Now that America’s Dad, Tom Hanks, has come out in defense of famous children working in Hollywood, you clearly aren’t anybody in town if you aren’t a so-called “nepo baby.”
Conversation about nepotism in entertainment reached a fever pitch last month after New York magazine published a thorough examination of the not-exactly-new phenomenon. (Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach…nepo baby? Pliny the Younger? We could go on.)
Some celebs have offered measured pushback to the criticism. Jamie Lee Curtis has always been upfront about how producers realized casting the daughter of Janet Leigh as Laurie Strode in Halloween just made sense. But she, the self-described “OG nepo baby,” recently wrote that to be still reminded of this after decades of work was something “designed to try to diminish and denigrate and hurt.” Allison Williams recently said, “there’s no conversation about my career without talking about the ways in which I have been fortunate,” maturely and confidently adding, “if you trust your own skill, I think it becomes very simple to acknowledge.”
But now in struts Hailey Bieber, wife of Justin Bieber, and daughter of Stephen Baldwin, and therefore niece of Alec Baldwin. The 26-year-old model and television host, who launched a skin care line last year, was spotted in a parking facility in Los Angeles wearing low-rise jeans and a T-shirt emblazoned with the now very trendy phrase.
Last year, Bieber called media scrutiny “a disgusting thing.” She also got into a bit of a kerfuffle when she revealed that Selena Gomez stans still send her hateful comments. (Gomez and Justin Bieber were dating years ago, in case you may have forgotten.) Also, the launch of her skincare products weren’t as silky smooth as one might like—it involved a lawsuit over trademarks (which was eventually dismissed.)
There’s celebrity on her mother’s side, too. Bieber’s maternal grandfather is the 80-year-old Brazilian songwriter, musician, and producer Eumir Deodato, genre-blending Grammy-winner. As a producer or arranger, he has worked with a number of jazz and pop hit-makers, including Astrud Gilberto, Roberta Flack, Bjork, and even Frank Sinatra. He has produced a number of Kool & the Gang records, including “Celebration.” Remember that the next time a D.J. pulls that old war horse at a wedding, and score trivia points by saying, “hey, Hailey Bieber’s grandpa helped put this track together!”
In 1974, Deodato scored his biggest hit (and won the Best Pop Instrumental Grammy) for the international smash that disco-fied Richard Strauss’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” commonly known as the “Theme from 2001” (later used in the Hal Ashby-Peter Sellers film Being There.) The track went to #2 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 (the ’70s!) and featured a slew of jazz luminaries like Ron Carter, Airto Moreira, Stanley Clarke, Billy Cobham, and Ray Barretto. The jam-rock band Phish commonly plays the Deodato arrangement in concert, most recently this past New Year’s Eve at Madison Square Garden.