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In our modern system of civilization,
celebrity (no matter of what kind) is the lever that will
South African fashion designer and stylist,
Simon Rademan, is well known for dressing multiple
celebrities - his clientele are anyone who aspires
true style and
true elegance. For this month’s free article on
www.simonrademan.co.za, we asked him the following about
celebrity: When is someone a celebrity? … and why is the
world so infatuated with “the first of anything?”
His short answer is:
The first time you wear / do
something, it is often called “in fashion” (and almost
immediately @ celebrity status?). The second time: “sooo
last year” and by the third time, it has become “vintage”.
Fashion therefore has a life of its own: it starts dying
the day it is born… almost like celebrity...?
True style, on the other hand. is forever...
For the longer version of what “celebrity” should mean, I
did the “google” thing, asked people in the know, and
visited multiple sources on the internet.
Psychologists have indicated that though many people obsess
over glamorous film, television, sport and pop stars, others
have unlikely icons such as politicians or authors. The only
common factor between them is that they are all figures in
the public eye (i.e., celebrities).
What is a
Regional or cultural celebrities
Professions that can make someone a
Royalty and other celebrity families
Celebrity as a mass media phenomenon
Google.co.za, Wikipedia.com, AOL.com, Aardvark.co.za
What is a celebrity?
South Africa, no more than anywhere else in the world, an
individual is often called a celebrity once he/she has been
published in a magazine, newspaper and/or on television, but
this not so. I have been quoted in the past: it is a person
that is wellknown for his/her well-knownness. This opinion
is shared by Daniel Boorstin, a cultural theorist from his book,
The image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America. He
cynically describes a celebrity as “a person who is known for
his well-knownness . . . a human pseudo-event.
famous definition of a celebrity: A celebrity is a
widely-recognized or famous person who commands a high degree of
public and media attention. The word stems from the Latin verb "celebrere"
but they may not become a celebrity unless public and mass media
interest is piqued.
entertainment personalities such as
actors or music stars are also likely to become celebrities even
if the person deliberately avoids media attention.
example Virgin Director Richard Branson was famous as a CEO, but
he did not become a global celebrity until he attempted to
circumnavigate the globe in a hot air balloon. Another example
is Al Gore, whose environmental crusade has elevated him to
A small number of celebrities can be considered 'global', in
that their fame has spread across the world, even across
linguistic and cultural boundaries. These celebrities are often
prominent political figures, actors, globally successful
artists, musicians and sports stars.
The rise of international celebrities in acting and popular
music is due in large part to the massive scope and scale of the
media industries, enabling celebrities to be viewed more often
and in more places. The reach of entertainment products is
further extended by large-scale illegal copying of movies and
music, which makes inexpensive pirated versions of DVDs and CDs
available throughout even less economically developed countries.
Regional or cultural
Each culture and region has its own independent celebrity
system, with a hierarchy of popular film, television, and sports
stars. Celebrities who are very popular in one country might be
unknown abroad, except with culturally-related groups, such as
within a diaspora. In some cases, a country-level celebrity
might command some attention outside their native country, but
not to the degree that they can be considered a global
celebrity. For example, singer Lara Fabian is widely-known in
the French-speaking world, but only had a couple of Billboard
hits in the U.S., whereas singer Celine Dion is well-known in
Subnational entities or regions, or cultural communities
(linguistic, ethnic, religious) also have their own 'celebrity
systems', especially in linguistically or culturally-distinct
regions such as Quebec (a French-speaking province in Canada)
and Wales (a constituent country of the UK). Regional radio
personalities, newscasters, politicians or community leaders can
be considered as local or regional celebrities.
A local celebrity can be more of a household name than a
national celebrity and may often experience the same type of
attention from the public as a national celebrity albeit in the
confines of their particular region. For example, while
journalist Lin Sue Cooney is a well known
reporter in Arizona, while she is little known outside the
Southwestern US. In New York City, fashion designer Marisol
Deluna is well known for her design work to the
set, but perhaps would not be recognized as easily in Greenwich
Village, a nearby neighborhood in Manhattan.
In a smaller country, linguistic or cultural community, a figure
will be less likely to gain a broader celebrity. Shakira and
Daddy Yankee were known largely in the
world before becoming popular in English-speaking communities,
language songs. Similarly, Spanish actors Penélope
Cruz and Antonio Banderas, who were country-level celebrities in
their native Spain, were able to become global celebrities only
after they became Hollywood actors in English-speaking films.
English-speaking media commentators and journalists will
sometimes refer to celebrities as
B-List, C-List, D-List or Z-List.
These informal rankings indicate a placing within the hierarchy.
However, due to differing levels of celebrity in different
regions, it is difficult to place people within one bracket. A
Nicaraguan actor might be a B-list action film actor in the US,
but be an A-list star in the Czech Republic. An objective method
of placing celebrities from any country into categories from
A-List to H-List based on their number of
hits has been proposed, but while this method is quantitative,
it only works for individuals with distinctive names, e.g.,
Jason Mewes, not Kevin Smith.
Professions that can
make someone a celebrity
supermodel Gisele Bündchen is the world's richest
supermodel according The Guinness Book of World Records
and the sixteenth richest woman in entertainment world according
Forbes magazine, she is an international
professional activities, by the nature of being high-paid,
highly exposed, and difficult to get into, are likely to confer
celebrity status. For example,
with lead roles on prominently scheduled shows are likely to
become celebrities. High-ranking
reporters, daytime television show hosts, supermodels],
successful athletes and chart-topping
are also likely to become celebrities. A few
leaders such as
have even achieved fame because of their charitable work. Some
people are internet celebrities and are found in videos
have achieved celebrity status, in general they are less famous
than actors of equal professional importance to the business.
their own television show (or sections of television shows)
often become a celebrity, even when their profession would not
normally lead to celebrity status: this can include doctors,
chefs, gardeners, and conservationists on shows like Trading
Spaces and The Crocodile Hunter. However fame based
on one program may often prove short-lived after a program is
Royalty and other celebrity
individual can achieve celebrity on the basis of their
profession, accomplishments, or notoriety, without necessarily
having any family or social connections to aid them. However,
there are families where the entire family is considered to have
celebrity status. In monarchies, all members of royal families
are celebrities, especially when they are associated with a real
or perceived scandal. As well, there are artistic 'dynasties',
where several members of a family are associated with a
profession - such as in music, sports or politics.
Examples include the
and the Baldwins.
Celebrity as a mass media
You have to go
through many hoops just to talk to a major celebrity. You have
to get past three different sets of publicists: the publicist
for the event, the publicist for the movie, and then the
celebrity's personal publicist. They all have to approve you
Celebrities often have fame comparable to that of
As a result, there is a strong public curiosity about their
private affairs. Celebrities may be resented for their
accolades, and the public may have a love/hate relationship with
celebrities. Due to the high visibility of celebrities' private
lives, their successes and shortcomings are often made very
public. Celebrities are alternately portrayed as glowing
examples of perfection, when they garner awards, or as decadent
or immoral if they become associated with a scandal.
magazines and talk TV shows bestow a great deal of attention on
celebrities. To stay in the public eye and to make money, more
celebrities are participating in business ventures such as
celebrity-branded items including books, clothing lines,
perfume, and household items.
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