Like a virus that refuses to be cured, the debate over celebrity nepotism – that is, the growing trend of identifying famous “nepo babies” who have gotten into their chosen industry by straddling tails from their parents – has once again risen to the surface of acid talk on the internet. due to a series of eerily similar interviews given by young stars last week.
Zoe Kravitz, daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet, said QG in an interview published Nov. 15, she said she had deep insecurities about working in entertainment due to her famous parentage. Then she contradicts herself: “It’s completely normal for people to be in the family business,” Kravitz told QG. “That’s literally where the surnames come from. You were a blacksmith if your family was, like, the Black family.
“People are going to have preconceived ideas about you or how you got here, and I can definitely say that nothing will get you the part except being right about the part,” the director said. actress and model Lily-Rose Depp, daughter of Johnny Depp and French singer Vanessa Paradis, told She in an interview published a day later.
Depp’s comments sparked a storm of outrage from the modeling community sparked by Italian model Vittoria Ceretti. “I get ‘I’m here and worked hard for this’ but I would really like to see if you would have lasted for the first five years of my career,” Ceretti posted on Instagram.
It snowballed into an internet pileup in which thousands of people mocked Depp for believing she belonged in the fashion industry on her own merits. “Lily-Rose Depp is complaining about people calling her a nepotism brat when she’s 5’2″ and walking for Chanel lmao GIRL,” read a tweet that was favorited over more than 138,000 times.
“There was no way people would think I was using a free pass because of my name,” said Lily Collins, actress and daughter of Phil Collins. VogueFrance in an interview published on November 22. “I’m proud of my dad, but I wanted to be me, not just his daughter. For that, I was ready to wait to break through.
“I want to feel like I deserve things and not just like I’ve been given things,” Madonna’s daughter Lourdes Leon said in a new interview with The Cut this week. “And, yes, there is an undeniable privilege that I would be foolish not to realize. Nepotism babies are usually pretty awful, and my mom and dad raised me to be so much smarter than that.
There’s nothing new about nepotism, first coined in the 14th or 15th century to describe the corrupt tactics of childless popes awarding important positions in the Catholic Church to their nephews.
American presidential and political nepotism is almost as old as the country itself, and runs the gamut from John Quincy Adams who was criticized for enlisting family members in the Bush and Kennedy dynasties. The most glaring recent example is, of course, Donald Trump’s habit of handing senior White House advisory roles to his deeply unqualified children and in-laws.
And although Hollywood nepotism is particularly publicized, professional favoritism towards family members permeates all industries – the prohibitive cost of living and education in big cities has made journalism increasingly impossible to prosecute. professionally without the help of a well-connected relative (looking at you, Chris Cuomo) or significant financial amortization.
This summer, top college football coaches spoke about how nepotism in their field contributes to a lack of diversity in coaching. Nepotism in the legal field has long been an intense point of contention.
Given the obvious pervasiveness of nepotism, there is something inherently ridiculous about all the covers celebrity children do when asked to acknowledge how they themselves became celebrities, particularly because the entertainment world is a particularly big offender (important note: sometimes the kids of famous artists turn out to be pretty awesome themselves).
Ben Stiller’s father is a famous comedian, Liza Minelli’s mother is the one and only Judy Garland, Kendall Jenner got her start in modeling partly thanks to her keeping up with the Kardashians importance; the list could go on endlessly.
“Direct nepotism is easily measured. Of course, you can tell the difference between someone who can act and someone who can’t.”
— Matt Earle
Does Lily Collins really think her name didn’t get her seats, even though she wasn’t consciously using a “free pass”? Does Zoe Kravitz really think she ends up in The Batman is it the same as being an apprentice blacksmith?
“Direct nepotism is easily measured,” Matt Earle, CEO of reputation management firm Reputation.ca, told The Daily Beast. “Obviously you can tell the difference between someone who can act and someone who can’t.”
Even when celebrities try to acknowledge how much nepotism has played a part in their careers, they often fail to stick to the landing.
Gwyneth Paltrow is the daughter of actress Blythe Danner and director/producer Bruce Paltrow, but she has also unquestionably proven herself as an Oscar-winning actress and established herself as a savvy businesswoman with the meteoric success of Goop, its wellness brand.
“As someone’s child, you have access to other people, so it’s not a level playing field that way,” Gwyneth Paltrow said on Hailey Bieber’s YouTube show (Bieber is her -even a baby nepo) earlier this year. “However, I really feel like once you step into the door, which you unfairly walked into, you almost have to work twice as hard and be twice as good. Because people are willing to pull you down and say you don’t belong there or you’re only there because of your father or your mother or whatever.
“There’s some truth in what she says,” Earle said of Paltrow’s quote. “What she means is that you have to work twice as hard for people to actually recognize that you’ve accomplished something. Where she gets it wrong is that she shows contempt for the general public and anyone who criticizes her. Eighty percent of people reading this will think you just insulted me a little.
Earle told The Daily Beast that having a good PR person can sometimes help keep a celebrity from making a nepotism blunder, but not always.
“Having a good head on your shoulders, a good perspective and a good empathy and a good understanding of how you are perceived by the population at large outside of your Hollywood elite bubble or your wealth and extreme privilege is really important,” Earle said. A celebrity with famous parents must “manage these considerations and be extremely aware of how they will appear. And we certainly get [clients] which, you can see, just don’t believe what we say.
“Children of famous parents want to emulate their parents’ fame, and they can’t.”
— Marisa Peer
Why can’t ‘nepo babies’ recognize that they are ‘nepo babies’, and why does this piss us off so much?
The Daily Beast reached out to Depp, Kravitz and Collins for comment.
“Children of famous parents want to emulate their parents’ fame, and they can’t,” celebrity therapist Marisa Peer told The Daily Beast. “Kids want that fame and don’t have it, parents don’t want them to have it because they know the price they’re paying, and it causes so much pain because there’s so much resentment and envy of parents.”
“People like poor Brooklyn Beckham have become a bit of a laughingstock, because he tried to be a footballer and then he tried to be a photographer,” Peer added. Beckham, the 23-year-old son of designer Victoria Beckham and British soccer superstar David Beckham, was brutally mocked and endlessly parodied on his poorly received 2017 photography book What I see, which includes a particularly stark photo of an elephant in the shadows.
“Everyone, celebrity or not, wants to feel that their life is due to their own agency and their own ability to manifest their life in a particularly special or assertive way,” Donna Rockwell, psychologist and researcher specializing in celebrity mental health . , told The Daily Beast.
For celebrities like Depp and Kravitz, “there’s a dissonance between acknowledging ‘I had this opportunity through my parents’ and the need for self-actualization,” Rockwell said.
The way the public reacts to the kids of celebrities who deny they have their legs up can be particularly wild. “Everybody wants to be famous, and when you see a celebrity get there because their mom or dad did, you feel resentful, because you feel like you haven’t had an equal chance at ‘to excel because we didn’t have fame’. parent,” Rockwell said.
Nepotism is also quantifiable harmful; it negatively affects already fragile economies and breeds suspicion among professional hopefuls in any field who wonder why they have failed so far. Even though we as individuals like to believe we have no interest in fame, the narratives unfolding on the world stage reflect deep wounds.
“We yearn to be special, and we yearn to have adulation and affection for other people around us, and when we see a celebrity have that kind of community around them just because of the luck of their birth, we feel a sense of loss,” Rockwell said.