and has the COVID-19 Pandemic emphasised this…
If you have been keeping up with my page, you will hopefully by now have read some articles where I discuss the influence of celebrities on news published in the media as well as news on social media…but is there a limitation to their influence? I will be exploring that idea throughout this article.
The COVID-19 pandemic was arguably a wake-up call for us all, and it shifted the style of news we were used to viewing, from seeing the lavish celebrity lifestyles day in and day out; with their showbiz calendars and luxurious holidays to the drastic change of far more hard-hitting news regarding the daily Covid rates and lockdown measures.
The media we began to consume was no longer focused on the A-listers we were so accustomed to seeing, key workers began to take the forefront, with an example of this being key workers fronting the cover for huge fashion magazines.
It began to shift the narrative, now we were seeing normal people going through extraordinary circumstances; like the NHS workers and other unsung heroes of the pandemic. Captain Sir Tom Moore is a prime example of this. He raised over £30 million for the NHS by walking up and down his garden, it quickly skyrocketed him to becoming a household name, for all of the right reasons. Unlike other celebrities in the media.
It showed that humanity was prevailing over the unrealistic celebrity world that we were often reading about, and honestly it was so refreshing to see.
Before the pandemic, our lives had become so accustomed to the latest celeb story and often we waited eagerly for it, desperate to know the ins and outs of an unattainable lifestyle. But, the pandemic changed that for me and I’m sure many others… I became far more interested in what was going on in the world outside of the celebrity realm, what countries were dealing with the pandemic well or not so well, and focusing closer to home on our own unsung heroes.
It meant that the celebrity realm came crashing down at the helm of Coronavirus, with our favourite A-Listers also being forced to stay at home in order to follow government protocols and sometimes even government law. It emphasised that they were not as extraordinary as we initially thought. The pandemic had left their showbiz schedule in tatters, exactly like our own lives.
This led to us as consumers now watching what they were doing at home, or how they were helping to raise money for charities with all the newfound free time they had. So, there were and still are many positives that their influence had and continues to have on media in regards to the pandemic, as it also encouraged many others to do the right thing and stay at home.
With boundaries practically dissolving between celebrities and real people, social media became a great tool to keep people entertained, and a chance for celebs to show they are just like the rest of us. Some examples of celebrities doing great things during the pandemic are…
The Kitchen Disco created by Sophie Ellis-Bextor is an example of celebrities using their platform for positive reasons throughout the pandemic, it was an authentic idea designed to spread light and positivity. Or British comedy star Daisy May Cooper and her hilarious Instagram posts with her whirlwind love story with a mysterious sea captain.
Our celeb stars began to show us more of their personalities, wit, and humour, which was different from the talk show interviews we often saw as it was far rawer, and what was even better is they were doing it from the comfort of their homes. Just like us.
The pandemic also caused the content-creating app TikTok to reach viral status, with often hilarious content and ridiculous challenges that everyone was taking part in — even celebs.
However, it began to emphasise how far out of touch some celebrities were compared to us as consumers…
Ellen DeGeneres distastefully joked that “self-quarantine was like being in prison”. It showed how far out of touch some celebrities were living in their huge mansions with fully equipped staff and facilities, in comparison to normal people or those not fortunate enough to even have a place to call home.
Coronavirus did nothing but exaggerate the gap between celebrity culture and the real world, how could they understand what many were going through when they didn’t have even a fraction of a glimpse into the reality of it? It obviously began to cause some disdain.
With many celebrities’ lives being magnified it led to a culture of exposure; calling celebrities out for their wrongdoings became a regular in the face of the pandemic. This resulted in many incidents of public apologies, an example of this comes from Elle Darby, a British Youtuber, and influencer who had her racist tweets unearthed being a more recent example. But also huge talk show presenters Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel conducted public apologies for racist acts like blackfacing and comments during the height of the pandemic.
The pandemic has shifted the narrative in the sense we value substance more so over just purely objective fame these days and I’m hoping that rings true for the foreseeable future. But, the re-emergence of celebrity culture is beginning to take shape and if the attention from the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard case is anything to go by I would say that interest in celebrity culture is still very much present. Now that normal life is starting to resume and the grim pandemic days are starting to become a distant memory will it resort back to normal or has the narrative shifted? I for one hope it has.