Growing up, I always wanted to be like the stars I saw on television. I was obsessed with fame, glam, and all things celebs. Living in a small town with only 1,000 citizens, it is safe to say that my life was far from different than the lives of the people I admired. There was nothing wrong with my admiration – I still love the same people today. However, I never related to anyone that wasn’t a fictional character in a book, film or television show.
It wasn’t until 2009 when Glee came around that I found someone I could relate to in real life. When I was introduced to the cast of Glee I found a whole bunch of people that I could relate to – both on screen and in real life. In that cast, there was one person that stood out to me; Cory Monteith. Cory Monteith played the typical (pretty) American high school boy and I guess that was why so many people, including myself, became drawn to him initially. When I found out who Cory really was I felt that I had finally found someone who understood me even though he had never met me in real life.
Cory grew up in British Columbia, Canada. During his teenage years, he struggled with addiction and a low self-esteem. Compared to him, I had it so easy. I had a good family and a privileged life compared to my peers. However, I felt lost from the age of 13. I didn’t know what was wrong with me and why I started to feel nothing but pain. Hearing Cory talking about his childhood made me hopeful. He had managed to get to a place where he felt happy again – and if he could then so could I.
In July 2013, Cory Monteith passed away from a drug overdose. Blaming him and calling him weak would have been so easy for a lot of people. But the reality was that Cory was the nicest person in Hollywood, and sometimes mental illnesses win. He did not care about fame or money. He always put other people before him, and although it’s sometimes not the best thing to do, it truly shows how big his heart was.
Cory was an immensely talented guy. Although most people only know his work from Glee, they will agree that his acting was as real as it can get. He had impeccable comedic timing and every time he did an emotional scene the viewers could feel his pain. He was also a skilled musician. He may not have been a singer before Glee, but he improved so much during the course of the show. His love for music was evident. He once said that music had saved him. It cannot be denied that his music saved thousands of others.
Besides his career, Cory dedicated his life to helping people in need. He had a uniquely beautiful soul and he moved mountains to make the world a better place. Billionaire Richard Branson said the following after Cory’s death:
“He was deeply committed to ending youth homelessness. We’ll never forget watching him on the streets in Canada working with homeless teenagers and with organisations like Foyer in the UK, inspiring and giving a lifeline of hope to young people who were overwhelmed that he took the time to walk beside them to listen and share his own story.”
This is why I love him. Losing Cory was something that I cannot describe. People have called me dramatic because after all, I didn’t know him. And it’s true, I did not know him in real life. But I knew his heart. I knew exactly who he was from his close relationship with his fans and everything that he did for others. He was someone, the only one, I could relate to. When he died, it was as if a close friend and a part of myself died with him. It showed me that nothing in this world is guaranteed and that I can’t take anything for granted.
His selflessness and kindness will live on. He may not be with us physical anymore, but his spirit will never leave this earth. I, along with everyone else who loved him, will make sure that his legacy will continue to live on. Cory Monteith made it his mission to make this world a better place and that is why he’s my favourite.