Justin Bieber has opened up about the struggles he’s faced growing up in the public eye and how, with love and support, he’s changing for the better. Whether you’re a Belieber or not, this is something we all need to read – because if you really think about it, we’re all growing up in the public eye too.
Sharing the message on Instagram, the superstar writes:
“You see, I have a lot of money, clothes, cars, accolades, achievements, awards and I was still unfulfilled. Have u noticed the statistics of child stars and the outcome of their life? There is an insane pressure and responsibility put on a child who’s brain, emotions, frontal lobes (decision making) aren’t developed yet….when you add the pressure of stardom, it does something to you that is quite unexplainable.”
He continues: “By 20, I made every bad decision you could have thought of and went from one of the most loved and adored people in the world to the most ridiculed, judged and hated person in the world!”
Those bad decisions included drug use, wild behaviour and turning on the people he loves. He explains that he didn’t have the maturity to deal with so many of the challenges thrown his way. And he emphasises that he’s one of the “fortunate” ones, because he’s surrounded by a good support network (like wife Hailey Baldwin) which has been so important in getting him back on the right track.
He ends the post with some words of advice for his millions of fans: “when the odds are against you, keep fighting” and, my favourite, “be kind today.”
Of course, the media is running with the drug use angle because, well, that sells. But there’s so much more to it.
What Justin Bieber has done here is painted a very raw picture of the realities of sudden fame. Of not being able to cope. Of getting through it all with help from people who love you. Of coming out the other side and maybe, just maybe, being okay. It’s easy to dismiss the post as something unique to child stars but it’s not.
We live in an age of Insta-fame and YouTube stars and Tik Tok-ers and Tweeters. Literally anyone can become famous overnight. Whether you want to or not.
You could throw an egg at a politician à la Will Connolly and suddenly the whole world knows you’re name. Suddenly, people are either trolling you online for inciting violence against politicians or throwing money and gifts your way. And every news channel in the country wants an interview.
You could be Sophie Perry, the daughter of late actor Luke Perry, suddenly thrust into the spotlight while building preschools for underprivileged kids in Malawi and still ridiculously judged for every little thing you do. In fact, it got so bad for Sophie, she had to write a post reminding everyone to back off:
“Since my dad died I have received a lot of attention online. And most of it has been positive but of course, some people just can’t be nice. And I’m here to say that I did not ask for this attention, I did not ask to be thrown into some virtual spotlight.”
You could be a little girl in a home video one day, and the “side-eye meme girl” the next, shared millions of times around the world (and as it turns out, on the lift doors at Google HQ!).
You could be a little boy, lovingly photographed by dad one day, and the subject of a bad fathering meme the next.
And remember back in 2012 when it felt like the entire planet was on the lookout for Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony and his Lords Resistance Army? The video went viral so quickly, generating both intense interest and intense criticism, that director Jason Russell suffered a mental breakdown (and was arrested for screaming and walking naked on the streets of San Diego.)
Add to this the millions of identities that are shooting to stardom every day through the internet – some are adults blogging about food, clothes or beauty. Some are kids who are dancing or singing or unwrapping toys on YouTube. Some are just ordinary people, like you and me, not expecting any kind of attention.
No one is immune, as Justin Bieber puts it, from the “huge ups and downs that come with being an entertainer.”
And while the level of scrutiny may not be as extreme as what Justin has experienced, this roller coaster ride of sudden fame isn’t just reserved for the Hollywood stars or the international pop sensations anymore, is it?
Read Justin’s full post below:
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