Some Advice for the Young Starlets: Go to School
By Jo Piazza Posted Mar 7th 2010 01:00PM
Hello, Kristen Stewart, Vanessa Hudgens, Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez. You girls are adorable and we love all of you. We love all of you so much and think each of you have so much talent that we want to give you some advice. Here it is: Your star may be rising right now and you might be on top of the world, but you shouldn't underestimate the value of heading off to college and spending some you time growing up and making sure your head is screwed on straight.
Sure, we know L.A. is tons of fun, and it seems like the movie roles and all those checks will never stop rolling in, but the hard truth is, it is hard work to transition from teen starlet into serious adult actress and not everyone makes it. Plus, Hollywood and its excesses represent danger for someone so young with the world at their fingertips.
"For many young actors and actresses in Hollywood, there is a great temptation to go out and party because they are on everybody's list," explains HollywoodLife.com Editor-in-Chief Bonnie Fuller. "They're invited to everything and treated to everything. It's very tempting and it is a distraction from work. If you go to college, you learn to buckle down and you learn discipline. You have to get up the next day."
As for the opportunity cost of going to college (meaning the income lost during those four years spent studying), our number crunching guru, Jennifer Portland, founder and CEO of ExcelRainman, found that beloved box office stars Natalie Portman (Harvard), Julia Stiles (Columbia) and Anne Hathaway (Vassar and NYU) actually grossed more at the box office while in college than child and teen stars Hillary Duff and Lindsay Lohan made in the years they respectively would have been in school. These women were actually more useful to the studios while they were in school. There is something to be said for having a lot on your plate. What's that about idle hands and the devil again?
That's irrespective of the cautionary tale that is Miss Lohan, who bandied about the idea of going to NYU before joining Tara Reid and Paris Hilton on a tirade of partying, drinking and leaving their underwear at home. We're now seeing how well that worked out for her. Trust us, you would much rather be in a dorm than a room at rehab center.
"Like it or not, celebrity careers don't last forever. Going to college is a long term investment in yourself and your career that may not pay off right away. But it's an approach that creates long term career value," explains journalist Anna Bernasek, author of the new book, 'The Economics of Integrity.'
And even if the four of you do survive the transition into serious grown-up lady star (which we hope you do!) having a college degree -- or even just a couple of years of studying under your belt, like Jessica Biel, who spent several semesters at Tufts -- makes people take you more seriously as an actress and as a person.
"Education is linked to credibility. They cannot be accused of being a bubble headed actress if they have a legitimate degree," says psychologist and 'Cult of Celebrity' author Cooper Lawrence. "Lots of celebs go to Ivy League schools or study really esoteric subjects for the purpose of legitimizing their success. You can't resent someone or begrudge them their success when they at least got an education."
So take some time, study medieval English lit and find yourself in academia. Your check book and your liver will ultimately thank you for it.
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