Celebs Get Paid to Go to Coachella (We're Jealous Too)

Now that Coachella is upon us -- and by us I mean our Twitter and Instagram feeds, unless you have a few thousand dollars to blow this weekend -- I find myself inundated with celebrity social media posts about Coachella adventures. Every magazine and blog is posting an article titled something along the lines of "What to Wear to Coachella." To be honest, I thought about writing one of these myself this week. Instead, I thought about how many of the editors and bloggers who write these posts as arbiters of taste actually attend the festival and decided it was probably just a few. They probably do exactly what I would have done: find the latest boho headband, maxi skirt, and denim vest trends online and suggest a few outfit equations. Alternatively, they might track down photos of what celebs wore last year as predictors for this year's trends.

After a little digging, I read earlier this week that some of my favorite celebs like Lea Michele, are paid tens of thousands of dollars to attend the music festival just for wearing a brand's clothing. In Michele's case, she will earn $20,000 for attending one of the most anticipated cultural events of the year and by far the most exciting of the warm weather seasons, just for wearing Lacoste apparel and presumably Tweeting & Instagraming along the way. (Side note: where can I get just, you know, free tickets? I'd exclusively wear a brand for the next ten years for such a deal. Seriously.)

Hearing that she along with the likes of Vanessa Hudgens will receive these lump sums I awaited for the inevitable sponsored messages. Michele's first appeared just a while ago saying "So excited for this #Coachella weekend with my bff JGroff! Having blast at @Lacoste pool party now! #LiveBeautifully" with the following (and, albeit adorable) picture of Michele with Jonathan Groff: 

It looks like it could be a Lacoste ad. Michele is decked out in a preppy, striped pink-and-white tank with matching shades and a demure, similarly lipstick-ed smile. The thing is, this post is an advertisement. The fact that brands are paying for stars to where their clothing to events like Coachella -- events that are highly photographed, splayed all over every fashion and beauty blog on the web, and influence every trend for the next six months -- because they know they will Tweet and Instagram anyway draws a fuzzy line between sponsored content and "real" social media speak.

We all know that our favorite celebs' online posts are not necessarily them at their "realest." Just as you wouldn't make a photo of you doing a keg stand your LinkedIn photo, your celebs keep up their image online as well. We all get that. Nonetheless, we still expect a certain amount of behind-the-scenes truth to our idols' photos and Tweets -- otherwise, why would we follow them? For some PR-manufactured blabber?

Despite knowing that every social media account is itself a type of fictional portrayal of a real person, I still find myself annoyed by the advent of faux-personal-but-really-sponsored posts. Many celebs take endorsements, but they'll often tag "#sponsored" with them, or mention they're the spokesperson. I was a little disappointed when Michele posted this without a sponsored hash-tag or any disclaimer.

For full disclosure, I will acknowledge I am a huge Lea Michele fan (and if you know me personally, you can vouch for that I'm sure). Because of that fandom, I have basically succumbed to every product she's ever endorsed. Basically, I am an advertiser's dream: fully susceptible to my favorite celebrity's projects and promotions. I have bought L'Oreal products, I have yearned for an HP Touchpad, and I even shopped at Kohl's for Candies products, that one time, because she was in their ads. 

This, though, is exactly why I am a bit peeved at this lack of disclaimer. Those of us with pop idols place a certain amount of trust and reverence in them. If Lea Michele does something , I think it's cool because if I could make it a full-time career I would be a (horrible) Lea Michele impersonator. Therefore, when I see she's posted a sponsored message without disclaiming it, my first thought is for the rest of her fans. You know, the one's that didn't come across that illuminating news earlier, who are probably of a more socially-acceptable age to be a super-fan. Those who will blindly go where she or their other idols go.

If this is how the typical celebrity endorsement deal or sponsorship will continue from now on, what are we to make of what our favorite stars post online? Should we be skeptical of it all? Should we accept that anything and everything they say is probably untruthful? Or blindly go where the $20,000 price tag gets us?

Do you think celebrities should be obliged to tell their fans when their posts are sponsored? Should we take all of their "real" posts with a grain of salt? Tell us in the comments below!