Celebrity culture surrounds us. In fact, it seems to dictate how we live our lives today.
Two decades ago, one of the trending news piece of the day was how the world was set to become a global village. This would be driven by an Internet that was set to bring more and more people around the world under the clasp of its growing, entangled web.
Today, this landmark has already been achieved. While the world was going to get there eventually, the emergence of social media seems to have fast-tracked us to this small digital fiefdom.
Nowadays, not only is it possible to keep track of what our favourite celebrities are up to through their social media postings on Instagram, but evolving technology means you can now see what these celebrities (or anyone else for that matter) are doing at any given moment.
This can be achieved through broadcasting proceedings in real time (known as streaming in tech speak) using tools like Facebook Live.
This has brought them even closer to their fans, in every sense of the phrase, as the said fans can now get a glimpse into the inside world of their role models and even interact with their favourite celebrities through the live broadcast.
Curiosity in the rich and famous is a human phenomenon that goes back since class in society became a thing. In ancient Rome and Greece, for example, the masses would create their own gods as human-like beings, complete with the character flaws.
Essentially, anyone seen as glamorous seems to captivate us.
In today’s world, this phenomenon is fuelled by the media, and social media has a hand in it too. A big hand. News about musicians, actors and actresses, athletes and other personalities (largely in arts and sports) seem to inundate us everywhere we turn.
A growing number of reality TV shows like Love Island which place more emphasis on beauty than brains do not help matters either.
It wasn’t much surprising when a report from 2017 showed more people had applied to be part of Love Island (85,000) than those who were interested in enrolling in Oxbridge (40,000) that same year. But it was revealing as regards the world we live in today.
Point is, the focus on the rich and famous has bred a culture where young people are obsessed with becoming like the idols they see on social media and such celebrity TV shows as TOWIE, Made in Chelsea and Keeping up with The Kardashians.
Not that there is anything wrong with aspiring to be rich and famous, but the negative influence of the celebrity culture stemming from ‘celebrities’ spawned from such programmes seems to override the good these days.
It is perfectly fine for a young man to aspire to hit the ridiculous sporting levels that the recently departed basketball icon Kobe Bryant achieved.
And not just that.
The resolute determination to be the best, the hard work and dedication and thousands of hours of practice that goes into it, and the courage and resilience to get up when your chips are down are all important lessons to emulate.
Same way it is perfectly fine for young girls to look up to personalities like Oprah Winfrey who has had to overcome everything from a tough and abusive childhood, to sexual abuse, and having career doors slammed in her face as the would-be employers were unsure if she would amount to anything.
Young women can also look up to celebrities like Selena Gomez, someone who has gone through a lot, including overcoming a life-threating disease and issues like mental health. A good example when it comes to body positivity and the ability to remain humble even when you have achieved the fame and fortune at such a young age.
So it’s not all bad.
Get Rich Quick Mindset
The point of this article is not to bash celebrities or anyone who believes in them.
However, it is important to acknowledge that obsessing over some famous personality and the lives they lead distracts us from the real issues of the world and creates this unrealistic expectation for our lives.
Focusing on where Harry Styles will be holidaying this summer or what Cheryl Cole had for breakfast today cannot be beneficial if that is where your priorities lie.
There is a tendency by most people today to look at the flashy lifestyle others enjoy and ignore the effort and hard work that went into it. We look at the end product and forget these people went through a lot to get to where they are.
Social media, and in particular Instagram, is very much guilty of propagating this mind-set. It only shows the good side of things and portrays the picture that life is all rainbows and unicorns while in reality it is anything but.
You see people driving big cars and holidaying in the world’s most picturesque locations and think it’s all cut and dried for them; that there are no obstacles or speed bumps in their life.
The result is that many young people have fallen into the get rich quick trap and forget that there are no real shortcuts in life.
Well, sometimes they do present themselves in some form or the other – being married to royalty, for instance. Or appearing in the aforementioned reality TV shows, which can catapult you from oblivion into instant fame which you can cash in on.
But what are the chances really? Not only are the possibilities remote for most of us, but obsessing over opportunities like these is just not healthy.
Especially when that comes at the expense of improving self to stand yourself in good stead for the future – focusing on your college degree, for example, taking additional courses to stand out from other job seekers, enrolling in a public speaking or foreign language class…You get the drift.
Idealising reality TV celebrities not only evokes FOMO, but it also makes us unsatisfied about our own life, thinking we need the expensive meals and holidays in Santorini to be happy.
Obviously, a holiday here and a holiday there is good for the soul. So is a good meal. But not when we are doing it for the Instagram likes.
It’s a shallow existence, and putting on the act is bound to leave you hollow inside.
Whatever floats the boat, but staying grounded never hurt.
Jillian Haslam Bio
Jillian is a Motivational Speaker and a coach with distinction, and has had a 20 year career in banking, including working with executives at board level. Bank of England. RBS, Nova Nordisk. McDonalds and The University of Cambridge are some of the names on her impressive list of clients.
Born and raised in abject poverty in Calcutta – Jillian is a truly inspirational and professional keynote speaker. She uses her experience and motivational stories to inspire others to face their fears using the power of resilience, something she calls “He Irrepressible Mind.”. With her motivational words and her warmth, she engages and empathises with her audience. She has received some of the most amazing testimonials from Corporates, universities & schools alike. To review some of these, please visit https://jillianhaslam.
Aside from being a successful businesswoman, philanthropist, and conference speaker, she is a published author “Indian.English”. An inspirational story about her life, of finding the road to success, and how she utilises her wisdom and vision is a story that will make anyone take action in their lives.