The Unconventional Celebrity

The Oxford Dictionary defines the word “celebrity” as “a famous person, especially in entertainment or sport.”  In this age so influenced by the millennial mindset, fame has found its way to persons of many genres that tend to push the boundaries of antiquated interpretations of sport and entertainment commonly found throughout the twentieth century.

Our digital world of electronics and the internet has groomed new outlets of entertainment that have created celebrities falling outside traditional definitions.  It seems that nowadays anyone whose likeness stumbles in front of a camera is eligible for fame, fortune and celebrity status.  Merit and talent are not always prerequisites.

In 1992, MTV first aired their popular and “unscripted” program called “The Real World” which opened the door to reality television in the United States.  Since then, the likes of the self-aggrandizing Kardashian clan and jarring groups of “real housewives” have taken over cable programming leading to spin-off after spin-off and many millions in annual revenue.

The internet and social media sources have spawned their own world of unconventional “stars” including so-called “influencers” as well as the many successful YouTubers and TikTokers who video and post themselves doing any number of mundane to unimaginably crazy activities to the delight of millions of followers and advertisers.  This sector in particular continues to blossom and evolve during the current home lockdowns and self-isolation of the COVID-19 era.

The idea of the professional sports personality is also rapidly changing.  Paying spectators now cheer for video gamers, remote control drone flyers and other “athletes” that never even break a sweat or get up from a padded leather chair, but earn six figures nonetheless from corporate sponsorships.

On the music front, disc jockeys whose popularity and celebrity rival the most talented of musicians and award-winning pop stars have taken the spotlight.

And although the immense success of these “unconventional” celebrities may seem surreal or even at times absurd to you, many of them are earning millions of dollars every year.  Their fame has done them well and they have insurance needs just like any other Hollywood star.  As their popularity and mediums differ, so do their incomes, most of which we see in the six to eight figure range.

Petersen International’s StarCover high-limit disability plan provides long-term, own-occupation income protection insurance to these clients who come from all walks of life.  Their fortunes are at risk in the face of disablement just like any other working American.

The American dream – anyone with a cellphone camera, a personality and a haphazard idea can achieve their own fifteen minutes of fame.