Initially, reality shows were ordinary everyday people like your neighbor or church member, however, with time celebrities began to break into the reality circuit with reality shows of their own.
Viewers of reality television were amazed at the lifestyles of rich people such as A&E’s Growing up Gotti or MTV’s Run’s House.
These shows helped pave the way for many different reality shows including the E! Network’s Keeping up With the Kardashians and BRAVO’s Housewife franchise.
Television shows like these highlight the lives of rich women, who before had no fame, placing them in the categories of modern socialites. Modern socialites’ success on television is contributed to their need for fame. Many socialites’ will do whatever it takes to be a standout in the entertainment world. Many of the reality shows which highlight the lives of socialites are filled with drama, addiction, sexual content, and verbal and physical altercations.
A socialite is someone who is well-known in fashionable society and is often seen at parties and other social events for wealthy people, according to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary. A socialite’s life consists of a person fond of spending a significant amount of time entertaining and being entertained. Socialites date back to the 18th and 19th century.
The earliest socialites were wives, or more commonly mistresses of royalty, but being a socialite was more a duty and a means of survival than a form of pleasure. With the increase of wealth in America in the 19th century, being a socialite developed into a role that brought power and influence.
Today, the term “socialite” is still associated with the wealthy is the socially recognized.
However, the lines between being a socialite and celebrity with an exuberant partying lifestyle have been blurred with the influence of popular culture and the media, particularly when the status of being a celebrity is largely due to that lifestyle. The boom of the reality show era, had many “real-celebrities” wanting to maintain their privacy and only receive attention from their craft, many modern-day socialites chose to be introduced to the world, disregarding invasive cameras
Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and NeNe Leakes are
examples of modern-day socialites due to their abilities to attract media attention and fame simply based on their connections, associations, and the disregard of a tactful image.
Kardashian, the daughter of prominent attorney Robert Kardashian, first gained media attention through her friendship with Paris Hilton, another modern-day socialite, and soon became one herself.
BRAVO’s breakout star NeNe Leaks is from The Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA.)
The show that highlights’ the lives of five to six socialites and it is also the highest ranked show on the network.
Leakes has managed to have a verbal confrontation with every character who has ever graced the show excluding, DeShawn Snow, who was only on the show the first season for her lack of drama.
Snow admitted to Access Hollywood that she was not the most dramatic member of the cast’s quintet.
“I’m not the type to go ‘television’ and start acting crazy because somebody’s talking about me,” she said. “I suppose the show took a different direction and they no longer see me as the right fit.”
Leakes, who is never shy for words told momlogic.com “Production decided they weren’t going to option her for the second season.” Leakes added, “We’re drama queens and to roll with us, you’ve got to be a drama queen.”
Unscripted drama seems to have a winning formula with viewers.
There are only a handful of scripted television shows that can compete with the overwhelming amount of viewers that certain reality shows receive.
And with this shift, Black women would take over the reality show eras.