Who wants to be famous?


Photo by Zata Dizadare

Sophomore Ferron Rodriguez creates TikToks during down time in class.

   Walking through the halls, you might find students filming Tik-Toks to viral sounds and challenges, doing things such as hugging strangers or asking rather odd questions hoping for a viral-worthy reaction. On social media platforms like Instagram, there are trends such as shout-out for shout-outs, where students post each other’s accounts in hopes of sharing an audience. This fame-seeking behavior leads to the question of why people want to be famous. 

The Evolution of Fame:

   The individual’s desire to be famous is not an unprecedented phenomenon.

   In fact, many people through the centuries have gone to great lengths to achieve fame. Yet only 0.0086 percent of the world is famous, while others indulge in mere minutes of notoriety. A common example of people’s desire to be famous prior to the 21st century and the availability of the internet is young men and women outside the Twentieth Century Fox building in the 1920s following the beginning of Hollywood’s mainstream success (Columbia Magazine). Many of them hoped to become stars and directors in the luxurious and growing party scenes of young Hollywood. 

   Those who did this were aware of their one in a hundred chance of being picked from the enormous crowds but intoxicated by the lure of fame and fortune, many would spend days and years in those lines awaiting a casting director’s gaze. Similarly, some would accept binding contracts, undergo life-threatening surgery, and change their names, actions, and looks to be on the silver screen. 

   “I think it all changed when that tape of Kim Kardashian came out, since then being famous has no meaning, ‘’ Senior Lisbet Villanueva said. “Back then you had to have real talent to be famous, but now anyone can be famous like every day high schoolers are famous. Why can’t I be famous?”.

   As time passed and the entertainment industry evolved, there was the rise of stars like Paris Hilton who became  famous for being famous and having access to reporters, paparazzi, and tv producers. Creating a shift in what it means to be famous and how to achieve that fame, most significantly the era of being famous without talent. People simply had to live in LA and behave in attention-grabbing ways to get offered reality show appearances on channels like TLC. The need for talent and dedication to the craft was no longer a requirement for fame.

   Following this shift in the requirements to be famous was the rise of the internet which brings us to where we are today. The internet made fame more accessible with platforms like Instagram, Tiktok, Snapchat, Tumblr, Youtube, and MySpace that allowed people to create and share content without the location barrier or living in Los Angeles. The rise of scene queens, viners, and YouTubers introduced many people who would otherwise forget their desire to be famous as they get older and realized they either lack the talent of their own or did not have the financial stability to desert their jobs chasing fame to content at the go.  

   You could sit in your car and post a video with the possibility of it going viral, or dedicate the time that would otherwise go towards a hobby to building an audience on either of these platforms because there was no middle man(managers, publicists, and agents) to appease. An audience was potentially out there for everyone, regardless of gender, hobby, talent, or attractiveness. Essentially you too could be famous, because it is just a click away. 

Why Do People Want to be Famous?

    “I only thought about being famous once or twice but I didn’t like the idea of everyone in my life. It’s invasive, everything is out there,” Junior Vianey Barrera said. 

   Psychologically, there are a multitude of reasons why people want to be famous. A 2012 study by John Maltby found 6 major reasons why people seek fame: Intensity, Vulnerability, Celebrity Life-Style, Drive, Perceived Suitability, and Altruism. These motivations were also found to be closely related to narcissism. Perceived Suitability is the most common reason why people want to be famous. Most people have had a moment when they idolize someone famous or notable. This can create a connection between fame and acceptance in someone’s mind because if they can idolize a famous person, the chances of fame leading to them being idolized and accepted seem high as well. 

   “I think about it literally like 24/7, you become famous, ‘’ Senior Lisbet Villanueva said. Your life is set, I could do whatever I want. In today’s society, it’s so easy to become famous, You can literally go viral on TikTok for something stupid, one thing blows up and then you can buy a car, buy a house, buy anything you want”. 

   Some of our students also feel that fame has become easy and accessible with the use of social media. 

   “I’m on a quest to be famous, it’s literally so easy, just post, and keep up with your content,” Senior Treasure Amusat said.

On the other hand, a poll asking students from our school how many of them have ever wanted to be famous had 57 percent of students replying yes, some stating they felt it would be fun. Others said because they wanted to be liked, to receive money, and to make an impact. One individual said they attempted to be famous by posting a youtube video. Like most people without access to resources that would garner their fame, they chose to build their own audience on an accessible platform that is easy to navigate.

Why do more people seek fame today?

   Although it might seem like more people want to be famous, they do not. More people have access to ways to become famous, because of platforms that present the opportunity to grow an audience and make an income virtually while pursuing one’s desire to be famous. 

   There are more people following their dreams, some of them in our halls. In our school we have aspiring Tik-Tokers, Soundcloud rappers, YouTubers and influencers. Unlike in the past fame can be achieved anywhere. The economic independence and location barriers do not prevent anyone from “blowing up”(gaining a large following online) which is why there are more people following their dreams of achieving fame. 

   Realistically not all of them will become successful but the opportunity to try is now available to anyone with a phone. In other words, you too can be famous if you just turn on that camera.