If reactions to Vulture’s recent documentation of the extended nepo-baby universe are any indication, the famous children of celebrities are generally not very comfortable discussing the industry advantage their parentage gives them. Most responses to our current fascination with nepotism kids have ranged from defensive to more defensive. In a recent interview with Vulture, actress Allison Williams, whose father is NBC news anchor Brian Williams, offered what is probably the closest thing to a respectful, self-aware statement on the matter, acknowledging that her unfair leg up makes it “not as fun to root for me.”
And then there is model and skin-care-line founder Hailey Bieber, née Baldwin, daughter and niece of two famous actors as well as wife to the patron saint of Crocs, Justin Bieber. Bieber, it appears, is taking a new approach to discussions of her lineage. On Friday, she stepped out in a tiny white T-shirt that read, in even tinier Arial letters, “Nepo Baby.” Notably, she changed into a sloganless plain white crop top shortly afterward.
Bieber’s bold reclamation of the term has gotten mixed responses. Charli XCX, who is not herself a nepo baby, wrote on Twitter that she “respects the nepo baby tshirt attempt.” But there are indications that the shirt was better received within the nepo-baby community. Namely by Gwyneth Paltrow, whose feelings on her industry parents are already well established: Earlier this year, she explained in an interview with Bieber herself that people who’ve benefited from nepotism “have to work twice as hard and be twice as good.” She and Bieber are, it seems, still on the same page. Paltrow commented on InStyle’s Instagram post about the controversial shirt, “I might need a few of those.” One for each accomplished parent, perhaps?