One of the surest paths to success in showbiz is to be the child of someone who is already famous and successful.
These offspring are called nepo babies (nepo = nepotism), and they have not-so-secretly infiltrated countless beloved pop culture properties. Who was your favorite character in “Stranger Things”? Robin, was that it? Baby Nepo. Your favorite feline anti-hero in “The Batman”? Yeah, it’s a nepo baby. If you preferred the Riddler in this movie, some news – his real-life partner is also a baby nepo.
That these famous and successful people are the children or parents of other famous and successful people is no surprise: It’s hard to forget who Maya Hawke and Zoë Kravitz are related to when they look like the spitting image of their famous parents.
But the term “nepo baby” is relatively new, a phrase that inspires guilt and anxiety among those she describes. New York magazine’s latest issue spotlighted dozens of nepo babies, even put some back in diapers in a star maternity for its coverage.
The issue went off like a bomb, shocking readers by featuring famous bloodlines and even including a surprise nepo baby or two. Some fans defended their idols; others applauded the magazine for its audacity to potentially alienate countless celebrities. A few of those celebrities mentioned have chimed in.
The Nepo babies are leading beloved streaming series and earning notice of awards. They have performed on Broadway and participated in major fashion campaigns. Some are very popular. Some are Chet Hanks.
Simply put, according to New York’s Nate Jones: “A nepo baby is physical proof that meritocracy is a lie.”
“Nepo baby” refers to the child of successful adults who benefited from nepotism in industries like entertainment or adjacent fields (fashion and media are two of the other big ones). Unlike naturally talented bootstrappers and “nobodies”, nepo babies start out with an advantage – their parents’ relationships – although many of them later claim that their parentage is a burden when it comes to grooming. a name.
This year’s nepo baby buzz kicked off after controversial HBO hit “Euphoria” aired its second season. Some young viewers were shocked to learn this actor Maude Apatow is the daughter of director Judd Apatow (“Knocked Up”, “This is 40”) and actress Leslie Mann (also “Knocked Up”, “This is 40”). ‘Euphoria’ director Sam Levinson is a ‘nepo-baby’ himself – he’s the son of successful director Barry Levinson, with whom he co-wrote the HBO film ‘The Wizard of Lies’ before directing “Euphoria”.
These connections surprised some young TikTok users, who launched surveys into other relatively unknown nepo babies. (Many of the more well-known nepo babies peaked in fame before Gen Z was old enough to remember them.) These videos popularized the term “nepo baby.”
The baby nepo debate reached new heights in November when Lily Rose Depp, daughter of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis, who is also slated to star in a Sam Levinson series, dismissed the term in an interview with Elle: cares a lot more about who your family is more than the people throwing you into things. Maybe you put your foot in the door, but you still have your foot in the door. There is a lot of work after that. »
Critics surged, including rising model Vittoria Ceretti, who has worked for fashion houses like Chanel (and whom Depp has modeled for since her teenage years). “I have a lot of baby nepo friends that I respect, but I can’t stand hearing you compare yourself to me,” Ceretti said in an Instagram story. “I wasn’t born on a comfy, sexy pillow with a view. I know it’s not your fault, but please appreciate and know where you come from.
All of this inspired New York magazine’s pop culture vertical, Vulture, to launch a year-end series on nepo babies, which included an exhaustive taxonomy of famous kids (and lesser-famous kids of über-famous parents). ).
The spread of Vulture has made it clear that the universe of nepo babies is vast and potentially infinite. There are the young stars: Maya Hawke is the offspring of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, and independent sweetheart Riley Keough is the granddaughter of Elvis. There are also plenty of long-established nepo babies, like Zoë Kravitz (Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet), Kate Hudson (Goldie Hawn and her stepfather Kurt Russell), and Gwyneth Paltrow (Blythe Danner, director Bruce Paltrow).
A few entries on the list were surprising: Two of the three members of “Please Don’t Destroy,” NYU alumni who create digital shorts for “Saturday Night Live,” are the sons of “SNL” producers. The Rooney sisters and Kate Mara are members of two NFL founding families. And “Fantastic Beasts” actress Katherine Waterston is the British-accented daughter of Sam Waterston, recently from “Grace and Frankie.”
And then there are those who are so talented and/or established that their nepo-baby reputation doesn’t really matter anymore. Jamie Lee Curtis is the daughter of Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis. Dakota Johnson’s bona fide dates back generations: she’s the granddaughter of “The Birds” icon Tippi Hedren and the daughter of “Working Girl” Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson of “Miami Vice.” And Oscar winner/homosexual icon Laura Dern is the daughter of two Oscar nominees, Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern.
Vulture also found some interesting nepo baby trends: Eight of them appeared in Quentin Tarantinto’s “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood,” according to the outlet. Meryl Streep’s three daughters are actresses who have appeared on HBO. Several other nepo babies starred in HBO’s “Big Little Lies,” which also starred The Skarsgårds’ Alexander Skarsgård. (HBO, which shares parent company Warner Bros. Discovery with CNN, is apparently a major employer of nepo babies.)
Reliably, the “stans” of stars highlighted by Vulture have come out in support of their idols, defending them for cashing in on their fame and criticizing the magazine for highlighting their Google-compatible family history. (Note: “Stan” is another term for “diehard fan” popularized by Eminem, whose daughter Hailie is also included in Vulture’s roster; she hosts a podcast.)
Eve Hewson, actress (“Bad Sisters”, “The Knick”) and daughter of Bono, tweeted with derision several times about the article. “2023 goals: succeed enough to be recognized as a nepo baby,” she wrote before realizing she had been mentioned in an infographic.
And then: “Omg please can all the Nepo babies band together and dress up as giant babies for Halloween.”
The article recalled some of the responses of the mentioned nepo babies when asked about their privilege. Maya Hawke told Rolling Stone earlier this year that when it comes to “nepotism”, she acknowledged that her lineage “definitely gives you huge advantages in this life” and while “you’ll get chances for free… the chances will not be endless.” Maude Apatow, meanwhile, said the label made her “sad” but tried not to “let it get to her because she obviously understood she was in such a lucky position.”
Some critics have pointed out that some of the inclusions in the Vulture build were a stretch: Phoebe Bridgers, for example, was included among the “industry babies” as the “daughter of a set builder” alongside young Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges, whose father is a director and whose grand -father was an executive at HBO. To some Bridgers Fansit seemed incongruous to compare the industrial relations of the two stars.
Most of the nepo babies chosen by Vulture did not respond to the spread or hubbub she raised. After all, many of them are so famous that they are able to completely avoid engaging in such trends.