Hollywood is all about squads. Back in the dark ages, celebs would climb the ranks to become glittering stars, and they'd stand on their pedestal alone. You'd get your Oscar and give that gracious red carpet wave. Standing there, dripping in custom-made Versace, you'd look down on the mere mortals, flash your million-dollar smile, and head for nicer places. Like waterfront Malibu restaurants. Or a Louis Vuitton store shut down just for you. The most you'd ever be seen with is your third husband. Oh, how Hollywood has changed.
#Squadgoals are literally the biggest thing anyone can talk about, but earning your status in a celeb squad is no picnic. Taylor Swift may seem like the most chilled singer on Instagram, but the rules for hanging with her are insane. Kim K isn't much better, and unless you want to sit home with your baby, you need to up your game. Selena Gomez, Cara Delevingne, Kendall Jenner, and every Hadid around have their rulebook, and it isn't just the girls. Hollywood heavyweights like Leonardo DiCaprio are also cherry picking their buds, although like you'd expect, there's a minimum requirement. It's called having millions in the bank.
Whether they're taking bathroom selfies at The Met Gala or hitting luxury Mexican getaways, Hollywood squads are dominating every zip code worth its salt. Here's the thing, though. From having your diets and workouts dictated to not being able to date, the rules for gaining access are often harder than the job that made you famous. Being "on brand" and sharing your every waking (and sleeping) moment on Instagram are only part of this list, and we didn't make this stuff up. Here are 15 Hollywood squad rules celebs must follow to even stand a chance.
15 THE SQUAD PICKS YOU
Let's be very clear. Not chosen because you've "made it" as an A-lister. This isn't some cafeteria table you can just "join." If anything, it's a table with reserved spots, and the queen of the squad chooses who sits there (and when). Take Taylor Swift. If she isn't dramatically deleting her social media for the release of her Reputation album, she's making sure she vets the reputation of anyone near her. Tay-Tay's squad forms a solid pack. Karlie Kloss, Selena Gomez, Martha Hunt, Hailee Steinfield, Lorde, and the Haim and Hadid sisters may have the privilege of taking selfies with Taylor, but they broke their backs to get there.
Taylor revealed that she "makes the first move," when it comes to friendships. "Friendship comes from admiration," she told Vogue. Okay, so you have to worship Taylor.
The selection process is also more demanding than auditioning for a major Hollywood role. Seriously. It makes the MCU casting couch look like a pumpkin patch. How good will they look for the obligatory "showmance?" Are they dating someone high-profile and therefore likely to steal the limelight? Do you think Calvin Harris was happy about Taylor's endless pics with him while she was dating Tom Hiddleston? Right now, the real world seems better. "Yo, Netflix and chill tonight?" "Sure."
14 THE SQUAD CAN ALSO DROP YOU
The squad doesn't just pick you, though. It can also kick you out. Kendall Jenner was firmly "in" with Taylor's squad, but the Victoria's Secret model seems suspiciously absent, now. Theories range from Kendall's fame just being too much for Ms. Swift – or the fact that Kendall's lotus Instagram post got more likes than Tay could ever wish for. Of course, there was also the KimYe vs. Taylor Swift feud that saw Kendall slay Taylor on Twitter. Squads or wars?
Squad ditching has made literal headlines. When The Metro reported that Taylor Swift had "ditched" Kendall, Kim K took Kanye's side and said her sister had never been a member.
The result was an exhausting carousel of Twitter and Snapchat quibbles that made these power women look like they're in preschool. Seriously? Kim K rakes in $53 million from a video game alone. What's she doing with her time? Sending out Snapchat swipes to some country-turned-pop singer who may (or may not) have ditched her sister. The tables can turn, though. In 2018, The Sun reported that Lorde had "ditched Taylor Swift's infamous squad for rival, Katy Perry." The squad reportedly also turned on former member, Demi Levato, who doesn't seem to have done anything wrong.
13 YOUR WORKOUTS ARE DICTATED
When we said being part of a celeb squad is hard work, we meant it. Hollywood workout fever is ridiculous enough as it is. $100-an-hour trainers are rocking up to Beverly Hills mansions before 5 a.m., and making sure the world knows you workout is important. Most celebs get to choose how they stay in shape. Jennifer Aniston? A total yoga nut. Gwen Stefani? All about the medicine balls. Squads? You don't get a choice. Or rather, not doing it isn't a choice. When your squad is half the Victoria's Secret Angels crew, standards are high. According to TMZ, squad queens are dictating everything from how their gang exercise to what they wear when they're photographed hitting the gym.
To be a squad member, you don't just need to workout. You need to do it the way you're told. Jogging in NYC's Central Park one week can easily be replaced with kettlebell training the next.
"Fitness and fashion are two of my great loves," model, Karlie Kloss has said. The pressure to workout has gotten negative scrutiny, though. Melanie McGrice, an accredited nutritionist, told Radar Online, "Taylor appears to be within her healthy weight range, however she is right on the lower end of the scale. I wouldn't want to see her losing any more weight."
12 SOME PEOPLE GO TOO FAR
This one is all kinds of wrong. Bullying is a terrible, often scarring experience that many people go through. You can have experienced this at school, but it's alive and well in workplaces across the world. Big surprise... the celeb squad world is no different. The word isn't one we've just randomly picked out. Girl Meets World star, Rowan Blanchard spoke out to The Daily Mail about it. "The squads we see in the media are very polarizing," she said. "Feminism and friendship are supposed to be inclusive, and most of these squads are strictly exclusive."
Taylor Swift has been accused of being a "mean girl" by Grizzly Bear band member, Ed Froste. "She's been given a free pass too long, people are finally catching on," he wrote.
Society has spent decades trying to erase bullying. We're told as kids to stand up to bullies and report them. But who do you even report to in Hollywood? What? You're gonna call up Taylor's mom and say, "Hi, really sorry to bother you, but your daughter was kind of mean to me today?" After Taylor's "Bad Blood" release, Katy Perry tweeted, "Watch out for the Regina George in sheep's clothing." Ouch.
11 SHARE EVERYTHING ON SOCIAL MEDIA
The great thing about your Instagram account? It's yours. You can choose to post, or not post. If you want to share your morning granola, you can. If you want to actually enjoy your life and take a few days off, no one's going to slam you. Celeb Instagram accounts have become this insane rollercoaster of expectations, and fans can get pretty angry when their "twice-daily update" doesn't happen. Kylie Jenner kind of wins this one. Vanishing off the face of the earth while being secretly pregnant is a giant way to get your 100+ million followers angry, although Kylie's surprise baby announcement was the most-liked post in history. When you're in the squad, Instagram controls you.
Unless you're Kylie Jenner, disappearing off Instagram isn't an option for celeb squads. In fact, you often have to travel to prove that you're "in with the squad."
Taylor's 1989 world tour didn't just come with a hair and makeup entourage. Taylor dragged her friends along, and the squad had to share in her success. Every hug, group selfie, backstage shot, and meal must be shared on Instagram. Then there's the commenting. That actually almost has a "desperate" vibe, when you see how Paris Hilton is always first to comment on Kim K's posts with a giant heart.
10 YOU MUST KEEP SECRETS
This one is the hardest one to keep and the most tempting one to break. It's also one of the few celeb squad rules that translates to real life. Got a friend you know isn't playing by the rules with her boyfriend? Accidentally found out that someone is pregnant? The temptation to share is terrible. Celebs have a hard time with privacy, anyway. It's called the paparazzi. They caught Kristen Stewart in her compromising moment that didn't exactly say "faithful girlfriend" to then-beau, Robert Pattison. They also nicely snapped Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt arguing on a hotel balcony before the couple announced their split. In Hollywood squads, you keep your mouth shut.
Keeping your mouth shut is one of the most tempting squad rules to break. Accidentally post a pic showing a pregnant bump or a BFF argument? Here's the door.
At the same time, if you want to make it in the squad, you need to be able to gauge what to share. Being supportive is hugely important. So, let's see. You need to share everything on Instagram, make sure the world sees you in bedrooms, bathrooms, hallways, and clubs, but you can't share a secret? Yeah, this sounds just awesome.
9 YOU MUST BE SUPER RICH
Where to start on this one. For those of you who think this list is just Taylor and the Kardashians, think again. Do you think Leo DiCaprio lets homeless people onto the $600 million yacht he rented to watch the soccer World Cup in Brazil? Hollywood is a funny place. Some stars started out dirt poor. Mila Kunis' family moved to the US with just $250 to their name. Brad Pitt was a fried chicken mascot, and Megan Fox has admitted she "couldn't afford to shave her legs." Looking at Hollywood squads though, we can't help but notice how the members are all insanely rich. Even if they were born into it.
Squad picking is decided by one word: dollars. Cara Delevingne, Gigi Hadid, and the Kardashian-Jenners were all born into money. Taylor's father? He's a wealthy senior vice president at Merrill Lynch bank.
This one goes beyond the money you've earned. Beyonce earned $104 million in 2017, according to Forbes. Scarlett Johansson's earnings are off the charts. Taylor's daddy? "Swift's father is a very wealthy senior bank VP, and the descendant of three generations of bank presidents," Marlow Stern told The Daily Beast. Miley Cyrus came from money. Gigi Hadid's dad is one the richest real estate developers around. You want in? Show the cash.
8 YOU CAN ONLY DATE BY APPROVAL
Who you date should be your choice. Sure, your friends might not approve, but if they respect you as an individual, they should also respect your decisions. Different story over in the Hollywood squad. While these stars keep the circle small and seem to date the same people, the rules are surprisingly strict. Joe Jonas dated Taylor Swift (who then wrote "Love Story" about them). Then he dated her squad pal, Gigi Hadid, before moving onto Sophie Turner. Taylor has spoken to Vanity Fair regarding the "code" that applies to her squad. Taylor Swift actually has a dating "code" that her squad must follow. "It's like a Scientology setup," an insider told The Daily Mail.
The "code" doesn't apply to Taylor's friends, apparently, and dating exes is "okay," unless she says otherwise. Being in a celeb squad might mean you're already married or in relationships (not working out so great for Khloe Kardashian), but if you're young, you want to be dating. Blake Lively has her Ryan Reynolds. Beyonce has her Jay-Z. But it all gets a bit blurry as they get younger. Blac Chyna, Tyga, and Kylie got themselves into a nice mess, right? Celeb squads don't just dictate what you post on Instagram. They dictate your love life.
7 YOU NEED AN ASSISTANT
Of course you do. Between getting your nails done, scheduling your Instagram posts, and deciding whether $18 million is a reasonable fee, there isn't time to live. Celeb assistants became big news in 2018, when Kim K's assistant Stephanie Shepherd leaked secrets of what it's really like to be a Kardashian assistant. The world was pretty shocked. "She is so vain that she has staff remove plants or objects if they're in the way of a mirror," Stephanie was reported as saying by People. Kim's Punta Mita Mexico trip saw the Keeping Up With The Kardashians star take 6000 selfies, according to Steph. If you want to be in the squad though, you need an assistant. Or five.
Celeb assistants are the underdog in a world of 24-hour shifts where "time off" doesn't exist. If you want to be in a squad though, you need an assistant.
Your assistant will be at your beck and call, round-the-clock. Marie Claire showcased a full gallery of just what these lowly considered workers have to do. Justin Bieber's assistant carries his skateboard. Jennifer Lawrence can't hold her own umbrella. If you're Jessica Alba's assistant, you must walk a certain distance from her, and if you're catering to Selena Gomez, you carry her burger while she eats it. Sounds great.
6 #FOODGOALS HAVE RULES
Here is Reese Witherspoon's squad to prove it. The 90s stars may be older than the Victoria's Secret models hanging with Taylor Swift, but they've got their own gang. Reese's squad has A-listers like Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston, and Drew Barrymore as members, plus the squad's own makeup artist, Gucci Westman. When you're in your 40s, there are fewer late-night club outings, and more wholesome cooking classes, but the rules are still there. If one star is vegan, then everyone else caves under the pressure, and being caught eating the seafood special can get you into trouble.
"What an amazingly delicious, educational, and ridiculously FUN time I had with @reesewitherspoon @drewbarrymore," Cameron Diaz said, in a captioned cooking class Instagram post.
The reality behind it is a lot less easy going. The squad doesn't just dictate what you eat. It dictates how and when you showcase your meals on Instagram. If avocado on toast is "in," that's what you'll be eating. If desperately attempting to "keep it real" by eating McDonald's is getting likes, you can ditch your sushi for the only acceptable food there is. A cheeseburger. Of course, if you're Selena Gomez, your assistant holds the burger between bites...
5 SISTAS BEFORE MISTAS
This one kind of extends into real life – you're probably thinking of the phrase, right now. Of course, it involves being there for your actual sisters, like Kim K just did. As every media outlet reported that sister, Khloe's baby daddy, Tristan Thompson had been caught with another woman just days before Khloe gave birth to their baby girl, Kim stepped up. She got her slot on The Ellen Show (and likely got paid big bucks for it). Taylor was probably there for Gigi when she and Zayn Malik split. When Taylor broke up with Calvin Harris, Gigi flew out to support her friend.
In celeb squads, putting the girls first isn't just common courtesy. It's a rule. As is giving your BFF's ex the cold shoulder if necessary.
Taylor has a lot of exes, which equals lots of opportunities for her squad to provide "cold shoulder" backup. When the ex in question was One Direction member, Harry Styles, Gigi was right there. Harry tried to give Gigi a hug on the red carpet, and Gigi basically ghosted him with the weirdest look ever. Think any of Selena's squad even talk to Justin Bieber? Not a chance. That's fine for support, but it can get messy.
4 YOU MUST HAVE FUN – OR LOOK LIKE IT – AT ALL TIMES
You know those "meh" days where you just want to curl up in bed with a movie and a frozen pizza? Yeah. Those days. Your friends might message for a meet-up, but they'll let you off the hook if you want to take a raincheck. Not a chance in Hollywood squads. The rules are very clear. You're fun, young, rich, and relevant. Therefore, your activities must say just those things. Celebs may earn ridiculous kinds of money, but they're still human. If they've just pulled 14-hour days at Fashion Week, they might just want to sit in their hotel room and watch terrible TV. If the last leg of a world tour is over, they might actually want to see their family.
"Taylor insists that none of the girls are allowed to forget each other's birthdays," an insider told Radar Online. Netflix and a tube of Pringles? Nope. Gotta hit the club.
The reality of keeping up with the squad rules means "fun" before everything. Even vacations have their strict activity schedules (with the photographers there). Actress, Serayah McNeill spoke to Pret-a-Reporter about Taylor. "She'll text us and be like: let's do this." Lena Dunham told Dazed, "I feel that Taylor has really taken control." Sounds lovely.
3 ONLINE FEUDS ARE TO BE EXPECTED
Remember when Blake Lively cropped Ryan Reynolds out of her Instagram posts as revenge? Or when Kim K sent out free fragrance samples to her long list of haters (Blac Chyna, Taylor Swift, Wendy Williams, Chelsea Handler, Chloe Grace Moretz)? Yeah. If you want to be part of the squad, you need to muscle up for Instagram wars. Celeb squads will use Instagram to show their feelings for absolutely everything – including whoever they disapprove of. Celeb feuds are a big deal. Kanye West and Jay-Z, Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian, Taylor Swift and Katy Perry. If you're going to be in the squad, you need to prep for war.
Some celebs will even go as far as dumping their partners on social media, like Blac Chyna. Then there's a different kind of Instagram war. The one that's sugar-coated as "friendship," but is the farthest thing from it: one-upping. It's painful to watch. Kylie Jenner takes selfies in $400,000 purse closets, according to People. Then there's how much you spoil your kids, like the $80,000 diamond-encrusted barbies Beyonce bought little Blue Ivy. In all the slaying and one-upping, to be a squad member, you need to find the perfect balance between what's basically chaos and back-stabbing. Exhausting.
2 YOU HAVE TO BE A BRAND
The squad isn't interested in you unless you have brand potential. Well, ideally, you're already an established brand. The Kardashian-Jenner squad might have "family" as their motto, but their motivation is "money, money, money." $420 million is what Forbes reported The Kylie Cosmetics line as turning in 2017 revenue. The other sisters? Kim's KKW Beauty line sold out in three minutes. Khloe's Good American fashion range is exploding, and Kendall herself is a brand. It's no different over in music. Beyonce has fragrances just like Britney Spears. Every Real Housewife has some kind of beverage or kids' line...
If you're not a brand, the squad doesn't want to know you. As Kylie Jenner gears up to be the first Kardashian billionaire, how much cash you bring to the squad is a giant factor in the selection process.
There's one more aspect to it. What kind of brand your personality says who you are. The model squad all have the "unattainable just-out-of-bed perfection" vibe. Look at me in my leggings with my messy up-do. Yeah, walking back to your $10,000 a night hotel suite. Selena is more laid-back with her taco birthday parties. The SNL ladies are all about sarcastic sophistication– apparently, that's a thing. Either way, if you're not a brand, you're out.
1 PRIVATE JETS ONLY
Commercial? Please. Leave that to commoners – like the royals. Yes, Kate Middleton, Prince William, and even the Queen fly British Airways. Celeb squads? Private jet or get out. Flying by private jet used to have a purpose that made sense. A private environment where no one bothers you, no one sees you, and you can jet off when it suits you. While having a private jet has its conveniences, it's definitely lost the privacy aspect. Have you seen these celeb social feeds? Here's me outside the jet. Here's me climbing the stairs onto it. Here's me with my squad eating buckets of fried chicken. Here's me pretending I'm sleepy/happy/sad/missing the fam.
Even the royal family fly commercial. The Queen and Kate Middleton fly British Airways. The Hollywood squad? Private jets only.
As the Kardashians "keep it real" with Popeyes chicken, the models march the streets of Manhattan with their "I eat burger" slogans, and Taylor continues her dictatorial reign over her minion squad, we're stumped. We'll stick to our own squad, thank you very much. A bestie who'll hug you in your pajamas without it ending up on Snapchat? A real night in where you can literally play World of Warcraft à la Penny with Cheetos in your hair? #RealSquads just made #CelebSquads look embarrassing.
Do your friends a favor. Hit share and show them just how unrealistic the celeb squads are. Remind them why Taylor isn't a patch on you, and here are 15 reasons why. Leave us a comment once you've shared. We want to hear your thoughts.