What is a Celebrity?

A celebrity is a person who is famous, usually in areas of entertainment like films, music, writing or sport. Famous people are followed by the news media and have fans. Some people have become celebrities through competitions, such as the X Factor or Eurovision Song Contest, where they might win and then have a long-lasting career as a result. Many musicians and singers become famous as part of bands, such as Take That or ABBA, but they can also achieve fame as solo artists. People who tell the news, high-ranking politicians, television show hosts and people who go into outer space are also sometimes considered celebrities. Even religious figures and saints can be considered as such, as are people who have dedicated their lives to helping other people, such as Mother Teresa or Mahatma Gandhi.

Celebrities are idolized by the public, and it is often argued that celebrity culture cultivates extraverted personalities. This can be negative, as it prevents children from aiming for careers such as engineers, doctors or pilots, but there are also positive aspects of celebrity culture, such as the way that celebrities can help solve various global problems, like wild animal conservation or climate change.

The term celebrity was first used in English around the beginning of C15, with two early meanings: “celebrate” or “respect.” The latter was the one that survived into the modern era, although there were other uses of the word as well, including “show of respect, esteem or honour; pomp and ceremony,” especially when associated with royalty (C15).

Modern usage of the word celebrity is generally linked to stardom in film and other cultural industries. It is a powerful tool that can be exploited by the media to promote and sell new connected cultural products. Identifying the celebrities in society as part of the spectrum of public personas helps to investigate parasocial relations that are most visible in fandom and highlight how celebrities embody and connect with audiences that are subsequently used by the cultural industries.

Those who are considered celebrities are often known by their first names and are regularly featured in the media, which may include newspapers, magazines, TV shows and social media sites. They are the focus of attention and are often criticized for their perceived lack of privacy. Celebrities are also a source of controversy, as they are either celebrated or derided for their wealth and influence.

Some people become celebrities for doing good things, while others do it for the money and the status that comes with being a celebrity. For example, Paris Hilton is famous for being rich and a celebrity, while she does not necessarily do anything special in the world of entertainment. The lifestyle that celebrities lead is also a major reason why young people want to be famous. This can be harmful as it changes their priorities in life and leads them to live a less healthy lifestyle. For example, they may smoke or drink excessively in order to keep up with their celebrity counterparts.