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Can You Be Too Young For Fame?

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Child and teen stars are not a rare occurrence: Plenty of big films require a young actor or actress in a leading role; the internet allows anyone to upload videos of them singing, dancing or whatever they choose and TV talent shows are never short of children and their emotional parents either. But what happens to these young stars when they’re out of the limelight and growing older? Can you be too young for fame?
School is one of the biggest parts of anyone’s life, but filming for a film or TV series tends to get in the way a bit. Many kids in movies have missed out in ‘normal’ parts of growing up because they have an acting job which means they don’t have time for activities such as school, parties and other things people the same age may take for granted. They are effectively thrown into the adult world before their time, not getting the chance to experience everything they perhaps should. Of course, not going to school does not prevent anyone from getting an education-often there are group lessons taking place on the side of filming- but it is not quite the same as going to school. Afterwards, you might expect the child’s school life to go back to normal. This is usually not the case. Some may become a school celebrity, but others suffer from bullying by jealous schoolmates. Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy-Harry Potter) says he was bullied for his role in the film, particularly because he had to dye his hair blond for the role.
After becoming famous you can’t turn back. Sometimes the pressure can be too much for the child, an example of this being Hollie Steel who burst in to tears on a live performance in Britain’s Got Talent, raising a hot debate on whether or not the show should have age restrictions. However, sometimes people are famous for a year or so and then they fade into the past, losing publicity and fame. For some, this could be a welcome break, but for others it may be harder to deal with than the ordeal of being a celebrity in the first place. Macaulay Culkin, most known for his role as Kevin in the classic, ‘Home Alone’, which he played at just ten years old, lost his huge popularity not long after the ‘Home Alone 2’ was released. He no longer starred in major movies and was almost forgotten about, or at least only remembered as his ten year old self. By age 31, he was reported to have serious drug addictions, and nearly overdosed.
There are plenty of other examples of ‘child stars gone bad’ including, Lindsay Lohan (who recently came out of rehab) and Britney Spears (well known for shaving off her hair). Miley Cyrus is the latest teen star to go wild- her crazy performance at the VMAs did not look at all under control. It is believed that this happens because not only are the children put under a lot of pressure, but they are faced with rejection and critics at a very young age, and they have not had the chance to prepare themselves or mature before being thrust into the big Hollywood world.
However some may argue that any child can grow up to become a drug addict or to develop psychological problems, it’s just that we only hear about it when it happens to someone well-known. Other children who grow up and suffer from similar problems have not had a celebrity lifestyle at the age of 12, so maybe there is something else they all have in common such as family disputes, genetics or other causes which may make them take this path. We can’t say that being a child star automatically means you’ll suffer in future because it doesn’t.
Using Harry Potter as an example (since it is one of the most successful children’s films around) Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and Rupert Grint (Ronald Weasley) are all hugely celebrated for continuing to breed success from their amazing careers as young actors. Radcliffe did admit to having had an alcohol problem, but has now recovered and is continuing to act in plenty more movies and TV shows, such as ‘The Women in Black’ in 2012. Rupert Grint has invested in his own multi-million pound property business, and Emma Watson is using her natural beauty to become a model and a Hollywood star, whilst still completing her education. It may still be early years for the Harry Potter cast but it looks like they’re coping very well so far.
So it is still a big question on whether fame as a child can really cause problems later on or if it just relies on the child’s own personality and upbringing. One thing’s for sure: Kids will still be starring in movies for years to come and talent shows are still allowing youngsters to be discovered from a young age. It appears that you enter into the world of fame and fortune at your own risk…




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