While popular culture is teeming with brilliant individuals and artists, and certainly has positives aspects, it is often critiqued for its seemingly endless parade of the talent-less, unintelligent and sometimes mundane. Instead of receiving fame for their unsurpassed ability, many people in modern society seem to become famous because the public enjoys the feeling of schadenfreude, a German loan word that signifies the happiness one feels at another’s misery or misfortune. In other words, other people’s drama makes our own lives appear surprisingly happy and stable in comparison. While many people achieve celebrity due to their own talent – just think of Leonardo diCaprio, Neil deGrasse Tyson, or Adele – the ten “celebrities” on this list seem to be famous simply because, paradoxically, they’re famous. Whether those on this list have masked their lack of talent with famous parents, or have ridden the coattails of their partner’s celebrity, we think popular culture would probably be better off without these ten societal drags.
10. Jaden Smith
It’s undeniable that Jaden Smith co-starred along his father in The Pursuit of Happyness, as an adorable little boy. However, as Jaden has aged, things have certainly gone downhill. He’s received acting roles exclusively because of his famous and talented father, and has botched the vast majority of them, especially the routinely scoffed 2013 film, After Earth. His tenuous fame has made him quite an insufferable lad, which is blatantly obvious from his indecipherable, often-misspelled, pseudo-philosophical tweets. One particularly self-righteous and often-parodied tweet from @officialjaden is the infamous line, “How Can Mirrors Be Real If Our Eyes Aren’t Real”.
9. Spencer Pratt
Spencer Pratt found his fifteen minutes of fame on MTV’s reality show, The Hills – his fame essentially stems from a heaping pile of drama. After Lauren Conrad, arguably the show’s starlet and most beloved character, believed that Pratt spread rumors about her sex tape, she cut ties with Pratt and eventually his girlfriend, and Lauren’s now ex-friend, Heidi Montag. Montag is another TV personality whose fame ultimately stems from fame. Essentially, both Montag and Pratt became famous for being famous on The Hills, and somehow their fame has prevailed – they made their most recent appearance together in January 2013, on the British version of Celebrity Big Brother.
8. Jenny McCarthy
While Jenny McCarthy’s initial fame as 1994’s Playmate of the Year may have been hard-earned – after all, posing for Playboy can’t be easy – it’s her lasting fame since, that is somewhat mind-boggling. Although McCarthy has done almost nothing of value since her Playboy days, her fame has remained fairly steady. To highlight her lack of talent, McCarthy has received several Razzies, awards that, as opposed to the Academy Awards, are given to the worst films and their contributors. It doesn’t help that she’s the loudest voice opposed to life-saving and society-preserving vaccines – McCarthy alleges that vaccines cause autism, a claim which is demonstrably untrue and routinely chastised by the medical world.
7. Scott Disick
While the Kardashians may be famous largely because of Kim’s notorious sex tape (hey, at least she’s still famous for a reason…), like Spencer Pratt, Scott Disick is famous exclusively for dating someone more famous than him – he’s Kourtney Kardashian’s man and baby daddy. Disick has since been a regular on the reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians and the world has marveled at his rocky and turbulent relationship with Kourtney. Disick’s fame arose after publicly airing his relationship, and it looks like it’s here to stay.
6. Anna Nicole Smith
Anna Nicole Smith and Jenny McCarthy have a lot in common – they’re both blonde women who started out as Playboy models and, although they never went on to have illustrious careers, somehow remained in the public eye. Anna Nicole Smith acted in several films and television shows, but somehow never found respect as an actress, instead clinging onto her fame from modeling and fame for fame’s sake. Additionally, much of her fame later in life was due to her dramatic and well-publicized marriage to 89 year-old billionaire and oil baron, J. Howard Marshall. Marshall passed away only 13 months after marrying Anna Nicole Smith, and his death was followed by a rigorous court battle that lasted for a decade. Sadly, Anna Nicole Smith followed Marshall when she passed in 2007.
5. Nicole Richie
Nicole Richie and her then best friend, Paris Hilton, made quite the splash with their reality show The Simple Life, which aired for five seasons. The pair may be the first celebrity duo to have ever earned the title “famous for being famous:” it’s not really certain why they were chosen for the show, other than the fact that they’re pretty, rich and blonde, qualities which will often take you farther than expected in Hollywood. Since her initial fame, Richie has stayed in the limelight by doing charity work, “writing” a semi-autobiographical novel, and working in the fashion world. Oh and let’s not forget, Nicole Richie might also be famous for being the daughter of legendary musician and record producer, Lionel Richie.
4. La Toya Jackson
For a long time, La Toya Jackson was perhaps the least well-known Jackson. She was extremely shy as a child; however, with the death of worldwide pop star Michael, and the waning career of Janet, La Toya has become a rising reality TV star and is currently the Jackson who is most active in Hollywood. La Toya actually has a whopping nine studio albums, has her own reality show titled Life with La Toya, which runs on Oprah’s network, and has starred in other reality shows like Celebrity Apprentice. Despite her numerous achievements, La Toya has definitely coasted in on the coattails of her more famous siblings – although, to be fair, it’s pretty hard to measure up to Michael Jackson.
3. Jack Osbourne
Jack Osbourne’s main claim to fame is via his famous father, Ozzy Osbourne, the lead vocalist for Black Sabbath. Ozzy’s fame as frontman was so astronomical that he landed a reality show on MTV called The Osbournes, which ran from 2002-2005 and featured the antics of the Osbourne family. Jack made his first media debut here as a rebellious, foul-mouthed, unbearable teenager, and subsequently made several cameos and played small roles in shows like The X Factor and That 70’s Show. However, despite his talented father and numerous cameo appearances, Osbourne’s career never quite got off the ground. Instead of trailblazing with his own talent, Jack Osbourne remains famous for being famous.
2. Perez Hilton
Ironically, Perez Hilton initially became a celebrity himself after his scathing celebrity gossip blog. Outing gay celebrities, giving extremely biased celebrity “news,” and utterly shredding the personal lives of countless celebrities, is what seemingly enabled Perez to achieve notoriety. Nowadays, Perez Hilton seems to have embraced the saying “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.” Hilton remains famous for both his rude and obnoxious criticism and his willingness to completely switch sides on an issue, exclusively for the media attention. Hilton even put out a song in 2008, titled “The Clap.” In short, Hilton has achieved his fame almost exclusively through being a horrid human being and his own paradoxical fame – but plenty of people continue to applaud his rudeness.
1. Kris Jenner
Although it pains us to bring up the Kardashian family yet again, it simply must be done, since they’re the epitome of fame, for fame’s sake. Although Kim Kardashian is the most famous member of the family, Kris’ fame has also skyrocketed, almost exclusively due to her high-profile marriages to lawyer, Robert Kardashian and subsequently, Olympian Bruce Jenner. She now maintains her place in the spotlight, via her production company and managing Kim’s “career.” Kris has also published a memoir, further regaling the public with unnecessary details about her life. Although Kris hasn’t really accomplished anything of value except her notorious marriage choices and managing her daughters’ lives, she’s constantly hogging the limelight.