Does nepotism still matter in the world of celebrity dynasties? That seems to be the question these days. As a plethora of new starlets experience burgeoning success due to their famous families, the question of nepotism and whether certain celebrities “deserve” their success is at an all-time high.
We see it all the time, especially in the modeling world. There’s Kendall Jenner, whose ubiquity on the world’s runways has sparked outrage among her fellow models, most notably nobody-model Arisce Wanzer (who penned a disgusting hate-filled letter to Jenner). Then there are the likes of Lily-Rose Depp, who is forging a career as an actress thanks to the opportunities afforded her by her famous father.
The stories are endless: There’s Alison Williams, Miley Cyrus, Angelina Jolie, Kate Hudson, Liv Tyler, Nicole Richie, and countless others who have lived in the limelight their whole lives, and who have used their advantages, nepotism, to create their own success. Is this wrong? Should these people have rejected their dreams, denied their talent, or turned down opportunities simply because it may be perceived as unfair?
Then there’s Gigi Hadid — the long-legged, blonde, California model who is ruling the fashion industry right now. She recently posted a heartfelt Instagram message, addressing her haters who have ridiculed her for her runway walk and her figure, and even questioned whether she should be as successful as she is. Gigi responded, “You can make up all the reasons you think I am where I am, but really, I’m a hard worker that’s confident in myself…If they want me in their show, I’m in it; if they don’t, I’m not.”
Gigi’s comments are totally valid, as regardless of where she has come from, if designers, editors and photographers didn’t want her in their campaigns or covers they wouldn’t have her. Let’s face it, no one is holding a gun to Carine Roitfeld’s and Karl Lagerfeld’s heads, telling them that they must include the likes of Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Charlotte Moss or Lily-Rose Depp in their work. There has to be something there to begin with, and I think that’s the point Gigi is making.
However, there is no doubt that nepotism allows certain celebrities an advantage above the average. But this is hardly something new, especially in the modeling industry. Cara Delevingne is a product of her connections too, as well as Suki Waterhouse, Georgia May Jagger and many others. The point is that if you have an advantage over others, not to waste the opportunity and to make the most of it — which many of these girls are certainly doing. I also think it’s important to note that this is almost exclusively a female problem.
Another reason why nepotism is arguably an asinine argument these days is because being a celebrity isn’t as exclusive and unattainable as it used to be. Today, stardom is a Vine video away, or just a case of posting many #OOTD pics on Instagram. Reaching celebrity status is easier than it ever was before thanks to social media, with Youtube make up gurus like Raye Raye and Patricia Bright going on to work with cosmetic giant Estee Lauder, and popular viners like Cameron Dallas and Jack & Jack who have forged successful music careers.
To be a celebrity has become so accessible these days that the argument of nepotism or lack of opportunities is almost laughable. We can create our own public image, or own brands and our own celebrities from the comforts of our own home and creativity of our own minds — so why are we so preoccupied with how many Vogue covers Kendall Jenner is getting? She’s obviously pulling her own weight, and proving her ability beyond her advantages. It’s time to stop using nepotism as an argument.
Overall, nepotism does exist, and it’s not, strictly speaking, “fair.” But it’s also becoming more and more irrelevant. Gone are the days in which fame was based solely on merit, if those days ever existed at all. Nepotism undoubtedly gives advantages to those not necessarily based on merit, but their contacts and their social positioning.
But we are in an age in which gaining success for a skill or talent you possess is actually likely thanks to social media. And I know I’d rather spend my time originating an awesome idea to get me further, than to debate whether or not these girls deserve to have the success they have when I could be busy building my own. Those who cry nepotism often have their protests tinged, appropriately, with jealousy.