Becoming famous is easier than ever. But getting to be an A-lister or a B-list celebrity and keeping your status is a different story.
The whole story about labeling celebrities by alphabet goes back to Old Hollywood. Nowadays, things are far more complex since we are no longer speaking strictly about actors. These lists usually include sports stars, TV personalities, even Youtubers, Tiktokers, and Instagram models.
B-list celebrities, just like C-listers, are not always less talented. They are merely less bankable and less recognizable than an A-lister.
For example, Ulmer Scale recognizes A+ list celebrities, followed by A-List, B+ List, B-List, C-List, and D-List. A+ are legends, like Elvis, Bowie, or Monroe.
To get to the bottom of the differences between A-list and B-list celebrities, we need to see what makes someone a superstar.
What makes an A-lister, and how are they different than B-list celebrities?
Oprah once said:
“Every day, you’re only as good as your last show.”
This principle applies to every celebrity, no matter how high or low the scale they are now. We had significant fallouts from A-listers and some incredible success stories from B and C-listers.
Most non-US artists or TV personalities only get to experience a B-list level of fame. It’s because there are whole teams involved in making someone a global superstar. Creating buzz is much different in the States, and the entire celebrity culture is different from the one in Europe, for example.
An A-list star is a brand, a product. You have to have talents, looks, personality, and to be a hard worker. Additionally, you have to give up your privacy and have the best stylists and publicists to make money for others.
It’s constant work, and one bad role or one mistake from the past can ruin your reputation.
The B-list celebrities are mostly the ones who made it big on TV or have armies of loyal fans, yet they aren’t selling magazines as A-listers. Their fame is more focused on a particular period or group of people. We all know them, but for various reasons, they are not part of the elite.
Many simply can’t handle fame. Others prefer not to make that many compromises. You get to enjoy all the perks of being famous without the scrutiny, paparazzi, and pretty much no life outside your job.
Keeping the B-list status is a difficult task. Most fall from radar after a few years, and the lucky few get upgraded.
The one perk that only A+ celebrities have is that they can get away with pretty much anything. However, even that’s changing, so you have to give your best every time. Otherwise, you might get replaced since the entertainment industry is known for being cruel beyond reason.
B-list celebrities who went to become permanent A-listers
Meghan Markle is the wife of Lady Diana’s son. She went from being a barely B-list to a permanent A-lister the moment she got married. It’s really a fairytale story, but if you look at how the media portrays her, you will understand why becoming an A-lister is a burden.
Sarah Jessica Parker was always around, but it wasn’t until Sex and The City people started to recognize her. Her Carrie Bradshaw made her an icon, and she’s easily one of the most celebrated women in the business.
Robert Downey Jr. went from being an A-lister to hitting rock bottom. He slowly managed to start getting roles once he was done with rehabs, and now, he’s among the highest-paid stars. It’s a beautiful comeback story and an inspiration for those struggling with addictions.
Nicki Minaj has a chance to keep her A-list status. Not that long ago, she was a typical hustling B-list celebrity, but with her skills, she made it to be one of the most talked-about celebs in the past few years.
Of course, we cannot skip Kim Kardashian. Reality TV stars are usually at the bottom of the food chain, with Instagram models. Yet, Kim’s easily one of the most successful women of a whole generation. Not everyone likes her or admires her, but she has to be way smarter than people give her credit for. She went from being Paris Hilton’s stylist to a household name.
All these examples are diverse, proving that sometimes it’s about the hustle. Other times, fame is somewhat random. And you can almost instantly go from B-list status and become a global success story.
B-list celebrities on the way to the top
Some of the most promising names in the industry had their hits and misses, so they are still firmly attached to being B-list celebrities.
However, they are one step away from becoming A-listers since the general public knows them and has a strong fan base. We predict that these people will be the next permanent A-listers, though, at this point, it’s up to their PR companies, publicists, and their hunger for fame.
It’s easier to sell a movie if the lead is good-looking and controversial enough, ahead of the time, yet not problematic. Since it seems that the world is finally waking up, we’re getting more diverse in terms of race, gender, and sexual orientation.
This is our opinion on who will be the next generation of world-famous superstars, a list of top ten B-list celebrities destined for A-list status:
This is just a small portion of already famous people, based on work, social media following, and overall media presence. Nothing’s set in stone, and the fame game is quite brutal. Becoming an A-lister is one thing. Only in recent years, we witnessed some falls from grace, and most of the time, these weren’t pretty sights.
Where do C-list celebrities fit in?
The most common misconception is that C-listers are only reality TV stars or internet-famous figures.
Some great artists actually prefer not to be part of the industry. And on the other side, there are those whose behavior prevents them from getting higher on the list.
Either way, being an A or even Z-list celebrity is not meant to be dehumanizing. It’s merely a way of expressing one’s worth in terms of bankability. Yet, many use it to describe people who are famous for being famous.
C-listers are the ones whose names you can’t seem to remember, yet you know them. They walk the red carpets or present awards, but they never get their time in the spotlight. Some wouldn’t change a thing. But many are struggling, and sadly, most of them face sexism, racism, ageism, and homophobia.
Though we think that we’re far from Old Hollywood values, with #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, the truth is that things are happening, but surprisingly slowly. That’s why people hang on to their fame, despite all the wicked sides.
Being a celebrity is nothing more than a constant struggle and endless competition. There will always be someone younger, better, prettier, and many start with pure intentions. But, everything changes when big money becomes involved.
Staying a B-list celebrity or D-lister is fine. Because not everyone’s meant to be a leading lady or the superhero superstar.