Since the golden age of Hollywood, the lives, fashions, opinions, and intimate relationships of the modern celebrity – famous actors, musicians, authors, athletes, socialites, and others – have captured the attention and fascination of the public. The Internet revolution of the ’90s increased the demand for celebrity news, inspiring paparazzi and reporters to hound anyone with a print-worthy name. Today, social media platforms have, for better or worse, helped ensure that nothing a celebrity says or does goes unnoticed.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the media has become obsessed with celebrities, but is the same true of the general public? What about specific personality types?
To gauge our 16Personalities community’s general interest in celebrities, we asked readers whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement, “You do not know much about celebrities.” A modest majority (63%) agreed, and the results indicated that individuals with the Introverted, Thinking, and Assertive personality traits were notably more likely to say that they are not knowledgeable about celebrities.
Are you ready for your close-up? Let’s zoom in on the data below.
Analysts and Explorers (67% and 65% agreeing)
Analysts and Explorers, despite the variations in their personality traits, share an independent streak that may explain why they agreed with our statement at such similar rates. Analysts, with their core Thinking trait, are quite cerebral and much too interested in their own intellectual pursuits to bother with celebrity trivia or gossip. Analysts are not inclined to conform to flashy trends (or anything, for that matter), so they aren’t particularly curious about celebrity culture.
Explorer personalities, guided by their core Prospecting trait, are always looking to get out into the world and have memorable experiences of their own, rather than living vicariously through the exploits and fabulous lifestyles of celebrities.
Virtuosos (ISTP) (74%) were the least likely of all personality types to be knowledgeable about celebrities. Creative but pragmatic, these hands-on types are much more interested in diving into a useful new project than they are in passively consuming information about celebrities from gossip magazines or social media accounts.
Sentinels and Diplomats (61% and 59%)
Sentinels and Diplomats were also mostly unimpressed by celebrities, but because these personalities are inherently more interested than Analysts and Explorers in how society works, they may see some value in keeping up with celebrities.
Sentinels, as Judging personalities, are sensible and place high value on social order. Celebrities’ knack for flouting rules, disregarding authority, and general frivolity can irk them, but they may also see positive role models in certain celebrities, such as well-respected leaders in government, the military, business, or education who are worthy of emulating, aspiring to, or learning from.
Diplomats followed a similar pattern. It’s not enough that someone is famous; they have to do something meaningful with that fame. Celebrities who are involved in social or humanitarian causes that Diplomats care about are likely to earn their admiration. As personalities with the Feeling trait, Diplomats are also more likely to empathize with celebrities, recognizing that they are, after all, human beings who experience the same basic challenges and emotions that we all do.
Of all the personality types, Protagonists (ENFJ) (53%) were the most intrigued by celebrities, although their agreement was rather neutral. Their interest in celebrities comes from a place of inspiration. As motivational leaders themselves, Protagonists are often knowledgeable about celebrities who make a positive difference in the world and touch the lives of others, and they may wish to share their stories or messages to inspire others in turn.
Confident Individualism (75% agreeing)
We saw greater variation in the responses of the four Strategies, an indication of how much the Mind and Identity personality aspects influenced this survey. Confident Individualists showed by far the least interest in celebrities, with three-quarters of them agreeing with our statement.
As Assertive Introverts, Confident Individualists are focused inward and prefer to do things alone, valuing their independence above all else. These personalities likely find the loud, flashy attitude of celebrities (and their fans) to be a big turnoff. Celebrities and their lifestyles have virtually no bearing or influence on the Confident Individualist’s world, so they don’t see the point in paying much attention to celebrity news.
People Mastery and Constant Improvement (63% and 61%)
Interestingly, the similar responses of People Masters and Constant Improvers mark a balance between the Mind and Identity personality aspects.
As Extraverts, People Masters may pay attention to some celebrity news so that they can have a go-to conversation topic, a sort of superficial way to find common ground before developing deeper personal relationships within their communities. But their Assertive trait can curb their interest in celebrities too. These confident personalities don’t feel the need to compare themselves to others the way Turbulent types might. They’re likely drawn to realistic, positive examples – an agreeable political stance, charitable work, or an impeccable sense of fashion – rather than to negativity, salacious gossip, or petty critiques.
Constant Improvers, on the other hand, may be drawn to celebrities because of their Turbulent personality trait. They are constantly seeking perfection, which celebrities can epitomize, often in unrealistic or unhealthy ways. But Constant Improvers also turn that perfectionism inward, looking to themselves for personal growth more than they do to the broader world. Constant Improvers’ minimal socializing also means that celebrity gossip is rarely something they look to as a conversational fallback.
Social Engagement (53%)
Social Engagers were the most likely personalities to be knowledgeable about celebrities. No surprise here: the Extravert–Turbulent combination is characterized by a preoccupation with social status, for better or worse. Social Engagers are sensitive to social standards – they get in the spirit of what’s popular and like talking about it with their friends. They may enjoy picturing the celebrity lifestyle, gossiping with friends about celebrity faux pas, and borrowing fashion ideas from the red carpet.
For some Turbulent personalities, following celebrities can even be cathartic – celebrities’ lives often seem filled with chaotic emotions and plenty of ups and downs, and it can be comforting to think that at least one’s own life isn’t as crazy as a celebrity’s. But Social Engagers must take care not to get carried away with their fascination with celebrities, lest they compare themselves too much and too negatively with the idealistic or unrealistic examples of celebrities, damaging their own self-esteem.
Although most personality types who participated in our survey did not demonstrate compellingly strong interest in famous people, some are certainly more knowledgeable about celebrities than others. Those with Extraverted Minds, Feeling Natures, and Turbulent Identities are notably more likely to keep up with the goings-on of celebrities. In short, the more influenced a personality type is by other people, the more likely they are to know a little something about celebrities.
It’s natural for all of us to occasionally get swept up in the stories of the rich, famous, fabulous, or inspirational people who draw daily headlines in the media, but it’s also good to come back down to earth and focus on the positive, productive, and meaningful aspects of our own lives.
What about you? Do you know a little too much about celebrities, or is your interest just based on a bit of fun and inspiration? Share your thoughts in the comments below!