Nepo Babies, Explained

2 mins read
nepo babies kendall jenner ben stiller gwyneth paltrow cara delevingne

Leni Klum, the daughter of famed model (and Halloween Queen) Heidi Klum is following in her mother’s footsteps as a model.

In an interview with People Magazine last month, Klum addressed being a “nepo baby.” While she admitted to getting “a lift” into the modeling world from her famous mother, Klum insisted she was “doing the work now.”

Definition: “Nepotism baby” or its shortened version nepo baby are another word for the children of celebrities who are also pursuing careers in the spotlight.

Why is this important: The nepo baby label has fully entered the cultural consciousness in 2022. Young stars who are carving out their careers with the help of famous parents are now going to be challenged about their privilege.


  • From George Clooney to Ben Stiller and Gwyneth Paltrow, nepo babies have always been present in the entertainment industry. Hollywood is built on nepotism.
  • However the “nepo baby” term exploded in May 2022 when Twitter user @MeriemIsTired made a viral tweet explaining how Maude Apatow, star of HBO’s Euphoria was a “nepotism baby.” as she was the daughter of actress Leslie Mann and producer-director Judd Apatow.
  • Following this tweet, the internet began to wake up to the fact that half of their most beloved Hollywood stars were the children of other celebrities and we had failed to consider their privilege until now. Apatow became the poster child for the modern-day nepo baby but stars like Dakota Johsnon and Cara Delevingne were identitified as others.
  • Nepo babies became a hot topic on TikTok and the phenomenon became emblematic of wider socio-economic inequality. Gen Z wanted a reckoning with this familial favoritism in Hollywood and called for more transparency from celebrities.
  • Brooklyn Beckham and Jennifer Aniston were both criticized for their lack of self-awareness around their nepotistic advantages in recent interviews. And TikTok began separate famous children into “good” and “bad” nepo baby categories depending on factors like their honesty and philanthropy.

The Future

  • The cultural awareness around nepo babies means that Gen Z no longer blindly accepts the latest rising actor or model as simply a “breakout star.” Younger generations are more attuned to inequality and privilege than ever before.
  • With this greater recognition, nepo babies are going to be expected to acknowledge the benefit from their parents’ wealth and status publicly.
  • Nepo babies aren’t going anywhere. If anything, expect more nepo babies in the future. With a more fragmented and less collective entertainment culture, establishing a new star in Hollywood is harder than it was a few decades ago. It is more difficult to break out and Hollywood can not afford to take risks with launching new talent.
  • So nepo babies — with their familiar surnames and resemblance to a star we already know and love — are a safer bet. By association, nepo babies are already bankable and interesting to audiences. This is evident with the rising fame of Klum, Madonna’s daughter Lourdes Leon, and Kate Moss’ daughter Lila Moss as models in recent months
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