Hailey Bieber is perfectly comfortable with the “nepo baby” speech.
The 26-year-old model and entrepreneur said she set the internet on fire in January when she was photographed wearing a cropped white t-shirt with the words “nepo baby” written across the front in black lettering.
In an interview with Bloomberg The circuitBieber explained why she decided to look into the phrase.
“My point of wearing the T-shirt wasn’t to make fun of it or say, ‘Yeah, I’m a nepo baby haha’, kind of thing,” said Bieber, who is the daughter by actor Stephen Baldwin. “It was more like, ‘That’s what everyone says and I want you to know that’s my way of responding to it.’ ”
Bieber went on to explain that she thought it would be funny to wear the shirt and accept criticism about the benefits of her famous lineage.
“I’m just going to call myself a baby nepo, because I am one, and I accept that I am,” she added. “My point of wearing the T-shirt wasn’t to make fun of him or say, ‘Yeah, I’m a nepo baby haha’, kind of thing. It was more like, ‘C is what everyone says and I want you to know this is my way of responding to it.”
Bieber went on to say that this is just another example of how she can never please everyone on the internet because “nothing is ever enough.”
“You’re going to sit there and call me baby nepo all day, but then I admit it and I’m not baby nepo enough?” There’s never a win with the internet, and that’s what I’ve always realized time and time again,” she continued.
What is a nepo baby?
The term “nepotism baby” or “nepo baby” originated on social media to refer to people who have enjoyed the privilege of having powerful family ties, such as rising stars like Maude Apatow and Lily Rose Depp. However, the term can also apply to some basic entertainment, like Jamie Lee Curtis.
In 2022, New York magazine declared it “The Year of Baby Nepo”, stating “We love them, hate them, disrespect them, and obsess over them.”
What have celebrities said about “nepo babies?”
While some stars, like Bieber, have chosen to lean into the term, others have said they find it reductive. Curtis, who has had a long career in Hollywood, made it clear that she was not a fan of the phrase. The daughter of psychology starring Janet Leigh and Some like it hot Legend Tony Curtis took to Instagram to declare his distaste for the term, saying “the current conversation about nepo babies is just designed to try to belittle, denigrate and hurt”.
“I’ve been a professional actress since I was 19, which makes me an OG Nepo Baby,” Curtis wrote. “I never understood, nor will I understand, what qualities made me hire that day, but from my first two lines on Quincy as a contract player at Universal Studios until this last spectacular creative year some 44 years later, not a day in my professional life goes by that I am not reminded that I am the daughter of movie stars.”
Still, she acknowledged how much being the child of celebrities helped pave the way for her success, while saying she was a talented person.
“For the record, I have sailed 44 years with the advantages that my associated and thoughtful fame has brought me, I do not pretend that there are none, who try to tell me that I have no value It’s curious how we immediately make assumptions and sarcastic remarks that someone related to someone else who is famous in their field for their art, somehow wouldn’t have so no talent.”
Curtis isn’t the only big name talking about the now-viral term. Singer Lily Allen took Twitter to criticize him, saying the analysis is misguided since “the nepo babies you should all be worried about are those who work for law firms, those who work for banks, and those who work in politics, if we’re talking about the world real consequences and denying people opportunities. BUT that’s none of my business.”
Euphoria star Apatow, whose parents are actress Leslie Mann and producer and director Judd Apatow, said Net to wear of the speech, “I’m trying not to let myself down because I obviously understand that I’m in such a lucky position. A lot of people [in a similar position] have proven themselves over the years, so I have to keep going and do a good job. It’s so early in my career, I don’t have much to show yet, but hopefully one day I’ll be really proud of what I’ve done on my own.”
Other stars have said they simply view the cycle of celebrity offspring success as the nature of a cottage industry.
“Look, it’s a family business,” Tom Hanks said in January in an interview with The sun. “It’s what we’ve been doing forever. It’s what all of our kids grew up in,” he explained, noting that a fancy last name doesn’t guarantee a path to stardom. “It doesn’t matter what our surnames are. We have to do the work to make it a true and authentic experience for the audience. And that’s a much bigger job than figuring out if someone is going to try to hurt us or not. “