With 35.4 million followers on Instagram, 34.6 million on Twitter, 37,846,531 likes on Facebook (numbers always increasing) plus other social media platforms like YouTube and Google+, Demi Lovato has gone from child Disney star, to a young adult who is making serious waves in the music industry. I really didn't think I would be picking her as a celebrity to focus on for this project, and I was actually surprised by the amount of followers she has on social media.
In my opinion, Demi Lovato has had a fairly interesting career. She was a child actress and musician who suffers from meant health issues, eating disorders and drug abuse. After what seemed like a form of a mental break down, she went into treatment, and has made a very impressive come back.
I may have been surprised by the amount of followers she has on Instagram, but I originally did not take into consideration that she grew up right along with the millennials who often dominate social media. Based on her account, she speaks openly about body confidence, personal acceptance, politics, and she is a very large advocate for mental health awareness.
#NMM is a hashtag that Demi uses often in her selfies, which stands for No Makeup Monday. She is often encouraging people to not be afraid to show who they are without make-up, and aims to inspire confidence. But she's also selling, and it's working. Demi has her own brand of skin care products, and her willingness to post selfies of herself with no make up caused a viral storm, has been extremely effective in promoting her products, and getting others to post their own #nmm selfies. One selfie started an entire campaign, which doubled as both a marketing too, and a way to spread confidence in one's own skin.
It's incredibly difficult to live in North America and not be a least a little bit aware of what is happening with the American Election. Celebrities are jumping in everywhere to throw their support behind a candidate, and Demi is one of them. It doesn't matter if fans agree with her political stance or not, it gets people talking. Politicians are using famous faces to spread their message, which puts people like Demi in a position of power to encourage young people to get out and exercise their right to vote, no matter who it may be. With low turn out to the polls in recent history, and an opponent like Donald Trump, every encouragement and reason to go to the polls is needed, and many say endorsements can make a huge impact. In seconds Demi can reach millions of people, many who are likely first time voters, and deliver a message of why it is important to vote.
Continuing along with celebrity endorsements, Demi posted a series of pictures with family at a Wolf Sanctuary, some of which included direct links to the Sanctuary's website. These images show a loving, adorable side to wolves that would hopefully make some people think twice about harming these creatures, or at least make them wonder why wolves may need a sanctuary. Not long after the pictures were posted, there were many articles posted about her trip, most of which was focused on her partners birthday, but did bring attention to the sanctuary as well, all because someone with a famous face posted a selfie. I have no doubt that may of Demi's followers took the time to go the website of the sanctuary that inspired one of their idols to post so many photos.
She may not be a Kardashian, but Demi has been in the public eye for most of her life, and has had her personal lows splashed all across the media. She doesn't always appear put together, perfect and glam (though with a personal team all around her, she still looks gorgeous even without makeup). But that's probably part of the appeal. We have no idea how many pictures Demi takes before she chooses a #nmm photo, or how many she takes before she posts a selfie looking all done up. Either way, she sells. Instead of appearing the have the perfect life, she can be seen as an inspiration that perfect isn't necessary, and for some people that's a lot more appealing than constantly trying to reach what isn't possible.
Demi is just like the rest of us who goes to the gym and posts a selfie about it! If the rest of us had personal trainers, nutritionists, and somehow always an empty gym. Fitness Inspiration is a big trend on social media. Posting motivation, gym selfies, dietary photos, etc. are all part of a fitness culture online. On a more serious side, Demi has spoken about how a large part of her mental health recovery is connected to remaining physically healthy. It may not state outright in the captain, but this photo does show she appears maintains her workouts, appears to be keeping herself on track and takes her health seriously and remains happy (there seems to be a small smile on her face.) It's both vulnerability, and strength. She wants the world to see that she is strong and healthy and that she embraces who she is.
A celebrities life is all about performing. What you choose to put out to the world can make or break you. The image of Demi below caused a lot of outrage with her fans. Living in the spotlights means they are constantly performing, and
"In Goffman’s perspective, the individual performs, in his everyday life, a role in front of an audience. As with James’ social groups, the audiences vary; the individual would play a different role, according to the attributes of the public his performance is targeted at. Thus, Goffman describes the daily processes of self-presentation as theatrical acting in which individuals are engaged." (Miroiu, 2014)
Most of us live our lives rather anonymously, typically choosing what we make available to the public, and even then most people will not pay us much attention. Celebrities are required to play this game on a totally different level. Selective self-presentation is key to their careers. Some celebrities choose to only show the glam, 'perfect' side of their lives, while others try to show a more 'real' look, such as posting selfies without makeup, posting photos that talk about the importance of exercise healthy living, or encouraging discussions on important issues. Somehow their lives still manage to look 'perfect' though. Because despite being more 'open' it is all still very much controlled.
Selfie allow people a window into the lives of their favorite celebrities. Celebrities can always cancel their accounts and choose to live a more private life, but the general idea behind the selfie is not likely to go away. It's a selected look, each photo has some sort of meaning behind it, something the poster wants viewers to see. Even the smallest thing can be a big deal for fans of celebrities. Photos can be easy to read into, people can take it too far, but everyone loves a look into the lives of 'elite.' Selfies may evolve (to snapchats, vines, videos, etc.) , but people are always going to want more, not less.
Alcindor, A. (2016). Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, and Famous Faces Who Back Them . Nytimes.com. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/02/09/us/politics/hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders-celebrities.html?_r=0
Araullo, E. (2016). Demi Lovato's Twitter Goes Viral As Singer Posts Makeup-Free Photo; 'Devonne' Line Promoted! Korea Portal. Retrieved from: http://en.koreaportal.com/articles/12612/20160120/demi-lovato-twitter.htm