How The Children of Famous People Have Responded to The Nepotism Allegations

An image of Gwyneth Paltrow and her mother Blythe Danner, and an image of Gigi Hadid with her mother...
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While TikTok may have popularized the term “nepo babies” and revealed many of the more well-hidden scions in our midst (Timothée Chalamet and Zoey Deutch to name a few), the concept is nothing new. We’ve actually been calling them “scions” long before TikTok existed. Famous people have been birthing other famous people for decades and it makes sense that the offspring of the Hollywood elite would have a leg up when it comes to, well also joining the Hollywood elite. Many of these famous children have gone on to have successful and well-justified careers and while we don’t necessarily blame them for snatching the opportunities so clearly in front of them, the public years for a bit of acknowledgment of said privilege. And while some scions have been very good about that, others will be on their death bead, screaming, “having famous parents makes being in this industry harder because you have more to prove!” Sigh. Anyway, here’s what some of our favorite have said on the topic—the good, the bad, and the very delusional.

Maude Apatow

The Euphoria star, who is the child of director and producer Judd Apatow and actress Leslie Mann, recently revealed to Porter that, while she tries not to think about the role her parents have played in her career too much it “definitely drives” her. “I feel like I really need to prove myself, so I work extra hard,” she said.

Apatow admitted that at first, the situation made her sad because she didn’t think people judged her on her talent. “I try not to let it get to me because I obviously understand that I’m in such a lucky position,” she said. “A lot of people [in a similar position] have proven themselves over the years, so I’ve got to keep going and make good work. It’s so early in my career, I don’t have much to show yet, but hopefully one day I’ll be really proud of the stuff I’ve done by myself.”

This isn’t the first time Apatow has spoken on nepotism. Following the first season of Euphoria, which provided her with her first big role, the actress responded to people who were mad that her name came up first in the credits (it’s alphabetical). “I definitely get why people would be mad at me, but I will literally spend the rest of my life trying to prove myself and work twice as hard,” she told Variety.

Gwyneth Paltrow
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While Paltrow has established quite the career for herself, both on and off screen, as the daughter of TV producer Bruce Paltrow and actress Blythe Danner, she has had to comment on nepotism over the years. Most recently, Paltrow discussed the phenomenon with fellow scion, Hailey Bieber.

“As the child of somebody, you get access that other people don’t have, so the playing field is not level in that way,” Paltrow admitted. “However, I really do feel that once your foot is in the door—which you unfairly got in—then you have to work almost twice as hard and be twice as good because people are ready to pull you down and say you don’t belong there and you’re only there because of your dad or your mom or whatever the case may be.”

Hailey Bieber
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Bieber (née Baldwin) has spoken on her familial privilege as well. Back in 2016, she told Grazia that she tries to separate herself from her father, actor Stephen Baldwin, and her last name. “I want to do everything on my own without my name being a factor.” She called being in the industry her “family business” citing her uncles, who are also actors.

Still, the model acknowledge that she did have a leg up compared to those not born to a famous father. “I’m not trying to take away from models who have started from scratch and I really appreciate the girls who have had to move from another country and work really hard,” she said. “I know it’s more difficult for them.”

Ireland Baldwin
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Bieber’s cousin, who is the daughter of actor Alec Baldwin and actress Kim Basinger, has spoken out many times over the years about being born into the Baldwin name. Back in April, Baldwin went on Red Table Talk with her mother where she said she probably wouldn’t have been initially scouted as a model if it weren’t for her parents. She also shared that she believes kids with famous parents “have a lot more to prove because you’re always going to have that comparison to your parents.”

A few months later, Baldwin continued the conversation in a Q&A on TikTok. Again, she admitted her life was made “a lot easier” thanks to her parents. Then, when a commenter called her out for being a “nepo baby” she defended herself, saying “a lot of painful shit comes with growing up in the spotlight.” She did admit, though, that “the only problem with being a nepotism baby is when you don't have self-awareness...Nothing is worse than when someone is born into a famous family or between two famous parents and they fail to acknowledge how these doors were opened for them and how they've had it a lot easier than other people.”

Kendall Jenner
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Of course, everyone knows of Jenner’s famous pedigree, but the model came under fire last year when she claimed her last name was a detriment in the beginning of her career.

"Of course I had a platform, and I never took that for granted,” she said during the final Keeping up with the Kardashians reunion. “I always knew that was there, but that almost made my job a little bit harder. Only because people probably didn't want to hire me because I was on a reality TV show.” Jenner said she used to take her last name off modeling cards, though her face was already very well known from KUWTK at that point.

“I think it's just a perception that people have, that I just was like, ‘Give it to me!’ and I had it. It definitely was not that.” She continued, saying, “I went to every single casting and ran all over, not only New York City, but all over Europe trying to get a job and make my way.” Still, she did admit that when she was around 14 and decided she wanted to be a model, she made a modeling book and gave it to her mother. “Then she did her Kris Jenner thing and made it all come to life.”

Gigi Hadid
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Fellow model Gigi Hadid seems to be a little more aware of how her famous upbringing (given her mother, Yolanda Hadid was also a model and a reality star) helped with her own career. "I know I come from privilege, so when I started there was this big guilt of privilege, obviously,” she told Vogue Australia in 2018. Still, she said that she has a strong work ethic, which she got from her parents who both “came from nothing.”

“There are so many girls who come [from] all over the world and work their arses off and send money home to their families like my mother did, and I wanted to stand next to them backstage and for them to look at me and respect me and to know that it’s never about me trying to overshadow or take their place,” she said.

Lily Collins
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Despite the fact that Collins’ father is the Phil Collins, she claimed in an interview with Marie Claire UK back in 2014 that no one really cared in the beginning of her career. “When I first met with agents I was asked, ‘Well, what makes you so special? Everybody in LA is a cousin or a daughter of someone.’”

She continued saying that while at first, her father was “the most interesting thing” about her, it’s now an “afterthought.” In fact, she sees a unique benefit to the situation (you know, aside from the obvious ones). “I get kids who say, ‘Oh, I love your movie, but my mum loves your dad.’ It’s really nice to be able to share that with him, but it doesn’t define who I am career-wise.”

Lily-Rose Depp
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Daughter of Johnny Depp and French singer Vanessa Paradis, Lily-Rose once told Vogue Australia that she has “always kind of rejected” the idea that roles just landed on her doorstep because of her name. “I’ve always been under the impression that I have to work twice as hard to prove to people that I’m not just here because it’s easy for me,” she said. “I feel like you’re not what your name is. If you’re not right for something, they’re not just going to hire you because your name looks good on the post.”

Emma Roberts
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Roberts, whose father is actor Eric Roberts and aunt is, of course, Julia Roberts, once said the idea of nepotism is “ridiculous.” She explained herself to PopEater back in 2011. “I've auditioned for so many things and never gotten the part,” she said. “Also it's like, maybe someone can get you one part, but they can't really get you ten parts.”

Lola Leon

Leon, who recently followed in her mom’s footsteps by releasing her first single, spoke about peoples’ perceptions of her to Vogue last year. “People think I’m this talentless rich kid who’s had everything given to her, but I’m not,” she said, citing that she paid her own way through college.

Elizabeth Olsen
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When Olsen was ten, she thought she may want to follow in the acting footsteps of her sisters, Mary-Kate and Ashley. “I realized very quickly it wasn’t for me because I was missing my sports teams, my dance class and all the extracurricular activities at school. But during that time, I thought ‘I don’t want to be associated with [Mary-Kate and Ashley]’, for some reason,” she told Glamour UK last year. “I guess I understood what nepotism was like inherently as a 10-year-old. I don’t know if I knew the word, but there is some sort of association of not earning something that I think bothered me at a very young age. It had to do with my own insecurities, but I was 10.” The actress said that because of those insecurities, at one point she decided to use her middle name, Chase, instead of Olsen when she became an actress, but it’s unclear when she changed her mind.

Maya Hawke
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The daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman told People last year that she’s “very grateful” that her parents “made it so easy for me to do the thing that I love.” She admitted that she thinks she gets “a couple chances on their name,” when it comes to roles, but that’s it. “If I suck, I'll get kicked out of the kingdom...And that's what should happen. So I'm just going to try not to suck.”