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Culture > Entertainment

What’s A Nepo Baby?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

While some people still believe that hard work is all you need to be successful, your connections and even your family name often play a crucial role. Hollywood, as of late, is dealing with a recent phenomenon called “nepo babies,” which proves this exact point. The term nepo baby refers to those in the film and music industries or who are generally famous that are the offspring of other famous people. Nepotism is a part of every business, so doesn’t it make sense it takes place in show business as well? Nepo babies are a very polarizing topic, where you either love or hate them, and the nepo babies themselves are split over the debate as well.

Who are nepo babies?

Nepotism is very large part of Hollywood, though recently discovered by many, and has taken place since day one. Actors or musicians you love are often children of other actors and musicians. So here’s a list of a couple of nepo babies you may or may not know:

  1. Drew Barrymore: Comes from a dynasty of actors.

2. Maude Apatow: Parents are director Judd Apatow and actress Leslie Mann.

3. Dakota Johnson: Her mother is Melanie Griffith and her grandmother is Tippi Hedren. Her stepfather was Antonio Banderas.

4. Gwyneth Paltrow: Her parents are director Bryce Paltrow and actress Blythe Danner.

5. Kaia Gerber: Her mother is supermodel Cindy Crawford.

6. Zoë Kravtiz: Her mother is actress Lisa Bonet and her father is singer Lenny Kravtiz.

7. Brooklyn Beckham: His parents are David and Victoria Beckham.

8. Lily-Rose Depp: Her father is actor Johnny Depp and her mother is model Vanessa Paradis.

9. Maya Hawke: Her parents are actors Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke.

10. Kate Hudson: Her Mother is Goldie Hawn and her stepfather is Kurt Russell.

The Debate

There are a lot of different sides when it comes to the debate surrounding nepo babies. First, some people are upset that these nepo babies are in the positions they’re in. The fact that they get once-in-a-lifetime opportunities due to who their parents are is unfair.

Other people want them to own up to the fact that they got where they are in life because of their family name, and that’s fine. Nepo babies tend to paint elaborate pictures that they’re very hard-working people, and their parents have nothing to do with their success. Meanwhile, they’re not talented enough to have the jobs or roles they do.

Then there are the people who are okay with the idea of nepo babies, but not mediocracy. They’re fine if a model or actress is the daughter or son of another celebrity but get upset when they’re not good at their job. Model Bella Hadid is a good example of this since she became a model through her family’s connection but is considered a pretty decent model. She’s often called people’s favorite nepo baby.

Nepo baby vs. nepo baby

The nepo babies themselves often have different opinions on their existence. Some tend to think being labeled a nepo baby is unfair and don’t believe their parents had anything to do with how they landed roles or gained success. Others admit that their parentage had something to do with it and that they have privileges over others.

Maya Hawke, best known for her role in the hit T.V. show Stranger Things, is one of the nepo babies who acknowledges she benefits from nepotism. Maya admits that if her parents weren’t Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, she doesn’t know where she would be in life. Because of them, doors opened for her that wouldn’t for others. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Maya said, “that she’s aware of the privileges that she’s been afforded.” She also works her hardest and makes sure to take these chances seriously. However, not many nepo babies think the same. 

Lily-Rose Depp, daughter of Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp, has recently found herself in hot water over some of her statements about nepo babies. Lily was recently interviewed by Elle magazine and they asked her to chime in on the nepo baby debate, seeing as she’s one herself. Lily made claims about the term nepo baby being misogynistic by saying, ” I just hear it a lot more about women, and I don’t think that it’s a coincidence.” She went further by  stating, “People are going to have preconceived ideas about you or how you got there, and I can definitely say that nothing is going to get you the part except for being right for the part.” Proclaiming that nepotism didn’t benefit her career, which offended many people on social media. Some examples are:

Lily’s remarks also lead to some (in my opinion) deserved criticism from other models like Vittoria Ceretti and Anok Yai. Check them out below:

Concluding remarks

Nepotism is something that we’re never going to get rid of and will always be a part of every industry. However, nepo babies must accept and admit that they’re privileged and that their families do play a role in their success. Also, those who are in charge should be providing more opportunities to “outsiders” or people who aren’t the kids of their friends or colleagues. 

Sagal M

U Conn '25

Sagal is a sophomore at the University of Connecticut. She's studying Political Science. She's hopes to become a lawyer focusing on civil rights law. Her favorite hobbies are watching rom-coms and reading books.