IN DEFENCE OF NEPOTISM BABIES

Emily Fromant explores the love-hate relationship she has with nepotism babies, and how she secretly, kind of, wants to be them.

Every day I wake up wondering why my middle-aged dad couldn’t have been a three-time BAFTA millionaire that set me up for life.

Oh, don’t you ever wish you could’ve just been born a nepotism baby?Chances are, you’ve recently heard of ‘nepotism babies’ (or ‘nepo baby’ for short). These inescapable young men and women are some of Hollywood’s newest influential teens, their influence partly crafted by their parents’ success. Nepotism babies are characterised by the widespread belief that due to their famous families; they have received preferential treatment in the entertainment industry. Whilst many of these celebrities refuse this claim, citing their hard work, it is hard to imagine having wealthy, connected families isn’t at least a little helpful.

The term nepotism dates back to the 17th century. Originally it referred to the preferential treatment given to a pope’s ‘nephew’, a common euphemism for his biological son. It has since grown to include all genders and professions. It isn’t only the Hollywood world that is guilty of it – politics, art, and religion have all demonstrated examples of nepotism over the centuries.

Whilst the idea has been around for years, the title of nepotism babies is a recent phenomenon focused primarily on the glamorous children of the Hollywood elite. It’s no surprise that beautiful charismatic people birth other beautiful charismatic people, but there has been a long debate about how worthy these actors are of their success.

Lila Moss, daughter of supermodel Kate Moss, is one such nepo baby who has recently come under scrutiny. After walking for Coperni’s fall 2022 ready-to-wear collection, it is clear the young model has a bright future ahead of her.

Yet, when her success was shared on social media culminating in a British Vogue interview and cover, commenters on Instagram were not pleased. The video was flooded with comments of “Lila looks NOTHING like a model” and that she was “only highlighted because she’s Kate Moss’ daughter”. But Lila Moss is not alone, nor is she a stand-out case. Lily-Rose Depp, Zoë Kravitz, Brooklyn Beckham, Maude Apatow, and Margaret Qualley are just some of the best-known celebrities that have very famous parents.

However, many of these models and actresses have come under fire for denying their privilege. Kendall Jenner touched on her possible nepo baby status in one notorious Keeping Up with The Kardashians interview. When asked about the discourse surrounding her privilege in helping her in the modelling industry, the young model explained: “I had a platform, I never took that for granted. I always knew that was there, but that almost made my job a little bit harder only because people probably didn’t want to hire me because I was on a reality TV show. I worked my way to where I am now.”

Lily-Rose Depp, the famous daughter of Johnny Depp, similarly rejected her assumed nepotism, claiming she had to work “twice as hard” due to assumptions her name made it easier for her.

So why act like nepotism is a dirty word?

Time and time again, claimed nepotism babies reject their status. The fear of their hard work not being respected is something we can sympathise with. Whilst Kendall Jenner was born into privilege, she still must suffer the same long-hour days many models face. There is a hard line between understanding a celebrity’s privilege and completely ignoring their accomplishments.

Whilst Zoë Kravitz’s famous mother. Lisa Bonet, most likely helped her successful acting career, we can’t ignore her talent in her recent Catwoman role. Therefore, nepotism can be a bad word because it causes us to dismiss any hard work of these celebs. But. should we go all the way in the other direction and just ignore their platforms or social empires that they were born into?

A platform itself can be more of a curse than a gift. These nepotism babies are born into success as well as scrutiny. When many of them grow into teenhood, they are already being compared to their famous parents. The moment these celebrities are old enough they are shoved into the spotlight to be judged under the harsh online eye.

Kendall Jenner, the Hadid sisters, and Lila Moss have continuously been criticised for their modelling skills, fashion sense, and appearance. Whilst many of us will claim this is a price of fame, these young men and women have little say in their private lives being public domain. Unknown emerging actors are rarely held to such high standards compared to those with famous parents. Nepotism may feel like a blessing, but the hate and judgment of an online audience can feel more like a curse.

Besides, talent is not something that can be bought. Some celebrity kids haven’t even begun to achieve the success of their parents. With many trying and failing many careers.

Perhaps nepo babies aren’t all made equal. Brooklyn Beckham, son of football star David Beckham, is one such nepo baby who has unfortunately been branded talentless. This has been made clear by his efforts to publish his failed photography book What I See, which was criticised by professionals everywhere, to his recent cooking show disappointment. It seems that no matter how successful your parents are, talent doesn’t necessarily pass down the gene pool.

Nevertheless, whilst we may consider Brooklyn Beckham to be a prime example of the idea that money can’t buy you everything, he may also be our biggest instance of nepotism at work. Despite his supposed lack of talent, on paper Brooklyn has achieved some things that some of us would only dream of. He had his own published book, own cooking show, landed a $1 million dollar modelling deal and a gig as a professional photographer for Burberry BRIT fragrance. Whilst he can’t buy talent, his famous name seems to be getting him at least halfway there.

So, will Hollywood ever be nepotism free? The consensus seems otherwise. Recent stars like Maude Apatow (daughter of actress Leslie Mann and director Judd Apatow) and Margaret Qualley (daughter of actress Andie MacDowell) show that nepotism is still very much alive and well.

We will continue to see famous last names grace the credits of movies as young new talent get help from mum and dad. But can we blame them? As unfair as nepotism may seem, can we truly say if we didn’t have the same chances, we wouldn’t take them?

It makes sense that parents would want to help their children achieve their dreams. We can all sit on our phones and complain about the unfairness of nepotism, but I think we’d all jump at the opportunity to get a leg up if we could.

You can read more of Emily’s work on Instagram by following @emily._jf.

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