Overview: Yahoo! Celebrity interview with Hollywood Branded CEO Stacy Jones to discuss what it takes to be a celebrity mom in Hollywood who is also a brand ambassador.
Once upon a time in Hollywood, a woman had to be on a TV show or in a movie to stay in the spotlight.
Not anymore! In 2013, female celebrities can drum up just as many headlines, possibly
even more, simply by becoming a mom. First there’s the speculation about the growing baby bump, then the analysis of pregnancy fashion, the coverage of the baby shower and the birth, the baby’s first photos (usually auctioned off to the highest bidder), the observations about the post-baby body, then the quips about motherhood on the red carpet, possibly a blog about being a mommy, snaps when the celeb is out and about with the kid … The possibilities are endless and can keep the publicity train running for years.
“Having a baby is on par with winning an Oscar when it comes to the amount that it can improve a celebrity brand,” says Jo Piazza, the author of “Celebrity, Inc.: How Famous People Make Money.” “Nothing else can do what having a baby does.”
The same can’t be said for a male celebrity, of course, since the public isn’t nearly as obsessed with their relationships, fatherhood plans and what color onesie they put their child in. It’s a definite double standard, notes Alice Marwick, a communications professor at Fordham University who studies consumer culture.
“I think there are a lot of very famous male celebrities that we don’t even know very much about their personal lives, or maybe they date lots of different people,” Marwick says. “But when you look at a female celebrity … she really is judged on the success of her personal life.”
So how does a woman wring the most out of becoming a celeb mom? Here are five easy steps to follow the paths of Jessica Alba, Snooki, Kourtney Kardashian, and many more who have blazed the trail.
1. Be social.
Give fans an illusion of intimacy with you through social media; let them share your journey. Marwick points to former “Punky Brewster” star Soleil Moon Frye as someone who effectively used Twitter, even in its early days, in this way. “What she talked about with her fans and followers, it wasn’t about acting,” Marwick says. “It was really about her efforts as a parent and the relatable struggles that parents go through. Even if you have nothing in common with a woman who lives in Hollywood, who’s really thin and has designer clothes, maybe the one thing you do have in common with her is the fact that you’re both parents.”
2. Always be posting (baby pictures).
Like any proud parent, show off lots and lots of pictures of your baby. Whenever you’ve got a free moment between changing diapers (or supervising the nanny changing diapers) plop a pic on your Instagram or Twitter accounts. Remember, no moment with your child is too small or mundane.
3. Two words: farmers market.
Of all the places to be snapped, nothing suggests perfect, down-to-earth mom like gathering up tote bags of fresh kale while pushing a stroller. Jennifer Garner has lobbied for tougher laws on photographers who snap children. But she is revered as a great mom largely due to the fact that she’s often caught on film leading her girls Violet and Seraphina and her son Samuel through various farmers markets. Garner may have a thing for fresh produce but these collections of stands are, in fact, the ideal place for celeb moms to be seen: they’re family friendly, healthy, and show that even though you’re a celeb, you still take the time to shop for your kid’s dinner.
4. Don’t forget to hide the nanny!
Remember that quote about relatability? Most people don’t have nannies, so there’s no need to broadcast yours. Let people think that’s an unidentified friend or family member by your side. And best not to mention them when you’re asked about balancing work and career during interviews.
5. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate.
Piazza instructs wannabe celeb moms to start monetizing early. “Break your mommy news with a trusted celebrity news outlet and then begin negotiating for every single milestone in your mommy life,” she shares. “That starts with the first bump shots, goes through the baby shower, the exclusive announcement of the birth, the first reveal of the baby, and then the first birthday. These are all events that a celebrity can be paid between $5,000 and $100,000 for depending on the baby.”
TMZ reported that Alba sold Honor’s first photos to OK! magazine for $1.5 million — not a bad chunk of change!
And the haggling doesn’t stop then.
Stacy Jones, the CEO of marketing company Hollywood Branded Inc., explains that women control most of the household budget, and as a result plenty of companies are willing to pay out big bucks for a spokeswoman that can influence non-famous moms. “New partnership opportunities exist from everything from diapers to clothing lines to food products to toys, retail stores, automotive manufacturers, theme parks, family vacations, and more,” Jones says. “The sky is the limit!”
Better yet, take a cue from Alba, mother of Honor and Haven, and start a mommy-related business. The “Little Fockers” actress co-founded the Honest Company of nontoxic baby and household products, just like the former “Punky Brewster” opened a store (now online only) that sells children’s clothing, The Little Seed.
“In that case,” Marwick says, “you’re literally capitalizing on the fact that you’re a mom by saying this is going to be the cornerstone of a business I’m building … The hook there that makes it legitimate for her to have a business like this is the fact that she is a mom and she’s concerned about her kids. It’s a very clever public relations strategy, but it doesn’t necessarily hang together.”
Wait, you mean celebrity moms don’t necessarily know best?