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What Is a Nepo Baby? Are They All Famous?

What Is a Nepo Baby? Are They All Famous?

A baby, wrapped in a light blue cloth, sleeps peacefully on a crescent moon-shaped pillow.

Beyond the New York Magazine, Cosmo, and Vox media stories, a “Nepo Baby” is a kid whose fame is intertwined with family ties. Is your son or daughter going to be one?

What Is a “Nepo Baby?”

Nepotism is the practice of the rich, powerful, famous, or well-connected favoring their relatives or friends for jobs, business opportunities or political exposure. It’s no surprise and has been around forever and all over the world.

Let’s face it: all of us have encountered a “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” situation or heard someone’s tale of coming up against it. Children born into families with connections have always benefited from doors being opened, opportunities presented, and privileges given just because of the wealth, influence, or fame of their family name. And now, with the catchy buzzword “Nepo Baby”, being used to describe them, it’s more talked about than ever. They can be identified by name, family connections, and social ties. Because they already come from money, they are less characterized by riches — so much as career access and fame.

Miley Cyrus, Jaden Smith, Zoe Kravitz, and Maya Hawke are all up-and-coming stars with famous parents. The Hollywood actor old-guard is also filled with names like Jamie Lee Curtis, Carrie Fisher, and Charlie Sheen, all kids of Hollywood actor royalty.

Growing up with famous parents in the house may come with privileges, but it also brings challenges, including pressure to live up to family expectations and facing outside criticism for perceived advantages. Some view the label negatively, associated with unfair competition, while others see it as a natural result of having famous familial ties and simply embracing the opportunities that brings.

A man holding a small child on a boat

Is Being a Nepo Baby a Negative Label?

While there is no doubt that being the daughter or son of a world-renowned person is an attention grabber, the words cast doubts on their talent or abilities.

The allegations that only privilege got them to where they are might be hard to shake. That said, however, being a celebrity or actor comes with having to have tough skin and take the good publicity with the bad. Unfortunately, in the age of social media, many more nepo babies are being called out than ever before, and people don’t like the unfairness of nepotism.

 

Why Is It Called “Nepo Baby”?

“Nepo,” short for nepotism, and “Baby” go together to create the perfect way of describing celebrity daughters or sons who are accused of having achieved their current status through their family connections, especially in entertainment, business, or politics. It infers that a person’s achievements are basically due to the fact that they were afforded opportunities through family influence and connections to which other people do not have access.

How Do You Pronounce Nepo Baby?

“Nepo Baby” is pronounced as “nep-oh bay-bee.”

A woman in a black dress and large hat walks towards a private jet while holding a green hand bag.

How Can You Tell if Someone Is a Nepo Baby?

Often identified by their family connections and the doors these connections open for them, their family names, social circles and elusive club connections give them away. However, it’s important to note that Nepo babies are not solely determined by familial ties but also by the opportunities and privileges they receive due to those connections.

Are Nepo Babies Only Found in Certain Industries?

Nepotism babies abound in Hollywood but can also be found in various industries, including entertainment, business, politics, and more. While some families may have a legacy in a specific field, a Nepotism Baby is not exclusive to any particular industry. An industry baby can be found in politics, sports, and business. The Trump children are well-known business and political nepo babies, as well as Jenna Bush and the Rupert Murdoch children, who stand to inherit a media empire. Bronny James, son of LeBron James has had a hard time with his early sporting efforts being unfavorably compared to the outstanding career of his father.

Who Are Some Famous Nepo Babies?

Celebrities in Hollywood often have children who become famous in their own right but are being called out for their family connections. John David Washington (Denzel’s kid) and the daughters of Leslie Mann and Judd Apatow come to mind. Here are some of the most talked about Hollywood offspring:

Zoë Kravitz: Lisa Bonet & Lenny Kravitz

Zoë Kravitz is a model, singer, and actress in the X-Men, Big Little Lies, and others. Her good looks and cool personality are from her starling genes. Her father, Lenny Kravitz, is a rock legend. Her mom, Lisa Bonnet, was an eighties TV icon in The Cosby Show. The Kravitz daughter holds a famous name.

Brooklyn Beckham: David Beckham and Victoria Beckham a.k.a “Posh Spice”

While Brooklyn shows none of the musical talents of his famously stylish mom or the sporting abilities of his famous father, he continues to try and make his mark first as a model, then a photographer (photo illustration), and now an online chef. The response has been underwhelming but he still attracts followers. This is a clear example of a son of talented parents being under immense pressure to prove himself.

Deacon Phillippe: Reese Witherspoon & Ryan Phillippe

The 17-year-old actor made his acting debut on Netflix’s Never Have I Ever as a preppy, private college student. His actress/producer/director mother, Witherspoon, is a Hollywood powerhouse, and his heartthrob dad, Ryan Phillippe, has landed many solid parts.

Lily-Rose Depp: Vanessa Paradis & Johnny Depp

The daughter of Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp became famous as a model and also starred alongside her dad in Yoga Hosers. Her mom is a chart-topping singer starting young at 14 with 1987’s “Joe Le Taxi”.

Dakota Johnson: Melanie Griffith & Don Johnson

Dakota became an overnight sensation for her risque role in the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. Her parents are longtime industry veterans. Don Johnson is best known for “Miami Vice,” and her mother, Melanie Griffith, worked in television before landing her big break in “Working Girl” in 1988. The family lineage does not end there: Her maternal grandmother is Tippy Hedren, a model and actress, and her stepdad is the famous Spanish actor Antonio Banderas.

Maya Hawke: Uma Thurman & Ethan Hawke

Her parents are both actors and icons, Ethan Hawke of 80’s fame and the luminous Uma Thurman of “Pulp Fiction” fame. Maya has forayed into modelling and music as well as acting. Her role in Stranger Things at the age of 21 made her a household name.

Miley Cyrus: Billy Ray Cyrus

Daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus certainly didn’t hurt her in getting her start as the lead actress in the Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana actress, which she later parleyed into a stellar musical career outstripping that of her father’s.

A baby wearing sunglasses sitting on a chair with money around him/her

Challenges and Privileges of Nepo babies

Being a Nepotism Baby comes with its own set of challenges and privileges.

While being from a long line of successful people may open doors to opportunities, Nepo Babies often face pressure to live up to unrealistic expectations. They are also under a lot of scrutiny for perceived advantages. People who inherit connections are often seen as unfairly getting ahead.

FAQs

Is Taylor Swift a Nepo Baby?

Taylor Swift’s rise to being one of the musical superstars of her generation was certainly helped by her parents’ lucrative financial careers, as they did everything they could to encourage and mold her natural talents. But they were not connected to the music industry so although privileged fits, nepotism baby doesn’t.

Is Ryan Gosling a Nepo Baby?

His background is pure blue-collar and his success is strictly due to hard work and lots of talent. His dreamy good looks didn’t hurt either.

Is Taylor Russell a Nepo Baby?

No, although her dad is a Jamaican actor, he is not famous, and in fact, her parents often struggled to make ends meet when she was growing up.

Is Billie Eilish a Nepo Baby?

As the daughter of a voice actress and a screenwriter, it is unclear if they really paved the way for their daughter. She has been called an industry plant and a child of nepotism, but her raw talent and hard work have earned her a sterling industry reputation that speaks for itself.

How Is Hailey Bieber a Nepo Baby?

Stephen Baldwin’s daughter was certainly surrounded by stars growing up and ended up marrying Justin Bieber. The model even wore a Nepo Baby T-Shirt, seeking to own the term instead of having it used against her. The model can’t deny her connections but is trying to find her own identity in spite of them.

Who Coined the Term “Nepo Baby”?

It allegedly first showed up in a Tweet by Canadian Meriem Derradji. Since then, New York magazine fuelled the fire by publishing a highly critical article about the amount of nepotism that exists in Hollywood. After that it all fireballed into enthusiastic Tiktok fodder, which boosted nepo T-Shirt sales.

 

 

A woman in a light coat, jeans, and a hat steps out of a private jet, smiling

Who Is the Most Successful Nepo Baby?

There is no definitive answer to this question as success can be subjective and dependent on various factors. However, some individuals often cited as successful Nepo Babies include actors and musicians who have achieved recognition in their respective fields. Long lines of actors include the Sheen family, the Fondas, the Barrymores, and the Bridges.

The Kardashian family has basically made nepotism a brand. All of the siblings, as well as the parents, have created empires building off of Kim’s skyrocketing notoriety. If millions were a measure of nepotism success, they would be right up there with the Walmart family or the Fords.

Why Do People Talk About Nepo Babies?

New York magazine unleashed the hailstorm, and people have been conversing ever since. But really, the topic has always been around and not just in the entertainment industry.

Family connections have always been accused of opening doors that are otherwise shut to normal people. People discuss Nepotism Babies to explore the influence of family connections on success, debate the fairness of opportunities provided to individuals based on their lineage, and examine the dynamics of nepotism in various industries.

Is It Fair if Someone Is Successful Because of Their Family?

The fairness of success attained through family connections is a matter of debate.

While some argue that people should be judged based on their own merits and efforts, others believe that family influence is a natural part of many industries and has existed for as long as man has lived in societies, so why shouldn’t those born into them use the valuable opportunities provided to them.

What does OG Nepo Baby mean? “OG Nepo Baby” is a term Jamie Curtis used to refer to herself in a tongue-in-cheek way. She cited her long acting career in movies such as “A Fish Called Wanda” and “Freaky Friday” as making her an original or longstanding example of a Nepotism Baby.

“OG” stands for “Original Gangster,” of course.

The Bottom Line

Being born into a world of fame and fortune can certainly pave the way for a nepotism baby, but sometimes it can be hard for those kids to shake the stigma of people believing that they have only achieved what they have because of their last name.

A lot of nepo babies seem to have real talent. But, nepo babies have lots of privilege and their careers seem to be much more easily aligned with fast wins than equally as talented people without the same connections.

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