Overprivileged celebrities skew public perspective on achieving success


Kaitlyn Cheng, Features Editor

Ever since you were a child, you wanted to be a successful lawyer. You spent countless hours studying, taking a plethora of exams since grade school and pulling the inevitable all-nighter every so often. At last, your result is a hard-earned two letter addition to your name and a fairly stable career. Yet, even after facing countless adversities trying to obtain this degree, at the same time, several other individuals rose to fame and fortune through a few well-timed coincidences sprinkled with a dash of luck, now earning around 650 times more than what you could ever make.

While the vast majority of Americans must work tirelessly to be a part of the workforce, numerous U.S. celebrities have become famous for practically nothing.

“[Even though some celebrities] do work hard, some of them just don’t deserve what they get,” sophomore Kat Sharma said. “For example: Kylie Jenner; I know that she has a huge social media following, but what [have they done] with that? The Kardashians are basically famous for their reality TV show.”

Although it may seem like the Kardashians have gradually built up their reputation, they began their rise to fame suddenly because Kim Kardashian’s carnal acts were “accidentally” leaked. Ever since then, the family members have become particularly prominent and wealthy figures in the media world due to their reality television program, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.” Through this and their numerous other projects that they have involved themselves in to promote their brand, they have also gained an exceptionally large social media following.

“[The Kardashians] just get paid for being [themselves], and that’s not how society should work,” Sharma said. “You’re getting thousands of dollars for just posting a picture on Instagram, and you’re getting millions for Snapchatting stuff that people already do on a regular basis.”

Even though the Kardashians are some of the most famous celebrities that have become famous for being famous, they are certainly not the only ones.

According to ABC News, Paris Hilton became well-known solely due to her wealthy father, who was the co-founder of Hilton and Hyland, along with his wife. Instead of using her family name to positively change the world, she made headlines for partying and, like Kim Kardashian, releasing a sex tape.

Additionally, according to Radar Online, Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt became famous just for starring on the reality television show, “The Hills.” In 2010, Montag caught the media’s attention even more when she had 10 plastic surgery procedures in one day.

In fact, Susie Scott, author of “Total Institutions and Reinvented Identities,” stated that nowadays, there is a new generation of celebrities who are famous only for being famous, in contrast to the older, more traditional celebrities.

Most celebrities who are famous for being socialites focus on individualism and building their own brand, rather than showing awareness for the less fortunate.

“[For example, movie star celebrities] work for about a month for around seven hours a day and [they] get millions of dollars for it, whereas there are people in the world who work 24 hours a day and have three different jobs, and don’t get half as much as [celebrities],” Sharma said. “And I don’t see most people giving out money for charities. Instead, [they’re] using it for [themselves] to buy more clothes [and] expand [their] closet.”

Being related to a well-known figure in no way serves as a justification for raking in millions of dollars.

A significant problem with these celebrities is that they fail to advocate positive messages to the public. How does exposing one’s personal affairs, or showing how much plastic surgery has chipped away an originally beautiful body, motivate the general population to put in actual effort to become successful?

Celebrities such as the Kardashians and Montag cause everyday people to feel ashamed about their own bodies. Society looks up to them as inspiration, and all that our society sees are almost unreachable salaries as well as beauty standards, only to be accomplished through surgical intervention.

These supposed role models show that work ethic and integrity are optional for some; if lucky enough, one can become famous and earn millions overnight, meaning if someone makes a sex tape with a star, fame and fortune will likely be theirs. With the desensitizing of scandals and immoral behavior, success becomes cheap, dirty and dishonorable.

Celebrities must take a step back and analyze the messages they convey to the public.

“[Since celebrities] have a lot of fame, [they] can use it as a platform to bring light to certain issues that people don’t know a lot about,” sophomore Vaishnavi Visveswaran said. “If people pay attention to you, they’ll listen to what you have to say.”

Celebrities have the privilege, ability and duty to serve as society’s positive examples. They should fulfill their roles as proper public figures and serve as media leaders, thereby changing the world one episode at a time.