why the acting world is crueller than ever

“In the UK, nepotism is definitely getting worse,” says Nicole*, a non-binary actor of Filipino descent. “The perception is that when it comes to casting, people say, ‘Oh, well, they’re such and such a boy, they grew up on sets, they must be good. And their parents will support the project.’

Sarah*, the “secret nepo baby” of a famous British actor who goes by a different last name, tells me she was so afraid of the stigma that she never accepted her father’s help. “Morally, I never felt like it was right, so I never used the contacts,” she says. “Although I know if I got a big job I would still be called a fake baby.”

Sarah – who currently juggles several hospitality jobs while auditioning – agrees that nepotism is “extremely prevalent”, but she doesn’t think it will secure a career. “You don’t get a job if you sh—. But it’s hard when you go through auditions only to find out that Lily Rose Depp got the job and you didn’t even know she was up for it.

The nepotism problem starts, says Yasmin*, a Guildhall graduate, in drama schools, which rely on well-known surnames to help with funding. “There’s a sense of, let’s bring in who can be bankable in four years, who can add to our celebrity alumni,” says Nicole, citing a successful British actress with a celebrity dad who told them she was by everyone accepted. six drama schools she applied to, which was “unheard of”.

Such connections can also be useful when it comes to securing an agent. Yasmin remembers being clearly unimpressed when she saw Lily James (who has an acting background) on a show when she was in her freshman year. “We all saw her think, ‘My God, if that’s what we’re aiming for, then we might as well all quit.’

While some “fake babies” are naturally talented and it seems unfair to blame a parent for supporting their child, the actors I speak to are concerned that the industry relies on famous surnames to get smaller productions off the ground. when time and money are scarce. narrow.