They were born with a silver spoon in their mouth: the children of celebrities. And if they want to act, present or walk the catwalk like their parents, they already have some advantages. These so-called ‘fake babies’ have recently come under fire on social media. But why?
You probably see them more often than you realize. Robin in Stranger Things will be played by Maya Hawke (daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke) and next year Lily-Rose Depp (daughter of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis) will take her first lead role in the series The idol. And don’t forget Jaden and Willow Smith who, like their father Will Smith, not only act, but also have a musical career. This is just a small selection of today’s stars who have famous parents.
These children of celebrities who make their careers partly because of their parents’ connections are called nepo babies. ‘Nepo’ refers to nepotism: giving important tasks or functions to relatives and relatives. The term is similar to nepotism and originally comes from popes and bishops who gave their cousins high offices.
A nepo baby does not need to have world famous parents. For example, a child of parents who have important functions behind the scenes, such as at a production house, can also benefit from this.
It’s not a new phenomenon, so why is the discussion about children of famous parents flaring up now? It started earlier this year when young Twitter users found out that actress Maude Apatow, who plays the role of Lexi in the hit HBO series Euphoria, comes from a well-known family. Her father is director Judd Apatow and her mother is actress Leslie Mann.
While older Twitter users mainly commented that the young generation got to know the director through his daughter, the TikTok generation went to investigate. They post extensive posts on TikTok where one fake baby after another was ‘exposed’. For many, the family connections that were laid out may not have been news, but the privileged children are under scrutiny because of this.
released this month Vulture (element of New York Magazine) a comprehensive article on nepo babies. According to the article, the phenomenon has been around for years. The magazine also describes how children of stars get chance after chance to pursue a hobby for which they do not always have the same talent, at a high level. ‘Ordinary’ people, on the other hand, have to work for years and often don’t get there. The article came with a list of fake babies, which sparked discussion on social media.
It brings discomfort to the fake babies. They must now choose their words very wisely. Not an interview goes by without them being asked about their fake baby status. Lily Rose-Depp has learned for herself that it costs you dearly if you don’t honestly acknowledge that you have a privileged position.
she said in an interview with Elle that she only gets her roles because she is suitable for them. “Maybe you get one foot in the door easier, but then you still only have one foot in the door. After that, you just have to work hard.” Depp, who also works as a model, was also criticized for his statements by colleagues from that field.
To find out if the nepo-baby phenomenon is also common in the Netherlands, look no further than the De Mol family. John de Mol Sr., father of Linda and John, was a singer and music entrepreneur. Talpa boss John de Mol had a son Johnny de Mol, who we know as a presenter, with the singer Willeke Alberti (actually Willy Alberti’s daughter).
New addition is Noa Vahle, daughter of Linda de Mol. She provided a sports section in the program HLF8which Johnny de Mol presented, and was broadcast as a reporter on SBS during the last World Cup in football.
Important: The term nepo-baby does not equate to lack of talent. For example, actors such as Dakota Johnson, Zoë Kravitz, John David Washington and Kate Hudson have now earned their stripes. But the question is whether we would have ever seen their talent if their parents had not been famous.