The words “Nepo Baby” come with a lot of stigma, but what is a nepotism baby? Well, that would have to start with the question of what nepotism is. Nepotism is defined as “The practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs” by Oxford Languages. Essentially a well established relative gives another relative a leg up in an industry. This can be in entertainment, business, finance, etc. But the term “nepo baby” is usually used to describe someone in the entertainment industry. For example, a famous director has a child who wants to be an actor or singer- the parent will have connections to help that child into that career path. This connection the child has will give them a massive advantage to someone who does not have this privilege. Some notable nepotism babies include Timothee Chalmet, Maude Apatow, Kaia Gerber, Paris Hilton, George Clooney, Jennifer Aniston, Gracie Abrams, Robert Downey Jr., and Ben Platt. We’re going to be taking a closer look at two women from this famous bunch.
Paris Hilton is the great granddaughter of Conrad Hilton who founded Hilton Hotels, and daughter of fashion designer Kathy Hilton and well established businessman Richard Hilton. Her abundance of wealth and connections led to being signed by Trump Model Management and entering the NYC late night scene. In 2003 her sex tape with her then-boyfriend was leaked and her fame skyrocketed. Today she is a well known reality television personality, singer, DJ, actress, author, and businesswoman. Despite being incredibly successful, the media often only has negative things to say about her. The media constantly criticizes her for having fame and blames it on her being a Nepotism baby, that she was born into fame without actually earning it. “Lack of talent” is often discussed when discussing Paris Hilton’s fame and connection to nepotism. They criticize her appearance, personality, career, and everything else about her. Paris Hilton once said, “It hurts that, you know, the media’s made me into sort of this like punching bag or cartoon character-they think that I don’t have any feelings, and, you know, it hurts like anyone else.”
On the opposite side of the spectrum, there is Maude Apatow. She is the daughter of filmmaker Judd Apatow and actress Leslie Mann. She began her career in her parents’ films such as 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked up, and Funny People. Her mother has stated Maude learned how to act on set of This Is 40, a major advantage for anyone getting into acting. Maude’s big break was starring in HBO’s Euphoria, where the character Lexi was written specifically for her. It begs the question if this role was only written for her because of her nepotism status. Since the release of Euphoria many have called her “America’s Sweetheart”. Many audiences claim they did not know she was a nepotism baby, but it’s okay that she is because she’s “one of the good ones.” She is often “excused” from being a nepotism baby because she grew up acting, which is a privilege she had because of her nepotism baby status.
There could be many reasons the media treats these two women differently. The time period in which they got their fame could be one. Hilton in the early 2000s and Apatow in the 2020s, where women are viewed starkly differently. It could also be due to how they gained their fame, modeling and modeling versus being a little kid in a movie. In a world where the media covered these women evenly and unbiased, how would the public view them?
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