’OG Nepo Baby' Jamie Lee Curtis Shares Why The Nepo Baby Discourse Is Hurtful

Ah, nepotism. It’s a practice that has been around for thousands of years and creeped into just about every industry, including Hollywood. As we look around the landscape of burgeoning actors these days, with the likes of John David Washington, Maya Hawke, Dakota Johnson and Zoë Kravitz among them, there’s something of a nepo-baby boom, and it has been discussed a lot lately to a viral level. Amidst all the conversation, ‘OG Nepo Baby’ Jamie Lee Curtis is sharing her thoughts on the whole thing. 

Jamie Lee Curtis is the daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, both of whom were major movie stars, most prominently in the ‘50s and ‘60s. The actress shared these thoughts on Friday on being a nepo baby: 

I have been a professional actress since I was 19 years old so that makes me an OG Nepo Baby. I've never understood, nor will I, what qualities got me hired that day, but since my first two lines on Quincy as a contract player at Universal Studios to this last spectacular creative year some 44 years later, there's not a day in my professional life that goes by without my being reminded that I am the daughter of movie stars. The current conversation about nepo babies is just designed to try to diminish and denigrate and hurt.

Throughout her career Jamie Lee Curtis’ best movies have included the 1994 action comedy True Lies, A Fish Called Wanda, the Halloween franchise, which she just concluded this year, along with recent favorites like Knives Out and the 2022 movie release Everything, Everywhere All At Once. As the actress wrote, she’s been a working actress for nearly 50 years and she’s constantly aware of being the daughter of actors. She continued: 

For the record I have navigated 44 years with the advantages my associated and reflected fame brought me, I don't pretend there aren't any, that try to tell me that I have no value on my own. It's curious how we immediately make assumptions and snide remarks that someone related to someone else who is famous in their field for their art, would somehow have no talent whatsoever. I have come to learn that is simply not true. I have suited up and shown up for all different kinds of work with thousands of thousands of people and every day I've tried to bring integrity and professionalism and love and community and art to my work. I am not alone. There are many of us. Dedicated to our craft. Proud of our lineage. Strong in our belief in our right to exist.

From Jamie Lee Curtis’ standpoint, the current nepo baby conversation has been one seeking to “hurt” people and bring them down. Speaking from her own experience, she recognizes she’s had advantages, but has always been dedicated to her craft and rejected opinions that nepo babies are without talent. She also shared her belief that her and other actors with backgrounds like hers have the “right to exist” amidst the ongoing discourse. Check out the complete Instagram post below: 

Recent names that have spoken to their status as a nepo baby include Lily-Rose Depp, daughter of Johnny Depp and French model Vanessa Paradis, who found the label reductive and was slammed by an Italian model for her words. Lily Collins, who is the daughter of Phil Collins, defended her status as a nepo baby, saying being an actor is “very competitive” no matter what, even with her roots. 

Gwyneth Paltrow, daughter of Blythe Danner and filmmaker Bruce Paltrow, who is from a previous generation of nepo babies, has previously said that she felt like she actually had to “work twice as hard and be twice as good” thanks to having a famous parent. While these actors certainly have doors open for them that people without connections to Hollywood wouldn’t, Jamie Lee Curtis’ final words to her recent social media post encompasses the heart of her message amidst the nepo baby discourse: “BE KIND.” 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.