From their clothes to their diets to their fitness routines, just about everything a celebrity does is up for public scrutiny. We obsess over their romantic relationships, judge their fashion choices, and trust their recommendations for everything, including clothes, kombucha, and even sex. We trust celebrities to tell us not only what is cool and on-trend, but what is good for us, which is exactly why celebrities' love of reading matters. Among all the static of product endorsements and brand recommendations, their adoration of the written word and their support for art and culture rings clear.
We live in a pop culture-soaked world, one where our politicians team up with with artists on the campaign trail, movie stars use award shows to make political statements, and everyone from your best friend to your grandmother knows about Brangelina's split. There is no escaping the power of movies, TV shows, and music, and there's no use denying the influence of the stars behind them, either.
For decades, advertising companies have been taking advantage of the selling power of celebrities to market their products to the public, and for as long as they have been doing it, consumers have been eating it up. From sports stars on the cover of Wheaties boxes to actresses as the face of beauty products, there has been a long-standing relationship between celebrities and paid endorsements or campaigns, but in today's modern world, things are starting to look a little different. Now, we live in a social media age where celebrity endorsements happen in both the official way, through ad campaigns, commercials, and paid posts and tweets, and more unofficial, natural ways. It's that latter category that makes a difference when it comes to books and reading.
If you look on a celebrity's social media page, whether it be Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you will see hundreds of photos that range from the celebrated selfie to the paid product endorsement to the promotion of their own projects. But sprinkled in their carefully curated pages are moments of transparency where stars are able to share a bit of themselves without the influence of their paid marketing gigs. You can find moments of truth and honesty where they are showing their real selves and their real interests, and for many of them, that includes reading.
Whether it's Chrissy Teigen and Kim Kardashian's book club, Reese Witherspoon's Instagram suggestions, or Emma Watson's feminist book club, dozens of celebrities are sharing their love of reading with their fans through their social media pages. They're snapping photos of their latest reads, taking #shelfies with their TBR piles, and gushing about their favorite authors online. In a natural, authentic way, celebrities are sharing their love of all things books, and by doing so, promoting reading to their fans.
And that's a big deal.
All too often, celebrities use their influence to sell things, whether it be the latest line of clothing from a designer, a new scent from a perfume company, or their own movie, TV show, or album. They use the power they have over consumers to get them to go out and spend money on their recommendations, so what happens when they're recommending reading instead of stuff? Magic.
By using their social media to share their love of books, celebrities are actually promoting an idea, and not just a product: the idea that reading is important and essential. By sharing photos of themselves curled up with a paperback on a flight in between film sets, they're sending a message that reading is an activity everyone should make time for, no matter how busy you might be. By talking about books with their fans, they're saying literature is still an important part of our culture, despite how much more Netflix can appear than the library. By loving books, they are telling other to love books, too.
Celebrities have a large influence over our lives, whether we like to admit it or not. That's why we're curious about their politics, that's why we like to see pictures of them grocery shopping, and that's why their love of reading is so important. Because instead of just getting the masses to the mall, they have the power to get them to the library, and that's a super power I'd kill to have.