Lily-Rose Depp is joining her fellow famous offspring in dismissing the “nepo-baby” label. The young actress, who is the daughter of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis — two extremely famous people — pushed back on the term in a new interview with Elle. And she’s not the only nepo-baby who would like to be excluded from this narrative.
“People are going to have preconceived ideas about you or how you got there, and I can definitely say that nothing is going to get you the part except for being right for the part,” Depp insisted. “Maybe you get your foot in the door, but you still just have your foot in the door. There’s a lot of work that comes after that.” Right. The fact that her mother has appeared in Chanel campaigns since 1991 just meant that she was able to meet Karl Lagerfeld when she was 8 years old, but that didn’t guarantee Depp would be chosen as the face of Chanel’s Pearl Eyewear campaign in 2015. (She’s worked with the brand ever since.)
Depp previously admitted that her parents’ fame helped her kickstart her Hollywood career. “I’m not going to say that it doesn’t make it easier to get your name out there,” she told W Magazine, in 2019. “Obviously it does. But honestly, to me there’s also something even a little harder about it, because the expectations are so insanely high.” But, now, as she prepares for the premiere of her first major television role in HBO’s The Idol, she seems to be over the idea. “It’s weird to me to reduce somebody to the idea that they’re only there because it’s a generational thing,” she told Elle. “If somebody’s mom or dad is a doctor, and then the kid becomes a doctor, you’re not going to be like, ‘Well, you’re only a doctor because your parent is a doctor.’ It’s like ‘No, I went to medical school and trained.’” She also suggested that she the “nepo baby” label was sexist. “I just hear it a lot more about women, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.”
Depp isn’t the only “nepo baby” who has distanced themselves from the term, despite the fact that it’s really more of a statement of fact than a character judgment. Maude Apatow previously admitted that the term made her “sad,” but added that she was determined to continue to build her career on her own. In a recent interview with GQ, Zoë Kravitz said that she was proud of her family legacy, adding, “It’s completely normal for people to be in the family business.” (Sure, but that’s not exactly the point.) Willow Smith took a bit of a different approach, telling Rolling Stone that she simply doesn’t care. “If you love me, amazing. If you hate me, fantastic. That’s none of my business.”
If Depp has more of a negative reaction to the “nepo baby” term, it might also be because she has no interest in being asked to answer for the actions of her famous parents. Specifically regarding Johnny Depp’s very public court battle with Amber Heard, during which his fans bombarded her Instagram and demanded she take a public stance. “I’m not here to answer for anybody, and I feel like for a lot of my career, people have really wanted to define me by the men in my life, whether that’s my family members or my boyfriends, whatever,” she told Elle. “I’m really ready to be defined for the things that I put out there.”