The curse of the child star gone wrong

(Written by Alexandre Lacas)

If you haven’t paid attention to what’s been going on with former child star Miley Cyrus in the last few months then you might be in for a little surprise. The once sweet and innocent good girl who got her fame debut on the popular Disney television show Hannah Montana is clearly letting the world know that she’s not a little child anymore and she doesn’t care what the world thinks of her transformation as an artist.

Whether it’s for her haircut, her controversial and overly inappropriate performance with Robin Thicke at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards or her ’’artistic’’ music video Wrecking Ball from her recent number 1 billboard album Bangerz, she is multiplying the calculated reactions out of people and I am sure she is loving every second of it. If we stop and think about it for a second, Miley Cyrus is not the only child star who has been acting out in order to eliminate the sweet girl next door image that Disney and other networks such as Nickelodeon love. They work hard in order to sell to a young, extremely impressionable generation who is looking for role models. Whether it’s Lindsay Lohan and her reckless criminal behaviour (who at 27 years is finally putting order into her life after being sentenced to 90 days of forced rehab for addiction to alcohol and drugs or in more recent time) or Amanda Bynes who seems to have lost complete contact with reality (and who is under treatment at UCLA mental medical center where she is currently being treated for schizophrenia and drug addiction).
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Am I the only one who thinks that having  such intense levels of stress and fame at a young age assures that while you do become extremely rich and famous, it also assures you will become America’s next train wreck?  It seems that nowadays, it’s hard to find a proper role model for our younger generation who hasn’t been in jail, convicted for a DUI or gone completed crazy and insane.  But why is that? Why do so many of them  fall off of the wagon? As a little kid, I remember having the clear image of me watching the Parent Trap over and over again wishing I could have Hallie and Annie as friends to play with (both roles interpreted by Lindsay Lohan). Let’s just say things have changed since…

In a 2013 Cracked.com article written by former child star Mara Wilson (who appeared in big movie productions such as: Mathilda, Miracle on 34th Street and Mrs Doudtfire), the actress gives her input on this phenomenon that keeps on growing. In her article, she provides 7 well developed reasons on why child stars go crazy. They include: getting used to attention and then losing it when they grow up, having their image exploited, needing to rebel but not being able to and finally, having parents that can’t control them. If we analyze these reasons, it’s absolutely true. Big networks such as Disney and Nickelodeon turn them into stars, take over their lives by exploiting their image and tell them what to say, what do to, what types of movie they should be filming.  All so the world falls in love them.

As soon as they become adults, they are dumped; leaving them alone to deal with their career, which few manage to successfully do. The transition from child star to legitimate adult movie star is difficult even in the best of times when the star is well surrounded and well-advised. As they grow up, child stars are replaced by new, younger replacements and the attention they get slowly dies out. This explains why so many of them give up acting; many of them either start partying extensively, doing drugs or filming other provocative and edgy movies promoting sexual promiscuity. By doing so, a young star sends the wrong message to their fanbase, who is deeply influenced by the idol.  That message is: ‘Look at me! The little girl became a woman and I can do whatever I want’. But this attitude is the wrong way to go because it will end up costing them their career and their credibility as actors down the line.

Sure some people can argue that these young stars have no real problems and no valid reasons to act out. If you walked a mile in their shoes, you would see that when someone grows up having all the eyes of the world on them, constantly giving them attention, you understand why they have to act a certain way in order to stay relevant when it suddenly all stops. Others will argue that the parents are to blame. I partially disagree. When this industry gets a hold of a kid by paying them thousands or, in some cases, millions of dollars, parents are faced with a situation where their authority is reduced to nil. Because they signed contracts, their money machine (the kid) can’t get out. Nowadays, child stars are important role models for kids. But I believe that there is a curse in becoming one because once they sign the contract, they sign away their soul and their ability to act as regular children. In my opinion, this part of the industry should be revised and parents should get more involved before letting their kids get signed away. Tell me what you think, I would love to hear your opinion on what causes these child stars to rebel and act out.

Follow me on twitter: @alexandre_lacas

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