Actors and singers have always made their living in the public eye, famous for their work but lovable because of the personas they carefully craft. Today, thanks to the ever-present influence of social media, it's both harder and easier than ever for famous entertainers to create their own public personas. Privacy is no longer golden. Even the most high-profile A-listers choose to share intimate moments with millions of followers in an effort to stay (or appear) accessible, or to give their fans access to the truth behind the tabloid covers. Unfortunately, some of these moments also include photos or references that glamorize drinking and drugs.
In general, celebrity accounts aren't any more scandalous than usual. Gourmet breakfast snapshots, edited selfies, and private plane pictures are just the celebrity version of photos that our own friends and family post every day. However, with so many children and teenagers now using social media, these posts help to create a culture of excess and luxury that influences people's choices.
This influence is why celebrities receive money in exchange for promoting or mentioning products online. Their posts make clothes, food, and vacation spots more appealing, but when the products in their pictures are drugs and alcohol, the same effect is possible. Though substance use is always a personal decision, some people may have tunnel vision that makes other options look much less attractive than the ones their favorite stars endorse.
A handful of celebrities — 15 to be specific — dominate the Instagram landscape with more than 10 million followers each. This list is limited almost exclusively to pop stars and reality stars, with one soccer player for good measure. The recording artists include Justin Bieber, Beyonce, Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, and Katy Perry. Five different Kardashians round out the rest of the top 15, including Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney Kardashian, as well as their half-sisters, Kendall and Kylie Jenner.
Surprisingly, most of these celebrity accounts are actually more wholesome than the stars' music videos, lyrics, and tabloid headlines. While Rihanna and Miley Cyrus sometimes post Instagram shots with blunts in their mouths or bongs in the background, marijuana references have actually declined since Instagram's creation in 2011, with more celebrities mentioning alcohol than any other substance.
For example, 2.5% of Nicki Minaj's posts include pictures of alcohol, while 1.4% of Rihanna's posts include alcohol, marijuana, or both. 1% of Khloe and Kim Kardashian's pictures include alcohol, along with 0.5% of their sister Kendall's pictures. These figures aren't completely inconsequential, but they do reflect much more moderation and legal behavior than anything else.
Smartphone screens are windows into the lives of the rich and famous, and millions of people go window-shopping every day. That doesn't mean they have to repeat the behaviors they observe. Indulging in the products they are paid to endorse doesn't make you a pop star or an instant Kardashian, As always, your substance use behavior is your choice.
If you want to stop using substances, you have the power to make that choice for yourself. Substance use is a highly personal choice and one that may change over time. If you are looking to change your substance use habit and want to get help, call one of our Guest Services Consultants to help you decide if Saint Jude Retreats is right for you.
Sources: http://www.addiction-treatment.com/in-depth/instagram-intoxicated/, http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2014/12/instagram-purge-justin-bieber-kim-kardashian