The Rise of the 15 Minutes of Fame

In today’s society, the word celebrity is no longer set aside for the extremely talented or loved individual. Instead, a celeb is now synonymous with a more diverse, more fragmented, and ever decreasing status of someone in the public eye.

Andy Warhol once famously quoted, ‘In the future, everyone will have their 15 minutes of fame’. This iconic phrase lead to a complete alteration as to how we view fame… and the addiction of this quarter-hour limelight is spreading. The well known phrase of ’15 minutes of fame’ has recently seemed to have boomed, and it appears that every tom, dick or harry (providing they have a rich parent or can’t spell) can become one. A sob story on a TV talent show, an embarrassing illness, or just inhabiting a certain area of Essex seems to be enough these days for a stab at stardom.

Before the rise of the ‘celebrity’ as we know it today, the word didn’t even exist! Talented stars on our screens and in our magazines were known as role models, TV and Film Stars or even legends! Yet today the term celeb seems to engulf a much lesser calibre of ‘talent’ than their predecessors. Are we now to accept that both Julia Roberts and Amy Childs are alike? Or that David Beckham has the same level of talent and skill as Joey Essex? It’s a little hard to imagine, don’t you think?

BBC news recently reported on the rise of this shallow stardom, and quoted ‘critics bemoan those who are famous for simply being famous, not because of any talent.’  This argument seems to be more and more apparent as time goes by, with wannabe pop stars, hopeful presenters and talent-less totty covering every tabloid, channel and radio show we tune into. No longer because of an exceptional skill, but because of a fan-base of easily influenced people and well paid PR department.

It seems in post-millennium Britain, talent is the least of your concerns when trying to be famous. And even the definition of this glorified ‘f-word’ is slowly mutating. Whatever happened to wanting to be known for something you’ve achieved, or a great influence you’ve had? TV programmes like ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here’ and ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ are the culprits of this decline. Pumping our screens on a daily basis with what we should now see as fame, when in reality they are no different to you and me! Sitting around a campfire in the Australian jungle every year presents enough talent to fill a matchbox. I could count on one hand the amount of truly famous people I have seen enter these reality shows… the rest padded out with busty glamour ‘models’, footballers wives and ex-sitcom stars who haven’t been seen in 15 years.

The issue is, that in today’s world, we can no longer quantify fame. There is no ranking or reason for fame and the word holds different truths to different people. If you ask a 15 year old girl who is the most famous out of Harry Styles and Elvis Presley, she’d rarely say the latter. It’s in the eye of the individual, it is totally dependent on opinion and taste – not ranked by how many twitter followers they have!

Labelling everyone that graces our screens as a ‘celebrity’ is a lazy way of defining people. The same way that everyone who becomes a household name is said to be ‘talented’ is a huge misconception. Nowadays, the one thing you need to become a fully fledged celeb is LUCK. Not talent.

Maybe Warhol was right, perhaps everyone IS entitled to their 15 minutes of fame, but for some lucky few they manage to turn that 15 minutes into a much longer and more fruitful period. Then again…. if Joey Essex can’t tell the time, it could explain why his 15 minutes is still going…..


Click to comment
To Top