The year 2022 has been deemed the “year of the nepo baby,” according to New York Magazine’s pop culture publication, Vulture. This term refers to the offspring of famous individuals who follow in their parent’s footsteps in the creative industries. These individuals often succeed in their own right, despite the fierce competition. The concept of nepo babies has sparked intense debate and even inspired an all-encompassing guide by Vulture. So, let’s delve into the world of nepo babies and explore what it truly means.
What is a Nepo Baby?
A nepo baby, short for nepotism baby, is a child born into a family with a famous parent who has likely benefitted from their parent’s fame or connections when launching their own career. Vulture’s guide classifies nepo babies into several categories:
Gen-Z Performers “on the come-up”: These are young talents who are just starting to make their mark in the entertainment industry. Examples include Gracie Abrams, daughter of filmmaker J.J. Abrams, and Mason Gooding, son of Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr.
“Booked and busy” Nepo Babies: These individuals are the children of major stars who have already established themselves in their respective careers. Zosia Mamet, daughter of playwright David Mamet, and Colin Hanks, son of actor Tom Hanks, fall into this category.
“Platinum grade” Nepo Babies: These individuals come from famous parents and have carved out their own successful careers. Miley Cyrus, Dakota Johnson, and Kate Hudson are among the prominent names in this category.
At the top of the pyramid are the “nepo baby graduates” who have been in the industry for so long that their parentage is no longer a significant factor in their success. Celebrities like Laura Dern, George Clooney, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Anjelica Huston fall into this category, where their own achievements have overshadowed their famous parents.
Who are Some Famous Nepo Babies?
While this list is by no means exhaustive, here are some well-known individuals identified as nepo babies:
- Colin Hanks: Son of Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, known for his role in “Orange County.”
- Lily-Rose Depp: Daughter of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis, a model and actress.
- Bryce Dallas Howard: Daughter of renowned film director Ron Howard, known for her role in “Jurassic Park.”
- Lily Collins: Star of “Emily in Paris” and daughter of musician Phil Collins.
- Maude Apatow: Known for her role in HBO’s “Euphoria” and daughter of director Judd Apatow and actress Leslie Mann.
- Miley Cyrus: Daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, who has made a name for herself as a singer and actress.
- Kate Hudson: Daughter of actors Goldie Hawn and Bill Hudson, known for her roles in films like “Almost Famous” and “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.”
- Hailey Bieber (née Baldwin): Model and influencer, daughter of actor Stephen Baldwin.
- Deacon Phillippe: Son of Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe, recently seen in Mindy Kaling’s “Never Have I Ever.”
- Zosia Mamet: Known for her role in the TV series “Girls,” Zosia is the daughter of playwright David Mamet and actor Lindsay Crouse.
- Dakota Johnson: Actress and daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, famous for her role in the “Fifty Shades” film series.
- Zoë Kravitz: Daughter of musician Lenny Kravitz and actress Lisa Bonet, known for her roles in films like “Divergent” and “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
- Gwyneth Paltrow: Award-winning actress and daughter of actor Blythe Danner and late producer and director Bruce Paltrow.
- Michael Douglas: Son of actors Kirk Douglas and Diana Dill, and a highly successful actor in his own right.
- Jane Fonda: Daughter of iconic actor Henry Fonda, known for her extensive contributions to the entertainment industry.
- Jamie Lee Curtis: Daughter of actors Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, renowned for her roles in horror films such as “Halloween.”
- Drew Barrymore: Descended from a family of actors, including John Barrymore and Dolores Costello, Drew has made a name for herself as an actress and producer.
- Mariska Hargitay: Star of “Law & Order: SVU” and daughter of actor Jayne Mansfield and bodybuilder/actor Mickey Hargitay.
- Josh Brolin: Son of actor James Brolin, known for his notable performances in films like “No Country for Old Men” and “Avengers.”
- Anjelica Huston: Daughter of legendary director John Huston, Anjelica has achieved great success as an actress in her own right.
- Angelina Jolie: Daughter of actors Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand, Angelina has become an iconic figure in the entertainment industry.
Nepo Babies Weigh In
The topic of nepo babies has sparked intense debate and generated responses from both commentators and famous progeny themselves. Some individuals took a lighthearted approach, while others delved into the deeper issues at hand.
Irish actor Eve Hewson, daughter of U2 frontman Bono, jokingly expressed her disappointment at being left off the nepo baby list but later rejoiced when she realized she had, in fact, been mentioned.
Lily Allen, daughter of actor Keith Allen and film producer Alison Owen, voiced her concerns about the focus on nepo babies in Hollywood. She highlighted the importance of addressing broader issues of privilege and inherited wealth that often go unnoticed.
O’Shea Jackson Jr., son of Ice Cube, shared his own experiences as the child of a famous father. He encouraged others to embrace their backgrounds and not let anyone diminish their accomplishments.
The discussions surrounding nepo babies extend far beyond the entertainment industry. They shed light on the larger issues of privilege and inequality, challenging the notion of a meritocracy and emphasizing the importance of equal opportunity for all.
The Conversation Continues
The discourse surrounding nepo babies shows no signs of slowing down. The ongoing debates raise fundamental questions about the role of parentage and connections in achieving success, not only in Hollywood but in society at large. While nepotism exists, it’s essential to address the wider systemic inequalities that affect various industries. By acknowledging these issues, we can work toward a more inclusive and equitable future for all talented individuals.
Q: Are all famous individuals with famous parents considered nepo babies?
A: No, not all famous individuals with famous parents are considered nepo babies. Vulture’s classification of nepo babies includes individuals who have benefited from their parents’ fame or connections while launching their own careers.
Q: Are nepo babies limited to the entertainment industry?
A: No, nepotism and nepo babies can be found in various industries, including entertainment, politics, business, and more. The focus on nepo babies in this guide pertains specifically to the Hollywood context.
Q: Are nepo babies solely responsible for their success?
A: While nepo babies may have certain advantages due to their family connections, it is essential to recognize that they also possess talent, dedication, and hard work. Ultimately, it is a combination of factors that contributes to their success.
The term “nepo baby” has permeated popular culture, sparking intense discussions about privilege, inequality, and the role of parentage in achieving success. While the concept of nepotism isn’t exclusive to the entertainment industry, it serves as a lens through which we can examine broader societal issues. By fostering an inclusive and equitable environment, we can create opportunities for all aspiring individuals, regardless of their background. For more insightful content, visit Top Q&A.