One question which isn’t going away is this: Should celebrities be good role models? Some fans just want their favorite celebrity to be happy. Others want celebrities to use their influence on fans for good. Let’s look back at what Rihanna had to say on her relationship with her fans – and Lady Gaga’s.
In a 2011 interview with Logan Hill of Glamour, Rihanna discussed slut-shaming. “I wouldn’t want to promote teenage girls having sex. But the reality is, it’s happening, and they’re just a little too young to understand how careful they need to be. That’s a big battle with me, because I’m 23, and a lot of my fans are eight years younger than I am, so there’s a bit of a tug-of-war there.”
She continued “I want to set the right example and, at the same time, live my life. So I kind of let go of that and was just really honest. I feel like pop stars can’t be rock stars anymore because they have to be role models, and it takes the fun out of it for us, because we just want to have fun with art.”
Rihanna also said she “realize[s] the impact I have on young women… We live different lives, but we have a lot of the same life experiences. They trust the things that I say because it’s coming from a peer, as opposed to a parent. And you have to put on your role model hat…. They know you’re just as rebellious as they are, so if you say something is wrong, it’s wrong for sure.”
Lady Gaga famously refers to herself as “Mother Monster” and her fans as “Little Monsters.” This makes her a maternal presence for some of her fans. In her 2011 Glamour interview, Hill said Rihanna didn’t seem to fill the mother figure role for her fans.
Rihanna replied “No, because I don’t look at [my fans] as followers under myself. We’re peers. They’re right here with me.”
She added “I need them more than they need me. I need their feedback, I need their honesty, and I need their support. Without that, it’s pointless. I respect them very, very much.”