Nepotism babies have been the subject of a seemingly never-ending public discourse. Naturally, people love to poke fun at their alleged lack of real-world understanding, and take perverse pleasure in suggesting the less talented among them were handed jobs in the entertainment industry. The conversation found a new subject in the past day, following a TikTok uploaded by Romy Mars—daughter of Phoenix frontman Thomas Mars and Oscar-winning filmmaker Sofia Coppola (herself the nepo baby of The Godfather auteur Francis Ford Coppola). After being grounded, the 16-year-old secretly uploaded a chaotic, sped-up video of herself trying to cook pasta, which may be the only relatable part of the story she tells. And while comments on this subject tend toward the negative, the video has been met with a warmer reception, with some saying Mars has the potential to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a great director.
Mars’ video appeared on TikTok on Tuesday, and was quickly shared widely across social media. Since posting it, the video and Mars’ TikTok account have been deleted (though it can still be viewed on Twitter). In the video, Mars invites viewers to watch her make pasta with vodka sauce, “because I’m grounded.” The teen says she got into trouble because she tried to charter a helicopter from New York to Maryland on her dad’s credit card to have dinner with a camp friend. As she starts to cook, she shares that she does not know the difference between garlic and onion, and had to look up what they looked like.
Mars says she decided to make the TikTok since she was already grounded, because her parents forbid her from having any public social media accounts. To explain why, Mars cut to herself showing off her father’s Grammy Award (and notably not her mother’s Oscar). “They don’t want me to be a nepotism kid, but TikTok is not gonna make me famous, so it doesn’t really matter,” she says.
The video then takes a turn that has nothing to do with pasta or vodka sauce. Mars introduces Ari, her babysitter’s boyfriend, who is petting her dog, and tells viewers, “My parents are never home, so these are my replacement parents.” She asks Ari what he thinks about the whole “helicopter fiasco.” Ari thinks she says “fiasca” and says he likes that spin on the word, “because it’s like a feminine form of the word fiasco.” Mars replies, “It’s Women’s History Month, so…”
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The video found an audience of 8.5 million on Twitter, and reignited the conversation surrounding nepo babies. Hollywood is full of sons, daughters, siblings, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, and distant relatives of stars trying to find their way toward fame. A common critique of these nepo babies face is that they earn their successes through connections rather than talent. But there are many exceptions, and Mars seems to have the potential to be one of them. Online, many people commended everything from the TikTok’s editing to the chaos-filled, addictive nature of the narrative. It “has gotta feel like a worst-case scenario for Sofia Coppola,” read one tweet.
Another person called the video, and everything it covers, “perfect art.”
Mars’ future on social media might be uncertain at the moment, but the internet is banking on her return to mainstream audiences when she’s older and hopefully following in the footsteps of her mom and legendary grandfather.
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Write to Moises Mendez II at firstname.lastname@example.org