Each year, thousands of people flock to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to torch a giant wicker man in a Bohemian-style celebration of life as an art form. And each year, celebrities make the pilgrimage to this Burning Man festivalto join in the spirit of self-exploration and creativity.
In that respect, the Burning Man festival of 2015 was like any other. But this year, some of the celebrities in attendance seemed to expand their horizons in more ways than one. Here are 10 free-spirited stars in attendance, along with the ways their lives were presumably changed forever.
1. Susan Sarandon
When Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon goes to Burning Man, she goes all in. This year, that included embarking on the journey a week early in order to erect the Totem of Confessions chapel that would house the ashes of her late friend/the godfather of LSD, Timothy Leary. Well, the portion of Leary’s ashes Sarandon and her pals didn’t water down and imbibe, that is. “I think he’d be so happy. I think he would have loved the chaos. He would have loved it,” she said to USA Today. “And all these people honoring him with LSD.” Accordingly, Sarandon credits Burning Man 2015 for finding herself. Unbeknownst to her, she also just became our imaginary, peace-loving patronus.
2. Derek Blasberg
It’s no shock that beloved fashion journalist Derek Blasberg spent the entirety of Burning Man 2015 cavorting all over the desert in a blur of long-limbed supermodels like Karlie Kloss and Kasha Zhukova, (pictured here). And it looks as though Burning Man was truly a revelation to Blasberg in that it affirmed there is a place in the world where gold lamé leggings and an iridescent 10-gallon hat are considered acceptable sartorial choices.
3. Sophia Bush
Chicago P.D. actress Sophia Bush has long been an advocate of women championing women — the last time we spoke with her, she emphasized the importance of empowering each other. And that, it would seem, is precisely what Bush learned while at Burning Man this year: that her tribe of “witchy warrior women who dance in the desert and leave trails of magic wherever they wander” always have her back. And, you know, would make great allies if she should ever wind up in the Thunderdome.
4. Suki Waterhouse
Clearly, Bradley Cooper’s ex knows how to embrace the mind-altering vibe of Burning Man. Her weekend may have been wild and it’s entirely possibly she won’t remember much of it, but — thanks to her social media-savvy friends — she’ll never forget just how good a sandwich can taste when all the stars align just so.
But, more importantly, Burning Man changed Waterhouse’s life in that she gained the kind of perspective that comes with a life-or-death experience. This, according to her hyperbolic Instagram feed.
5. Jared Leto
Is there anything Jared Leto can’t do? Let us rephrase that. Is there anything Jared Leto can’t do to get us all hot and bothered? Short though this incendiary video may be, it’s beautiful in a way that is equal parts disarming and enchanting. Much like Leto’s face. But the hottest thing about this vid is the caption: “Mind on Fire #burningman #MarsIsComing.” Oh, yes, dear friends — it would seem that Burning Man 2015 inspired Leto to create another album with his stellar band, Thirty Seconds to Mars.
6. Karlie Kloss
Taylor Swift’s bestie Karlie Kloss exhibited model behavior in the Nevada desert, hanging out with fashion journalist Derek Blasberg — who snapped this shot — and mingling with other runway stunners. While we can’t deduce any deeply profound revelations on her part, Kloss determined that with the right light, the right wig, the right crop top and the right expertly placed hair accessories, she could easily pull off a mean Britney Spears circa “Hit Me Baby One More Time” in a pinch.
Triple threat dancer, actress and model Cassie nearly outshone the beaming desert rays at Burning Man, thanks to the man she called her “sunshine on a cloudy day.” The man, obviously, is none other than her main squeeze, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs. So, how did Burning Man change Cassie’s life? It looks to us like she realized she didn’t need to sojourn to a festival in the desert to channel her inner goddess — she’s got her own personal catalyst for happiness right beside her.
8. Kevin Connolly
Kevin Connolly has plenty of reasons to be smiling these days. For starters, news broke last week that the Entourage star will be directing the biopic of infamous New York mobster John Gotti, starring John Travolta. But that’s not what we suspect the 41-year-old actor was grinning about at Burning Man. Nay, we suspect it has everything to do with the fact he noticed draping a supermodel (in this case, Sabina Gadecki, 10 years his junior) over your back serves as an effective shield against dust storms and — surprise! — isn’t an altogether unpleasant experience.
DJ/producer/Katy Perry ex Diplo made the most of his time at Burning Man, doing all manner of desert activities and documenting most of them via selfie. Because he is so generous, he naturally took time to share this photo, which confirmed to the world how amazing he is, how adorable Zedd is and that Ruby Rose looks even more gorgeous in the desert light… if that’s even possible.
The most important contribution Burning Man made to Diplo’s life, though, was undoubtedly that it reminded him it’s perfectly acceptable to wander around shirtless in extremely low-slung pants. Or, wait. Maybe that was the most important contribution Burning Man made to our lives.
10. Katy Perry
You know, it’s hard to look extremely cool and hipster-like in front of a giant futuristic desert ship when your Segway refuses to cooperate. Obviously, Katy Perry learned the importance of two things here: protective face gear and familiarizing yourself with the modus operandi of the vehicle upon which you’ll be riding.