Now Reading: The Two-Sided Reality of Being A Famous Role Model


The Two-Sided Reality of Being A Famous Role Model

January 5, 20187 min read

  • It goes without saying that many people, specially children, teenagers and young adults, have idols and celebrities that they look up to. Consequently, a lot of celebrities feel the need to be role models to their fans, and that can be both fulfilling and exhausting.

With that being said, being a role model is a two-sided reality which some people fail to understand. Let’s break down some of the realities that celebrities have to deal with in order to be considered a role model.

  • Responsibility

It’s not hard to conclude that being a celebrity with young fans comes with a lot of responsibility, since the things they do and say influence many of those who look up to them. Famous people often have a hard time trying to be careful with what they do and say because of the effect it might have on their fans. For example, parents of young teenagers are quick to blame their children’s behaviour on their idols, therefore the pressure to be a good influence is huge, but they don’t see the other aspects. Zara Larsson mentions in an interview the responsible side of being a role model and how it shouldn’t stop her for doing other things, saying that “Even though I might be out partying, I might be singing about grown up stuff, I want people to treat others with respect. I think equality is an important question for me, and all of that. So, in that aspect, I really see myself as a role model, and I try to take responsibility for that”.


  • Authenticity

As I mentioned previously, there is a lot of pressure regarding the things role models do and say because those have to be the right things. To some extent, they have to do and say the things people expect them to and that can sometimes mean do and say things that are not real to them and don’t match with who they truly are. For example, Zendaya said in an interview that “A lot of [former Disney stars] were forced into being role models and they had to pretend to be something that they didn’t feel matched up with who they were”, and that shows how conflicted role models can get due to the weight they have on their shoulders.


  • Lack of freedom

With lack of freedom I mean that some celebrities feel limited regarding the things they do, say, wear, etc. due to the influence they have on young people specially. A good example is the way a lot of female singers are criticized because of the way they dress on stage, with people saying they should only wear a certain way since they have young people looking up to them, and that just creates a lack of freedom for the artists to wear what they want to wear without being slammed for it. Little Mix have been criticized for their outfits countless times with people like Mel C saying that “(…) they are getting more provocative. (…) they weren’t sexy and it’s got more and more that way. I love them – but I just say, ‘Stay you’” and, regarding her daughter, “She is a massive Little Mix fan but I’ve started to be more sparing in what I show her. I don’t let her watch videos by artists that aren’t appropriate for her”.


  • Dealing with problems

Celebrities, as every other normal person, deal with their own problems in life and they sometimes feel bad about having problems since they feel they are not being enough for their fans and people who look up to them, they feel like they have to be perfect. That can lead to depression and other mental health issues, adding even more problems to their lives. However, it can turn into something positive, due to the fact that many celebrities come forward about the problems they face(d) and therefore inspire and help their fans who might be going through tough times. Demi Lovato, who dealt with a lot of issues from eating disorders to depression in the past, says that “If I’ve been able to use my tough times, and use them as lessons for other people, then I think I’m happy to inspire others”.


These points show some of the aspects role models have to deal with. As I mentioned previously, it can be both fulfilling and exhausting to be a role model and there are still people who don’t understand the hardest side of it and the amount of pressure and weight on celebritie’s shoulders. Some celebrities already learnt how to deal with it and are able to be true to themselves and we should respect and understand them and also those who are still trying.

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Magda Gonçalves Lança

A girl with a passion for writing, specially about music and arts. Find me on twitter: @magslana