Nepo babies: what are they and why is everyone talking about them?

highlights
  • The term “Nepo baby” has gone viral online, even making it onto the Macquarie Dictionary shortlist for word of the year.
  • It refers to celebrities, usually in the entertainment industry, who may have benefited from having famous parents.
  • Celebrities like Kate Hudson, Charlie Sheen, and Miley Cyrus can all be classified as “Nepo babies.”
What do Lily Collins, Scott Eastwood and Angelina Jolie have in common?
Not only are they famous, but they also have famous parents.
Collins, an actor and model, is the daughter of English singer Phil Collins, actor Eastwood is the son of American actor and director Clint Eastwood, and actress Angelina Jolie is the daughter of US actor Jon Voight.
If names like these — or others like Kate Hudson and Jaden Smith — have popped up on your social media feeds lately, it’s likely been in connection with the term “Nepo baby.”
The label hasn’t been around long, but it’s quickly gained traction online, and now it seems everyone on the internet is talking about “Nepo babies.”

But what does the term actually mean, why is it attracting so much interest, and is it a bad thing?

What is a “nepo baby”?

The term “Nepo baby” has grown in popularity on Twitter, and it continues to do so the practice of favoring a person (usually in professional situations) because they have a relative in a position of power.

While corporate and media nepotism is rampant, the term “nepo baby” is commonly used in reference to the entertainment industry and illustrates the fact that many successful actors and musicians also have parents in the industry.

Hollywood sign and a baby

The term “Nepo baby” is often used to describe young people with famous or successful parents in the entertainment industry. Source: SBS News

Earlier this month, the Macquarie Dictionary added the word to its shortlist for defines it as “a celebrity, often in the entertainment industry, who has a famous parent”.

Who Are Some Famous “Nepo Babies”?

US actress Kate Hudson, daughter of actor Goldie Hawn and actor and musician Bill Hudson, can be classified as a “Nepo baby”.
Willow and Jaden Smith, children of US actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, both worked in the entertainment industry from a young age, with Jaden appearing alongside his father in The Pursuit of Happyness at the age of eight.
Stranger Things star Maya Hawke, daughter of actors Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, also falls into this category.
The daughter of singers Beyonce and Jay Z is just 10 years old but has been involved in her mother’s music since childhood and won a Grammy for her engagement in 2020. She is a “Nepo Baby”.
Brooklyn Beckham, son of English fashion designer and former singer Victoria and former footballer David Beckham, is neither an actor nor a singer, but still a “Nepo baby”. He has dabbled in numerous careers including photography, social media, modeling and more recently cooking.

He has no formal qualifications but was hired at 16 to shoot a Burberry campaign, has published a photo book and launched a cooking web series in 2022.

Is it a bad thing to be a “nepo baby”?

While not necessarily an insult, the term “Nepo Baby” is often viewed negatively, suggesting that a person’s high standing is due to a relative’s fame or connections rather than their own talent and hard work.
Criticisms of “nepo babies” and nepotism in Hollywood often center on the argument that celebrity children are automatically at an advantage through their family connections, while those who don’t know the “right people” often struggle to audition to be considered.

In an industry where connections are immeasurably valuable, “nepo babies” hold a significant privilege, but many actors or musicians who have been given the label fail to appreciate it.

Leslie Mann, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow and Judd Apatow.

Maude Apatow (second from left) is a co-star of the hit series Euphoria and the daughter of actor Leslie Mann and director Judd Apatow. Source: Getty / Tibrina Hobson

In a November interview with Elle magazine, actress and model Lily-Rose Depp – daughter of US actor Johnny Depp and French singer, actress and model Vanessa Paradis – said she didn’t think famous parents helped young actors to get roles.

“People will have preconceived notions about you or how you got there, and I can definitely say that nothing will get you into the role other than that you’re right for the role,” she said.
“The internet cares a lot more about who your family is than the people who cast you.
“You might get your foot in the door, but you still have your foot in the door. After that comes a lot of work.”

Depp’s first role was in the 2014 film Tusk, where she starred alongside her father.

On Tuesday, English singer and actress Lily Allen – daughter of an actor and a film producer – tweeted about the concept of “Nepo babies” and criticized the focus on the entertainment industry.
“The Nepo babies you should be worried about are the ones working for law firms, banks and politics when we talk about the real world consequences and depriving people of opportunity,” she wrote.
She clarified that her upbringing created opportunities for her and said she tried to point out the inequality in society more generally.
“I am almost 40 years old and more than happy. In fact, I think it’s important to disclose what a privileged upbringing I had and how it opened up so many opportunities for me,” she wrote.

“However, I feel like Nepo babies are kind of scapegoated here, there’s a broader, societal discussion about wealth inequality, about lack of programs and lack of funding, and I think that was the point I wanted to try, maybe.” bad .”

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