On 15 August 2022, TikToker Daniel Mac posted a new video as part of his highly popular ‘What do you do for a living?’ series—where the content creator asks that particular question to random individuals driving past him in expensive cars. Though Mac often sees his clips trending on the video-sharing app, he probably never expected the one he had filmed that day to blow up so significantly.
Featuring newly-wed Brooklyn Beckham—son of professional footballer, David, and former Spice Girls member and fashion designer, Victoria—the video caught the 23-year-old driving a McLaren P1 around Malibu, where he currently lives with his heiress wife and actress, Nicola Peltz. As always, Mac politely asked his ‘test subject’ what he does for a living, probably expecting Beckham to mention his two equally famous (and rich) parents.
And yet, surprise, surprise, it seems the nepotism baby was too embarrassed to admit this and instead decided to go for his latest hobby. “I’m a chef,” Beckham answered, to which Mac replied, “Are you like the best chef in the world?”
It doesn’t take a genius to decipher what the content creator aimed to do with this follow-up question—he was practically screaming “Stop bullshitting me, cooking pasta bolognese for your wife doesn’t make you a chef. Just say you’re a nepo baby and let’s move on.”
Alas, Beckham didn’t spot the hidden message and carried on with his half-baked ‘professional’ advice, telling all aspiring chefs to “just follow your passion, whatever makes you happy—keep doing it.”
Ever since the clip was posted on the app on 15 August 2022, it has racked up more than 5.4 million views and 309,000 likes. In the comments section, users tore Beckham to shreds, with one writing, “C.H.E.F – Child (of) Handsome Ex-Footballer” and another one joking, “‘What do you do for a living?’ ‘My parents are rich so I just kinda vibe’.”
While it’s almost impossible to live in this day and age without coming across a nepotism baby—be that in a movie, a red carpet, a runway or simply the streets of Malibu—there was something exasperating about Beckham’s blatant disregard of what was expected of him in this specific situation. His lack of self-awareness when it comes to his privilege made him an unlikeable nepo baby in no time, which brings us to model, socialite and fellow nepo baby, Hailey Bieber.
In a recent episode of the Shameless podcast, hosts Michelle Andrews and Zara McDonald discussed the entire controversy and compared Beckham’s appeal with Bieber’s. Though it should be noted that Justin Bieber’s wife is not the most beloved celebrity online, as the daughter of Stephen Baldwin and niece of Alec, she’s somehow managed to keep her privilege ‘in check’.
In a clip of the podcast shared on TikTok, Andrews suggested how Beckham could have avoided the mess he’s now in: “What would have made me think ‘F*ck Brooklyn Beckham is a legend’ is if […] he turned and said, ‘I’m the son of Victoria Beckham.’ That would be epic.”
Meanwhile, in July, Bieber sat down with—you guessed it—another nepo baby, Gwyneth Paltrow, for an episode of her YouTube series Who’s in My Bathroom? The two discussed their experience as children of celebrities who are following in the (well-trodden) footsteps of their parents and pursuing careers in the spotlight. Unfortunately for the Goop founder, stating that her nepotism is not necessarily a privilege but more a disadvantage while blending pitted dates, almond butter, a handful of fresh mint, unsweetened hemp milk, and a zhuzh of chocolate chips into smoothies didn’t paint her in the best light either.
But boy did it put Bieber’s self-awareness in contrast… and Maya Hawke’s… and Maude Apatow’s. Being wealthy and having famous parents is all well and good—kids don’t have a say in what family they’re born into—as long as it is regularly acknowledged.
It is surprisingly rare for someone in the public eye to admit, even briefly, that their success stems from who they are related to. It’s even worse when said nepo baby ignores it time and time again—remember when Beckham released one of the dullest photography collections ever?
Sure, it is natural that actors, watching their mother and father accumulate great wealth and fly around the world, would gravitate towards the industry. Of course, some children of musicians want to be in the spotlight too. More often than not, nepotism gets you through the door, but it rarely allows you to stay if you aren’t capable of proving yourself and don’t possess the necessary charisma and skills. Unfortunately however, there are a few exceptions. Some parents are just that influential.
Nepotism is obviously not going anywhere, and while that may be a hard pill to swallow for some of us, maybe we should look at the one thing we can have an impact on: holding nepo babies who don’t acknowledge their privilege accountable and calling them out on it. Once that’s done, they can get on with showing the world that they are, nevertheless, still deserving of their spot in the room. For some at least…