It’s a phrase that has started being bartered around the internet recently, and one that Lily Allen herself weighed in on. “Nepo baby” is starting to appear more frequently on social media and on blogs to the point where, much like “woke” became one of the most misused words of 2022, it could become a pejorative sooner rather than later.
It was the New York Magazine earlier this month who penned a cover story on “The Year of the Nepo Baby,” citing the likes of Maya Hawke, Zoe Kravitz and Lily-Rose Depp as celebrities who had a “leg up” because of their parentage - implying that their success may have more to do with who they are rather than their actual accomplishments.
The concept of nepotism in any walk of life isn’t new; one can take a look at the Trump dynasty, or more recently Twitter CEO (for now) Elon Musk. But there was something inherently acerbic about New York Magazine’s take - which soon became a trending item on TikTok as more people garnered an interest in the term.
The generally agreed upon definition of a nepo baby (a catchier, abbreviated version of nepotism baby) is a person whose debut and success in an occupation or field is attributed to their parent’s influence or support. Many have pointed to Brooklyn Beckham as the “patron saint” of nepo babies, “coasting” on the Beckham name while doing nothing out of the ordinary yet still being viewed as a celebrity.
But other nepo babies are quick to point out that, much like the use of the work woke in 2022, not everyone should be tarred with the same, inaccurate brush. Lily Allen, herself a daughter to alternative comedian and actor Keith Allen and film producer Alison Owen, and perhaps celebrity nepo babies aren’t who should be vilified by the public.
“The nepo babies y’all should be worrying about are the ones working for legal firms,” Allen tweeted, “the ones working for banks, and the ones working in politics, if we’re talking about real world consequences and robbing people of opportunity. BUT that’s none of my business.”