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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Caitlin Griffin

What is a nepo baby as Hailey Bieber becomes latest celebrity to add to the viral debate

Hailey Bieber has added to the ongoing debate about celebrity nepotism by strutting about in a white crop top that says ‘nepo baby.’ The model stepped out in LA on Friday afternoon sporting the tee and it still has the internet talking.

Hailey’s outfit received mixed reviews online, with some saying she isn’t successful enough to class herself as a nepo baby.

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So what exactly is a nepo baby?

If you’re new to the ‘nepo baby’ discourse, quite simply put it stands for a nepotism baby. This means you are the child of a famous family and whose career has benefited from your parents’ fame.

While this doesn’t necessarily mean a ‘nepo baby’ has no talent of their own, it implies that they would not have as much success in their career if not for who their parents were, and that people who do not have any famous names in their family do not receive as many opportunities as ‘nepo babies.’

Who are some examples?

Hailey Beiber - daughter of Stephen Baldwin, niece of Alec Baldwin

Hailey Bieber wears a white crop top that says 'nepo baby' (Getty/ Rachpoot/Bauer-Griffin)

Lily-Rose Depp - daughter of Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp

Brooklyn Beckham - son of David and Victoria Beckham

Brooklyn Beckham is a nepo baby (Instagram)

Maya Hawke - daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke

Lily Collins - daughter of Phil Collins

Maude Apatow - daughter of Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann

Why are people talking about nepo babies?

New York Magazine traces the origin of the term to a tweet posted by Meriem Derradji in February 2022. In relation to the TV show Euphoria, she tweeted, "Wait I just found out that the actress that plays Lexi is a nepotism baby omg her mom is Leslie Mann and her dad is a movie director lol."

Her tweet gained thousands of likes and retweets, and some nepo babies even started to respond to her.

This then had people discussing other actors and musicians who have famous families that people may not have been aware of.

What is the online discourse surrounding nepo babies?

The majority of people on the internet seem to have the same take when it comes to ‘nepo babies’ and that is wanting people to acknowledge the leg up they got in life, however, a lot of people resent them for this.

Bieber is one of numerous celebrities who have acknowledged or added to the viral debate.

British singer Lily Allen who is the daughter of actor Keith Allen and film producer Alison Owen, was quite vocal on social media in defending nepo babies.

Lily, whose brother is Game of Thrones actor Alfie Allen, wrote: “The nepo babies y’all should be worrying about are the ones working for legal firms, the ones working for banks, and the ones working in politics, If we’re talking about real world consequences and robbing people of opportunity. BUT that’s none of my business.”

British singer Lily Allen is the daughter of actor Keith Allen (Instagram/Lily Allen)

Allen also said that nepo babies “have feelings” yet acknowledged the opportunities that were created for her in life.

“Look, I seem to have riled people up with my comments about nepo babies. I am nearly 40 years of age and am more than happy, in fact I think it’s important to disclose what a privileged upbringing I’ve had and how that has created so many opportunities for me,

“I mention my age because I haven’t always been able to have that conversation, in my twenties I felt very defensive about it, I felt like I worked extremely hard and that I deserved the success that I had, that people connected to my songs and that the songs came from me, I also had quite a fraught relationship with some of my family members so it felt difficult for me to attribute my successes to them, at the time.

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“I do feel that nepo babies are being somewhat scapegoated here though, there is a wider, societal conversation to be had about wealth inequality, about lack of programs and funding, and I guess that was the point I was trying to make, maybe badly.

“I promise you I’m not rooting for an industry full of people that had childhoods that looked like mine. I just really think that we can’t get to a real solution without identifying the real problem, as fun as it is to laugh at the kids of famous people. Nepo babies have feelings.”

Stranger Things star Maya Hawke, the daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, told Rolling Stone that she's well aware of her privilege: "I feel like the only way to handle the nepotism thing — which definitely gives you massive advantages in this life — is, you will get chances for free, but the chances will not be infinite. So you have to keep working and do a good job. If you do a bad job, the chances will stop. That's my ethos."

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