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The Globe and Mail

Material Girl forces volunteers to look away at TIFF

Director Madonna poses at "W.E." press conference during the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival at TIFF Bell Lightbox on September 12, 2011 in Toronto, Canada.

Jason Merritt/Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Sounds like Madonna was all smiles and compliments for Canada in general and TIFF in particular, when she visited the festival Monday to promote her new film, W.E., about famous divorcé, the Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson. One observer even heard her thank the festival's orange-shirted volunteers.

It was a bit of a different story backstage, however, when eight of those volunteers were asked to turn their faces to a wall so that they would not look at the pop-star-turned-movie-director as she made her way to her press conference about the film. One volunteer told the Globe they all dutifully stood with their backs to her as she passed.

In previous appearances, Madonna has pointed out the similarities between herself and the Duchess, both Americans transplanted to the U.K. and both prisoners of celebrity.

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At the Venice Film Festival earlier this month, the Associated Press reported her saying "I think once you become famous, you have to pretty much relinquish the idea that people are going to see you for who you are, or look beyond the surface of things. I think that was a source of great frustration for Wallis Simpson and for Edward VIII, because after he abdicated, they didn't really have the opportunity to defend themselves."

Well, one tip for celebs who want people to see beyond the surface: Hire staff who insist you be treated like a human being, not a deity incarnate, and treat them with such respect they would refuse any ridiculous suggestion that you could not be looked at on your way to a public event specifically designed to market your latest work.

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