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Idol or Inspiration?

The Difference Between a Superstar and Role Model

It is always easy to admire that actor with the beautiful eyes, or that singer with the amazing voice; but is that celebrity truly role-model material, or just a famous figure? With constant access to social media and the entertainment industry, it can be harder than ever to distinguish someone who will inspire you from someone who will just change you.

“It is really easy to be completely obsessed with a singer or actor,” freshman Jordan Smith said. “A few years ago we had the super-fans for Justin Bieber or One Direction, which if you think about the level of dedication they had, is really unhealthy. Fans always feel pressure to be like who they look up to, whether that is real or not.”

The key difference between an idol and an inspiration is their level of assistance towards a goal; someone who influences people in a positive way, or helps someone to reach what they strive for, is most likely model material.

“A role model is what helps you towards a goal,” Smith said. “Looking up to someone who is just pretty or popular can’t help you with that, even though that’s what most people look up to today.”

Despite its obvious importance, the manifestation of a proper role model is seen as unimportant or trivial, and the topic is often swept under the rug.

“It’s scary how blind people are about it,” Smith said. “I was talking to some friends last week and one of them said their role model was an actress. I was really surprised, because that actress has never inspired my friend to do anything, or even done something good herself, but now my friend thinks watching movies and buying posters makes her someone to look up to.”

Not only can a true role model guide your perspective down a more realistic road, but it can also lead to the discovery of interests that would have been hidden before.

“My role model is definitely my dad, because he has gone through so many sacrifices, including beating cancer,” Smith said. “He had lung cancer when he was young, but when he got better he could continue playing basketball in college. That’s actually why I play basketball now.”

Whether it is uncovering an interest, or simply helping improve a present one, role models are an important addition towards any goal. So next time that celebrity you admire makes an appearance, ask yourself the question – are they really role model material?

 

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