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When you think about today’s celebrities, it can be hard to find any bona fide role models amongst them – individuals who are famous for actual talent and hard work. Take, for example, Miley Cyrus and her recent VMA performance, in which she suggestively writhed around the stage in a number of risqué outfits and slapped at least one of her fellow performers repeatedly on the behind. There has been an overwhelming response of anger and condemnation to her on-stage antics, even from other high-profile celebrities.
But what was the result of this furore? Her borderline-obscene display was discussed for at least a week on national and international news, and her newly released song broke records for the most views during its first day on YouTube. You would think that such a controversial performance would ultimately destroy her career, but it seems to have made it stronger than ever.
Then there’s the likes of Lindsay Lohan with her very public issues that now span a number of years – endless partying, drugs and criminal offences, to name but a few. Nevertheless, Lohan was somehow able to score the part of the legendary Elizabeth Taylor in the biopic television film Liz and Dick, which helped to put her waning career back on track to a degree.
And probably most famous for doing virtually nothing at all are the Kardashian sisters, Kourtney, Kim and Khloé, and their reality TV program, Keeping up with the Kardashians. These pseudo-celebrities rose to fame when Kim’s notorious sex tape was released in 2007 and she received a $5 million settlement from its distributors. Ever since, the girls have been recognised as the richest and most famous reality stars in the world, known particularly for their vulgar antics and highly dramatic lifestyle.
But what does all this imply about today’s celebrities? Possibly that fame is more important than respect: the more people hear about you, for whatever reason, the better. And unfortunately the media industry seems to be encouraging this sad state of affairs. If a celebrity has done something crazy and achieved their ’15 minutes of fame’ in the world-wide news, then producers immediately fall over themselves to make yet more money out of these talentless nobodies.
So Hollywood is doomed, right? Well, not quite. Although an overwhelming majority of celebrities are known for all the wrong reasons, there are still some young people in the film and music industries who are praised for genuine ability, rather than for how outrageous they set out to be. Rising star Jennifer Lawrence, for instance, won the ‘Best Actress’ category at the 2013 Academy Awards for her accomplished performance in the 2012 romantic-drama film Silver Linings Playbook, proving that there might be some hope for Tinsel-town after all.