Celebrities have always been a staple of modern society, but lately, with the ever growing influence of social media and online opinions, it has become easier to be pulled into the world of the famous and the products they enjoy and recommend.
According to Junior Elizabeth Priano, a celebrity is defined as “someone who has made an impact on our society and someone people know by name.”
In fact, celebrity endorsements have become a must have in advertisements as more brands sponsor YouTube channels, Instagram accounts, and even TikTokers.
In order to capitalize and profit on their fame, many celebrities create companies and sell products. These brands can range anywhere from Danny DeVito’s Limoncello liqueur to Rhianna’s Fenty Beauty makeup line. Many invest, market, or support products to put their renown to work. In fact, many celebrities use this opportunity for good.
As Priano says, “I think a lot of [celebrities] try to use what they have to make the world better”.
For example, Beyoncé’s Ivy Park athletic wear line promotes body positivity, and the Honest Company by Jessica Alba provides non-toxic alternatives to baby and household products and donates products and money to those in need.
Jessica's Honest Company sells safe beauty and baby products.
When asked if celebrity brands were trustworthy, Priano responded, “I think a lot of them have good products, like Kylie Jenner’s skin care. It actually works and she made it to cure acne like she used to have. I think a lot of them have good intentions, but some make irrational products that no one would need, ever.”
However, some believe that celebrities abuse their influence to take advantage of consumers. Many customers will buy products simply because of a celebrity endorsement, and these elite idols have picked up on the trend.
One example is Gwyneth Paltrow’s health and wellness company, goop. Her lifestyle brand, goop, began as a weekly newsletter in 2008, but has since grown into an online shopping extravaganza. She offers many products, ranging from skincare to clothing. However, many of Paltrow’s endorsements and products can seem over-priced.
Upon hearing that she was selling Psychic Vampire Repellent for $27 on her website, sophomore Hank Standaert commented, “That makes me want to repel Gwyneth Paltrow.”
Paltrow also sells Child Calming Spray, Romance Mist, and a box of bamboo toothbrushes for $96. A $735 cardigan can also be found front and center on her website.
Gwyneth Paltrow's Psychic Vampire Repellent as listed on her website.
However, Paltrow is not the only celebrity using her influence for ill. The well-known Kardashians created the Kardashian Kard, a credit card that was shut down in under a month for its extreme fees, which bordered on illegal. This credit card cost almost $100 just to own and was cancelled to avoid casting a negative shadow on the Kardashian’s public reputation.
“Most of the stuff is unnecessary products that people only want because a celebrity made it,” Priano stated, “Also, some beauty products celebrities produce are the same as other brands, just with a new package and a higher price.”
Priano commented, “If I do not need it or have something that works good now, I would not feel that I need something just because someone famous made it,” arguing that she is not impacted by celebrity influence while shopping.
Priano does not believe that there should be any severe consequences for celebrities that attempt to mislead the public saying, “No, I don’t really think so because there would be a fine line between who really wanted to make good products and who wanted to scam people. But, they should be encouraged by their managers not to scam their supporters.”
Does this mean that celebrities are undeserving of their fame and earnings?
Hank Standaert does not think so. “I really don’t think it is necessarily a bad thing to be attached to celebrities, but I think allowing them to take advantage of you is a mistake,” Standaert commented, “and I think we should be more cautious about trusting them.”
Both Standaert and Priano agree that celebrities and their influence is not an inherently bad thing.
Standaert argues that society’s attachment to celebrities is not vain: “We have made some people too important, but if someone gets you through the day, then that’s ok.”