Is Cameo Changing the Nature of Celebrity?
From cult artists to reality superstars
There was a time not long ago where the world of celebrities seemed like a rarefied place, one where the lines between famous people and the people who watched them on screens large or small were clearly delineated. Over time, however, that changed for a few reasons. The rise of social media meant, at least in theory, that there was a kind of flattening in terms of who had access to what. The growing popularity of reality television made celebrities out of a much different group of people than those who’d been high-profile in the past. And even being wildly famous but starring in a commercial — something many celebrities would only do when traveling far from home — has become far more mundane.
What’s the next step in the constant evolution of celebrity? Writing at Vox, Rebecca Jennings makes a convincing case that Cameo just might be it. Cameo is a platform in which celebrities ranging from actors and athletes to reality television stars and internet-famous animals will record personalized messages for the right price. Some have even gone viral, as when actor Oded Fehr reprised his character from The Mummy.
Jennings’s article notes that Cameo has seen a substantial amount of growth during the pandemic, due in part to celebrities also having a fair amount of downtime right now. Also notable, Jennings writes, is the way Cameo further erodes certain boundaries within pop culture:
Today, endless sponsored posts on famous people’s Instagrams have blurred the line between influencer and celebrity, and as more influencers rise in status, more celebrities start looking like professional endorsers.
These are strange times we’re living in, and the Cameo experience does nothing to lower that level of strangeness. But if you’re a Parks and Recreation superfan who’s dreamt of getting a video of Jim O’Heir saying the word “murinal,” well, that’s now a reality.
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