Yesterday my friend Facebook chatted me to discuss the recently announced casting choices of Fifty Shades of Grey the movie.
I have neither read Fifty Shades of Grey nor intend to, so she had to explain to me who the roles of Christian and Ana went to.
“I can’t believe Dakota Johnson is playing Ana!” she said.
“Who is Dakota Johnson?” I asked.
“She is the daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson,” she replied.
It made perfect sense. Why wouldn’t she be? Why wouldn’t she be the daughter of not one, but two famous celebrities?
It feels like every day I see a different headline boasting the stories of celebrity children becoming actors or models:
Ireland Baldwin Aims to Follow Parents Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger into Film
Hot Pics of Scott Eastwood on Buzzfeed
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Son, Patrick, Modeling for Hudson Jeans with Georgia May Jagger?
Look up any entertainment news section and there is a good chance that whomever graces the top articles is a child of a famous person: Lena Dunham, Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, Kim Kardashian, Gwyneth Paltrow, Willow and Jaden Smith- the list goes on and on (read my latest rant on Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke).
Now, I know that these stories get singled out in the media due to the media’s belief that Americans are extremely invested in the lives of celeb children and having worked in Hollywood, I’m not naive to the fact the nepotism makes the world go ’round (shit, without nepotism we wouldn’t have Nic Cage!), but what I’m fatigued of seeing is the lack of creativity in career choices for celebrity children. Nepotism aside, one can argue that being the child of a celebrity and growing up in the world of stardom can give celebrity children an aptness that non-celebrity children might not have; however, why do celebrity children have to follow in their parent’s footsteps? Why don’t they become social workers? Scientists? Doctors? Or more importantly, why don’t their parents encourage them to go after such careers? It seems that the “easy path” is the one most often taken (and that’s not to say that being a celebrity is “easy”; fame has its downsides too, but let’s face it- it’s a lot easier and more cushy than most jobs). These children have the world handed to them the minute they were born- why don’t they use that advantage to make a difference?
Celebrity children that impress me are individuals like Ronan Farrow. Not only is he the son of two mega-celebs- Woody Allen and Mia Farrow- but he’s ridiculously good-looking to boot. You know what he did when he grew up? He became a foreign policy official in the Obama Administration, and he founded the State Department Office of Global Youth Issues, and he was a special adviser for the Humanitarian and NGO Affairs in the Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. His list of accomplishments continues and the young man is only 25.
Instead of praising the likes of Dakota Johnson for getting a role she most likely didn’t earn or Ireland Baldwin for simply being beautiful, we should be highlighting celeb kids like Ronan Farrow who are using their fame to make a difference. Being good-looking or inheriting famous genes should not be impressive and it’s time that the media starts diverting attention away from such meaningless accomplishments.
It’s time we start celebrating privileged children who defied conventional norms and used their money and power for good.
I waited on Dakota Johnson several months ago (shortly after her tv show-Ben and Kate, which I actually REALLY liked her in, was cancelled) and she was an absolute joy, as were all of her friends, none of whom were famous or even pseudo-famous. I don’t know her personally, aside from this interaction, but I think she’s actually quite talented (not a genius or anything, but she’s SUPER young still).
Let’s not forget that sometimes these households breed creativity, artistic expression, and talent. Sometimes they don’t, but sometimes they do. I have a very close friend who is a member of a very old hollywood acting family and she is also an actress and a talented one to boot who is afforded very few advantages due to her lineage, she still has to audition and prove that she’s right for a role and her career is by no means flourishing.
I agree with “celebrity children” being an irritating moniker and an even more irritating reason to be in the news, but let’s not forget that the road is tough for everyone, nepotism or not. I wrote about nepotism on my blog, if you want to read it, it’s here: http://adriaoccasionally.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/in-partial-defense-of-nepotism/
As always, though, I enjoy your perspective, and agree that we shouldn’t idolize talentless morons. 🙂
Is it wrong that all I can think about after reading this comment is who your friend is? 🙂
For every one Gwyneth Paltrow (whom I LOVE) there are about 50 other celebrity kids doing their own thing. Just like how some people assume that all Muslims must be terrorists because a very small number of terrorists happen to be Muslim, a very small number of child-of-actors become stars. It’s not their fault that the media fixates on them because of their family. God forbid another Kennedy every try to run for office – talk about media scrutiny! Just because we hear about them doesn’t mean their the majority. I think it’s natural for a child to sometimes follow in a parent’s footsteps. There are so many family owned businesses – I know families (like my dad’s family) that is full of educators. Does that make them less creative for following in their parent’s footsteps? If you see your parent being successful and doing something they love, it’s hard not to want that for yourself.
My issue with celebrity kids becoming actors singers etc isn’t so much that they choose that path but don’t have the talent for it. It’s basically given to them based on their name. If they’re actually talented, more power to them, unfortunately they’re not most of the time.
poor cceleb kids..
[…] role in her career, I do think that she has used her perch of privilege for social good (read my previous rant about children of celebrities and their lack of creativity in career […]
Irving Thalberg, JR:
When he was 18, Thalberg had spent a summer internship as a film editor at MGM. It left him with mixed feelings. “It struck me as weird that I should go into a job situation at the top, over at least ten other people who were more experienced than I was,” he told the Syracuse paper. “It was much too easy for a member of a famous Hollywood family to make it in the movie business. I really did like the moviemaker life, but I just didn’t feel too comfortable in that position.”
Most of the kids of these celebs are not worthy of stardom…they were just embryos at the right place at the right time.
BTW…there is NO WAY that Ronan Farrow is Woody Allen’s biological son. Look at his eyes and expressions; they scream SINATRA! I agree with you about his brilliant career though.