If you ever read the news or watch TV, you must have seen people who are rich and famous simply for being other famous people’s children or dates, or for other terrible reasons. Whether such people are truly “successful” in the greater sense is also debatable. They do, however, serve as a good reminder to the rest of us that fame alone isn’t enough.
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For your daily dose of reality, here are the top 10 most successful untalented people in the world
10. Kevin Federline
Originally a nameless background dancer, Kevin Federline became famous in 2004 for dating and marrying singer Britney Spears. After giving him two years of unwarranted fame boosted by reality TV appearances, Spears divorced Federline in 2006. Federline unsuccessfully fought Spears for custody of their children until 2007, when Spears’s public breakdown helped him win custody. As Spears began to recover and return to the spotlight, Federline faded out of it. In 2016 he made the news by speaking about their failed marriage, according to the Mirror: “I really thought I’d spend the rest of my life with her. Then work became my focus, recording and promoting my rap album.” While Federline’s rap career hasn’t exactly taken off, we don’t fault K. Fed for finally shedding his signature fedora and living life quietly.
9. Paris Hilton
Although Paris Hilton’s only occupation is heiress socialite, she became famous in the first years of the 21st century with the leaked tape of her bedroom activities with a boyfriend. This was followed by her appearance on a reality TV show about nothing. In Hilton’s defense, her acting in the 2005 film House of Wax may be as lifeless as wax, but the movie itself is not unusually bad, according to critic Roger Ebert. Hilton’s only album, Paris (2006), sounds as much like recording studio magic as her own voice, but the track “Stars are Blind” is surprisingly good in its artificial way, notes Complex. If you are an untalented fame seeker, you should follow Hilton’s lead and pay for the services of people who know what they’re doing. In 2011 she was voted most unpopular celebrity in an Ipsos poll. Having finished her run of being “famous for being famous,” Hilton is quietly making music as of 2017.
8. Blac Chyna
Former stripper Blac Chyna made the news for dating minor celebrities Tyga and Robert Kardashian Jr. in 2011 and 2016, respectively. Chyna and Kardashian had their first child in November 2016. She also appeared with Nicki Minaj in a Kanye West music video. Minaj and West are both rappers, and West is a common thread linking together several people in this list, although he presumably has some talent in rapping. In 2017, Chyna made headlines again by appearing with the former boyfriend of Khloe Kardashian, Kim Kardashian’s equally untalented sister.
7. Amber Rose
Following Chyna and Federline’s legacies is Amber Rose, a former stripper who rose to tabloid prominence by dating Kanye West from 2008 to 2010. Rather than turning to reality TV like her fellow nobodies, Rose has been dabbling in radio and Dancing with the Stars, a dancing competition show for washed-up celebrities, as of 2017. While we would like to cut Rose some slack for speaking out on feminism-related issues, it is easier to talk than to do something meaningful. Also, her history of flaunting her bisexuality while claiming that she “wouldn’t be comfortable” dating a bisexual man, according to Daily Mail and Black Entertainment Television, reek of old-fashioned biphobia and toxic masculinity.
6. Bristol Palin
As the pregnant teen daughter of former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin, who notoriously made up the idea of “death panels,” and opposed gay marriage and abortions, Bristol Palin helped block her mother’s attempt to become Vice President of the United States. The teen mom then used her “fame” to begin speaking publicly for teen abstinence, despite statistical and scientific evidence of its ineffectiveness. New York Daily News reported that Palin received exorbitant amounts of money for her speaking. Palin last made the news in September 2016 when the Anchorage Police Department released image and audio files of a “heavily intoxicated” Palin assaulting the homeowner at a house party. One of Palin’s three unplanned children, then five years old, was alone in a car at the time, according to Palin. Competent motherhood might not be an innate ability after all.
5. Jenny McCarthy
Jenny McCarthy is a former Playboy Playmate and currently anti-science activist. In 2013 The New Yorker denounced McCarthy for her work for the “deadly and authoritatively discredited anti-vaccine movement in the United States” as well as her refusal to accept (or comprehend) scientific data. In 2014, she began to argue against the “anti-vaccination” label due to public backlash and expert criticism, according to Global News. In 2016, Vice reported that the anti-vaccination group funded by McCarthy tried to publish a paper in scientific journal Frontiers in Public Health about vaccines and autism, based solely on the observations of anti-vaxxer mothers. The group continues to advise parents to prevent their kids from receiving vaccinations. We admire how McCarthy has created a lucrative empire based on a single scientific paper — namely, former doctor Andrew Wakefield’s widely debunked 1997 paper based on falsified research. Still, endangering children and reviving measles are neither talents nor skills.
4. Tila Tequila (Thien Thanh Thi Nguyen)
Tila Tequila or Thien Thanh Thi Nguyen first became known for being active on social networking website MySpace in 2006. She then appeared on a reality TV show and went through a drug addiction. In 2013, the media began to report about the self-titled “alt-reich queen” and her Hitler costumes and “Why I Sympathize with Hitler” rant. Although she also made sex tapes, that route was unfruitful for her. In 2015 Tequila dressed her infant daughter as Hitler. Her anti-Semitism resulted in both Facebook and Celebrity Big Brother giving her the boot, according to the Mirror. If it weren’t sad enough being a “former” reality TV star, Tequila crawled back into the news in November 2016 by giving a Nazi salute at a white supremacist conference and then posting a picture of it, reports The Atlantic. Because of her neo-Nazi posts, she was later banned from Twitter. Tequila’s passion for Hitler is particularly noteworthy as she is Vietnamese American. Other than breast implants larger than her pumpkin-shaped head, Tequila might not possess anything of value in this cold, mostly Nazi-hating world. You could almost feel sorry for her.
3. Milo Yiannopoulos
Another Nazi supporter is Milo Yiannopoulos, a Greek-British tabloid “reporter” who writes praise of members of the alt-right, Neo-Nazis, and Donald Trump for fake news website Breitbart. Yiannopoulos was banned from Twitter for life after posting misogynistic personal attacks of actress Leslie Jones, according to Rolling Stone and Washington Post. Despite being a “gay conservative Christian with bleach-white hair who exclusively sleeps with black men,” according to Huffington Post, Yiannopoulos supports neo-Nazi values, is a Holocaust denier, and is anti-gay rights. He mainly earns money by speaking publicly against feminism, homosexuality, transgender people, and equality. When universities or other places refuse to have him as a speaker, Yiannopoulos and his supporters throw fits about “free speech,” entirely misunderstanding what constitutes the right to free speech. In 2017, Yiannopoulos will publish a book about himself. For building a career on saying racist, sexist, and just plain ignorant things, Yiannopoulos should be applauded. He should then be given a time-out and ignored.
2. Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian is the textbook example of a successful, talent-less person. Not only did she first gain notice by association with famous people — she is the daughter of OJ Simpson’s lawyer and a friend of the aforementioned Paris Hilton — but Kardashian became famous by copying her pal’s strategy. She first “accidentally” leaked a tape of herself and her boyfriend, and then appeared on a reality show based on nothing. We can’t even give her a point for creativity. From 2014 to 2016, Kardashian’s fame mostly drew sustenance from her large hips and her relationships with Amber Rose’s ex boyfriend Kanye West and step-father Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn Jenner.
Kardashian will be turning 40 in three years, yet her only accomplishment in life is being the “most Googled person in 2015” according to TIME — presumably millions of people worldwide were trying to figure out why she was famous. Although Kardashian’s star began to wane in 2016, according to the Daily Mail and Google search results, don’t worry about her: she will always have her family’s wealth.
1. Martin Shkreli
Although not a top Google result for “famous for being famous” like Hilton and Kardashian, the man derisively dubbed “Pharma Bro” by the public deserves acknowledgment. Rich and talentless, Martin Shkreli achieved infamy in 2015 when he increased the price of Daraprim (pyrimethamine), a World Health Organization essential basic medicine, from 13 dollars to $750 overnight. Journalists soon revealed that Shkreli had done the same with other medicines in the past, essentially profiting off disease and suffering. In December 2015, Shkreli was arrested for fraud unrelated to the pharmaceutical price gouging. His high-priced lawyers continue to work on his case. In January 2017, Shkreli was suspended from Twitter for posting weirdly sexist, transphobic, and pedophilic content. Besides making money through fraudulent and unethical means — and then quickly being exposed — Shkreli does not appear to possess any skills or human emotion. We hope he is at least decent at his favorite game, League of Legends.
We all know of other untalented people who are accruing money or fame without any talent or skill — Lauren Southern, for example — but who are simply not successful. Modern culture places great emphasis on fame, regardless of its origin. However, unless you have inherited or ill-gotten wealth, or aspire only to reality TV stardom, you will probably see more success in life by cultivating a practical or artistic skill.