In my next life, I hope I'm born a nepotism baby. In this life, I'll fake it.
I believe the children are our future. I’ve never believed it more than while watching footage of North West at the Jean Paul Gaultier show during Paris Haute Couture Week.
The 9-year-old daughter of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West was front row at several Paris fashion shows this season, rocking a slew of big street style fits. But as much as I adore her style, her hair, her big sunglasses (we’ll get back to this later), nothing was more show-stopping than her viral moment: holding a sign that said “STOP” to the paparazzi.
Kim posted the video on her Instagram with a caption explaining the viral moment.
“For anyone who knows North knows how funny she finds the last slide! North I guess had it with the people taking pictures of her so she wrote on her invite STOP and held it up and wanted them to just focus on the show.” She added, “As a mom I'm so grateful that my daughter loves coming with me on my work trips and I am able to bring her and create these memories together along with my mom.”
For most of us, going on “work trips” with our parents doesn’t mean attending some of the most exclusive, highly photographed events in the world. Let alone sitting next to Anna Wintour and pulling practical jokes in her midst.
The North West video lives in my mind rent-free. And it reminds me of the recent viral video of Blue Ivy (yes, Beyonce's daughter) with her father (yes, Jay Z) sitting courtside at a basketball game. Blue was visibly embarrassed at her father’s affection like any pre-teen. But again, not all of us have to shrug off our father’s hugs in front of the whole world.
That’s because Blue and North aren’t like us. They’re ready-made icons. And everything they do amuses and entertains us, simply due to who their parents are. And being born of such high-magnitude talent wreaks more than superficial effects. North’s fashion week outfits prove she has her parent’s swagger. Plus that stunt with the sign proves she has a penchant for making viral moments.
Hopefully, unlike her parents, she’ll use this power for good. And as for Blue? She performed as a dancer in her mother’s opening act for the 2022 Grammy Awards. Blue even has credits on a Beyonce song. How many of us could even dream that?
In the coming years, Blue and North will surely earn their own fame. And when they do, I’ll be ready to support whatever artistic ventures they pursue. Just like I am with many others in their class: nepotism babies.
What is a Nepotism Baby?
According to The New York Times, “The phrase “nepotism baby” (or the diminutive “nepo baby”) has pervaded social media in earnest expressions of surprise (“just found out…”), envy (“pls god why couldn’t i have been a nepotism baby”) and even admiration (some favorites include Ms. Apatow, Zoë Kravitz, and Dakota Johnson). Others are already talking about the next generation of nepotism babies, including the unborn child of Rihanna and ASAP Rocky (“a galactic nepotism legend already,” as one person put it).”
This phenomenon isn’t new. We’re all familiar with nepotism, and in most cases, it’s an absolute negative. For example, the College Admissions scandal exemplified how nepotism, family connections and money open doors in systems that are supposed to be meritocracies.
And though Hollywood is allegedly one of those systems, knowing the right people can get you anywhere in any industry.
“For centuries, children born into rich, famous and otherwise powerful families have had a leg up in life, inheriting monarchies, business empires, wealth and star power. In some cases they’ve surpassed their parents’ status,” The New York Times says. “This is what most parents wish for their children. It’s also often how power works, especially in Hollywood.”
Why are Nepotism Babies trending?
For generations, actors and musicians have spawned other actors and musicians. While some shamelessly trade on their parent’s names, some prefer to fly under the radar. Even with the prevalence of social media and everyone’s Xtreme Online lives, people are late to discover that some of their favorite stars are Nepo Babies.
I mean, who amongst us hasn’t googled a celeb we like just to find their parents’ name in blue in their wiki entry?
Then, at the tail end of 2022, THEE New York Magazine article exposed all of the most famous nepo babies. The result was a bloodbath. No one was safe. And the nepo babies were shook.
But at the end of the day, love or hate the notion of someone’s parents getting them a job, Nepo Babies aren’t going anywhere. In any industry, children naturally take after their parents and said parents do what they can to help further their kids — and their own — careers.
In the entertainment industry, this is so much easier for multiple reasons:
Nepo Babies already have a following. Just like North and Blue, many Nepo Babies have eyes on them from a very young age. Agents merely capitalize on this publicity, rather than create a fresh star out of nothing.
Nepo Babies are in the right place at the right time. Jaden Smith got his start acting alongside his father in The Pursuit of Happyness due to their natural chemistry on screen. Angelina Jolie’s then 5-year-old daughter Vivienne Jolie-Pitt played the role of Young Aurora in the first Maleficent film because all the other kids were too afraid of Jolie’s stage makeup. Talk about luck!
Nepo Babies are thrown into acting/singing classes super early. Most young kids want to be just like their parents. And in the super glamorous world of fame, that life is even more seductive. So, young kids expressing interest in the arts are shoved into performance classes. Nepo Babies usually train with the best-of-the-best from childhood on. To quote Malcolm Gladwell, 10,000 hours of practice will make you an expert in anything. So, even if they don’t inherit their parent’s talent, many of them actually earn their stripes through practice and exposure.
Perhaps this is the most riveting part of the nepotism baby — wondering if they deserve their fame. Some Nepo Babies acquire fans because they seem truly average and relatable — hello Dakota Johnson or Maude Apatow. Then, suddenly you realize their parents got them their start and that same allure feels icky. Would another “average” person have gotten that job if they were just as talented — or perhaps more? Do non-nepotism babies have to work harder for the same opportunities? Or are Nepo Babies cursed? Must they shrug off the scent of fame to be taken seriously?
The Face accuses some Nepo Babies of hiding their industry links so they’re more relatable: “There’s a whole community of working class fans on TikTok exposing famous people who turn out to be a “nepotism baby.”
But British culture magazine, The Face, found that opinions on Nepo Babies vary: “TikTok users in this community also produce videos that sort famous children of famous people into “good” and “bad” nepotism babies based on rigid criteria. What makes a good nepotism baby? According to these TikTokers, it depends on whether they are honest about their privileges and connections. And how they give back, whether it be through charity, philanthropy, grassroots activism engagements, or a plain old humble and grateful attitude.”
Personally, I love them — even if I just love to hate them. Nepo Babies feel removed from reality like they’re living these detached lives where everything is rose-tinted with the benefits of someone else’s fame. Kaia Gerber’s star-studded dating life, Kendall Jenner’s lackluster runway walk, Jaden Smith’s daring demeanor — it’s yet another layer of entertainment to me.
And of course, if I could do it all my way, I’d have been born a Nepo Baby. And since I have their aesthetic pretty much down to a science from much much investigative research. (My Pinterest boards are all photos of Lily-Rose Depp, Magic Johnson’s daughter Elisa Johnson, and Hailey Baldwin), so I know precisely how I’d look, how I’d exact, and what I’d do.
For now, I live the closest life I can due to my handy Nepo Baby starter pack — the things I imagine all Nepo Babies have that I can adopt and embody in a semi-achievable aesthetic.
The Nepo Baby Starterpack
What says “famous person” like a pair of oversized sunglasses. Sunglasses indoors, sunglasses at night, sunglasses at the grocery store — the list goes on. Nepo Babies are rarely seen without a pair of stylish shades. The bigger and darker the better.
Stars, they’re just like us! Going on a silly little hot girl walk to grab a coffee. Unlike us, Nepo Babies do so while dodging the paparazzi. If that were me, I’d just make my Maud’s Coffee cold brew at home and be done with it.
With good genes and the best stylists at their disposal, Nepo Babies always have perfectly coiffed hair. Whether they personally put in the work for their glorious tresses, I’ll never know. In an attempt to imitate the artfully mussed hair of the Nepo Baby, I turn to Briogeo’s hair essentials for the healthiest mane I can conjure. I aim to make my hair as strong as possible. How it looks is up to the universe — that same universe which did not give me famous parents, so…
Proactiv has been credited for granting Kendall Jenner her runway-ready skin. With scientifically-backed formulas and Kendall-approved products, Proactiv takes me one step closer to achieving the glowing visage of someone whose bills will always be paid.
Loved by THEE original Nepo Queen herself, Zoe Kravitz. The YSL Touche Eclat Concealer is the hero product emblematic of all Nepo Baby makeup faves. Only people born as beautiful as Zoe, Lily, Iris,, Lori, or Maude — and the rest of the Nepo Babies featured on Vogue’s Beauty Secrets roster — are audacious (obnoxious?) enough to advise regular folk to “embrace our natural beauty” and only use makeup to “highlight, not cover” our features. For some, it’s not that simple. This concealer does what it can with what I have.
When your parents are famous, you don’t need to do much to epitomize cool. But dainty gold jewelry is never the wrong answer. From Mejuri, obviously. Where else?
Nepo Babies don’t do anything unless it’s an aesthetic senstaion. They’re always spotted on the way to some stylish workout studio, where they post their trendy exercise routine. What is en vogue this season? Boxing? Barre? Krav Maga? For me, it’s walking around the neighborhood in Bala Bangles.
But when I take those neighborhood walks, you bet I do it in matching athleisure looks. From sweats to leggings and shorts, Girlfriend makes sure I look cute enough to stun in any candid photos you might find on TMZ. Obviously, I’m not being flocked by the paparazzi. But if I were, I’d be ready. It’s the Nepo Baby way.