Is being a nepo-baby wrong?
There’s been a raging discussion on social media over the last couple of weeks, concerning nepotism across various industries—predominantly, the arts.
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The offspring of many famous actors, singers and other kinds of artists have come under fire for taking advantage of their parents’ connections, network and ability to open doors when it came to their fledgling careers.
Some famous youngsters were indignant when awarded the nepo-baby label, whereas others held their hands up and admitted that they wouldn’t be where they are today if it wasn’t for the leg up their parents or wider family were able to provide.
I don’t think we should look down on or undermine nepo-babies. As a mother, if I was able to create opportunities for my daughters, I would (in fact, I have, more than once). I didn’t see this action as a shortcut, as I knew my child would have to prove they could do the job in question. Parents can open as many doors as they like, but if their children can’t deliver on their promises, these would be shut very, very quickly. Nepo-babies must have the talent and skills to back up their privileged position. It’s therefore unfair to believe they have it incredibly easy. The article suggests it’s who someone knows versus what they know, to be a successful nepo-baby—but I think this is untrue. They must have both elements to be a success.
Yes, nepo-babies get to audition/record/perform before wannabes who don’t have parents in beneficial positions. It is a jump ahead, that’s not in doubt. But whereas a complete unknown can just concentrate on their lines and learning their craft after landing a part, nepo-babies have to fight criticism they don’t deserve. They constantly have to prove themselves…perhaps even after they’ve been in their industry for many years. They’re always going to be labelled as ‘so and so’s daughter’ and ‘that A-lister’s son’, no matter what they do under their own steam. So, yes, some things may be easier for nepo-babies, i.e. getting work, but some things are harder, and I believe this levels out at some point.
It’s not just within the arts that this happens…a bricklayer may also nominate their offspring for an open position. If their son/daughter was already looking for a job of that ilk, is this any different? There’s also the train of thought that a percentage of young people follow in their parents’ footsteps. They may snub a leg up, but that sector could be of interest to the young person because they’ve seen what their parents do, day in, day out—this knowledge could make this role really appeal to them, or it may turn them off completely! If following in their parents’ footsteps in this way, would the young person be classed as a nepo-baby too? Or does it only count if their parents are famous?
In my experience, I was able to put my daughter forward before the company I work for even began looking for staff. Ask yourself, if you were in the same position, wouldn’t you do the same? Why would you want to make your children’s lives harder if you can assist them in some way?
One of my daughters, at one point, wanted to be a famous singer. We tried to open as many doors as we could ourselves (though I’m a complete nobody). The conclusion we came to was that the field was incredibly competitive. Incredibly. There were so few places/opportunities available for the number of young people applying for them that it was inevitable the vast majority would be turned down. I think this would still have been the case even if the concept of nepo-babies didn’t exist. That my youngest was rejected from audition after audition in West Yorkshire was not impacted by the connections of Hollywood royalty. It was simply a supply and demand issue.