It’s often been said that it’s hard growing up as the children of famous celebrities. Despite being raised with privileges like attending top schools, luxury homes, brand name clothing, fantasy vacations, and playdates with offsprings of other A-listers, these kids often times feel isolated.
Soccer superstar David Beckham revealed how his son Brooklyn wants his dad to park around the corner when picking him up from school, while Madonna’s daughter, Lourdes, reportedly shudders at some of the fashion choices her mother makes. It’s no wonder many of these kids work hard to separate themselves from their famous parents, often choosing opposing careers.Other children use their parents’ fame to help them catapult their own careers.
Willow Smith has literally grown up in front of the camera.
Her parents are famous rapper turned actor Will Smith and actor Jada Pinkett-Smith.
Willow Camille Reign Smith was born on October 31, 2000 in Los Angeles, California
Although her parents didn’t sell her newborn photos for a glossy magazine spread, they still made sure the world knew who their little girl was.
She was cast alongside her father in the post apocalyptic horror film “I am Legend” in 2007.
Although her role was fairly small, the film went on to make $585 million globally.
Her older brother Jaden is also a Hollywood heavy hitter starring alongside his dad in “The Pursuit of Happyness.”
He was also in the remake of “The Karate Kid” and “After Earth.” He pushed gender boundaries last year when he modeled for Louis Vuitton’s women’s wear ad campaign, donning a skirt no less.
“It may seem like we have pushed our kids into the business, but that is absolutely insane,” Will told OK! magazine.
“I would never, ever, push somebody to have their face on a poster that’s going be everywhere in the world,” he insisted.
In 2010, Willow released her single “Whip My Hair,” reaching number 11 in the music charts.
She followed it up with “21st Century Girl.” The 10-year-old was seen as the next “It” girl.
This prompted her famous dad to start working on the remake of Annie.
He would star alongside his daughter. His friend Jay-Z was in talks to provide the music. Her producer announced that by late 2011 the preteen’s album would be released.
Although a couple more singles were released like, “Fireball” with Nicki Minaj, they were commercial failures.
“Willow chose singing and then un-chose it,” Will Smith said. “She said, ‘Daddy, I want to go to school with my friends during the week, and I want to hang out with them on the weekends.’ At the peak of Whip My Hair, she’s like, ‘Daddy, I’m done.’ I was like, ‘Wow, wow, wow. No, baby, I got Annie, you know.”
“It’ll be New York, you’ll be with Beyoncé. You can bring your friends,” he recalls telling his daughter.
“And she said, ‘Daddy, I got a better idea. How about I just be 12?’ At the end of the day, it has to be their choice,” he admitted.
She may have had only one hit, but it made a difference among black girls.
“Whipping your hair means not being afraid to be yourself,” Willow has said.
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith have been criticized for their parenting style.
Many attribute it to the couple’s connection to Scientology, although, neither has publicly admitted to be full-fledge members.
Willow and her brother often give joint interviews coming off as spoiled and disconnected from reality.
“ANYTHING that I EVER do is geared towards the evolution and vibrational elevation of this planet through the inspiration of individuals,” she tweeted last year.
The teen has even proposed there aren’t any really good books out there for her to read.
“There’re no novels that I like to read so I write my own novels, and then I read them again, and it’s the best thing,” she told Time magazine.
How much schooling Willow has had is up for debates.
She has said in interviews that she doesn’t go to regular schools but has a tutor.
Nonetheless, she says because she works she barely has time to complete her required curriculum.
She did attend a regular school once but found it wasn’t for her.
“I went to school for one year. It was the best experience but the worst experience,” she revealed.
“The best experience because I was, like, ‘Oh, now I know why kids are so depressed.’ But it was the worst experience because I was depressed,” she recalled.
In 2014, Willow posed in a photo in bed with actor Moises Arias.
She was 13 at the time while Arias was 20. Although their bodies were not touching, many deemed it inappropriate.
Jada Pinkett-Smitth addressed the controversy when she spoke with TMZ.
“Here’s the deal. There was nothing sexual about that picture or that situation,” the matriarch said. “You guys are projecting your trash onto it … and you’re acting like covert pedophiles and that’s not cool.”
In 2015, the 14-year-old caused controversy for wearing what appeared to be a topless photo.
In reality it was a vintage Jean Paul Gaultier shirt designed to look like the person wearing it has body paint on.
She has over 2 million Instagram and 3.7 million Twitter followers.
Willow shares some of her hobbies like climbing and hiking. She also uploads videos of her singing and playing the guitar.
At the end of 2015 she released the album ARDIPITHECUS.
“Ardipithecus Ramidus is the scientific name of the first hominid bones found on earth. I wanted to name my musical compilation after it because, while I was making these songs I was in such a transitional state,” she explained her album title. “Digging deep in the soil of my heart and finding bits and pieces of my ancient self that tell stories, which end up being the lyrics to the songs.”
Will Smith for his part did let his guard down last year during an interview with A.Dot on BBC Radio 1Xtra.
“Yeah, I think it may have been a mistake,” he laughed. “I think we may have gone too far,” he said about their parenting style.
Smith says the way him and his wife chose to raise Willow and Jaden was based on history.
“I think that, specifically in African American households, the idea coming out of slavery, there’s a concept of your children being property and that was a major part that Jada and I released with our kids,” he told Haute Living in 2013.
“We respect our children the way we would respect any other person. Things like cleaning up their room. You would never tell a full-grown adult to clean their room, so we don’t tell our kids to clean their rooms,” he explained.
That doesn’t mean they do not have expectations for them. “We tell our kids, ‘You don’t have a room, that’s our room and we are letting you borrow it.’ So the same way you would say to an adult if you let them use your car, you say, ‘Yo man, clean my car! Don’t drive around all filthy like that!’ And it’s perfectly reasonable for you to want an adult to clean your car, so we feel it’s perfectly reasonable to ask our kids to clean the rooms that we are letting them use.”
Still as a father to a teen girl, he is not loving the circle of trust anymore.
“As a father, you do not want a circle of safety with a 15-year-old daughter. You do not. I’m like, ‘Baby, you need to start lying!’” he joked. “(I’m like) ‘Nope! You and your mom can talk about that one!’”