Look up “role model child actors” Try it.
Most likely, the search engine will read “No result.”
Okay so that probably won’t be the case, my goal here is not to make Google look like a fool. My point is: The words “role model” and “child actors” are complete contradictions of one another now.
This is proven again and again by the countless distasteful actions of the young stars that had their first sweet glimpse of fame on Disney channel. They were cute, innocent — the type of friends you would proudly bring home and introduce to your parents.
Now I’m forced to sigh with disappointment every time a trashy video or degrading headline emerges.
Take Miley Cyrus. Miley lived a double life as Hannah Montana on her hit show back in the day, maybe that made her think it was okay to switch personalities as she pleased. One day, she was just a girl from Nashville with a “dream and a cardigan.” The next, she’s showing the world that she “can’t be tamed” with scandalous music videos and disgusting live performances.
Most recently, I learned about Zac Efron. Zac was recently released from rehab for drug addiction. (Hear that? That’s the sound of my heart breaking). Although it’s great that he sought out the help he needed, my perception of him has changed, and that can’t be taken back.
There are many more examples. Britney Spears. Selena Gomez. Demi Lovato. So many celebrities have faced drastic life changes as they have grown up under public scrutiny — some worse than others, but appalling nonetheless.
So why is this happening? Not just as an isolated case, but repeatedly?
1. These actors may have been negatively affected by achieving stardom at such a young age.
2. They may simply be trying to further their careers by showing that they can perform more adult roles.
3. They grew up.
I guess no matter how much we try to blame the early spotlight or hyper-sexual entertainment industry, the fact of the matter is that all the bad choices made by these Disney grads are their own — they have grown up into adults.
So no matter how much we sit back, condemn, and wish for the crazy behavior to end — it probably won’t. Although sometimes they aren’t the most inspirational role models, they have a right to make their own choices and live their lives.
Growing up itself is difficult, but in Hollywood it’s even harder. Every little mistake is magnified for the whole world to see. Instead of just protective parents wishing for their kids to stay innocent forever, celebrities also have to go against nostalgic fans, like me, who loved the “olden days.” They are expected to act like role models when they made the decision to be one probably at age 14.
If only those details were mentioned in the job description…
While I will continue to be disappointed every time another inappropriate video or rehab admittance is announced, I realize that as individuals Miley Cyrus and Zac Efron have no responsibility to me. They can be crazy, weird, intellectual, humorous, philanthropic, or however they please. The fact that they themselves are making the decisions to act a certain way show that they are not the same, beloved child actors they once were.