“Everybody in LA is a cousin or a daughter of someone!”
Plenty of people grow up wanting to follow in their parents’ footsteps. Certain career paths pass strong connections down from generation to generation — most notably, the entertainment industry.
A lot of these so-called “nepotism babies” don’t like to acknowledge the privilege their “celebrity’s kid” status offers — or they insist that having a famous last name made establishing a career harder for them.
Others, however, are more open about the special advantages that come with having family members who can help you get your foot in the door.
Here are 11 nepotism babies who said it’s harder for them to make it in Hollywood:
On Hailey Bieber’s YouTube show, Who’s In My Bathroom?, she said, “As the child of someone, you get access other people don’t have, so the playing field is not level in that way. However, I really do feel that once your foot is in the door, which you unfairly got in, then you almost have to work twice as hard and be twice as good.”
She continued, “People are ready to pull you down and say, ‘You don’t belong there’ or ‘You are only there because of your dad or your mom.'”
Hailey Bieber is the daughter of actor/director/producer Stephen Baldwin and the niece of actors Alec, Daniel, and William Baldwin.
However, she followed more closely in the footsteps of her model cousin Ireland Baldwin and her model sister Alaia Baldwin.
In her interview with Gwyneth, Hailey said she “need[ed] to hear” the actor’s advice for fellow nepotism babies: “It shouldn’t limit you because what I definitely believe is that nobody in the world, especially anybody that doesn’t know you, should have a negative impact on your path or the decision that you make.”
In 2016 — before she married Justin Bieber and changed her name — she told Grazia, “I want to do everything on my own without my name being a factor. … I try to keep myself separate from it.”
She continued, “Kids that already have a famous background are just following in their families’ footsteps. My dad and all of his brothers have done this. This is my family business.”
Hailey’s cousin, Ireland Baldwin, is the daughter of actors Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin.
She told Red Table Talk, “I don’t think I ever would’ve been scouted as a model if it weren’t for who my parents are. … You have a lot more to prove because you’re always going to have that comparison to your parents.”
She continued, “Nothing makes me want to peel my fingernails off more than doing a Basinger Baldwin spread in a magazine and then facing the criticism and the comparisons.”
When the upcoming short film The Rightway was criticized for filling the lead actor, director, and writer slots with the children of very famous people, film producer Franklin Leonard tweeted, “Hollywood’s a meritocracy, right?” to point out the obvious nepotism — but Ben didn’t agree.
After a bit of back in forth in which the producer reminded him of the importance of acknowledging such privilege, Ben tweeted, “Just speaking from experience, and I don’t know any of them, I would bet they all have faced challenges. Different than those with no access to the industry. Show biz as we all know is pretty rough, and ultimately is a meritocracy.”
Natasha’s first role was a small part in Make It or Break It, on which her mom played Summer Van Horne. For her first main role, she played the daughter and niece of Candace’s twin characters in Switched for Christmas.
Natasha told Today, “A lot of people will kind of assume that if I get any job or work at all that it’s from her. … Or it’s given to me or it’s handed to me, and it’s honestly quite literally the opposite.”
She continued, “I work hard for everything that I do, and I’m out here like everyone else just grinding and trying to follow my dreams and make them come true. … So I think that’s one misconception that’s a little bit frustrating to see.”
Kendall Jenner is the daughter of reality star Kris Jenner and Olympic gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner.
Of course, the model is more well-known for her connections to her reality star sisters — Kim, Khloé, and Kourtney Kardashian and Kylie Jenner.
On the Keeping Up with the Kardashians reunion, she said, “I went to every single casting and ran all over not only New York City but all over Europe trying to get a job and make my way.”
She continued, “Of course I had a platform, and I never took that for granted. I always knew that that was there, but that almost made my job a little bit harder. Only because people probably didn’t want to hire me because I was on a reality TV show.”
She addressed similar criticisms through a short film she created in 2014. In Burn Book, she read out hate comments such as “she couldn’t do this without her family” and “Kendall Jenner will never be a real model” while writing them in her Mean Girls–style burn book.
Lily Collins is the daughter of musician Phil Collins.
One of her earliest roles was the voice of a baby ape in Tarzan, which her father composed the soundtrack for.
She told Marie Claire UK, “When I first met with agents, I was asked, ‘Well, what makes you so special? Everybody in LA is a cousin or a daughter of someone.’ … At the beginning, that was the most interesting thing about me.”
She continued, “Now I’ve done eight films, it’s an afterthought. I get kids who say, ‘Oh, I love your movie, but my mum loves your dad.’ It’s really nice to be able to share that with him, but it doesn’t define who I am career-wise.”
Lily-Rose Depp is the daughter of actor Johnny Depp and singer/model/actor Vanessa Paradis.
She made her film debut in Tusk, which her dad starred in. Both Depps starred in the spinoff Yoga Hosers. The model, who’s now a Chanel brand ambassador, met the late Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld through her mom.
She told Australian Vogue, “It is obviously a really easy assumption to make to think that I would just have roles landing on my doorstep because of my name, but that’s an idea I’ve always kind of rejected.”
She continued, “I’ve always been under the impression that I have to work twice as hard to prove to people that I’m not just here because it’s easy for me. I feel like you’re not what your name is. If you’re not right for something, they’re not just going to hire you because your name looks good on the post.”
Emma Roberts is the niece of actor Julia Roberts.
She told PopEater, “A lot of people think that, and they talk about nepotism, which I think is so ridiculous considering it’s obviously not true; because I’ve auditioned for so many things and never gotten the part.”
She added, “Also it’s like, you know, maybe someone can get you one part, but they can’t really get you 10 parts.”
Lourdes appeared on the cover of Vogue’s iconic September issue as one of “The Models Who Make the Moment.”
She told Vogue, “People think I’m this talentless rich kid who’s had everything given to her, but I’m not.” She also said that she paid for her own college tuition and lives independently.
However, the cover garnered backlash for featuring her alongside other modeling industry nepotism babies, including Bella Hadid (daughter of model Yolanda Hadid) and Kaia Gerber (daughter of model Cindy Crawford).
In lieu of addressing the criticism, she reportedly disabled the comments on her Instagram posts about the cover.
And finally, Maude Apatow is the daughter of director Judd Apatow and actor Leslie Mann.
Alongside her sister Iris and their mom, she’s appeared in several of her dad’s movies, including Knocked Up, Funny People, and This Is 40. In 2020, she had a larger role in The King of Staten Island, which her dad directed and cowrote.
She’s also well-known for her supporting role in Euphoria. She told Variety that, after the first episode aired, “There were like 8,000 tweets saying, ‘Why the f— is Maude Apatow first in the credits?!'” Her response to the criticism was, “Well, because it’s alphabetical and my last name starts with ‘A.'”
She continued, “I definitely get why people would be mad at me, but I will literally spend the rest of my life trying to prove myself and work twice as hard.”
And now, here are five who acknowledged their privilege:
Elizabeth Olsen is the younger sister of actors-turned-fashion designers Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.
She made her first onscreen appearance with a bit part in How the West Was Fun, which her older sisters starred in. However, she didn’t act in another movie until 2011’s Martha Marcy May Marlene.
She became interested in acting again when she was 10, but she “realized very quickly it wasn’t for [her].”
She told Glamour UK, “During that time, I thought ‘I don’t want to be associated with [Mary-Kate and Ashley],’ for some reason. … I guess I understood what nepotism was, like inherently, as a 10-year-old. … There is some sort of association of not earning something that I think bothered me at a very young age.”
That awareness continued into her adult life. She told Grazia UK, “Nepotism is a thing and I’m very aware of it. … And of course, I’ve always wanted to do it alone.”
In 2020, she had a guest role on The Good Lord Bird, the miniseries her dad starred in and executive produced.
She told People, “I’m very grateful for the fact that [my parents] made it so easy for me to do the thing that I love.”
She continued, “I think I’ll get a couple chances on their name and then if I suck, I’ll get kicked out of the kingdom. … And that’s what should happen. So I’m just going to try not to suck.”
Clairo is the child of marketer Geoff Cottrill, who cofounded the recording studio Rubber Tracks during his tenure as Converse’s chief marketing officer.
She faced backlash when fans discovered that her father was friends with Jon Cohen, who founded the label she’s signed to.
She told Rolling Stone, “I signed with Fader because I’ve known Jon Cohen my whole life. There was a sense of accountability and protection. I definitely am not blind to the fact that things have been easier for me than other people’s experiences.”
She continued, “It would be stupid of me to not acknowledge the privilege I had from the start to be able to sign somewhere where there’s trust, to be able to sign a record deal that doesn’t revolve around keeping myself afloat financially.”
Destry Spielberg is the daughter of director Steven Spielberg and actor/painter Kate Capshaw.
She continued, “I make it my mission to bring new talent into the industry [and] give opportunities to artists of all backgrounds. No one should be left out because of the connections they don’t have.”
And finally, Gigi Hadid is the daughter of model/reality star Yolanda Hadid and real-estate developer Mohamed Hadid.
She got her first modeling gig at 2 years old when Paul Marciano, the cofounder of Guess and a family friend, cast her in Baby Guess ads.
She told Australian Vogue, “I know I come from privilege, so when I started there was this big guilt of privilege, obviously. … I’ve always had this big work ethic, because my parents came from nothing and I worked hard to honor them.”
She continued, “There are so many girls who come [from] all over the world and work their arses off and send money home to their families like my mother did, and I wanted to stand next to them backstage and for them to look at me and respect me and to know that it’s never about me trying to overshadow or take their place.”