The Great Role Model Debate: How Celebs Feel About the Label

Rihanna, Cardi B and more sound off

01 of 15

RIHANNA

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"That title was put on me when I was just finding my way, making mistakes in front of the world. I didn’t think it was fair," the singer told Vogue in 2018. "Now I understand the concept, but at that time I was the same age as the girls who were looking up to me. And that’s a really hard place to be in as a teenager."

02 of 15

CARDI B

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"I realized, after Halloween, a lot of little girls, they be looking up to me," the rapper said in an Instagram video. "They love me, and I’m thinking to myself, like, 'Yo, I really need to be a better example.' But I be trying to be a better example. I try to be more PG-13, less rated R … I'm going to change for you little girls because I dead-ass love you."

03 of 15

ZENDAYA

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"For me, personally, I've chosen to accept and take on that role model, I guess you can say 'title.' You can either choose to look at it as a pressure or something bad, or you can choose to look at it as a gift," the Spider-Man: Homecoming star said while stopping by Sway's Universe. "I think it's a gift that parents trust me with their kids. If you turn on the TV and you allow your kids to watch me, that's letting me into their life at like the most important point of their life. It's when they're growing up and learning who to become."

04 of 15

EMMA WATSON

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"When people call me a role model it puts the fear of God into me because I feel like I'm destined to fail," the Beauty and the Beast actress told Interview.

05 of 15

ARIEL WINTER

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"I love the term, it's great. But I think people put too much pressure on people to be perfect and to portray that image, when really what we should be aspiring to is having role models that should be themselves because people make mistakes," the Dog Years star told reporters at the film’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. "They are human, and I think that's really important. That's what I aim to be is just me."

06 of 15

DEMI LOVATO

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"I had a lot of people that I looked up to when I was younger that weren't the best role models, so for me, it's a responsibility to hold myself accountable and to be that inspiration for young girls and even people who are older than me," the singer told Entertainment Tonight, adding, "I have a little sister and I wouldn't want her looking up to other people who don't necessarily use their voices for good."

07 of 15

JENNIFER LAWRENCE

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"It's definitely something I'm aware of but I haven't necessarily changed," Lawrence said at The Hunger Games premiere. "I wasn't that bad of a role model in the first place but it's something I'm aware of, yes."

08 of 15

TAYLOR SWIFT

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"There's room for role models who make mistakes," she confessed to Glamour U.K., opening up about the pressures to be a perfect role model. "There's clearly room for role models who are made fun of at award shows, not that I necessarily enjoy being poked fun at! But that's gonna happen to them too."

She continued: "And if I can say, 'Yeah, I've taken a few hits over the years and I'm still going, I'm still happy,' maybe that's an example. It's not just about standing on top of the mountain with the wind blowing in your hair, looking fabulous."

09 of 15

KYLIE JENNER

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"I never feel pressure to be a good role model," she admitted to Fault in 2015. "I always try to do my best to inspire people to be good and do the right thing, but I just can't live my life always trying to be a good role model."

10 of 15

MILEY CYRUS

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"Lately, I've been talking a lot about my being gender-fluid and gender-neutral. And some people snarl at that," she shared in a 2015 interview with Marie Claire. "They want to judge me. People need more conventional role models, I guess. But I just don't care to be that person."

11 of 15

BELLA THORNE

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"I don't like to look at myself as a role model because when you're trying to constantly do the right thing you end up making other people happy and not yourself," the Famous in Love star told InStyle. "I used to think 'Oh, I'm a role model, I need to look like this and do this and be this,' and I wasn't who I wanted to be."

12 of 15

SELENA GOMEZ

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"I never really said I want to be a role model. But then when it happened I was so down for it," Gomez said on her E! Entertainment Special: Selena Gomez. "I'm human, I'm not perfect. I make mistakes all the time, but I guess my job is to keep those mistakes to myself, which I'm already fine doing and just try to be the best I can be for those kids."

13 of 15

PERRIE EDWARDS

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"I think being named role models kind of happened just naturally, we never really asked for it," Edwards told Fault magazine of being looked up to by fans, along with her Little Mix bandmates. "Which is lovely, I love the fact that girls look up to us and we empower people and inspire them."

However, the singer did add that the living up to the label is unrealistic: "But obviously, we're young girls and we're going to do silly things sometimes that can kind of put pressure on us, but we're just being ourselves. And if that means that we're being role models by just being ourselves, then that’s incredible. It's a massive compliment."

14 of 15

LENA DUNHAM

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The Girls star's mission in life is "to spread positivity," she told Harper's Bazaar. "I know I'm not most moms' idea of a role model, but I try to use the attention that comes with that wisely and not foolishly."

15 of 15

HAILEY BALDWIN

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For the model, serving as a role model to young fans isn't entirely difficult, considering that she does so by staying true to herself. "By being yourself is how you can be a role model to people," she shared in an interview. "Being real and letting people in on who you really are is how you become a role model."

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