fly away. Or commence legal action.

2. A small amount of verbal petting is acceptable. Something like, "Love your work" or "G'day legend". No more than three sentences.

3. Less is more. Remember, the sun is actually a star. As Jerry Seinfeld says, "You don't stare at it. It's too risky. Ya get a sense of it and then look away." Yes, he was speaking of cleavage, but it's a similar concept.

I overhear one guest talking about the cricket star to his young son: "Sure, just go up to him. I know he's eating breakfast, but he'd love to hear what a huge fan you are." And maybe he did. Or perhaps he'd prefer spending the time with his wife and children.

There's a reason why it's called a "private" life.

 tracey.spicer@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Tracey Spicer and family stayed courtesy of Vomo Island Resort. vomofiji.com

See also: The 50 best family holiday destinations

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