Allison Williams is well aware that she’s not an underdog.
The “M3gan” star, and daughter of former NBC anchor Brian Williams, gave her take on the cultural discourse surrounding nepotism during a profile with Vulture published Thursday.
A “nepo baby,” short for “nepotism baby,” is a buzzy, albeit condescending, term that refers to children of celebrities who are now celebrities due partly to their parents’ fame. The topic hit its boiling point in late December when New York Magazine declared 2022 “The Year of The Nepo Baby.”
In Williams’s profile, Vulture’s Rachel Handler noted that the actor referred to herself as a “nepo baby” before the entertainment site (which, it should be noted, is part of New York Magazine) could even use the phrase. The “Girls” star then launched into a response highlighting why so many of her peers struggle with responding to the same topic.
“All that people are looking for is an acknowledgment that it’s not a level playing field. It’s just unfair,” Williams told Vulture. “Period, end of the story, and no one’s really working that hard to make it fair. To not acknowledge that me getting started as an actress versus someone with zero connections isn’t the same — it’s ludicrous. It doesn’t take anything away from the work that I’ve done. It just means that it’s not as fun to root for me.”
Other celebrities who have reaped the rewards of having famous parents have exhibited a sense of discomfort with the subject of being a nepo baby.
Many have deployed an increasingly stale response whenever the subject is broached in interviews by saying they’re just “in the family business,” as Zoe Kravitz — the daughter of musician Lenny Kravtiz and actor Lisa Bonet — told GQ in November.
Kate Hudson, the daughter of actor Golden Hawn and step-daughter of actor Kurt Russell, took a similar approach while speaking to The Independent last month.
“I look at my kids, and we’re a storytelling family. It’s definitely in our blood,” Hudson said.
Other nepo babies have displayed defensiveness while talking about the subject.
“If somebody’s mom or dad is a doctor, and then the kid becomes a doctor, you’re not going to be like, ‘Well, you’re only a doctor because your parent is a doctor.’ It’s like, ‘No, I went to medical school and trained,’” Lily-Rose Depp, the daughter of Johnny Depp and model Vanessa Paradis, told Elle in November.
Jamie Lee Curtis, the daughter of actors Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, also seemed offended by the term, writing on Instagram in December that the “nepo baby” conversation was “designed to try to diminish and denigrate and hurt.”
Curtis wrote: “I’ve tried to bring integrity and professionalism and love and community and art to my work. I am not alone. There are many of us. Dedicated to our craft. Proud of our lineage. Strong in our belief in our right to exist.”