Famous for being famous was a popular phrase coined in the ‘60s by social theorist Daniel J. Boorstin. In his analysis of America during that time, the idea of celebrity and fame was unattainable and exclusive, making it all that more alluring. In present day 2022, this is less true. Although infamy and notoriety are things very much sought after, it is much less scarce and exclusive than it was before – before the internet. Celebrity and fame have been long democratized thanks to the works of social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and now, TikTok. Platforms that enable a celebrity to influencer pipeline.
10 Most Fascinating People
In truth, it seems as if fame is more heartily sought after than talent itself. This is because it is widely understood that with fame comes attention and popularity, and so too will come the money and countless opportunities for business ventures.
In 2011 Barabra Walters invited the Kardashian family on her series of ‘Barabra Walters’ 10 Most Fascinating People’ for a full episode centered around the family America and the rest of the world couldn’t seem to get enough of. In the episode, Barabra Walters interviews Kris Jenner, Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe Kardashian in a now infamous meme.
She starts by saying the Kardashians are often described as “famous for being famous.” Walters continues by saying, “You don’t really act, you don’t sing, you don’t dance, you don’t – forgive me – have any talent.” Khloe responds poignantly, “But we’re still entertaining people.” And the famous meme ends there.
The point Walters was trying to convey, is that to be famous – in the way we used to understand it – you have to have talent, something less sought after. Yet today, many celebrities are now switching to the other side, creating content and entertaining their fans using their notoriety and reputation to connect to their fans instead of their renowned talent.
Canadian actress Shay Mitchell is best known for her role as Emily Fields in ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars. Since the end of her 7 year series on ABC, Mitchell has starred in Netflix’s YOU as Peach Sallinger and Hulu’s Dollface as Stella Cole. However, Mitchell has grown a prominent following for herself on social media as well, becoming an influencer in her own right as well as an actor. Mitchell launched her self-titled YouTube channel officially in 2014, recognizing the rise of New Media, dabbling in building an audience of her own.
Now in 2022, Shay Mitchell has over 4 million subscribers on her YouTube channel, posting her workout videos, her trips to New York for fashion week, reacting to her times with the Pretty Little Liars cast, and of course, documenting the process of building her own luxury luggage company, BEIS.
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Each of her uploads on her channel receives over 100,000 views, meaning monetization and ad sense money is guaranteed.
Here, it is clear to see Shay Mitchell has turned her star power into a business, and the product is her lifestyle. Entertaining the masses with the details of the life of their favorite actress turned socialite. During her pregnancy, Mitchell teamed up with YouTube originals to debut her own show chronicling her hurdles of pregnancy in a three-episode series titled “Almost Ready” that received over 4 million views on the first episode alone.
With over 33 million followers on her Instagram account and 7.2 million followers on her TikTok, Shay Mitchell isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Mitchell is maximizing her celebrity and translating it into a loyal fanbase that will follow her across her projects that aren’t exclusive to acting.
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An actress most well known for her role as Cheryl Blossom on Riverdale, Madelaine Petsch has built quite a following on her self-titled YouTube channel. Petsch launched her channel in 2017 and has since garnered over 6.75 million subscribers and over 270 million views. From posting her lifestyle vlogs to her vegan diet, Petsch simultaneously shares and sells her lifestyle to an already interested fanbase.
Her various social media platforms establish her place in the influencer world as a notable public figure. Coupled with her talent on the CW’s Riverdale, Petsch has been able to procure various endorsements as an actress and as a talent herself. On Instagram, Petsch has garnered 25.4 million followers, and her joint TikTok account with fellow cast mate Camila Mendes and Lilli Reinhart “blondebrunetteredhead” has gained over 12 million followers with over 140 million likes.
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From Biore’s skincare showcasing Petsch as their latest It Girl to a Fabletics collaboration, it is safe to say that through Madelaine Petsch’s connection to her loyal fans and unique interconnectivity with her audience, she has built a name for herself and her personality.
Born Hailey Rhode Baldwin, model and wife to pop-star Justin Bieber has converted her celebrity status into accessible content through her weekly YouTube videos. Since posting her channel trailer (which has over 2 million views) to launch her account only a year ago, she has gained nearly 2 million subscribers and is garnering an average of half a million views per upload. Her most-viewed video with best friend and fellow runway model Kendall Jenner has, as of now, 17 million views and is the first in Bieber’s series “Who’s in My Bathroom”.
In this series, Bieber invites various guests ranging from TikTok Star Addison Rae to Call Her Daddy host Alex Cooper while cooking in the bathroom and discussing the other’s latest ventures.
Although Hailey Bieber is rarely seen on the runway, this does not mean she is a noteworthy figure. Actually quite the opposite, through her audience on her self-titled YouTube Channel and her various other platforms, Bieber has launched her first skincare line Rhode Skin. Using an internet meme to her advantage, Hailey Bieber has taken her ‘glazed-donut’ skin to market a business of her own, using her face as the most convenient model.
The line between influencers and celebrities continues to blur. Read more about how events like the Met Gala make us rethink “celebrity” here.
Some Type of Talent
In 2016, an already established Kim Kardashian in her 60 Minutes interview asserted her position as a businesswoman and dismantled the ‘talentless’ narrative she had previously borne. When asked by interviewer Bill Whitaker, “What is your talent?”, Kardashian smartly replies, “It is a talent to have a brand that’s really successful off of getting people to like you for being you…So I have to think that involves some type of talent.”
Plainly stating the obvious that traditional media has been neglecting for years, Kim emphasizes that talent is subjective and not mutually exclusive to simply singing, acting, or dancing, especially when it comes to fame. It does take talent to connect to an audience and earn their trust, thereby building a business from a loyal fanbase. Through the various platforms of Shay Mitchell, Madelaine Petsch, and Hailey Bieber, it is clear: talent can be many things.