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?