You only have to look at Twitter’s trending topics to see the multitude of fans certain celebrities have. The almost instantaneous reactions from fans who leap to their role model’s defence is both shocking and impressive. But are all celebrities who have become role models deserving of this outpour of support, and are they actually an inspiration or a complete distraction stopping us from reaching our full potential?

The entertainment sector has undergone a massive transformation. Where it once reflected the glamour of A-List Hollywood and soulful musicians, the wave of reality TV soon took hold and redefined the meaning of “entertainment.” In recent years, the industry has gone through another transition to include bloggers and social media personalities/entertainers within its exclusive bubble.

That means a broader range of “celebrities” who have a huge influence over impressionable teenagers as they navigate through a very important period in their lives. It’s very easy to become obsessed or hooked on a particular celebrity, especially if they’re constantly thrusted into our faces on a daily basis, however that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best influence for young people.

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For starters we don’t actually know them. There’s something unnerving about the way fans believe they know certain celebrities, when in reality, we know what their PR and media teams want us to know. An allwomenstalk.com article goes on to say, “We have no idea what they’re really like as a person. Are they anything like their image implies? Or do we project our own perspective of what we want them to be like?”

The article also touches on the monetary aspect too.

“One of the most annoying things I find about admiring celebrities is that they’re basically in it for the money (and attention). Many are vastly overpaid in comparison to their talent. They’re not really offering us very much, apart from the chance to wish that we had their money and fame. Is that really something that makes them worthy role models?”

In addition to that, glamourising substance abuse, heavy alcohol consumption and law-breaking behaviour that is seldom punished creates a very obscure vision of what is acceptable in a young person’s mind. Granted some celebrities don’t claim to be role models nor want to be, however it’s part of the deal that comes with being in the public eye all the time.

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That exclusive bubble that is built around money, materialism and a touch of narcissism is not something we are all truly going to dabble in during our lifetime. But whilst we buy into this culture, we risk not achieving our full potential as a result of being addicted to other people’s lives. Obsessing over body image and materialistic items results in a very marred perspective on what is actually important in life. The sad reality is, the world outside of the glitz and glamour is far more beautiful than flowing champagne and the perfect contour.

The longevity of a celebrity’s career is actually dependent on the number of fans they have. With such a reach there should be glimmers of encouragement and pep talks to motivate young people to strive for their dreams – whether that be as an entrepreneur, a medical sensation or the next Prime Minister. But amid tweeting and raving about their role model’s new endorsements, appearances and selfies, fans aren’t stopping to realise that very little is being offered in return to support their dreams.

Being an inspiring role model isn’t cashing in on people’s insecurities and persuading them to buy beauty products to alter the way they look. Being a role model is using that platform and attention to do some good and not make it all about themselves, as this meme illustrates…

Role Models

Granted that the media is responsible for whom they put their focus on, not all hope is lost though. Like Malala, there are individuals under the spotlight who have achieved incredible accomplishments through unimaginable struggles and deserve to be coined as role models. There are athletes who show a steely determination to be the best in their sport and powerhouse singers who have overcome common hardships like bullying and low self-esteem. Even YouTubers who’s mission in life to is simply make people laugh through witty and hilarious skits are turning to vlogging, which shows you the peaks and pits of everyday life and completely humanises them.

Lilly Singh aka iiSuperwomanii (a personal fave of mine) is forever taking a moment within her vlogs to offer pearls of wisdom and show her followers that life isn’t always perfect and dandy. She has been very vocal about her personal struggles and we see how she looks to combat that and the way she actually works to achieve her goals. I don’t know about you, but I’m always ready to face my to do list with a vengeance after watching her vlogs.

As we get older, we come to realise which public figures are worthy of our time and investment. We also see that role models come in all forms – some are closer than we think. Parents, grandparents, teachers and mentors are often unsung heroes when it comes to inspiring in very subtle ways. Whether it’s supporting a dream, teaching you right from wrong or giving practical advice, the only thing they’ll require from you is a front row seat when you accomplish everything you’ve ever wanted.

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