January 22 – Happy Birthday to New Kinds of Celebrities

Posted on January 22, 2016

Back in the first half of the Twentieth Century, to be a “star” you had to be discovered by someone in a Hollywood studio – and there were only a handful of those! – and then you were carefully “groomed” to have the right look and the right name and the right lifestyle...

And THEN you got a multi-movie contract and you got to see your name in lights!

And the movie studios continued to weigh in on every aspect of your life. There was a lot of pressure to keep up and particular sort of image.

Needless to say, very few people became stars, and a lot of people who hoped and dreamed of making it big at Hollywood never did.

To become a musical star, you generally had to pay your dues with years of touring and playing anywhere you could, hoping again to be discovered by some big record label. Most music stars, back then, weren't all that young – even if they got their start of performing when they were kids.

Now, flash forward to today, you can become a star in a lot of different ways! Maybe even when you are pretty darned young.

Xiamara Jennings
Today we celebrate the birthdays of teens who are considered “stars” of sorts: Enya Umanzor, Vine star, turns 17; Damian Frackiewicz and Ollie Munro, You Tube stars, both turn 16; Silento, a rapper whose single went viral on Vine and You Tube, tuns 18; Ricky Garcia, a pop singer who competed on The X Factor, turns 17; Xiamara Jennings, a pop singer who got into a girl group based on her videos released on YouTube and Instagram, turns 18; and Avery Winter, a pop singer who competed on America's Got Talent, turns 14.
Ollie Munro
(Enya Umanzor)
Damian Frackiewicz
Avery Winter

Ricky Garcia
That's a lot of stars...(that I've never heard of)!

Let's look at some of these paths to artistic expression and possible celebrity:

  • YouTube is probably the most famous video-sharing website. Created in 2005, it was bought by Google less than two years later for more than a billion dollars!

    In 2014, about 300 hours' worth of new videos were uploaded to YouTube EVERY MINUTE!

    I'm not sure how many videos are on YouTube, but I read that billions of videos are watched per week. (Billions!)

    A lot of people are getting exposure for their ideas, their art, their acting, their dancing, or their music – and a fair number of people are getting paid for this stuff! YouTube pays out millions of dollars per year to “partners” (people who have registered to upload videos to the website), and an amazing number of people are earning six-figure incomes from their videos on what is – remember! – a FREE video channel!
  • Vine is the “Twitter” of video sharing services. Users share six-second-long looping video clips. (Twitter actually owns Vine, by the way, acquiring the service just before its official launch.)
  • Instagram is a mobile phone-sharing, video-sharing, and social networking service. Users can upload photos and short videos (up to 15 seconds). This service was purchased less than two years after it was launched for about a billion dollars.

  • Competition TV shows, including The X Factor and America's Got Talent, aren't especially designed for youngsters—but in many cases their doors aren't closed to kids and teens, either. (And some are, including the popular So You Think You Can Dance, which requires competitors to be 18 to 30 years old.)

    Some popular competition shows have spin-offs, or “junior” versions, designed for teens. (I'm looking at you,
    Project Runway Junior!)

And here are some more ways to share one's art and possibly gain fame and/or fortune:

  • Facebook is one of the biggies, of course. Started in 2004, in has more than a billion active users!

  • Twitter is the other biggie. Users can send and read messages that are up to 140 characters long. Remember, a character is a letter, a number, a symbol, or a bit of punctuation.

  • Tumblr is a microblogging platform. Users can upload stories or jokes or poems, photos, GIFs, links, mp3s, videos, or whatever they want. Tumblr has hundreds of millions of blogs!

  • Wattpad is a writing community with a website and a mobile app. New writers, published writers, and undiscovered writers are all given an equal chance.
  • Fan fiction (fanfic) is fiction about characters or settings from someone else's fiction. In other words, a fan of the Twilight books writing original stories about Bella and Edward is writing fanfic. There are some popular fanfic websites for sharing and reading and commenting on fanfic.
  • E-books are free to upload to places like Amazon, although to sell your work, you will need an ISBN number, and that costs money.
  • DeviantArt is one of the largest art communities. Members often interact, offering support and critique of others' art.
  • Regular blogging (rather than all the “microblogging” I was talking about above), of course!

Because of the internet, artists of all kinds have way more access to millions, even billions, of people. BUT so do all the other artists-of-all-kinds, of course! It's still tough to get noticed among so many. Still, there are more people in the world than ever, and more ways to reach people with your words / pictures / ideas / music / dancing / whatever than ever, as well. So go, create, share, and become a star!

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