What’s the deal with celebrity heroes?

With the rise of social media and the prevalence of pop culture, the more exposed we are to celebrities and their lifestyles. From megastars that are household names to micro-influencers and everything in between, the celebrity sphere seems to have expanded and it will continue to do so. 

It’s an interesting phenomenon to think about: how celebrities are supposedly no different from you and I, yet some become so profoundly influential that their face or signature is infinitely valuable, if not priceless. 

This isn’t to say that many celebrities have not lived extraordinary lives and don’t deserve praise or admiration for that. Tragic backstories of abuse, poverty, and addiction among other hardships that lead into a given celebrity’s eventual success inspire many people. These experiences can help individuals see that the setbacks they have faced in their own lives will not always have to be a determinant of the course of their future. 

The ability to be positive role models for people is one reason why celebrity influence can be extremely beneficial to people. An example of someone who did an incredible amount of good in her lifetime with the influence and platform she had was Audrey Hepburn. Among many notable humanitarian efforts Hepburn made, one was being a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador following World War II. 

Some people might argue that celebrities shouldn’t have to do humanitarian work or be philanthropic to be seen as positive forces, but I think it makes a world of difference in the ethics that a celebrity portrays. When someone possesses a significantly elevated status above most of humanity, whether it be through financial means or mere attention, their actions can create ripples of an impact. For example, Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” song made thrift shopping cool again, the Kardashian family brought makeup artist secrets to the everyday consumer and popularized them — among these are a million other ways society has been influenced. 

With these things in mind, I think it’s acceptable to be highly inspired by a celebrity, or to even call them an idol. But if you do this, don’t let it be for their public image alone. Do some more digging. In what ways can you actually consider them a role model, and not just someone who you want to look like? 

Be selective with who you allow to influence you. What you take in has more power than you think.