The Power of Celebrity: Talent vs. Style  

Words: Rachel Muckley

People rise to fame in all sorts of ways. Some creep up on world media without us ever realising, while others struggle though minor successes for years until they make it. Interestingly, the concept of fame is constantly broadening, so that one can call themselves a celebrity for almost any reason. However we do, and we always have, synced up the celeb status with talent. This seems like an obvious statement but maybe not under further contemplation.

Personal style and appearance is, in 2015, a huge platform for fame. You only have to scroll through Instagram (presuming you already have an account) to see just how much of the site is made up of outfit shots, hair pics, and make-up looks and the colossal amount of ‘likes’ and ‘regrams’ these type of photos receive.

Kylie Jenner is a perfect example of this idea. The youngest of the Kardashian clan (age 17), is quickly becoming the most popular family member, surpassing her older sisters who have been building their careers for over a decade as models, businesswomen, spokespeople and reality stars. But crucially, the teenage Kylie knows how to work social media, and she knows exactly what audience she is performing for. With blue hair, bikini selfies, lip fillers and perfected false eyelashes, she’s made quite a distinctive look for herself. Whether or not you approve of this doe-eyed, matte-lipped creation, remains irrelevant. The people who worship Jenner and the people who loathe her all serve the same purpose – to circulate the name and image that the World Wide Web has come to know so well.

But we can’t blame the Kylies of this world either. Throughout history, beauty and fashion have always played a significant role in societal values. The rise in technological media forms merely encourage a visualisation of everyday life. The effect then, of anything deemed beautiful, when it is put online in order for it to be seen, is greatest because visual impact is quicker and far more universally charged. People want fast responses and therefore act accordingly, making fast decisions. Usually there is no middle ground with fashion and make-up. You either like something or you don’t. And you make that choice within seconds.

But is it right that people like this have the unmeasurable amount of influence and power that they do, being paid what they are being paid, without interchanging a personal talent into a career worthy of it? When it comes down to it, it is becoming more probable that people can have worldwide recognition because they are decidedly beautiful and because they take the opportunity to exploit that online. While models and sometimes actors are hired because of a similar reason, there has to be some ounce of talent to back it up. Wearing Louboutins, fringe jacket with contoured cheeks won’t get you the audition…but it just might make you memorable.