OTTAWA — Celebrities: if you’re trying to blend in while visiting Ottawa in January, it helps to wear a winter coat.
That was a lesson Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth learned the hard way Tuesday night. Cyrus, a singer and erstwhile star of the television show Hannah Montana, is visiting the capital with Hemsworth, her fiancé and star of The Hunger Games.
They are in Ottawa, said those who spoke to them, because Hemsworth is working on an unspecified project here.
The pair were spotted early Tuesday evening at the Chapters bookstore in the ByWard Market. The first clue that the couple was from out of town was that, on a night that dipped to -22 C, Cyrus (who is from Nashville) and Hemsworth (from Melbourne, Australia) were wearing sneakers and sweatshirts, and no winter jackets.
Kirsten Strom, the Starbucks coffee barista who served them — a solo espresso for him and a venti skinny vanilla latte for her — said the couple were freezing when they first came in from outside.
All the more so, given where they had just been vacationing.
“They said they had just come from Costa Rica,” Strom said.
After getting their coffees, the two shopped in the store and posed for pictures with fans, including some store employees.
Those pictures were soon buzzing around the city via social media. Given their ages — Cyrus, 20, and Hemsworth, 23, — they are just the right demographic to be Twitter royalty. Had the temperature not been so low, the tweeting might have brought a wave of people to the Market looking for the celebrity pair.
Ultimately, however, enough people did recognize them to convince them to move on from the store.
Mounir Khoury, a Chapters employee who posed for a picture with the couple, said Cyrus was not happy about the fact people were starting to take pictures surreptitiously from behind posts.
“She was annoyed,” Khoury said.
Gregory Fenelon had a different impression.
“She seemed really sweet,” he told the Citizen.
When 18-year-old realized he could be in the presence of a celebrity he decided to find out for sure.
“I finally went over and whispered, ‘Sorry to bother you but are you Miley Cyrus?’ And she said ‘Yeah,’” he said.
He admitted to her that he was “star-struck” to see her in person after growing up watching her on TV.
“I said I was so sorry for bothering her and she said, ‘No, no. You’re fine, don’t worry,’” he said.
Cyrus told him a delayed flight brought the couple downtown, he said.
He also remarked on Instagram that the bookstore may have been a good venue for young celebrities trying to stay below the radar.
“Think about it … It’s an old people store. No one would recognize them.”