Fame and for­tune

Grow­ing up in the spot­light.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIFESTYLE - By MICHELLE CHAN

WHEN­EVER he goes any­where, he is greeted with a flood of screams – “I love you, Justin! Bieber Fever!!!” Wel­come to the world of young stars. Justin Bieber, Cana­dian teenage heart­throb, cat­a­pulted to fame af­ter part­ner­ing with R&B su­per­star Usher, even can­celling ap­pear­ances be­cause fans were in­jured try­ing to see him.

Wil­low Smith was a star wait­ing to hap­pen. Ac­tor Will Smith told Peo­ple mag­a­zine he knew his daugh­ter wanted to be fa­mous, cred­it­ing her suc­cess to de­ter­mi­na­tion and ma­tu­rity.

Roc Nation re­leased Wil­low’s de­but sin­gle, Whip My Hair, on Oct 26. Since its re­lease, the of­fi­cial mu­sic video on YouTube has gar­nered more than 17 mil­lion views.

How­ever, David Swan­son, child psy­chol­o­gist, said child stars of­ten grow up with a warped view of self-worth.

“If they re­ally thought about it, they’d un­der­stand peo­ple are in­ter­ested in them for what they do, not who they are,” Swan­son said. “This cre­ates prob­lems be­cause what they learn is that they gain ap­proval, ac­cep­tance and adu­la­tion for what they do.”

Life in the spot­light is of­ten too harsh for young peo­ple who are still try­ing to fig­ure out who they are. Re­cently, Dis­ney star Demi Lo­vato left the Jonas Broth­ers tour for “med­i­cal treat­ment for emo­tional and phys­i­cal is­sues she has dealt with for some time,” ac­cord­ing to a Nov 3 En­ter­tain­ment Weekly ar­ti­cle.

Young celebri­ties to­day also have ac­cess to large amounts of money from earn­ings.

In his ex­pe­ri­ence prac­tis­ing in Los An­ge­les with young celebri­ties, Swan­son said chil­dren of­ten lack di­rect fi­nan­cial ac­cess. Par­ents set the money aside, and chil­dren get al­lowances.

Emma Wat­son, fa­mous ac­tress from the Harry Pot­ter film se­ries, told Vogue UK she re­ceived US$75 weekly de­spite her mil­lions.

“This as a great op­por­tu­nity where (chil­dren) can be se­cure for the rest of their lives,” Swan­son said.

Wat­son’s Harry Pot­ter co-star Ru­pert Grint spent his new­found wealth, val­ued at US$4mil by Forbes Mag­a­zine in 2007, on an ice cream truck, hov­er­craft and a home for his par­ents.

“There was a moment where I re­mem­ber think­ing: I have no idea what I’m go­ing to do with all this money,” Grint said.

Grint said he prefers other ben­e­fits, like the op­por­tu­nity to meet his hero Robin Wil­liams.

Swan­son ad­vised against full ac­cess, com­par­ing the sit­u­a­tion to a 16-year-old re­ceiv­ing a 1975 Volk­swa­gen and an­other re­ceiv­ing a new Range Rover.

“(The Volk­swa­gen) kid is so ap­pre­cia­tive that he has a car to drive his friends in. The Range Rover kid is less ap­pre­cia­tive,” Swan­son cau­tioned. “If life ever turns on him and money isn’t flow­ing the way it used to, there’s go­ing to be a great deal of de­pres­sion.”

For nor­malcy, Swan­son said many teenagers at­tend school in­stead of test­ing out.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen grad­u­ated from Camp­bell Hall in Hollywood, Cal­i­for­nia, where Dakota Fan­ning cur­rently at­tends school and is a cheer­leader. Swan­son said young celebri­ties at­tend classes, but pull out for projects, and make up the time later.

In Van­ity Fair’s June is­sue, Wat­son said she feared not fit­ting in at Brown Uni­ver­sity, un­able to have both ca­reer and reg­u­lar life.

She feared “peo­ple would think that (she) didn’t de­serve to have both. (She was afraid they’d think), ‘ You’re fa­mous. You’re given free hand­bags. Why should you de­serve to be nor­mal?’”

How­ever, Wat­son set­tled in and ex­pe­ri­enc-

Justin Bieber has even can­celled ap­pear­ances be­cause fans were in­jured try­ing to see him. es nor­mal stu­dent in­se­cu­ri­ties.

“I think ac­tu­ally I’m the worst per­son in the class,” Wat­son said of her drama class.

For celebri­ties, work can be an ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity, but ful­fil­ment is in school.

“Work­ing is very iso­lated. If you’re in­volved in a project, adults are telling you what to do, where you need to be, when to be there. It can get lonely,” Swan­son said.

Still, there is nor­malcy. Ac­cord­ing to Peo­ple mag­a­zine, Dakota Fan­ning was re­cently crowned home­com­ing queen at Camp­bell Hall for the sec­ond time. While not what most high school teenage girls do, home­com­ing queen is slightly more “nor­mal” than a mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar film role.

An­other is­sue stars face is mak­ing friends. With old friends, Swan­son said they have fewer prob­lems. How­ever, young stars can have dif­fi­culty dis­cern­ing if new friends are gen­uine, or merely us­ing them.

Grint also expressed wari­ness about famem­o­n­gers.

“I know I could use my fame to meet women, and I def­i­nitely no­tice a lot more at­ten­tion when I go out be­cause of it,” Grint said in a July 2009 in­ter­view with Mon­sters And Crit­ics. “But I’m still a bit care­ful. I don’t want to meet a girl who’s specif­i­cally try­ing to take ad­van­tage of that.”

Swan­son said young celebri­ties learn to be guarded, which makes it im­por­tant to have a strong fam­ily.

“(Some) par­ents are the ones who feel that their ego ben­e­fits from kids be­ing in the me­dia. They tend to be more lax with kids go­ing out,” Swan­son said. “A lot of times, Wil­low Smith is well on her way to be­com­ing fa­mous as the video of her de­but sin­gle on YouTube gar­nered more than 17 mil­lion views. these par­ents cap­i­talise on their kid’s suc­cess.”

Young ac­tors can also help lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, ac­cord­ing to Swan­son.

“There’s a fam­ily I work with where the par­ents own a cor­po­ra­tion chain and on Thanks­giv­ing and some of the other hol­i­days, they make it a point to go down to im­pov­er­ished ar­eas and serve goods and give gifts,” Swan­son de­scribed. “The fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity is a great ben­e­fit but the great­est one is you can use your celebrity to make a pos­i­tive change in the world.”

Young celebri­ties are nov­el­ties in them­selves, but the idea of them is old. Brit­ney Spears and Justin Tim­ber­lake, Ma­caulay Culken of Home Alone, Michael Jack­son, and even Wolf­gang Amadeus Mozart, who toured Europe as a child, were fa­mous at young ages too.

Each grew up to very dif­fer­ent fates, ven­tur­ing past pre­dic­tions, while oth­ers have not.

“It’s a huge emo­tional bat­tle and a huge emo­tional strug­gle,” Swan­son said. “The big­ger the fame, the big­ger the celebrity, the harder to cope with it.” – McClatchy-Tribune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices

Over­whelm­ing adu­la­tion:

Ac­tress Dakota Fan­ning cur­rently at­tends school and is

a cheer­leader.

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