Lily-Rose Depp Slams ‘Nepo Baby’ Label: People Want to Define Me ‘By the Men in My Life’

"I just hear it a lot more about women, and I don’t think that it’s a coincidence," the "Idol" star said.
Lily-Rose Depp at TIFF 2021
Lily-Rose Depp
Getty Images

Lily-Rose Depp doesn’t want to be defined by her last name.

Amid the Gen Z social media label of “nepo babies” in Hollywood, aka the children of elite actors who then pursue acting themselves, Depp slammed the concept for being only applied to up-and-coming female stars.

“I just hear it a lot more about women, and I don’t think that it’s a coincidence,” Depp, the child of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis, said in an Elle cover story. “It’s weird to me to reduce somebody to the idea that they’re only there because it’s a generational thing. It just doesn’t make any sense. If somebody’s mom or dad is a doctor, and then the kid becomes a doctor, you’re not going to be like, ‘Well, you’re only a doctor because your parent is a doctor.’ It’s like, ‘No, I went to medical school and trained.'”

Depp continued, “I know my childhood didn’t look like everybody’s childhood, and it’s a very particular thing to deal with, but it’s also the only thing that I know…The Internet seems to care a lot about that kind of stuff. People are going to have preconceived ideas about you or how you got there, and I can definitely say that nothing is going to get you the part except for being right for the part. The Internet cares a lot more about who your family is than the people who are casting you in things. Maybe you get your foot in the door, but you still just have your foot in the door. There’s a lot of work that comes after that.”

She added, “I also think that I’m not here to answer for anybody, and I feel like for a lot of my career, people have really wanted to define me by the men in my life, whether that’s my family members or my boyfriends, whatever. And I’m really ready to be defined for the things that I put out there.”

In fact, Depp didn’t “think at all” she would land the lead role of a rising pop star in “Euphoria” showrunner Sam Levinson’s upcoming HBO series “The Idol,” co-created by and starring Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd.

“I know that everybody and their mother goes in for these things,” Depp said, noting that her casting was “the best surprise ever. I’ll never forget getting that call. I still have all these pinch-me moments all the time. I can’t believe they wanted me to do it.”

Showrunner Levinson credited executive producer and wife Ashley Levinson for finding Depp.

“The moment Ash saw Lily-Rose’s audition, she said she was Jocelyn,” he said. “It was true — she was sensational. HBO always has a lengthy audition process, but they knew it, too. She’s also just one of the best collaborators you could wish for. She can act, she can sing, and her and Abel’s chemistry is off the charts.”

The steamy trailer for “The Idol” in which Depp bares all just about broke the Internet.

“I’m not interested in making anything puritanical. I’m not interested in making anything that doesn’t challenge me, or challenge other people, honestly,” Depp said. “I think this show is fearless, and that’s something that I’ve been really excited and proud to dive into.”

As for social media reactions, she added, “People get really ballsy when they think nobody’s looking or reading, and so I try not to read [comments] because no matter what you do, you’re never going to please everybody. I can work my ass off to put work out there that I’m proud of and that I hope people will connect with, but there are always going to be some people who don’t like me or have a problem with me or think that I’m stupid or ugly or whatever…It’s kind of a double-edged sword, because when you’re an artist, you make things in the hope that they’re going to connect with somebody. But then it also comes with this thing where people feel like they know you, even though they don’t.”

Depp summed up, “I’m not here to give myself to the world to be eaten alive.”

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