Hollywood Celebrity Role Models

7 Mar

3rd. Article in our series Bringing Spirituality back to Hollywood

By Littlebells

Every child, teen, and adult has at least one person they look up to.   Some of the most popular role models are family members, friends, teachers or mentors, churchgoers, and celebrities.  For the most part, people have a personal connection or interaction with their role model.  However, when it comes to celebrities, it is their image, public representation, and usually financial status that attract our attention.

Being a role model can go either way on the spectrum: morals to adulterer, modesty to indecency, class to tactless, etc… When evaluating the “why” of choosing a particular person to be a role model, there are many different reasons:

  1. Personality traits
  2. Accomplishments
  3. Work ethic
  4. Humanitarian efforts
  5. Spirituality
  6. Talent
  7. Fame[1]

Unfortunately, when it comes to celebrity role models, media tends to focus more on those who are involved in scandals, dishonesty, drug and alcohol abuse, and greed.  That is not to say that everyone is perfect.  No one is.  However, there are celebrity role models that do have a higher standard and set a positive example for our youth.

For this article I will focus on celebrities that demonstrate 4 of the 7 categories.

Personality Traits

  • Taylor Swift—she always displays class, graciousness, and humility among her fans and crew.  The person she allows the public to see is a very kind, modest, caring individual.
  • Robert Pattinson—he always seems to make time for his fans, despite long hours at work.  He is pleasant, thoughtful in speech and action, genuine, and loyal.
  • Tom Hanks—he is always smiling and very pleasant during interviews and press junkets.  He is committed and loyal and has never been caught up in the HW lifestyle.

Accomplishments/Work Ethic

Natalie Portman, Sigourney Weaver, Hill Harper, and James Franco—All went on to continue their education at various universities.  Some even earned their postgraduate degrees.

  • Portman—Psychology degree from Harvard
  • Weaver—BA in English from Stanford and MFA from Yale
  • Harper— Bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a law degree and master’s of public administration from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  • Franco—MFA in writing from Columbia and earning his PhD in English at Yale.[2]

I think their dedication to schooling is transferred to their work ethic onset as well.

Humanitarian Efforts:

  • Angelina Jolie—Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and has traveled more than 20 countries since 2001.[3]
  • Bono—Leader and creator of ONE campaign, DATA (Debt AIDS Trade Africa, and EDUN, amongst others.[4]

Of course this list is extremely limited as there are many celebrities (sports, politicians, singers etc…) that have many of these attributes.  Who are some of your celebrity’ role models?  What is it about them that inspire you?

Please join us for a discussion Thursday: 3/8/2012@7pmE/12UTC

102 Responses to “Hollywood Celebrity Role Models”

  1. littlebells March 7, 2012 at 10:38 AM #

    HI everyone,

    I just wanted to add: yes! I know anyone I listed in “Personality traits” is subject to opinion. I focused on the image that we see, not the person we know, because, well duh…we don’t. 🙂


    I kept my humanitarian list very short because there are just so many celebrities to choose from. Who are some that you admire for their work?

  2. Open Book March 7, 2012 at 10:42 AM #

    Ahh! Great and inspiring article LB!!

    Who are some of my celebrity role models? Hmm! Let me think..?

    O.k. first person who comes to mind is:

    Edward Norton: I admire his work ethic. He has a great philosophy about developing the characters he portrays, social awareness and his private life. Here is a link of a few quotes from him.


    I have a lot more but in terms of actors I will begin with him first. There are a list of female actors who are inspiring as well. I will come back later for those.

    This Q is for Everyone-

    Why do you think celebrities are more popular as role models for kids than people who don’t have as much media attention on them? In other words are people attracted to the media attention or the persons work?

    • littlebells March 7, 2012 at 12:12 PM #

      I’m so glad you like it Ob! I went about this article at all different angles and decided I did not want to mention anyone that has a negative affect on youth. I wanted to keep it uplifting. 🙂

      I love Edward Norton as well, particularly his philosophy and work ethic. I will see about any movie he is in because of his work.

      I have to agree with CR about celebrities being more accessible. They are everywhere: music, internet, magazines, tv, movies, posters, etc…Wouldn’t it be nice to read a magazine subtitle saying, “Natalie Portman: Graduating with Honors!” or “Zac Efron: donating more than half his earnings to provide food and shelter for those in Africa!” Of course that would never happen. We have to dig around to find those gems.

      • littlebells March 7, 2012 at 12:13 PM #

        P.S. Sometimes celebrities are all children have to look to for guidance and how to live. Sad, but true.

        • Open Book March 8, 2012 at 1:53 PM #

          Hi LB,

          IDK maybe it’s just me? However, I think it’s a shame HW chooses to promote scandal rather than focus on the work of these celebs, which is far more interesting than reading about these trivial and boring salacious stories made up by some person to get hits for their site. I mean young girls/women are the biggest consumers of this stuff because they (gossip media) preys on their emotionally instability. But, women need to wake up and see they are responsible for their own happiness not some celebs or gossip site. Come on, the adrenaline high some female fans get after these celeb PR stunts to settle fights/stalking and harassment between them is sad and embarrassing. Unless female fans get over their addiction to scandal media women will continue to be devalued and marginalized in HW IMO!!

          • littlebells March 8, 2012 at 7:01 PM #

            Duly noted and I concur. As for the fights and stalking: do not understand at ALL!

  3. Comic Relief March 7, 2012 at 11:18 AM #


    Great article. Why, because many of us aren’t prone to evaluate what brings them inspiration. That said my well of inspiration for living role models is pretty dry right now. Without your article I might not have realized this.

    When I was younger and should have been more rebellious, I liked influences who I thought were genius artistic rebels. When I was a little older I developed an interest in social artistic rebels because I understood how the world worked a little better. Today I hate to admit it but I’m far less focused. But if you notice I tended to see the world from perspectives that reflected my artistic aspirations. And notice so many of these people probably weren’t necessarily positive in any sense. Sometimes aspiring to what individuals advocate is far more powerful than what they reject. Ouch, this is difficult.


    I believe people frequently adopt celebrity role models because they are so accessible. When you see them on most of the newsstands you encounter, they can even appear to be following you. LOL! Still I believe it’s healthier to emulate people you personally know in some respect.

    • littlebells March 7, 2012 at 12:16 PM #


      My well was pretty dry too, to be honest, but in doing research (and yes I couldn’t even begin to list half the actors that inspire in this article), I found that many of the people I like are rated among positive role models. 🙂

      And yes it is healthier to emulate people we personally know. From what I read, most youth mention family and friends first when asked to name a role model.

      • Comic Relief March 7, 2012 at 3:41 PM #


        I’m sorry I had not caught up yet. If you were confused, nothing’s wrong with a celebrity role model.

        And they might be one due to their work as well. They don’t necessarily have to be activists.

        (More later on the page)

      • Comic Relief March 7, 2012 at 4:19 PM #

        Another notable celebrity.

        Mariska Hargitay’s

      • Comic Relief March 7, 2012 at 4:20 PM #

        Another impressive celebrity.

        Jennifer Aniston

    • Comic Relief March 7, 2012 at 4:18 PM #

      Yet nothing is wrong with celebrity activism.

      Jennifer Garner

      • Open Book March 8, 2012 at 7:08 PM #

        Ahh! Very nice CR.

        What about Edward Norton’s charitable work? I believe u were the one who told me about it?

        • littlebells March 8, 2012 at 7:09 PM #

          Yes, CR! I know you must have several you look up to. 🙂

  4. littlebells March 7, 2012 at 12:23 PM #

    I wanted to mention that not everyone we choose as a role model is going to be perfect. I may like one aspect about a person and dislike something else. Sometimes I think we need to be picky/choosy.

    On a non-celebrity celebrity note: I have been extremely impressed with Stephanie Decker from Kentucky who courageously risked her own life to save her children. Fortunately she did not die in the tornado, but did lose both legs. She is a great example of all the men and women in this world who are willing to do whatever it takes (legally) to protect others. What courage and bravery.

  5. Comic Relief March 7, 2012 at 3:43 PM #

    Notable celebrities:

    You might be impressed with how Actress Angela Bassett refuses to play stereotypical character roles, (she might be your distant integrity coach). Musician Bruce Springsteen might demonstrate for you how to love and support your home town community, (he might be your distant hometown loyalty coach). Baseball legend Curt Flood used his fame to change the nature of player’s rights and free agency (he might be your distant labor rights coach). Not personally knowing the star isn’t a deal breaker. Some individuals are spectacular even though you don’t personally know them.

    • Comic Relief March 7, 2012 at 3:55 PM #

      Steve Jobs was an incredible technological innovator (maybe he’s your distant entrepreneurial coach). Mary Phelps Jacob and her husband invented the bra (maybe they’re your distant engineering coaches). George Washington carver invented 105 ways of preparing the peanut for human consumption bra (maybe he’s your secret chef or farming genius).

      • Comic Relief March 8, 2012 at 7:44 PM #

        Edward Norton supports at least 4 charities:

        • Enterprise Foundation
        • Solar Neighbors Program
        • Friends of the High Line
        • Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust

        • Open Book March 8, 2012 at 7:48 PM #

          Ahh! That’s what I thought. Do u have any info on them?

  6. Comic Relief March 7, 2012 at 3:43 PM #

    Proximity plusses:

    The reason you might want to have a role model be closer by proximity is, if you are lucky, you might be able to make them your mentor.

  7. littlebells March 7, 2012 at 4:37 PM #


    Great list of people!

    My celebrity role models growing up were Lucille Ball, Carol Burnette, and Gene Kelly.

    I loved Lucy and Carol for their amazing humor, physical comedy, and satire. I watched reruns all the time and even own some dvds.

    Gene Kelly had unbelievable dancing skill and his work ethic was compared to that of a Czar. But hey, what you saw was his vast amounts of practice, practice, practice! I patterned my dancing style after him.

    I also admired my 4th/5th Grade teacher, Miss Morrisey, for her ability to teach me math without feeling stupid (it was extremely difficult for me) and for her acting/creativity when reading stories to us. Again I have patterned my teaching/reading skills after her.

    I’ve gained new role models within the last year that have inspired me to think outside the box, work harder, be of more service, and gain more knowledge through reading.

    Role models are all around us! Isn’t that fantastic!

    • Comic Relief March 7, 2012 at 6:52 PM #

      I agree.

  8. littlebells March 7, 2012 at 4:42 PM #

    I would like to also nominate Sandra Bullock as a role model for dealing with a major setback without losing her cool in the public eye or seeking vengeance. Bra-vo!!

    • Comic Relief March 7, 2012 at 6:54 PM #

      A lot of people were impressed. She showed a lot of class under a lot of pressure, (and likely heart ache).

      • littlebells March 7, 2012 at 9:28 PM #

        Unlike her counter-part. Blech!

        • Comic Relief March 8, 2012 at 2:07 PM #

          I think life got difficult for him too, (just for different reasons).

  9. Open Book March 8, 2012 at 2:21 PM #

    Let me also add. Given I’m on a role here……

    I think hearing about a celebs work it makes them more relative. The majority of people have to work for a living. Some people hate certain aspects to their job? It’s not all fun and games? Although, Photo Shopped images of celebs would have u think they are flawless. The truth is, they are not angels or perfect specimens. Working with enough of them I know. However, wouldn’t it be nice to hear from their mouths how they handled a bad review of their work? How they overcame a challenging situation? I just think the adult public needs to demand more from the media rather than being so gullible or too lazy to ask critical questions about what they’re being served up by the media today. I think if they demand change they will be a good example for young kids. Does that make sense?

    • littlebells March 8, 2012 at 7:03 PM #

      Yes, absolutely! That’s why the lame questions these “journalists” (and I use that term loosely) are so embarrassing and idiotic. Apparently you don’t need a journalism degree.

      • Open Book March 8, 2012 at 7:23 PM #

        These “journalist” sell out for money. That’s the problem. It’s the general public who has to demand more IMO!! Stop frequenting these gossip sites getting into stupid squabbles from what they “PERCEIVE” to be going on. The point is, dig deeper, seek greater understanding on whats going on globally in relationship to this PR stuff that occurs with celebs. This is what marketing departments, celebs do until something new comes along to replace the need for this type of marketing of celebs. But now, these women because of social media have become completely intoxicated over following the latest scandal, fauxmance or rumor. It’s pathetic.

        • littlebells March 8, 2012 at 7:27 PM #


          Are you suggesting….*gulp*….CRITICAL THINKIN

          • littlebells March 8, 2012 at 7:27 PM #


            • Open Book March 8, 2012 at 7:45 PM #

              Oh! LB!! don’t get me started. Where is Paris???

              Paris, can keep my temper in check!! LOL!!

              • littlebells March 8, 2012 at 7:56 PM #

                Ahahahahahaha!!!! She is coming…

    • Parisienne March 8, 2012 at 8:31 PM #

      You make completely sense as always. 🙂 Given, the intellectual level of consumers these days some of them tend to be grown up children. They were never taught how to have critical thinking skills or how to be a leader in their given field.

  10. Open Book March 8, 2012 at 7:02 PM #

    Hi Everyone!

    Welcome to the discussion tonight. Let me read and get caught up. However, if u are new lurking please feel free to comment or ask Q’s.

  11. Comic Relief March 8, 2012 at 7:03 PM #

    Hi all.

    • littlebells March 8, 2012 at 7:07 PM #

      HI OB and CR!

      While researching I stumbled upon an article about Liam Neeson and how he rediscovered spirituality through acting. Are there other actors that seem to have a spiritual connection with their acting or in choosing particular films? And if so, do you find that they try to keep their private life more private.


      ps. My daughter’s little dance class is in between our discussion so if I am not heard from for a bit, it’s my taxi service enroute. 🙂

      • Open Book March 8, 2012 at 7:10 PM #

        Haha! U are so AWESOME!!

        Say hi to your daughter. Ummm! Let me think on this one. There are a few give me a minute. Tick Tock!!

      • Comic Relief March 8, 2012 at 7:18 PM #


        Given that acting begins from within, I imagine this is possible. I will need to think about it longer.

        • littlebells March 8, 2012 at 8:06 PM #

          To be a great actor, imo, you have to be humble and allow yourself to be vulnerable. I think that can be a very spiritual experience as you reflect on the character and yourself.

          • Open Book March 8, 2012 at 8:09 PM #

            That is sooo true LB!!

            • Open Book March 8, 2012 at 8:19 PM #

              Let me also add, those actors who fail to do this suffer in the end. Why? Because they begin to rely on the values outside of themselves to define there work. U see this a lot with some veteran actors who begin to believe the hype about their last great performance. They start doing a re-hash of their greatest hits and their work becomes stale and tired.

              I mean it’s important to find a balance between what going on outside of you as well as what going inside of u to find direction.

              • Parisienne March 8, 2012 at 8:23 PM #

                they need to go within first, AS WITHIN SO WITHOUT

                • Open Book March 8, 2012 at 8:27 PM #

                  Sure of course… ITA!!

          • Parisienne March 8, 2012 at 8:18 PM #

            what about characters like the Joker that Heath Ledger played? To him, that was a dark character. He said he couldn’t shake it.

            • littlebells March 8, 2012 at 8:22 PM #

              Oooo…I will come back to tjis once i get to my computer.

            • Open Book March 8, 2012 at 8:25 PM #

              Yeah! That’s sad….That’s where u need to have someone positive around. That’s where having someone spiritual around to help u keep the darkness from consuming u. Does that make sense?

              • Parisienne March 8, 2012 at 8:32 PM #

                Yes it does.

  12. Open Book March 8, 2012 at 7:30 PM #

    This is another reason I think Mr. Pattinson is to be admired. Not only for being nice to his fans but also he has proven to be quite the Humanitarian as well.

    He has raised money for making sure young girls in Cambodia get an education.



    • Open Book March 8, 2012 at 7:41 PM #

      What I’m saying is invest in someone because u like their work. Not because these gossip sites need to make money. Stop being so into supporting that scandal stuff. Instead read up about the charities these celebs are involved with. See how you can get involved if u like the cause they are contributing their time and money too. That’s all I’m advocating when saying look at global issues because they will help u too. Does that make sense?

      • Comic Relief March 8, 2012 at 7:46 PM #

        Makes sense. 🙂

        • Open Book March 8, 2012 at 7:47 PM #

          Quick tell a joke! Before I loose it again…LOL!!

          • Comic Relief March 8, 2012 at 7:50 PM #

            Sorry a little crude, but here you go.

            – Politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly, and for the same reason.

            • Open Book March 8, 2012 at 7:57 PM #

              Crude indeed!! LOL!! Love it!

            • littlebells March 8, 2012 at 7:58 PM #

              That’s great!!!

            • Parisienne March 8, 2012 at 7:58 PM #

              they smell like S***! LOL

          • Parisienne March 8, 2012 at 7:56 PM #

            I can’t think of anything good right now otherwise i would tell you one. LOL

            • Open Book March 8, 2012 at 8:00 PM #

              That’s o.k. I will let u get your bearings. I stepped away from the computer. So I’m fine now. I will be a fly on the wall for a bit.

  13. Parisienne March 8, 2012 at 7:48 PM #

    Hi All! Let me read and get caught up.

    • Open Book March 8, 2012 at 7:49 PM #

      Thank GOD!!

      • Parisienne March 8, 2012 at 7:57 PM #

        yes my child? LOL

        • Open Book March 8, 2012 at 8:01 PM #

          LOL!! O.k. I’m crying….This is hilarious. U are completely crazy!!

          Thank U!!!

    • Comic Relief March 8, 2012 at 7:51 PM #

      Hi Ozzie.

  14. ozzie20 March 8, 2012 at 7:50 PM #

    Hi All!

    Great article LB, it really has made me think hard about who my role models were. Reguarding role models, I don’t think I’ve ever chosen a celebrity. Mine were family members. Of course there are celebrities I admire but I don’t think I’ve ever thought “Wow, I want to be just like them!” I must be odd, lol!

    OT: This should be my last discussion with slow internet speed! Yay!

    • Open Book March 8, 2012 at 8:03 PM #

      Hi Ozzie!!

      So we should have a little party in honor of this event?

      • ozzie20 March 8, 2012 at 8:13 PM #

        Hi OB!

        LOL! Well, I will be having one anyway! 🙂

  15. Comic Relief March 8, 2012 at 7:53 PM #

    Hi Ozzie and Paris.

    • littlebells March 8, 2012 at 8:03 PM #

      Hi Oz and Paris!

      • ozzie20 March 8, 2012 at 8:18 PM #

        Hi CR and LB!

  16. littlebells March 8, 2012 at 8:03 PM #

    While you ruminate on my previous question, let me ask another. Haha!

    Who do you think are great young adult role models in the African American/Latino/Asian community?

    The first one that comes to mind is Donald Glover. He is such is such a great comedian and a very hard worker. I cannot imagine going to college and then writing for a show lime “30 Rock”. Wow!!!

  17. Open Book March 8, 2012 at 8:07 PM #

    Denzel Washington has 12 charities he gives too and supports. Not just with money but his time as well.


    • Parisienne March 8, 2012 at 8:13 PM #

      Have you seen Rob’s charities? He’s just an awesome guy.

      • Open Book March 8, 2012 at 8:31 PM #

        Yep! But can u share with us his other charities? Please!!

        • Parisienne March 8, 2012 at 8:33 PM #

          sure i thought you saw them all.

        • Open Book March 8, 2012 at 8:35 PM #

          P.S. I know about the girls school in Cambodia. A link is posted above. But what are his others?

          • Parisienne March 8, 2012 at 8:37 PM #

            he supports aids reseacrch,homelessness, and persons with mental and physical impairments.

            • Open Book March 8, 2012 at 8:41 PM #

              Right!! Thank U Paris!

              • Parisienne March 8, 2012 at 8:46 PM #


  18. Parisienne March 8, 2012 at 8:12 PM #

    I watched a documentary last night on Bruce Lee and thought about Rob and the media. Its called I am Bruce Lee. Let me see if I can find some quotes. I think Bruce Lee should be added to the list as well.

    • Open Book March 8, 2012 at 8:33 PM #

      Yep! ITA!!Smile….

    • Parisienne March 8, 2012 at 8:56 PM #

      I’m trying to get the vids to load but from what i remember bruce said he couldn’t go out of his house without being followed and that he felt like a monkey in a cage (because everyone was taking photos of him)

  19. Open Book March 8, 2012 at 8:43 PM #

    Where is Ozzie & CR?

    • Parisienne March 8, 2012 at 8:45 PM #

      they jumped into Rob’s teleporter (you know he can be many places at once) and ended up having drinks with paul mcartney and marc jacobs.

      • Open Book March 8, 2012 at 8:49 PM #

        HAHAHAHAHA!!! Wow! Your right Robs new name is Trinity. LOL!!

        • Parisienne March 8, 2012 at 8:54 PM #

          I love Trinity!

      • littlebells March 8, 2012 at 8:51 PM #

        *snort* but the party has been over for hours!!!! Don’t tell me they are walking the airport walk of shame??? 🙂

    • Comic Relief March 8, 2012 at 8:47 PM #


      • Parisienne March 8, 2012 at 8:49 PM #

        CR! how are you?

        • Comic Relief March 8, 2012 at 8:51 PM #

          Great, thank you Paris.

      • Open Book March 8, 2012 at 8:50 PM #

        There u are? LOL! So what research have u found?

        • Comic Relief March 8, 2012 at 8:53 PM #

          Sorry can’t post it without some set up, and I don’t think I have it in me. Maybe I’ll post later.

    • ozzie20 March 8, 2012 at 9:11 PM #

      Sorry, I was trying to think of celebrity role models that I had as a child (still coming up blank on that) and reading a book at the same time. Then I day dreamed off into an imaginary world where the two were combined. It was a very odd place!

      Anyhow, I’m still coming up blank on other things to do with the subject too. I think I smell something burning……. Maybe my brain has over heated, lol!

  20. littlebells March 8, 2012 at 8:52 PM #

    I think I will compile a list of those that we have mentioned and a few others and maybe we can add an addendum to the article????? I think it would be nice for readers to see a comprehensive list of those we think are positive role models.

    • Open Book March 8, 2012 at 8:55 PM #

      That would be great LB!!

      I have to go for the night but it was a great discussion. Thanks for putting up with my little rants tonight. Paris thanks for answering my prayers. LOL!!

      Goodnight All!!

      • Parisienne March 8, 2012 at 8:57 PM #

        Its my pleasure! I’m going to go for the night too!

    • Comic Relief March 8, 2012 at 8:55 PM #


      That I can’t wait to see.

  21. Comic Relief March 8, 2012 at 8:58 PM #

    Night all, have to go

    Talk to you later, Ozzie.

    • Comic Relief March 8, 2012 at 8:58 PM #

      Great article LB.

  22. littlebells March 8, 2012 at 8:58 PM #

    Goodnight everyone!

    • ozzie20 March 8, 2012 at 9:24 PM #

      Hmm, I better go too. I’m obviously not on top form tonight, lol!

      Night all, I’ve had fun!

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