Top 10 Worst Role Models for Teens

Elvis was tame. Or, so he seems when we look back in time. But back in the day, which is to say, the 1950’s, Elvis Presley had parents all over America All Shook Up with his gyrating hips, snarling lips, and a brand of music that rock (and rolled) America.

Today, such antics would hardly raise an eyebrow. Still, modern society has no shortage of pop idols teenagers admire. Some are harmless enough. Unfortunately, there is a segment in the world of pop culture world where celebrities are behaving badly. Maybe they’re getting arrested for some confrontation or lawbreaking, or drug abuse. Perhaps it’s an outrage by a misdirected tweet or photo.

There are some good, positive role models for teens out there today. Unfortunately, there’s a percentage which most parents would prefer their teenagers never heard about.

Here we present the worst of the lot, the Top Ten Worst Role Models For Teens


Lance Armstrong is the role model everybody wanted to emulate. Armstrong, the legendary road racing cyclist, was the all-American athlete who trained hard, worked hard, cycled hard, and overcame a deadly obstacle in cancer to become the professional world champion in 1993, and won the Tour de France and incredible seven times. But it soon all went south as the image was shattered by allegations of doping which Armstrong ultimately admitted were true. He was stripped of all seven Tour de France titles and saw his fortune dwindle from a high of $125 million to his current net worth of $50 million. Still not too bad for an admitted cheater, but not a great role model for teens, either.


A New York Times editor once called the Trinidad and Tobago-born Minaj the most influential female rapper of all time, and Time magazine included her in its 2016 Most Influential People In The World list. The ultra successful singer has won repeated MTV and Billboard awards, released three successful albums, and sold over 60 million singles worldwide. But perhaps an early indicator of things to come was getting fired from her job as a waitress at Red Lobster for being “discourteous to customers.” Minaj admits to having been fired 15 times. Minaj’s career has seen its share of controversy, with a big feud with fellow rapper Lil’ Kim, another dispute with rapper Foxy Brown, and a heated argument with pop star Paula Abdul, who famously declared Minaj said “If I had a gun, I would shoot that bitch.” Minaj has a net worth of $70 million.


Appearing on rapper FloRida’s 2009 number one single Right Around jump started Kesha in the music business, and soon, she was making her own hit records, including two number one singles, Tik Tok and We R Who We R, ultimately going on to sell over 60 million albums world-wide. But it has not all been fun and games for the pop star, who has been in and out of drug and eating disorder clinics, embroiled in lawsuits with a producer and former management company, and whose wild wardrobes and on stage antics have made the singer a less than ideal role model. Kesha possesses a net worth of $500,000.00.


Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. is the New Orleans born hip hop star who got his musical start with the group Hot Boys. In addition to establishing his own Young Money Entertainment, Lil Wayne has released eleven albums, all going gold, and selling over 15 million copies. But the rapper has had numerous legal troubles and troubles with the law, including being busted for smoking pot in New York City, criminal possession of a weapon, felony fugitive charges in Georgia, and possession of contraband in prison. Lil Wayne has a net worth of $150 million.


The R&B, hip-hop and pop artist got a strong start to his recording career, with his first self-titled album going double platinum and spawning hits such as Run It! which topped the Billboard Hot 100. Brown has had massive chart success with his seven hit albums and multiple singles, but all his success was overshadowed with his infamous domestic violence charge in 2009, stemming from his physical assault against fellow artist Rhianna. In addition to this charge, Brown has had run-ins with fellow artists Frank Ocean and Drake, and another felony assault charge in 2013 in Washington, D.C. Not the ideal role model for teenagers, Brown has a net worth of $30 million.


North Dakota born Cameron Jibril Thomaz started life as a military brat, but his fortunes began at age 16, when he was signed with Rostrum Records. His third studio album Rolling Paper, went to number one on the R&B charts and produced hit singles such as Black and Yellow, Roll Up and On My Level. Khalifa has released eight albums to great success, but has had his share of controversy along the way, including a daily marijuana habit which he admits costs him $10,000.00 per month. His net worth is $45 million.


No one can question the record success enjoyed by Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, with 27 million albums sold, and 146 million singles sold worldwide. But her career has featured many controversies, such as the infamous “meat dress” she wore at the MTV music awards, her music videos such as the nudity-driven masochistic Telephone and Alejandro, where she sucked on rosary beads. But Lady Gaga pole-vaulted across any line of decency with her song Judas, where she declared her love for the betrayer of Christ. Her net worth is an impressive $275 million.


Getting his start on YouTube turned into massive success for the pop singer, who has sold over 100 million albums, winning multiple awards along the way, such as the American Music Award’s Artist Of The Year in 2010 and 2012. But troubles finally found the pop star in 2014 with an arrest for DUI in Miami, Florida. Bieber was also hit with a misdemeanor charge of vandalism for throwing eggs at a neighbor’s house that same year, as well as an arrest for assault and dangerous driving in his hometown of Stratford, Ontario. But as much as YouTube had been his friend, it became his enemy when a video was released of Bieber repeatedly using a racial epithet. Not the ideal role model, Bieber’s net worth is $225 million.


Actress, singer, songwriter and record producer Lindsay Lohan has been in front of cameras since age three as a child fashion model. After appearing in a soap opera, she appeared in film for Disney before signing with Casablanca Records and releasing Speak, which sold over four million copies. The bad girl’s troubles with the law began in 2007 with two arrests for DUI which put her on probation and into the first of three stays in rehab. Lohan has a net worth of $500,000.00.


The daughter of country music star Billy Ray Cyrus, Miley got a young start in show business, appearing in Disney’s Hannah Montana as the title character. In addition to her acting career, she exploded onto the music scene and released five albums, producing hits such as Party In The USA, We Can’t Stop and Wrecking Ball. Controversy has at times engulfed the artist, such as in 2010 when a video of Cyrus smoking salvia with a bong was posted on the internet. There was outrage from her 2009 performance at the Teen Music Awards with her perceived pole dancing. At the 2013 MTV Music Awards, she “twerked” with Robin Thicke, and performed in 2015 wearing fake breasts and a prosthetic penis. For all of her bad behavior, Cyrus has banked over $160 million.

Not all role models are bad. There are plenty of good role models for teenagers from the music world, Hollywood and professional sports. But every barrel of apples has a rotten one or two. We think these artists who made our list are the worst role models for teens.

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