Lynn Warren and Alexander Ali (Editors of LARagMag.com) gives expert video advice on: What is a celebutante?; Where does the word celebutante come from?; Why do we love to watch celebutantes? and more...
What is a celebutante?
It's about a girl or a guy, but mostly girls in this case, who just go out and are seen and are paid to be seen. Nobody quite knows what they do, but they normally come from a lot of money and they're normally associated with a celebrity. Whether it's their parent, their brother or their sister. They're just famous for no one quite knows, but they're making a lot of money doing it. They're everywhere. Yes, a celebutante is a man or a woman in Hollywood that is famous for being famous, and most of the time it's because they came from money. People celebrate wealth now as opposed to talent. It's the new phenomenon. And so if you're wealthy, and you have access to a hundred thousand dollar a year stylist and a hundred and fifty thousand dollar a year publicist who can get you to all these parties, you're famous.
Where does the word celebutante come from?
It kind of comes from celebrity and debutante. Because they are being presented to society via these great parties that are attended by all these A-list celebrities and they're are being presented to society via the red carpet and the vehicle for that exposure is their wealth and their power. All that wealth and the power comes from someone they are affiliated with, but at this point in celebrities, it does not really matter. People get caught up in the moment. Right now it is about celebutantes and being famous for being rich.
Why do we love to watch celebutantes?
We want to see celebutantes because they're beautiful, they are living a glamorous lifestyle, they are going to all of these places that we couldn't even get in. And it's free reality TV. We're obsessed with reality television and these girls are living a reality TV life. They are constantly filmed. I can see how many times Britney Spears went to Taco Bell this month. Or I can wake up in the morning and see what Lindsay was doing last night—what she was wearing and who she was with and who she flashed. It is reality television at its best and we don't have to pay for it. It's free entertainment. I don't even have to see their movies. I've seen them naked, I've seen them partially dressed, I've seen them drunk, I've seen them fighting with their girlfriends and boyfriends, I've seen them fighting with their parents. I've seen them wheeled out of their house on a gurney with helicopters flying overhead. I know these people. I've seen them go to jail, I've been there for them when they were in jail and when they came out. We've seen these girls' lives evolve. They come up and they're super famous and then they crash and burn and all of it's entertaining. I've cried with these women. I've laughed at them, with them.
Why do we love to hate celebutantes?
We hate them because they embodied everything that we hate about Hollywood. It is a love-hate, we hate that Hollywood is so shallow and so well-known, all about money and fame and so fickle. But we love all those things at the same time and secretly, everybody wants to be followed and photographed and told that you are fabulous and beautiful. But there is a big price to pay for it. Even the people who say they don't want to be famous they never want that. They want to be famous. It is part of the package. Even if they do not want to be famous when Britney's over, everybody wants to be famous in some way in their circle of friends in their group. I mean how do you explain the ‘Karaoke' revolution? I mean please, these people are desperate to be on stage and be photographed and admired, and sing in front of their friends. It is like legal drugs. What does it feels like to walk outside Lily Veis Store and Melrose and have 50 photographers run at you and take your picture? It is exhilarating, it is a rush, you are important, but then you lose sense of reality and fall off the deep bend. We also hate them because they are famous and they are richer than we are. All the reasons we love them and we hate them is because of that. “She has a better car. She does not get a pair of parking tickets. She has got wicked skin. She has 17 dogs and she has the whole closet that she can just give away.” Yes, I wish I had so many things that I can just give them away and then get free press for that.
Why are girls like Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie famous?
I would say that Paris and Nicole are famous because of the population's obsession with fame and wealth and prestige and power and these girls embody that. One hundred percent, Paris and Nicole are famous because in this day and age, right now at this moment, people want to be what they are. They want to be rich, they want to have an expendable income, and they want to live their lives. Let's not forget Paris and Nicole and this whole celebutante thing only started around 2004 when they did the "Simple Life". And kids starting becoming famous because they were rich; only started happening at the turn of the century, so this is a new thing. Rumor Wilson is a good example of it, Kelly Osbourne; all of these kids are just famous by association. Totally, because their parents were famous, its nepotism at it's best. Yes, which Hollywood has always run on - nepotism. One hundred percent, Matthew Perry, hello! Gwyneth Paltrow. Oh my God. Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal, everybody's got family in the business. And these girls are just exploiting it on a whole new level. Yes because they're not talented so they have to exploit their fame and their wealth.
How do celebutantes make a living?
Once you become a celebutante you can live off appearance fees where you make anywhere from $50,000-$200,000 for showing up to a party. Alexander Ali: Paris Hilton made $1,000,000 for sitting at a runway show. Lynn: Yes. She was literally paid to be in the audience. Because when you are Celebutante you are photographed over and over again. When you carry a shopping bag from Kitson, you are being photographed. That's the biggest publicity this Kitson company can get. Companies know that. They pay these celebrities to show up and bring publicity to your event. And they make a lot of money. Lindsey Lohan got $200,000 to show up at a night club, Pure Vegas, and she didn't even show up because she went into rehab, but she still got the $200,000. Alexander: Yep.
Do celebutantes have talent?
Celebutantes try and do other things like sing and dance and act, but the bottom line is they're famous just for being them. Paris Hilton is famous because she's a rich girl who's dumb.
Are celebutantes successful in singing and acting?
We see her as this cool girl who lives this great life style. Granted, she a mess, but she's in a community where she's around A-list actors who have legitimate talent, A list singers who have beautiful voices and she is desperate to be taken seriously among that crowd - it's never going to happen. She's getting banned left and right from events. Oscars, never to be seen. The reason it's not going to happen is because we like you because we want to be you. We don't like you because you can sing or you can dance, or you can even act, because we don't expect that from you. We just want to live your life because you're a celebutante. Yes, and we want to get paid to go to these events. We want to get paid to go to a club that we'll never get in. I want to get paid to go there instead of wait outside and text the door guy and look important.
Which celebutantes have talent?
Paris, Nicole. No, please. I mean, Nicole played the piano when she was young. We'll give her that. And now, she got a lead in Chicago. Ah, no, she didn't. That is a P.R. stunt. Ok. She, she's been offered the role...Ok....and she's turned it. She doesn't know what she's going to do. She's thinking. That's a lie. Ok. None of these girls are really talented, except for when you look at Lyndsay and Britney. Yes. You take Lyndsay and Britney before the cameras and they really were true girls at heart. Lyndsay was going to quit her whole acting career, you know, after she auditioned and auditioned at the age of twelve. And she said, "If I don't get this next commercial, I'm gone." And she got that commercial. And then, she went on to do Jell-O's and juices and then she got in with Disney. She's a really, when she was in "The Parent Trap.” That's a talent. There was real acting going on there. That's the truth. Hello. "Freaky Friday," "Mean Girls." Freak, she's playing two people. Yeah. She's really, Britney does it now. But she's really a true talent. And Britney, when you used to watch her old videos, she would pull you in. She had that jene se quois. She would just, nnh. She had that "It Factor." But now she's so disconnected, and Lyndsay the same. They're so disconnected. Yeah. They've lost that sense of reality that you have to have to be a real actress or actor because you have to be able to, to draw on that reality. And when your reality is so, blurry, and you're blinded by fame and celebrity... And drugs....you, and drugs, allegedly, you lose that sense of reality that drives an actor and an actress. But, remember when Britney used to dance and she had that music video face? Oh! She could... Oh my God....just look at you. I have watched hours and hours and hours of Britney videos... Uh-huh....because they are so engrossing. You can not pull yourself away from it. But the downfall… But now her "Piece of Me" video, you know? Oh. And all of these, all of these new videos and all of her latest performances, she's lost it. She's so disconnected... Vapid... from her audience. Yes. Disconnected. I don't know if it's the alleged, adder all... The alleged Zanax. Zanex, cocaine. Bi-polar. All of these things. We don't know what it is, but something's amiss.
How long can a celebutantes popularity last?
The popularity of these celebutantes is actually on its way out. You can actually see them trying to prove themselves. Nicole is trying to get on Broadway, Paris is trying to get more acting roles, Heidi Montag's trying to have an album. She's trying to do a duet with Britney. These girls know they're on their way out. They've got a good four to five years left, so they've got to prove to us now that have something, some talent, that will give them longevity. And you have to remember their audiences are just as fickle, and thin, and shallow as their celebrity is, so they're easily distracted. This is a tween market that's pulling in all this money. This is a tween market that's making these girls huge, and the tween market has a short attention span - as do these celebrities. In Hollywood, there's always someone younger, and thinner, and richer, and faster, and less-wrinkly (a.k.a. Miley Cyrus). She's up and coming, and she's talented. She can sing, dance, and act and brings in millions of dollars in just two weekends with a movie. But she's also a Disney star, which means she's destined for drug addiction, and nudity. Yes, hello Vanessa Hudgens. No drugs, but nudity. Yes, and then we've got Britney, drugs and nudity. What are we to do? Then we've got Christina, too much makeup, but she's a real talent and she tries to avoid the paparazzi, she tries to avoid the negative press, and represent herself as a real artist. But then she sells 500,000 less copies of US Weekly with her new baby. Nicole Ritchie comes out with her new baby and sells many, many more papers. So talent, not so important, celebrity fame and scandal, very important. How long that will last, who's to say. These celebutantes have nothing more they can do. They all have their shoes, their perfumes, their hair extensions, we've seen them all naked. They've done it all, so now they have to start to prove to us they have talent and I think that's when their fame is going to plummet. There will always be a new celebrity we can talk about.
Will we always want celebutantes?
You give it five more years, we will be over these celebutantes. We'll have some other celebrity whore that we can laugh and look at. No! No! Hollywood will regress and go back into "We want to celebrate people who have talent" ["Talent? Overrated!"] and so will the audience that watch us.
Who are the up-and-coming celebutantes?
The girls that are going to emerge as bad girls in Hollywood, I think are like the Miley Cyrus with also the pictures of her in her bathing suit that are very scandalous. "She's friends with Lindsay Lohan, trouble! Delete, delete, out of that phone. That's what her daddy did. Also you know other girls that are going to emerge are probably going to be some of our new singers that we see, like I think Rihanna is a good tabloid target; she has that new relationship with Chris Brown. She's putting herself out there. One hundred percent, she is tabloid material. But she's going for the fashion scene; she's showing up at all of the fashion shows. Fashion shows with friends. Exactly, so she's trying to do the you know, a leadist perception, you know, she's putting it out there that she's a fashion diva, but all we need is that one picture of her partying it up with Jay-Z getting drunk. And let's not forget all the sloppy sisters seconds that are coming, we got the Ali Lohan, the Jaime Lynn, sloppy sisters seconds. Yes and it's a mess, they're getting pregnant, they're being photographed jumping up on McDonalds countertops. Hello Ashlee Simpson your prize is on their way out. Calm down. And then of course we've got Ali Lohan saying she's begging for fame in the tabloid. I really want it! Yes Ali, what are we going to do with her? Ali, we're going to set you on the right track okay, it's not the Disney channel, no, because that's attracted drug addictions, it's more like the guest spots on two and a half men and then perhaps your own sitcom. Yes, do it the right way.
Why aren't we as interested in 'bad boys'?
I don't know why we are not as interested in the bad boys because, I mean, I personally feel like we could use a lot more crotch shots of Matthew McConaghey...Hello?...Jake Gyllenhall. None of the guys do these kinds of publicity stunts because they don't have to because America doesn't care when a guy does it. Yes, because in America, it's normal. We don't expect that behavior from women. No. We expect men to get rowdy, Get drunk, kick back a few beers, hit on women, be a little bit misbehaved. Have threesomes, like Hugh Grant. We let it go and it's no big deal. Whatever. Paris gets out of the car and accidentally lifts up her Versace skirt - she's all hard, she's a trollop, she's a Jezebel. What about these men who do sex tapes? They're regarded as studs, and how awesome. Colin Ferrell, we all loved that! Paris does one, Pam Anderson does one, they're whores, they're tramps, they're sluts. They're just living their lives, but they're subject to a very, very tight microscope. We are not interested if a guy does a sex tape as much as if a girl celebrity does a sex tape. However, me personally, am very interested when a male does a sex tape. That's a new frontier. I mean, look at these American Idols, they're coming out with scandals, sex tapes. Jennifer Hudson, we've got Anthony Rodriguez; is that his name? No! We've got David Hernandez being a gay stripper, from American Idol. I mean, it's terrible! And really, in the end, it boosts their celebrity. But in the end, end, it cripples their celebrity.