What Celebrities Have Said About The 'Nepo Baby' Discussion In Hollywood
Vote up the opinions about Hollywood nepotism you think make sense.
While many grow up dreaming of becoming a famous celebrity one day, few actually get the chance to display their talents to the world on the big screen or dazzle audiences at red-carpet events. Despite the industry's cut-throat nature, some argue that there are a privileged few that have an easier time making their name in the Hollywood ranks. Specifically, those whose parents have already made a name for themselves and are famous celebrities with the best connections to agents, producers, and talent scouts.
In 2022, media outlets repeatedly referred to these actors and models as “nepo babies,” claiming that much of their own stardom had little to do with their talent or ability and everything to do with who their parents knew. Naturally, the stars who also have celebrities for parents had something to say about the trend. While some acknowledged that it was much easier for them to catch their big break, others argued they had to work twice as hard to prove they were worthy of the roles they received.
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In an interview with GQ, Zoë Kravitz admitted she was initially really embarrassed to have celebrities as parents:
My parents were very young and they dressed really crazy - see-through shirts and velvet pants and stuff… I had this fantasy about just having a parent that wore a button-up top.
Despite her being uncomfortable with her parents' - Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet - stardom when she was younger, the Big Little Lies star felt that following in their footsteps was a natural transition as a career path:
It’s completely normal for people to be in the family business… It’s literally where last names came from. You were a blacksmith if your family was, like, the Black family.
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Euphoria star Maude Apatow identified with a lot of the traits her character, Lexi, displays on film and felt like a natural fit for the role. Still, as the daughter of Knocked Up's Leslie Mann and director and screenwriter Judd Apatow, she feels like she needs to prove she earned her career based on her own talent:
I try not to think about that so much, but it definitely drives me. I feel like I really need to prove myself, so I work extra hard…
When it comes to being identified as a nepo baby, the star admitted:
At first I was sad… [because it felt like people weren't judging me for my talent.] And that’s fine. I try not to let it get to me because I obviously understand that I’m in such a lucky position. A lot of people [in a similar position] have proven themselves over the years, so I’ve got to keep going and make good work. It’s so early in my career, I don’t have much to show yet, but hopefully, one day, I’ll be really proud of the stuff I’ve done by myself.
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As the daughter of actor Keith Allen and movie producer Alison Owen, Lily Allen had much to say regarding nepotism in the entertainment industry. She took to Twitter, asserting:
The nepo babies y’all should be worrying about are the ones working for legal firms, the ones working for banks, and the ones working in politics - if we’re talking about real-world consequences and robbing people of opportunity… BUT that’s none of my business…
And before you come at me for being a nepo baby myself, I will be the first to tell you that I literally deserve nothing…
The singer-songwriter continued:
In childhood, we crave stability and love, nurturing… we don’t care about money or proximity to power yet. Many of the nepo babies are starved of these basic things in childhood as their parents are probably narcissistic, and [the] entertainment business is not parent-friendly eg..
Touring/months away shooting. It can be hard to see one’s own privilege when you’re still processing childhood trauma, and a lot of these kids haven’t figured that out yet.
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Jamie Lee Curtis argues that the discussion of generational privilege in show business undermines the dedication and talent actors bring to their workplaces every day:
I’ve never understood, nor will I, what qualities got me hired that day, but since my first two lines on Quincy as a contract player at Universal Studios to this last spectacular creative year some 44 years later, there’s not a day in my professional life that goes by without my being reminded that I am the daughter of movie stars…
The current conversation about “nepo babies” is just designed to try to diminish and denigrate and hurt…
For the record, I have navigated 44 years with the advantages my associated and reflected fame brought me, I don’t pretend there aren’t any, that try to tell me that I have no value on my own… It’s curious how we immediately make assumptions and snide remarks that someone related to someone else who is famous in their field for their art, would somehow have no talent whatsoever.
I have come to learn that is simply not true. I have suited up and shown up for all different kinds of work with thousands of thousands of people, and every day, I’ve tried to bring integrity and professionalism and love and community and art to my work. I am not alone. There are many of us. Dedicated to our craft. Proud of our lineage. Strong in our belief in our right to exist.
Actress Eve Hewson is U2 singer Bono's daughter. After starring in films like Robin Hood and Tesla, along with numerous television series, the actor cheekily shared her thoughts on her father's influence on her own success in a single tweet:
Gonna get “Nepo Baby” tattooed on my a**.
- Photo: Montclair Film / Flickr / CC-BY 2.0
As the star of Emily in Paris, Lily Collins had no interest in being tied to her iconic musical father, Phil Collins. In an interview for People magazine, she explained:
It was out of the question that people would think that I use a free pass thanks to my name… 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 love to sing. But as I wanted to make my own way, far from the paternal genius, I preferred to be an actress.