These days, we are seeing an increasing number of children and teenagers rising to fame early on in their lives. From child actors to teenage singers, the entertainment industry is growing younger and younger. There is undeniable appeal in looking up to youthful celebrities, but is actually being one worth it?
Being a celebrity at a young age may be advantageous in that it allows a person to be free of financial worries. Celebrities are often well to do, and if one gets famous at a young age, they would probably be set for life finance-wise – if they used their wealth responsibly. They would never have to worry about putting food on the table, paying the bills, or finding a stable job to get enough income, while the rest of the world has to deal with making retirement plans and saving from young. Isn’t the life of luxury something most of us would like?
Another obvious perk of being a celebrity is the fame that comes with it. Being famous certainly has its advantages and special privileges, such as getting unspoken priority treatment in public places, as well as the opportunity to attend high-profile social gatherings. People may feel a sense of accomplishment when they gain a following, while others may simply enjoy doing something they are good at, as well as the recognition that comes with it. Some altruistic celebrities use this fame for good, such as bringing attention to charitable causes, donating to the less fortunate or even adopting a child from an underprivileged background.
However, being a young celebrity also comes with its disadvantages. For one, it can be difficult for a youth in particular to form their self-identity while dealing with the demands of being a celebrity. Most youths are still discovering themselves in their teenage years and defining their self-worth. One such youth that becomes a celebrity could find that they lack real friendship and love, having to deal with shallow fans only wanting to watch their next performance. Young celebrities could find that they are searching for something to feel complete, which for most youths can be fulfilled by having a purpose in life, a strong friendship bond, or familial love. However, a number of youth celebrities have mistakenly thought that they needed more fame and followers, and thus found their lives off track.
Celebrities are often pressured to be flawless and make no errors, which can further compromise a youth in their process of defining their own identity, where many often make mistakes. This could result in young celebrities feeling insecure and unaccepting of themselves, as well as feeling the need to live up to the world’s unrealistic expectations. For example, Korean idol Kyla Massie was said to be “too fat” according to her fans – despite her being only 15 years old. This online discussion sparked off some people accusing fans of shaming teenagers about their body size. The issue of weight is not new in the K-Pop industry, with JinE from Oh My Girl having to take a hiatus from performing to treat her anorexia, and even ending up leaving the girl group. As a celebrity, the world is bound to judge you, no matter whether it is justified or not – which can result in some serious conditions such as eating disorders or depression among youths.
Additionally, celebrities often find that they no longer have any privacy. Imagine being unable to step out of your house without people trying to take pictures of you, or not being able to relax in casual clothes on a beach without the tabloids and fan pages tracking your every move. Celebrities’ relationships are often closely documented all over the Internet, with countless netizens commenting on whether they approve of the relationship. Consider actress Jennifer Lawrence, who had her iCloud account hacked and her nude pictures posted online for all to see. Even though things like these are considered personal matters for most common folk, people tend to like prying into celebrities’ personal lives, which can cause them undue stress and anxiety, especially if celebrities are still young.
Many celebrities are also no strangers to dealing with stalkers trying to prey on them. Some of these stalkers try to act friendly to celebrities, getting into friendships and even relationships with them, just to siphon their money or use them as a stepping stone to become more famous themselves. While these problems plague celebrities of all ages, it may take a harsher toll on a youth celebrity who could have more difficulties distinguishing a true friend from someone who has some ulterior motive, especially at such a crucial point in their lives. Young celebrities may feel betrayed by somebody that tries to take advantage of them, and end up becoming too distrustful of people.
It is also a sad but common fact that some celebrities simply cannot manage their fame and wealth, especially if they become famous at a young age. Fame can be a good thing if a person knows how to deal with it, but some people became famous only to discover that they did not like the celebrity lifestyle, were unable to cope with its demands or found their lives unfulfilling. We have all heard of celebrities turning to drug and substance abuse, having depression, and even attempting suicide. Robin Williams, Kurt Cobain and Lucy Gordon are just three of the many famous people that have committed suicide within the past century.
There are definitely both sides of the story to being a young celebrity. While many fans admire the seemingly easy and perfect life of a celebrity, celebrities actually have to shoulder extra burdens to make their lives look so appealing. We may sometimes break down and cry, but celebrities may feel pressured to put on a smiling front for the cameras, despite any sadness they feel within. Those in the limelight may feel isolated in reality, thinking that they have no confidant to turn to, or no true friends in life. This often results in celebrities keeping their thoughts and struggles to themselves, which can be all the more harder if the celebrity is still at a tender age and trying to pave their way into the world.
As such, although being a celebrity has its strong points, I believe there are more downsides to living the celebrity lifestyle at a young age.
Would you like to be a celebrity? Why or why not?
Do you think that celebrities who became famous young would have grown up with the same personalities if they had become famous later in life instead?
Choose a celebrity who has committed suicide and study their life story. What could they have done differently so that they would not have succumbed to a sad fate?