BY Charlene Goulesque
Those kid stars who are so special, and who can make us “adults” look old-fashioned? – Case study
We’ve all, at least once in our lives, heard about those prodigy kids. They accomplish marvellous things, whether it is in the world of activism, or other fields such as music. These children can sometimes make us feel completely outdated. However, they are also able to challenge us, by moving us, and inspiring us. Don’t we rightly say that indifference is the biggest enemy of advertising?
Let us take the example of Brooklyn Prince. Brooklyn is 8-year-old. Already full of ambitions, the young American actress enjoys responsibilities – yes, she says it herself. Cutest as ever, she promotes good values, supports diverse charities, and she doesn’t want to stop in a so good way.
One day, the peppy Brooklynn Prince could even become the first female president of the U.S. Watch out guys, that is what she declared in an interview given by The Wrap in October 2017. Indeed, our little “Queen of Ice cream”, her nickname on her Instagram, is also a feminist, hoping well to contribute to making the world a better place. So sweet.
Brooklynn was noticed in the 2017 drama The Florida Project, directed by Sean Baker. With her variety of expressions, she sublimates Moonee’s character, next to the great William Dafoe and Bria Vinaite. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I won’t spoil, but it’s a little gem. Several reviews, including one from TIME magazine, described it as a “magical ode to childhood”, despite its context. That was not for nothing that it was rewarded.
Brooklynn is now directing a short film, Colours, with the valuable assistance of Sean Baker. To follow this talented child, and the uncommon project, it’s right there: @thebrooklynnkimberley.
Brooklynn is an example among many others. We can easily imagine that those child stars are not born with a natural gift for brand management and communication. They often have their parents, or managers, behind them, guiding them. But these adults can also lack respect for childhood, and the learning experience that goes with, which may endanger the identities, or privacy, of the children involved.
In Brooklynn case, this does not seem to be a problem. She looks perfectly balanced, lucky enough to have a caring family at her side. But what about the drawbacks of the practice consisting of using kid stars to promote messages, or to sell, even sexualizing some of those kids? Lucky or unlucky child stars?
As we know, social media, and especially Instagram, have disrupted many areas of our lives. Nowadays, we observe teenagers doing their own personal branding, as well as a phenomenon called the ‘Instamom’ by the New York Times in 2015, or the ‘digital mumpreneur’ by ABC News in 2018 – it is when mums use their own kids on social media to grab attention, fame.
Specialists agree that marketing the image of kids can be dangerous for their well-being, their mental health. Some of those mums, turning their children into brands, even want their kids to be just like them, to reflect their own image – it gives you goose bumps!
In her paper research dating from 2009, Jane O’Connor talks about the iconic figure of child stars, “representing a growing cultural trend which idolizes, castigates and fetishizes the image of the perfect, innocent and beautiful child”. Hopefully, research and legislation try to protect childhood, by limiting the dangers of our new online society, or the number of children’s working hours.
The protection of children also depends on us, on what we choose to share or not to share, on the ethics that we choose to have in both real life and social media, for ourselves and the others. Awaken critical thinking, plus develop education about the internet, are even more news with this digital world moving so fast - this is one of our adults' challenges.
Meanwhile, there are still plenty of super interesting, and inspiring kids around us. It’s up to you to make your own mind about them, but there is a lot in there that is positive, and which can lead to great things.