Beyond Celebrity Business, Beyond The Disney Machine
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The Disney Machine : Good Girl Goes Bad In Hollywood

Rising stars are dissected quickly, while they’re rising, the result being that they almost never  have a moment of unfettered glory. [1]

Pop culture consumption has increased in speed and also in density. The Disney Star machine produce tons of starlets at an early age and some of them reach a certain success and make it work. And with the rise of internet and social media their career have never been that exposed. They are fastly growing rising to the top and falling through the eyes of Us Weekly, Just Jared and TMZ. From Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling & Christina Aguillera in the 90s to Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Effron, have dominated teenage hearts for the past decade. They all follows somehow somewhat somewhere a similar pathways career .

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Some of this super kids turns out to be highest pop stars of 2000’s, while some managed to be real good actors, others made B-list movies and pop songs. Most of the time they gain high visibility by being on top of every gossip tabloids headlines.

The Disney Stars Factory

Those kids are raised in camp boots trained to become superstars. In Asia this is a well-know activities, boys and girls band are very lucrative industry. There is actually so much little kids in training from what so few may success.

They usually develop a similar career >> starting very young, around 9 or 10 years old, they specialized their career  in making movies :

  • Ryan Gosling,
  • Lindsay Lohan,
  • Vanessa Hudgen;

Or doing pop music :

  • Britney Spears,
  • Demi Levato,
  • The Jonas Brother

And sometimes they managed to do both :

  • Miley Cyrius,
  • Selena Gomez,
  • Justin Timberlake.

Those teens are usually super-exposed, they grow under the spotlight of tabloids and magazines. No private life is allowed ! For this internet generation, being scrutinized on YouTube, on Twitter, on Instagram, and on Facebook is way too normal . At this point, every single move, word or click is under the Hollywood ‘big eye’ and you know why? Because they sell, they sell a lot, like A LOT by telling fascinated stories every days.

 The gossip industry produce and distribute star images. While purity and innocence are the essence of the Disney Teen Story, rebellion and failure seems to be the complete opposite tale but sometimes it’s a way to renew their brand.

 Good Teen Girl Gone Bad

Celebrity culture is full of this “good girl gone bad” trope. This is the American rite of passage. It looks like young girls need to go bad or at least do bad thing to get people attention [2].

There’s lots of movie using good girl lookalike actress playing bad girl such as Emma Watson in new Sofia Coppola movie ‘The Bling Ring’.

For Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgen, Spring Breakers was their first adult project. New York Times magazine pulled out a very interesting article on the evolution of the “bad girl” archetype in Hollywood . “Gosh, We’re bad now , explain the evolution of a Disney teen superstar looks like nowadays. Discussing the new Spring Breakers movie, NYT journalist says it marks a turn around in miss Gomez and miss Hudgen career.

“[…]Really is the opportunity taken by the former Disney Channel stars Ms. Gomez and Ms. Hudgens to use this platform to show off their dissolved innocence, only a few years removed from the peaks of their childhood stardom

[…]After “Spring Breakers” there will be no turning back for the two.”

Just like Britney, they are breaking up with the sweet little Disney image they’ve been endorsing for a couple of years.

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The dating Effect : Just like Britney, both actresses dated teen celebrities—Gomez with singing superstar Justin Bieber, Hudgens with co-star Zac Efron. These highly publicized relationships reinforced their grounded reputations and boosted their public popularity. That said, a Disney spokeswoman says that there is no set age actors must transition from child to adult star. Disney is advising Ms. Gomez not to grow up too fast. “Pay attention to who your fan base is now. If you treat them right, they’ll grow with you,”. [3]

This is basically saying that young teenage girl absolutely need a boyfriend to be accomplished. Does it send the idea that having a boyfriend is the one and only way to become an adult? I mean being accomplish by your work or other activities doesn’t make you a  grown up ?

miley-cyrus-cosmo-covers-3 March

From the fallen teen idol to scandal and disgrace

britney_spears

Spring Breakers” may go down as the turning point in the evolution of the fallen teen idol, an archetype for our times. In generations past there was generally a long narrative arc from arrival to fame to scandal to demotion to disgrace.

The fallen teen idol embodies potential and letdown all at once. (NYT)

Spears, Gomez, and Hudgens are just three in a long line of women who make the transition from angel by jumping straight to seductress. But sometimes things can go really bad !

Seeing Britney shaving her hair wasn’t just gold picture for paps and agency such as X17 or TMZ and a choc for all the Britney fandom community. But it was also a real sign of Hollywood flaws and paradox. Then we think of Lindsay Lohan or Amanda Bynes, and suddenly we realize that this ‘Fall From Grace’ narrative can be in a certain way very powerful.

The lost case of Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Lohan montage

Appreciating the fallen teen idol requires the combination of idolatry and schadenfreude that is the net plus ultra of modern fandom. It requires consuming the ascent and the destruction together. (NYT)

Lindsay Lohan is a pure product of Disney, long time ago she was smiling and playing the Disney game so very well. She has probably played it too long and went too far.But now she’s exploiting a all new story : The Sstory of FAILING. Lindsay Lohan’s career has been rocking since a couple of years now. Every gossip blog has been describing her as a mess, a crackhead and a complete disaster. Her recurrent apparition to court has gain huge interest among the public. All this media awareness on her mischiefs and transgression is creating a all new king of story : The Failing Story – to the opposite of the rising star story.  And in a way, and in the case of Lindsay, this story could be very powerful.

Lohan’s persona is associate with phrases like “PAPARAZZI,” “TABLOID FRONT PAGE,” “SCANDAL,” and “CHILD STAR” seem to be the major dimension of her brand story. [4]

Lindsay Lohan persona is nourished by a strong failing story. Since Mean Girl she became the scandalous troubling girl ( see the story behind her casting for the Canyon movie). But she really makes tabloids headline by acting so badly, doing hard drugs, robbing, drinking, busting, and all the hearing, Jail time, Rehab, family trouble, etc. Being bad is her life style now. A very rocky chaotic lifestyle :

She needed people and chaos around her 24/7. The idea of being by herself scared the hell out of her . [4]

So why are we fascinated by seeing teens idol falling and failing ? Does bad girl  sells more ? Is it because success is somehow boring ? You tell me !

— Sources —

[1] NYT – http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/movies/young-stars-embody-potential-and-letdown-all-at-once.html?smid=fb-nytimes&WT.z_sma=MO_GWB_20130308&_r=2&

[2] Why Do “Good Girls” Need to “Go Bad”? Model Media post by Yoonj Kim on April 10, 2013 http://bitchmagazine.org/post/why-do-good-girls-need-to-go-bad-spring-breakers-feminist

[3] In Inside the marketing of Gomez to preteens and young girls by Walt Disney Co. >> http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203706604574374561767358856.html

[4] Here Is What Happens When You Cast Lindsay Lohan in Your Movie.  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/magazine/here-is-what-happens-when-you-cast-lindsay-lohan-in-your-movie.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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