It is estimated that approximately 0.265 percent of people become famous. Because fame is such a rarity, it is inferred that those who are bestowed with stardom must have some extent of talent. However, there is a band of so-called “celebrities” that have managed to slide under the radar of talent because of familial connections to the realm of fame. By being either the spawn or sibling of celebs, performers have managed to further lower Hollywood’s standard of talent.
Jessica Simpson became a phenomenon in the early 2000s because of her catchy songs, blonde bombshell status and moronic catchphrases from her reality show Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica. Feeling the need to rise amidst her older sister’s growing fame, Ashlee Simpson, Jessica’s less-talented sister, emerged in 2004 with her solo album Autobiography and a reality show, The Ashlee Simpson Show. Ashlee’s fame began to rise, but that quickly turned to infamy after a lip-synching snafu on Saturday Night Live in 2004. Simpson’s notoriety also took a turn for the worse after a hypocritical interview with Marie Claire magazine, in which she praised her less-than-perfect nose and then got a nose job—before the magazine even hit stands. Marie Claire received more than 1,000 angry letters citing Simpson’s false virtue.
Oops, they did it again! (Pun intended.) Britney Spears’ sister, Jamie Lynn, attempted to follow in her pop sensation sister’s footsteps; she starred in the Nickelodeon sitcom Zoey 101 and sang the theme song for the show. However, in 2007, Spears announced that she was pregnant with her then-18-year-old boyfriend Casey Aldridge. The scandal was intensified due to disputes over the age of consent and terms of statutory rape because Jamie Lynn was only 16 at the time. However, all of the drama was cleared up, and Spears currently is raising her daughter as a single mother in Mississippi. Still, her status as a teen mom reigns over her brief stint of fame.
Lindsay, who recently dropped the “Lohan” from her name, also has a sibling who has attempted to grasp fame without the slightest ounce of talent. Lindsay’s younger sister, Ali, first gained fame after releasing her album Lohan Holiday, which boasts a mere 2-star rating on iTunes. Her stardom continued in 2008 when she starred alongside her mother Dina in the reality show Living Lohan. Fortunately, justice was served after the release of her single “All The Way Around.” The reception was so poor that the full album, which was recorded, remains unreleased.
Siblings are not the only relatives to have undeserved access to fame: the children of celebs have also received undeserved notoriety. Kelly and Jack Osbourne burst into fame after their renowned rock star father, Ozzy Osbourne, and his wife, Sharon, began shooting their reality show The Osbournes from 2002-2005. Although the show portrayed these two teens as potty-mouthed delinquents, they soon became national celebrities. However, fame took a toll on the stars: Jack struggled with addiction and suicide attempts throughout most of his adolescence and Kelly was admitted to various drug treatment centers from 2004 until 2009. Jack and Kelly also became infamous for their poor relationships with the media, as Jack told a reporter he is a “she-man whore bitch” and Kelly was arrested for assaulting a Daily Mirror columnist in 2009. However, their famous relation has allowed them to succeed in the world of pop culture regardless. Kelly is currently a fashion correspondent on E! and Jack produces movies and music videos.
Recently, there has been a new celeb-spawn that has been causing pop culture controversy. Willow Smith, daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, made her acting debuts in films I Am Legend and Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. However, it was her music career that has truly been cause for scandal. Willow’s single “Whip My Hair” almost instantly became a viral hit for its ridiculous yet admittedly-catchy lyrics. At the tender age of 11, Willow’s surprising single became a phenomenon. Although it is often mocked, it has peaked at No. 11 on the American charts and has undoubtedly sparked a music career in this young celeb.
The question at the root of these so-called “stars” is whether or not they are deserving of their status as celebrities. In the grand scheme of things, very few stars in today’s age are actually deserving of their fame. Reality television has become a standard outlet to notoriety, and beauty has begun to override talent in many situations. So who are we to judge who should or should not be famous? Hollywood is a corrupt place, and the pop culture obsessed, such as myself, are slaves to it. One can only hope that justice will be served to those who are undeserving. I’m not saying that every poor pop star should have a Jamie Lynn Spears-esque teen pregnancy. But an Ashlee Simpson-style lip-synching snafu? That should work just fine.
Francesca Toscano is a freshman IMC major. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org