The Curse of The Child Star

The Curse of the Child Star

As I refused to accept it up until now, I have recently come to the realisation that a lot of up and coming film and television stars are younger than me, which can make you feel incredibly unaccomplished whilst struggling through coursework.  With a new generation of young stars gracing our screens – I’m pretty sure those Stranger Things kids are going to take over the world - you can’t help but wonder if the celebrity lifestyle is as glamorous and exciting as it all seems.  Looking at the lives of the child stars who defined my childhood, namely that Disney Channel lot, it’s clear to see that being a celebrity at such a young age is not always what it looks cracked up to be.

Child stars are thrown into the public eye and often gain popularity and thousands of fans overnight, especially if starring in a hit new film or television series.  At age 14, Maddie Ziegler, who shot to fame on the always entertaining reality series Dance Moms, has 8.4 million followers on Instagram (including myself), whilst I’m lucky if I can get my family members to like my new profile picture.  Often without realising it, child stars are expected to become role models to the younger generations, all whilst going through their own struggles of teenage life.  In this social media, obsessed world, everybody can and will know your business, especially if you are a celebrity.  Imagine breaking up with your high school boyfriend and people across the world debating whose side they are on over twitter?

For the most part young celebs are forced to grow up a lot quicker than they usually would out of the spotlight.  They are constantly exposed to the public to be scrutinised and judged.  I certainly would not enjoy being photographed by stranger’s everyday whilst going through puberty. The darker side of celebrity culture – and the so-called curse of the child star - can start when these young stars are introduced to a world fuelled by drugs and alcohol.  This is evident through so many stars today whose life started in the public eye, as this chart shows.  Drew Barrymore was in rehab by age 14.  Macaulay Culkin has been arrested many a time for marijuana possession.  In between rehab visits, Lindsay Lohan has spent time behind bars for driving under the influence and cocaine possession.  Amanda Bynes has been charged for DUIs several times, which led to the loss of her driving license, and she thought her best option was to tweet President Obama for help. 

The upsetting thing is that the media loves a celebrity downfall, so whilst they are going through these struggles, the world will undoubtedly know all about it.  Many who fall into this celebrity curse can successfully turn their lives and careers back around to make the mother of all comebacks – we all stuck by Britney throughout 2007.  And of course, there are the odd few who never fall into this trap.  Fame is not always a gateway drug leading to the downfall of the young celebrity, but it can have tragic consequences.    

Image: Us Weekly (http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/anderson-cooper-mocks-aman...) ,E! (http://www.eonline.com/news/347884/who-s-the-bigger-basket-case-amanda-b...)