Nepo baby: What’s the story behind this buzzword?

December 22, 2022 - 1:23 PM
Photo shows some known personalities in showbiz and politics ( Gazette/Released; PCOO/Released; Anabelle Rama/Instagram; / Kat Leandicho, Philstar File; Raymond Gutierez/Instagram; Richard Gutierez/Instagram; Ruffa Gutierez/Instagram; Robin Padilla/Facebook)

The term “Nepo baby” has been gaining buzz online after New York Magazine used it for its cover story.

Some of the Hollywood personalities featured on the magazine cover titled “She Has Her Mother’s Eyes. And Agent. Extremely overanalysing Hollywood’s nepo-baby boom” are Dakota Johnson, Jack Quaid, Zoë Kravitz, Ben Platt, Maya Hawke and Lily Rose-Depp.

What these celebrities have in common are their superstar parents.

A nepo baby is the child of influential personalities who uses their parents’ influence to get a step ahead in their careers.

“A nepo baby is physical proof that meritocracy is a lie,” journalist Nate Jones wrote in an article published by New York Magazine’s entertainment and culture outlet Vulture.


What’s the story behind this buzzword?

Nepo baby is a short term for “nepotism baby.” 

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines nepotism as “favoritism (as in appointment to a job) based on kinship.” 

The origin of the word can be traced to the papacy of Sixtus IV from 1471 to 1484. 

Under his rule, he granted special favors to his relatives, especially his nephews. 

This practice was passed on by other popes who came after him, which was recorded in the book “Il Nepotismo di Roma” by Gregorio Leti.

The book title’s English translation is “The History of the Popes’ Nephews.”

Since its publication, people started to use the word nepotism to refer to an action that gives special favor to any family member related to powerful people.

Nepo babies: Philippine edition

After the release of the New York Magazine issue, some Filipinos said that the Philippines is no different from Hollywood. 

“International people are so obsessed with nepo babies until they found out a dynasty of actors and actresses here in the Philippines like,” a social media user said

“Girl if the Philippines cancelled all the nepo babies in our entire entertainment industry, halos wala na atang matitira na mga artista sa TV. Like lowkey, we worship them without us knowing,” a Twitter user noted

Online users also cited some of the clans in the Philippine show business such as the MuhlachsPadillas, Mesa-Gil, and Gutierrezes

“The Barretos, the Aunors, Gutierrez, the Aquinos, Eigenmans etc. Ang daming big ass celebrity families dito. Nepo babies are a common thing sa atin kaloka,” a Twitter user said

Nepo babies can also be spotted in government posts, according to some social media users.

“Philippine Politics is a mega nepo baby daycare,” a Twitter user said

“Nothing compared to the nepo babies of Philippine politics,” a social media user tweeted

Amid the nepo baby discussion online, journalist Xave Gregorio shared a chart by Todd Cabrera Lucero that traces the lineages of Philippine presidents. 

iMPACT Leadership communications director Ronald Gem Celestial also named President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.) and Sara Duterte (daughter of former president Rodrigo Duterte) as nepo babies.  

Other social media users also cited how celebrity clans and political dynasties are at a crossroads. 

“We also have a celebrity-to-politician pipeline,” a Twitter user said

“The third variety: those families/individuals na both nasa showbiz at politics,” a social media user wrote

RELATED: Husband-wife, parents-children dynasties dot 19th Congress