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Celebrity Famous People

Updated on January 26, 2016

Celebrities are people or groups of people who are famous for being entertainers, elite athletes, business icons, and politicians. These days, some celebrities are “famous for being famous.” Celebrity status is not only given to popular human beings. The long list of celebrities then and now includes fictional characters and even animals that have a huge following. The nature of celebrity has changed with the times.

In modern society, celebrity status is often associated with material wealth. It is important to note that not everyone who enjoys fame also has considerable fortune. Nevertheless, it is also true that a famous celebrity has plenty of opportunities to attain wealth—much more than the average person. What really sets celebrities apart from regular people is the attention they get from the public as consequence of their work, their lifestyle choices and controversial antics that becomes public knowledge.

There are also more opportunities for people to showcase their personalities and talents and attain a celebrity status. Nevertheless, what they attain can also be lost as quickly. Because of the availability of information, it is also far too easy to abandon one fascination for another. Public fascination can be fickle as attention shifts from one interesting person to another.

The public’s fascination for celebrities

Famous people tickle the public’s imagination. Every person blessed with the aura of celebrity is given myth-like attributes by their followers. The fascination for celebrity is explained in part by the need to escape from the mundane.

Perhaps it is the fascination for alternative forms of reality that makes fictional entities as popular as human beings. For hardcore fans, these fictional characters are more real to them than living, breathing celebrities. Batman, Superman, Mickey Mouse, Frodo Baggins, and James Bond are some of the world-famous fictional characters that have their own fan base. The success of animated films, video games, and comics adaptations has given rise to a long list of fictional celebrity characters with a huge following.

The real essence of celebrity

For many years, celebrities were people who appeared in movies, and recorded songs that have transcended cultural borders. Celebrities were distinguished, set apart from others by their awe-inspiring achievements. They were greater than life. They represented unattainable dreams and aspirations. Before someone attains true celebrity status, he or she had to show credibility. In the old days, celebrities had admirable qualities.

Celebrity culture in the information age

There was a time when celebrities were god-like—remote and unreachable. Their followers can only admire them from a great distance. They were untouchable and unattainable. In those days, celebrities have an aura of mystery about them, which feed the public’s desire to get to know then more. The desire to learn more about the people they admire sustained the public’s interest in a person that is more legend than real.

Times have changed. Now, anyone who manages to amass followers and initiate discussion can become a celebrity. Some of the biggest celebrities today became famous almost overnight.

People still look up to celebrities, but the air of mystery is largely gone. It is now far easier to get information and follow people of interest. This is largely attributed to the technological innovations that have given us social media. Every person with a smartphone and Internet access can get the information he or she wants to know about a specific celebrity. Fans can feed their curiosity about the people and characters they admire. It is also easier for fans to come together and talk about their idols.

In the information age, fans have access to overwhelming data about their favorite celebrities. Every move a person makes can be documented and the information spread online. What information they do not reveal via social networking, interviews, and written articles the public can surmise by putting together online search results. The coverage of celebrities today is all encompassing. Nothing can be hidden anymore. Even the most private facts about a celebrity become accessible to the public. The amount of material about famous people these days is quite staggering.

While many celebrities attain their status with years of hard work and display of considerable talent, some celebrities are associated with the phrase, “famous for being famous.” This terminology connotes celebrity without a clear foundation of talent and skill. The term is also associated with fame attained via association with another celebrity. The term suggests the person’s fame is disproportionate to his or her work or talent. Reality star Kim Kardashian and socialite Paris Hilton typically make it to the list of celebrities that are famous for being famous.

The trappings of celebrity

In Ancient Greece, celebrated personalities were considered heroes. Songs and poems were written about their exploits. Elite athletes were given the highest honors. They received hero worship, and were offered various gifts such as foods and precious items. The Romans gave their most famous sons a similar regard. Through the centuries, human civilization has produced personalities that became the subject of manic following. Athletes, artists, performers, scientists, and public servants who demonstrated their superior abilities worshipped them for their important contributions to their respective fields.

Then and now, direct physical interactions between celebrities and followers are highly restricted. In the past, many followers only hear of the exploits of famous people they admire. Just a few decades ago, it is common for admirers to aspire for a brief glimpse of the subject of their adulation. Today, celebrities, or a celebrity are more accessible in that there are more avenues for celebrities and fans to engage in some form of interaction.

One of the most instrumental in boosting the visibility of celebrities is the advertising industry. Famous people are being marketed on an unprecedented scale. It is difficult to ignore advertisements because they are everywhere. Because of the material benefits of endorsements, many people aspire for celebrity status. The downside of this approach to selling a product gives the impression that celebrities themselves are commodities for sale.

Regional and cultural implications

Despite the connectivity afforded by the World Wide Web, there are still independent celebrity systems in different parts of the world. Bollywood actors in India enjoy levels of stardom comparable to that of Hollywood actors and actresses. However, only a few household names in India and Pakistan are known to Western moviegoers. Celebrities famous in mainland Europe are not always recognized on the same scale across the Atlantic. While some Latin American musicians and movie stars make waves in American pop culture, Latin artists are not as well known in North America. Asia has its own brand of pop-culture, best exemplified by Korean pop (K-pop) and Japanese pop (J-POP). While these sub-cultures are crossing-over successfully to America, Asian acts do not enjoy as much radio play in the continental USA as homegrown artists.

Typically, celebrities whose influence breaks through cultural and regional boundaries are political leaders and elite athletes. For example, President Barack Obama of the United States of America is familiar in both name and appearance to billions of people around the world. Entrepreneurs and pioneers such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg are also familiar names to people who are benefiting from their innovative creations. Athletes such as Muhammad Ali, Pele, Tiger Woods, and Michael Jordan are well known to fans of the sports they dominated, who are spread over different parts of the globe.

Celebrities are often stereotyped as glamorous and wealthy. Despite the privileges they enjoy, many celebrities suffer in their personal lives. The lack of privacy, the continued presence of the paparazzi, and the denigrating rumors and tabloid articles are sources of stress and family conflict.

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