The Serious Faux Pas: Celebrities

This week, we’re delving into a cultural shift we’re calling The Serious Faux Pas: the tendency of Millennials to reject those who aren’t able, or willing, to make their flaws a part of their public persona; the modern misstep of celebrities, athletes, and brands who take themselves too seriously; and how idolizing perfect icons has become a thing of the past.

Because Millennials have grown up in the age of tabloid culture and the 24-hour news cycle, they are a generation with a heightened awareness of flaws, moments of weakness, and the fact that any public figure potentially has a scandal looming around the corner. They have begun rejecting any attempted “public displays of perfection” as inauthentic. Those individuals who take themselves too seriously, carefully guarding their “realness” behind a mask of flawlessness, may be doomed to be mocked and un-liked, while Millennials embrace self-effacing and imperfect personalities.

Perhaps the clearest example of the rejection of serious can be seen in current celebrity culture, where actresses, actors and musicians are no longer idolized for being faultless, but instead looked down on if they appear too calculated or unable to exude a “down-to-earth” personality. In this category, taking yourself too seriously comes in the form of not allowing the world to see you off-balance and spontaneously imperfect.

This year, a takedown of too-earnest actress Anne Hathaway has played out online in contrast to the complete adoration of self-effacing Jennifer Lawrence. In February, NYMag published an article entitled “Why Do Women Hate Anne Hathaway (But Love Jennifer Lawrence),” citing Lawrence’s frequent mentions of taking shots, eating junk food, and wearing Spanx on the red carpet as part of her appeal. Hathaway on the other hand, was said…

 
 

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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I consider luxury items as something that is nice to have, but that I can also live without.”—Female, 23, FL

How has the recession made Millennials reject capitalism? According to a Harvard University survey, 51% of 18-29-year-olds say they do not support capitalism, but it may be that young voters are essentially frustrated by the “flaws of free markets.” When asked about socialism, only 33% said they were in support of the alternative system, making the analysis of the data complex. It is also unclear how the Millennials surveyed define capitalism, since the meaning has shifted throughout the years. According to one pollster, the term once meant freedom from totalitarian regimes, but is now blamed for the financial crisis. (Washington Post

Financial technology startups are narrowing their focus to keep Silicon Valley interested. It is no longer enough for a young company to disrupt the financial industry, they need to think niche to stand out from the competition. Financial start-up Pave targets consumers with a lack of credit history, like college students. Promise Financial provides loans specifically for weddings (which 74% of 18-33-year-olds say have become too expensive), and has partnered with over 100 wedding venues and vendors to offer loans when major purchases are being made. (Wall Street Journal

Luxury brands are looking towards the future by focusing in on Millennials. The generation has the potential to be the largest spending group in history, and by 2020 the oldest Millennials will be entering their peak earning years. To prepare, luxury brands are shifting to cater to the generation who values “über-luxe” travel over costly jewelry, shoes, and bags. Brands are turning to new influencers—from the Instagram-famous to video game characters— to form relationships with Millennials before they become the core luxury demographic. (WWD

GE has created an unexpected product to attract Millennial engineers: hot sauce. In partnership with thrillist and High River Sauces, the company has introduced the limited edition 10^32 Kelvin—named after the temperature that “scientists believe all matter ceases to exist.” The sauce combines the two hottest peppers in the world, and is made to get the attention of young applicants who may be more inclined to work for a “trendier” company. There is no doubt that hot sauce is a major trend: one market research firm predicts that by 2020 popular sauces will earn $632 million in new sales. (Fox News

An exclusive club called Magnises is “targeting Millennials and brands, wallets and insecurities.” We first told you about Magnises as a start-up targeting high earning Millennials, and since then it has branched out as a community-focused platform joining the ranks of WeLive and Soho House. Playing off Millennials’ struggle to form connections, the company wants to bring “the benefits of an online social network immediacy, convenience, interactivity—into the real world,” through member-only and sponsored events. They are expecting $5 million in revenue this year, with the  majority coming from brands. (Racked

Quote of the Day: “When shopping for a home, my must-have is an in-law suite.”—Male, 23, DE

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