Does privilege triumph talent?

Employers are now more cut-throat than ever when hiring - Gabija Gataveckaite discusses if privilege prioritises people with famous parents.

Growing up, middle-class children usually have a single philosophy drilled into their heads by their parents: study hard and work hard. We’re told to revise for the Leaving Cert, get a university degree and build contacts so we can get a good job. Luckily for some kids, all they have to do to land a one-way ticket to success and a prolific career, is be born.

The incredible successes of celebrity children is nowhere near a new phenomenon. 2017 saw Brooklyn Beckham release a photography book before he even started college. Matilda Ramsey has her own cooking show on the BBC and cooking book out and she’s only 16. Kendall Jenner is one of the most famous supermodels in the world at the moment and many argue that it’s all thanks to her last name.

Born lucky. Born into a family with wealth and notoriety, where opportunities knock at your door and come over for dinner, family friends since before the child is even born. When the little diddums reach a somewhat mature age, say 13 or 14, the world becomes their oyster. The best schools, the best managers, all the money a little heart can desire. What about the rest of us who have to take out loans to go university? What about those of us that shed blood, sweat and tears to get their dream job, but are pushed aside because a famous surname sent in a CV? In my opinion, it’s a form of corruption.

Some may claim that they’re extremely talented, and know everyone in the industry personally, citing their influences, and work portfolio. Although that’s true, all those things have been achieved because they were born into the right family. Don’t tell me Kylie Jenner would have built a multi-million-dollar empire off selling liquid lipsticks if her mother wasn’t Kris Jenner. Of course, not all celebrity children choose an easy career path for the sake of it – Anna Wintour’s father was a British newspaper editor and helped Anna get a kick start in her career. What she did with Vogue from then on was all of her own work and talent.

Certainly, if I had the same opportunities as celebrity kids I would utilise them also. You’d be stupid not to. However, I firmly believe that employers should not by any means prioritise children with celebrity parents over any other recruits that are just as, if not more, talented. Their CV and portfolio may be impressive, but you wonder if their surname had anything to do with it.

For the first time in my life, I quote Donald Trump’s famous speech on how he got a kick start in his career: “My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars.” Money is perhaps the root of all evil. Celebrity children don’t only have an unlimited supply of funds, but the relevant contacts, which is perhaps the more important part.

As the saying goes, ‘It’s not about what you know, it’s who you know.’ Nepotism is a very, very real concept and it’s incredibly frightening. For creatives, it’s a death wish – it prioritises potential contacts and attention over people who really love their job and have a true talent.

Brooklyn becoming a photographer, Kendall choosing to model; these aren’t coincidences, these are conveniences. Of course, they’re going to choose a career they’re guaranteed to succeed in through nepotism and corruption – wouldn’t you?

Gabija Gataveckaite

Image Credit HELLO! Canada