Canadian supermodel Coco Rocha hits 'nail on the head' on 'nepo baby' conversation

The Toronto-born model shared her thoughts on the recent hot topic of nepotism.

supermodel Coco Rocha on red carpet wearing light teal satin blazer
Coco Rocha posted four videos sharing her "unpopular opinions" on the "nepo baby" conversation. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for American Ballet Theatre)

Coco Rocha is getting real about nepotism.

The 34-year-old Canadian supermodel shared a four-part video on social media sharing her "unpopular opinions" about "nepo babies," a topic that's seen recent internet discourse and celebrity umbrage following a Vulture feature calling out stars like Lily Rose-Depp, Zoey Deutch and Bryce Dallas Howard.

Titled "The Year of the Nepo Baby," the feature spotlights the children of parents in the entertainment industry who have pursued their own careers but with an inherent advantage. Since surfacing, stars like Jamie Lee Curtis and Kate Moss have shown their distaste for the conversation.

Rocha began in her first video by saying she's "bitten" her tongue on the "nepo baby" topic for awhile despite being asked "a few times" to share her opinion. She also prefaced her clip by sharing that she's reached major achievements in her successful modelling career, but was raised by a single mother who worked as a flight attendant.

"Let's be real, privilege is a ladder. It's a ladder that's a thousand steps high. Some are born higher on the ladder than others," she said. "That is a fact."

The Toronto-born model continued to explain that all models who have seen some success have "at least a few steps up on that ladder" since they were born photogenic.

"Some start higher on the ladder because they were born in wealthier countries. That is a privilege. Some, like myself, were boosted higher onto the ladder because we worked with some great photographers or great designers that helped us get there," she continued. "They were given a change to make a mark which they had not yet earned.

"Because of the racist legacy of this industry, white models start off higher on the ladder than models of colour. More opportunities are given to them, whether that's fair or not. And yes, some 'nepo babies' started off higher on the ladder because their parents were famous. Everyone has an advantage over someone else in this world."

Rocha added that she was confused why so many models would complain about others who have seen success thanks to nepotism since many are "hundreds of steps up that ladder" of privilege.

"How about we recognize our own position, reach down and pull someone up?" she ended in her first video.

Rocha continued her thoughts in her second video, asking why people are fixated on nepotism in the modelling and entertainment industries rather than nepotism in business, finance, politics and other fields.

"That monopolization of power is world-changing. But according to what we read these days, the peak of our problem is who takes the pretty pictures or who's in the next blockbuster movie. Let's see this for the distraction that it is," she said. "This has happened so many times before: The modelling, entertainment and fashion industry is usually as a scape goat to what is really going on in the world."

Rocha said that in 2018, there was a "temporary focus" on sexual harassment in the fashion and entertainment industry, which is still prevalent, but distracts from the "bigger picture" when there's an emphasis on a single group of people in a small industry.

She added that every industry sees harassment worldwide, and that the media spotlighting it as an issue that's "'unique'" to the fashion industry is "clickbait."

"I guess it's just not glamorous for them to talk about the same issues in other industries," she continued. "I'm not saying that these problems shouldn't be addressed. I'm just saying, when someone is saying, 'Focus on this one thing right here,' often, they are distracting you from a much bigger issue that is springing up all around you."

Still, Rocha added in her third video that some "nepo babies" actually "deserve" where they're at in their careers.

"Some of them, surprise, surprise, are actually great at what they do — maybe better than you or I might ever be," Rocha said. "Yes, they were born into privilege. Maybe their parents were famous or wealthy, but they took that chance circumstance and made the most of it."

Rocha then gave an example of 33-year-old model Anna Cleveland, the daughter of 1970s model Pat Cleveland, saying she can "promise" Anna can "out-model" other people in the industry.

Rocha also continued to say she's known sister models Bella Hadid and Gigi Hadid for a decade, and that they are the same "sweet, kind-hearted" and "absolute professionals" they were when they started. After sharing an anecdote from a Vivienne Westwood show, Rocha said she's put up the Hadids's work ethic against any model in the last decade.

"Cindy Crawford once told me that she thinks modelling is 10 per cent a lucky break and 90 per cent what you do with it," Rocha added. "Every successful model had to apply that formula."

In her final video, Rocha replied to a TikTok commenter who said "unfortunately, you see some 'nepo babies' getting praised for the bare minimum."

Rocha responded by saying, "All models have been born with some advantages, some just more than others. If any of them wanted to make it, they would have had to put in some effort."

However, she added that "not all 'nepo babies' succeed" in their careers, adding that "time will always tell" and that she'll "never write off anyone" based off of their background until they have the chance to prove themselves.

Ending her video, Rocha explained that her own three children, Ioni, Iley and Iver, will grow up in her shadows of success as they find their own path.

"As a mom, I'm going to give them every advantage I can, as any good parent would. After that, I hope that they can prove, on their own, their worth in this world," Rocha shared. "I hope people will give them a fair chance to do that, not based on who their mom was, but who they are now."

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