October 19, 2021

How COVID-19 Has Made Celebrities Unrelatable

Written By: Lexi Lyneis

Celebrities have struggled to stay relevant and seem relatable to fans since mandatory lockdowns were put in place starting in March of 2020. As millions lost their jobs and schools shut down, the attention that was usually given to celebrities was put on the back burner. 

In the beginning months of quarantine, even the biggest of figures failed to effectively connect with their audiences. This became blatantly obvious as celebrities turned to social media to share how they were coping with the lockdown orders in an attempt to portray an all-in-this-together attitude. These attempts were only met with backlash. Bids for relatability were glaringly tone-deaf to audiences especially those who don’t have the same privileges as celebrities. Millions of Americans rely on hourly paid jobs and are forced to work outside of their homes and risk getting sick to stay afloat.

One of the most prominent examples of this was when talk show host Ellen Degeneres said that her quarantine was like jail while being confined to her $27 million property. While Ellen was experiencing the same lockdown orders as millions of others, it was under very different circumstances. She tried to be relatable during the beginning of the pandemic by sharing her “mutual” struggle because she was forced to stay at home. This was happening all while some staff members from her show lost their jobs while she continued to make millions.

As the pandemic progressed, the theme of celebrities being unrelatable continued as seen in October with celebrities like Kendall Jenner throwing Halloween parties with over a hundred guests, no social distancing, and no masks. Behaviors like this have become a theme for celebrities and the extremely wealthy as the pandemic seems to no longer exist to those with enough money. This has become a continued frustration to those who continue to struggle through the pandemic and will have to deal with the lasting consequences of Covid.

As writer Rachel Soloff states in an article for The Pitt News, “The false closeness that many celebrities have tried to cultivate in the age of social media has been destroyed, and we are finally starting to see how little celebrities care about anything aside from their image.” I don’t think celebrities will be held in the same regard post-pandemic. With the Covid vaccine starting to roll out and states setting dates to open back up to 100%, it seems that our lives will shortly start to become normal again. One thing that will not return to normal is the parasocial relationships between celebrities and their audiences.

As the globally shared experience of lockdowns is slowly coming to end and the world cautiously reopens, has this time period made us closer to celebrities through shared experiences or further apart than ever? 

18 thoughts on “How COVID-19 Has Made Celebrities Unrelatable

  1. Great thoughts Lexi. I really enjoyed reading this post. Relating to celebrities has always been difficult due to the difference in lifestyle, but this was really polarized when Covid-19 started. Although they can understand others on some level, it is very difficult to understand what the average person may face during the pandemic when you have that amount of money and other luxuries. Really well done!

  2. I really enjoyed this piece and I couldn’t agree more! Celebrities are fine and they always will be. It is so out of touch to be commenting on their “troubles” during this time when people have lost not only their jobs but also their loved ones and many are struggling to make ends meet.

  3. Hi Lexie, I think this is a very good assessment of the disconnect we’ve been seeing. Before Covid hit, it was easy for celebrities to seem relatable, at least somewhat, because they could hide from the public eye from time to time. But since they rely on attention for their livelihoods, being forced to show how they live and nothing else makes it harder to relate to them. I think it was pretty much exemplified when multiple celebrities tried singing “Imagine” together as some kind of rallying cry for everyone, but nobody appreciated it at all.

  4. This was such a great read. There has definitely been a disconnect and this breakdown is excellent. I remember the video of celebrities singing “Imagine” and feeling a sense of discomfort. Furthermore, I agreed with your analysis of celebrities throwing parties during Covid-19. Seeing the divide between how the top percent is getting through the pandemic isn’t necessarily surpassing to me, but it certainly creates a feeling a disconnect.

  5. Lexi,
    You bring up a lot of interesting points. It’s strange to think that celebrities would even think that it would be okay to attempt to relate to normal people during this pandemic. Although this time has been a struggle for all, quarantining in a multi-million dollar mansion simply will never compare to people who are risking their lives to keep their jobs. As the pandemic has brought up financial issues for most people, it’s hard to see this disconnect between celebrities and non-celebrities ever resolving.

  6. Lexi,
    You bring up a lot of interesting points. It’s strange to think that celebrities would even think that it would be okay to attempt to relate to normal people during this pandemic. Although this time has been a struggle for all, quarantining in a multi-million dollar mansion simply will never compare to people who are risking their lives to keep their jobs. As the pandemic has brought up financial issues for most people, it’s hard to see this disconnect between celebrities and non-celebrities ever resolving.

  7. Hi Lexi! Thank you for sharing this insightful post. I too have discovered that many celebrities since last March are seemingly missing the mark when it comes to the pandemic. They all think they are being relatable, however like you said their “all in this together” type attitude does not hold true when they must simply remain in the large and luxurious confines of their ultra-comfortable homes. This kind of wealthy privilege is especially evident when we see them bending the rules to have large gatherings in the midst of less fortunate people having to risk their lives day in and day out at minimum wage jobs where they are forced to interact with many people per day; thus widening the divide and relatability between average people and celebs.

  8. I totally had not thought of this! So I find it super interesting to consider! I remember thinking when the Kardashian-Jenners were all hosting huge parties and testing everyone beforehand because they could afford it meanwhile, I had friends that couldn’t even afford a single test without insurance… I think the pandemic has really exposed how income disparity affects us in our daily lives. It’ll be interesting to see how celebs try to come back from this notion that they aren’t just like us in the future as restrictions change.

  9. This is a great article. I noticed this too when I’d see celebrities and influencers sharing their struggles during the pandemic. I recently finished the last season of Real Housewives of Orange County and it was interesting to watch these women “struggle” while they’re taking day trips, walking around their rich neighborhoods and having chefs make them food. There is a large disconnect between celebrities and society, and I’m glad we’re starting to see through it.

  10. I’m very curious moving forward how the relationship of celebrities with their fans will change and evolve. Right now they are very separated, especially considering the huge gap between the rich and the poor that has been created by COVID-19. I think it’s also important to mention that POC and the Asian community are being particularly affected by this gap caused by Covid. I hope that people start to tackle this gap.

  11. I really enjoyed reading this article. I found it funny when Ellen made this statement about feeling like she was locked in jail. Although I want to say the feeling was relatable, I don’t live on a 27 million dollar property. This made her words insensitive because although she could say that with her other celebrity friends, most people wouldn’t agree that are “normal”.

  12. Such an interesting perspective of how COVID-19 has changed how we look at celebrities. The pandemic has probably been a very humbling experience for many celebrities, and an eye-opener to a lot of people who look up to these celebrities. This was such an interesting read, and opened my mind to ideas that I never thought of.

  13. Hey Lexi,
    I really enjoyed reading your post! Every time I saw a celebrity take a trip during this pandemic, I questioned the behavior. At first, I thought about how all the likes would maybe encourage them to continue traveling. It would be interesting to see the data followers and engagement of celebrities who were breaking COVID-19 rules.

  14. Hi Lexy! I really enjoyed your blog post. I hadn’t thought about how the pandemic was influencing celebrities in any way and I think that is exactly why celebrities have become less relevant and very unrelatable. They will be fine once the pandemic is over and it is often tone-deaf to post about their struggles while living lavishly while people are dying and struggling in ways they could never imagine. I think this post really brought to light some of those issues we are seeing and you made some really good points!

  15. Hi Lexi, the examples you provided were spot-on when depicting the way many celebrities have acted during the pandemic. There are many people who quite literally, worship celebrities, which enables them to feel they can do no wrong. With the power of social media, it enables information to spread quickly, so if a celebrity is spotted in the wrong now, they can be exposed at lightning speed. I hope these instances of hypocrisy by celebrities affect the way their followers view them, as I believe they are the main reason why celebrities feel they can get away with doing and saying tone-deaf things.

  16. Hi Lexi! I thought this was very well written. I totally agree with you in terms of celebrities trying to relate to millions of Americans and it not settling well with many people. One instance that came to my mind is when the Kardashian’s rented out an island for Kim’s birthday. No one else could do that yet they were saying that they were playing it safe.

  17. Love this post Lexi! I remember hearing about the Kendall Jenner Halloween party and I was a little upset. I saw someone reach out later and say that everyone had been tested but in my head I thought, okay well how many tests did they take away from an essential worker just to go to a party. Nevertheless, I do wonder how celebrities will be looked at after COVID 19. I think there’s going to be a shift from “admiring them” to “sometimes they can be tone deaf”.

  18. Hi Lexi! I really liked reading your post! I feel like during the COVID19 pandemic that I have stopped putting celebrities on pedestal. The pandemic has definitely shown me that we glorify these people who have literally everything. You’re right, celebrities just became unrelatable, especially as many of them continued to live their lives as though everything was fine.

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