The days of picture-perfect elegance and mythical charisma are long gone. A star’s genuineness is now an art form.
With his frank memoir “Spare,” which sold more than 3.2 million copies in its first week, Prince Harry enthralled readers. Selena Gomez, an actress, and singer opened up about her battle with mental illness in the Apple TV+ documentary “My Mind and Me,” which received positive reviews and a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The unrepentant song of self-loathing “Anti-Hero,” which served as the campaign’s lead single for Taylor Swift’s most recent album “Midnights,” peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for eight consecutive weeks.
Swift characterized “Anti-Hero” as “a real guided tour of all of the things I tend to despise about myself” on Instagram in October. “If we want to be this person, we have to accept all of those facets of the qualities we like and despise in ourselves. It seems to be quite sincere.”
Celebrity candor has reached new heights, despite stars in the past letting followers under the velvet rope with intimate works. According to Sonya Dal Cin, professor of communication and media at the University of Michigan, this openness has been aided in part by increasingly transparent media.
“Our contemporary media ecosystem seems to have provided greater room for specific types of issues to be reported without the concerns of blowback that existed in earlier times,” says Dal Cin. “Fifty years ago, celebrities might not have revealed certain details about themselves because they or their team were worried that it would negatively impact them in terms of their business, and that seems to be less of a concern now,” said one expert.
Social media endorsements and open confessions encourage A-list reliability
In an emotive Instagram post from May, singer and actress Dove Cameron shared a number of teary pictures and discussed her battles with depression and dysphoria.
“We all have the right to unlearn self-criticism and self-abuse. I am currently traveling there “Cameron composed. “I’m sharing so that we can all feel more at ease in a discourse that could be complicated and we can traverse something that feels tough to put into words together,” the speaker says.
According to Minji Kim, an assistant professor of communication at Flagler College, there has been a general shift in social media usage toward self-affirmation and paying closer attention to “how we perceive our selves,” which has allowed for a higher level of authenticity that is also evident among celebrities.
People are expressing more of who they are, according to Kim, because they are using various social media platforms and are no longer conforming to social expectations but rather focusing more on their own opinions and ideals.
In addition, Gen Zers are more “self-focused” in how they share their self-expression with others, motivating their Millennial counterparts to “follow up on the trend of presenting oneself truthfully,” according to Kim.
In addition, Dal Cin asserts that when it comes to celebrity discoveries, the relatability of these self-expressions can communicate to others.
“There are many (celebrities) who have been quite honest about issues or difficulties they’ve had, and the communication approach frequently feels more intimate, as if one is getting the impression of pulling back the curtain, according to Dal Cin. “There is something that the public finds appealing because it gives them the impression that they are getting a glimpse into celebrities’ private lives.”
Awareness of mental illness encourages authenticity and makes room for “tough conversations”
Gomez expressed her hope that the documentary “My Mind and Me” will initiate “a chain reaction of individuals” talking about their mental health during the film’s world premiere.
There were certainly some frightening moments, but Gomez refused to pretend otherwise. “Therefore, for people to have the difficult dialogues, I kind of used myself as a sacrifice.”
During the coronavirus pandemic, many mental health debates and services have “transferred to online or virtual encounters,” according to clinical psychologist Paula Durlofsky, author of “Logged In and Stressed Out,” and this influence may be observed in the current influx of authentic content.
Individuals are speaking in very open and honest ways about their family problems and dynamics, mental health, and feelings of anxiety and sadness, according to Durlofsky. It’s beneficial when a famous person opens up about their mental health and advances the conversation so that other people don’t feel as isolated.
Public disclosures regarding mental health, according to Dal Cin, can encourage people “to seek knowledge” about specific medical conditions and “occasionally to even seek help or therapy.”
The reality is that some things in our culture are stigmatized, and sometimes that stigma works against people’s well-being and problem-solving efforts, according to Dal Cin. Celebrities revealing their own experiences might occasionally be helpful because by talking about (problems), we normalize the such conversation.
In the media and daily life, authenticity’s future is dubious
Kim adds that since authenticity isn’t always well understood by the general people, the future of increasing authenticity is uncertain. Consider the “Made You Look” dance challenge on TikTok, a song by Meghan Trainor with a focus on the natural world.
As Kim points out, the trend has shifted. “(The challenge) started with people with natural looks, with no fancy setting, clothes, or makeup, just highlighting the main concept that we are all beautiful as we are,” she adds. Only those who could afford it and already owned Versace, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci clothing were able to film the dance video, and they flaunted their good looks.
According to Dal Cin, another barrier to authenticity is the dearth of “unfiltered” content in the media, particularly when the integrity of media products is subjected to stringent scrutiny before publication.
The celebrity’s genuine honest sharing and the image of intimacy are at odds, according to Dal Cin.
For this “movement of authenticity” to be truly effective, particularly in terms of any positive effects on mental health, Durlofsky contends that it must go beyond its media and internet manifestations.
“Authenticity needs to be expanded into one’s real life — practiced and grown with our real-world interactions,” adds Durlofsky.