2022 was truly the year of the Nepo Baby. Thanks to a spunky new article by New York magazine, the star-studded offspring of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities are once again back in the media spotlight – only this time, it’s not to promote one of their latest art-house movies starring alongside Timothée Chalamet.
So, what the hell even is a nepo baby? Coined by the media as a way to categorise a particular sub-species of celebrity that already have familial connections in their industry, it’s a term we seemingly can’t escape as of late. Since the release of the NY mag’s piece by their pop culture offshoot, Vulture, which features a now viral cover photo of giant-headed, nappy-adorned celebrities, the internet has been awash with an outbreak of scandalous realisations such as “did you know so-and-so’s dad is actually ___” and “how did I just find out that thingy got that Gucci gig ___ because her mother is ___?”
Granted, it’s not hard to understand the underlying curiosity (and spitefulness) we may feel towards them. As a society, we sometimes dislike change; therefore, it’s an easy transition for us to watch the daughter of a Hollywood superstar take her first toddly steps on the runway. However, when said daughter is given this opportunity at age 14, with no prior experience and standing at the wholly unrealistic stature of 5 ‘2 (not naming any names, here) everything starts to become a little less… palatable. For those who are desperate to make ends meet whilst they fight their way into impenetrable industries, the rise of the Nepo Baby is something that leaves a bitter taste in their mouth.
When CULTED recently posted a TikTok video detailing the rise of ‘Bravo-baby’ Amelia Gray, the internet certainly had a lot to say. One user commented “love her but hate that she’s nepo” (@.midas) and another “is there anyone in Hollywood who isn’t a nepo baby at this point?” (@_morganallegra). And whilst Amelia herself recently acknowledged that her privilege had maybe helped her get to where she is now, what happens when a celebrity doesn’t admit that a foot in the door is what got them the job? Lily Rose Depp, daughter of mega-star Johnny and French film star Vanessa Paradis, recently landed herself in hot water after comparing her rise to success to that of a medical professional, stating to Elle recently that “If somebody’s mom or dad is a doctor, and then the kid becomes a doctor, you’re not going to be like, ‘Well, you’re only a doctor because your parent is a doctor.’ It’s like, ‘No, I went to medical school and trained’”. Life-saving medical worker, Hollywood actress… it’s all the same thing, apparently.
If there’s one thing we’ve learnt about the nepotism baby beef of 2022, it’s that people don’t actually have a problem with the nepos of the world doing their thing. The issue often lies with acknowledgement (or lack of) of their privilege and of course, whether they actually have talent. On two totally opposite sides of the spectrum, we have Bella Hadid (renowned supermodel nepo-baby and beloved babe of the fashion world) and Brooklyn Peltz Beckham – child of Posh Spice Girl Victoria and football legend David Beckham. Whilst Bella has arguably reached levels of superstardom in her own right, Beckham-baby Brooklyn has bemused and frustrated the world with his inability to pick a career path (at first he was a photographer – let’s not forget that photo book – now, he is a chef supposedly), with Forbes giving him the moniker ‘the final boss of nepo babies’ due to his apparent uselessness despite his incredible advantages. Brutal.
The takeaway from all of this? It seems that the more you try to be ‘relatable’ as a child of nepotism, the more difficult it may be to find acceptance. Admit that your foot in the door is because of your family, pick a profession and check your privilege. Then, maybe, just maybe, Gen Z won’t chase you with pitchforks.
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