Famous role models have power to inspire, corrupt

Mia Glatter, Business Manager

Screaming at the top of her lungs, seventh-grader Sterling Anderson cheers on her No. 1 celebrity role model, Taylor Swift, as she watches from her front row seat while country pop singer performs om the Fearless tour in Jacksonville. The number of students who look up to celebrities for guidance is increasing with every passing media-filled day.
“I look up to Taylor Swift because most of her songs are about relationships which give good advice on love,” Anderson said. “She encourages people to believe in true love, but a lot of her songs are also about heartbreak. I think that she is telling those who have gotten their heart broken that things will change and get better.”
Celebrities such as Swift also show the audiences that even the most seemingly unfeasible goals are possible to achieve.
“Taylor Swift is very talented and I think that she has set a goal for herself to become this super star, singing in front of millions of people,” Anderson said, “and here she is still living her dream. She chased after her dreams, didn’t give up, worked hard and her dreams came true.”
Celebrities have an immense effect on pre-teens and teenagers as a result of their
extended exposure through the media. “Celebrity role models have a big impact on students’ lives because they are always visible,” guidance counselor Glenda Lovell said. “Today’s youth spends an exorbitant amount of time watching TV and videos, whereas past generations’ role models were the people they were with, like family and
neighbors.” Yet celebrity worship can have dangerous
effects on teenagers, including depression, drug addiction and low self-confidence. But the even dark sides of celebrity behaviors doesn’t always have a negative effect on teenagers.
“Billy Joel is my role model in the piano sense because he’s probably one of the best piano players of all time in my opinion, despite his alcoholism and whatnot,” junior Max Kawa said. “I feel like celebrities’ actions have an effect on teenagers because people our age are easily influenced.”
According to a study conducted at the University of Leicester, celebrities such as David Beckham and Angelina Jolie are more influential to teenagers than historical figures such as John F. Kennedy.
“Students are bombarded by the media and emulate whomever their role model may be,” Lovell said. “However, most of the times these celebrities simply are not good role models.”