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Celebrities’ Children Forge Individual Identities beyond their Parents’ Moulds

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When Kaia Gerber strode out onto the New York Fashion Week catwalk for Calvin Klein in September, she cemented herself as a fierce talent we’ll no doubt see a lot more of.

At (just) 16 she’s already appeared on multiple magazine covers, including fashion bible Vogue, starred in a fragrance campaign for Marc Jacobs’ Daisy and walked the runway for Burberry, Moschino and Chanel — to name just a few.

But as much as she is being recognised for her talents, there’s no escaping the striking resemblance to her supermodel mum, Cindy Crawford.

Her 18-year-old brother Presley is also a successful model, but it’s Kaia who shares the strongest maternal likeness.

But growing up, she tells Teen Vogue, she was largely unaware of her mum’s high profile, sharing the moment she realised Cindy was famous.

“I think it was only on my eighth birthday, at Disneyland, that I started to understand what was going on. I wanted to take pictures with the princesses, and everyone wanted to take pictures with her!”

And Kaia is not the only celebrity offspring to bear an uncanny likeness to a famous parent. Reese Witherspoon and daughter Ava Phillippe, 18, share the same heart-shaped face, strong chin and rounded cheeks.

But while the high school student was born to an A-list, Oscar winning mum — and her then husband Ryan Phillippe — she’s proving to be far from spoiled. Phillippe was spotted recently participating in the most humbling of teenage rites of passage — a part-time summer job at a restaurant. She also reportedly drives a second-hand car.

Her Instagram account shows her strong bond with her mum and brothers (Deacon Phillippe and Tennessee Toth) and is a refreshing reflection of a teenager into art, music and her french bulldog.

But while Phillippe appears to enjoy a relatively normal teenage experience, some children of other celebrities have chosen to make their move into the spotlight a little earlier, using their parent’s connections to secure lucrative deals. David and Victoria Beckham’s eldest child Brooklyn controversially landed a gig photographing a Burberry fragrance campaign last year, at the tender age of 16.

While it was widely written off as nepotism — especially by experienced, veteran fashion photographers — it gave the now 18-year-old a foothold in the industry and no doubt helped acquire some of his 10.4 million-strong Instagram following.

He also scored a place at the prestigious Parsons School of Design in New York City, where, he told The Cut, he has to negotiate the attention of classmates. “I like people from school. But there are a few fangirls,” he says. “Sometimes, I have to be like, ‘I’m going to be with you for like, four years, so chill.’ They understand and they respect it, but it’s just at the beginning, it’s such a shock to them, so it’s fine.”

Beckham was also given the opportunity to release his first book, What I See, featuring more than 400 photographs, many of them selfies and shots of his friends taken on his many jaunts across the globe.

His younger brothers aren’t wasting time, either, with brother Romeo, 15, modelling for Burberry and Cruz, 12, releasing his first single, If Everyday was Christmas, last year.

Another celebrity offspring making a splash of his own and trying a range of vocations is Jude Law’s son Rafferty, 21. The younger Law’s likeness to his actor dad serves him well in modelling and an inherited sharp fashion sense from mum Sadie Frost landed him a place among GQ’s 50 best dressed British men. But it appears music, particularly working as a DJ, is his biggest passion.

How successful this crop of celebrity children will be remains to be seen but there are clues to how to succeed in the experiences of older generations.

Dhani Harrison, with his narrow nose and penchant for unkempt hair, is the spitting image of his late father George. He also shares his Beatle dad’s talent for musical arrangements. After landing his professional start working on George’s final album Brainwashed (released posthumously), he went on to win a Grammy (2004), record multiple film scores and release albums with bands Thenewno2 and Fistful of Mercy, as well as a solo album.

Others have shown similar dedication. Kiefer Sutherland may have grown up in the shadow of father Donald Sutherland’s success, but he’s arguably become as successful. And refreshingly, there appears no rivalry between the pair.

After appearing alongside his dad in the 1983 film Max Dugan Returns, he was quick to secure roles on his own merit, including cult vampire film The Lost Boys in 1987. He is now starring in the hit TV series Designated Survivor.

Tom Hanks’ elder sons have taken very different directions. While Chet has struggled with addiction, Colin is a talented actor who has spoken of the challenges of people’s expectations of famous offspring.

Does Kendall Jenner’s Friendship with Kaia Gerber SCARE Kaia’s Mom Cindy Crawford

“I think, more than anything else, people have a lot of expectations of what you’re like or what your life is like or what your work ethic is like,” Colin told the UK’s Metro.

No one has felt the weight of expectations from a celebrity parent quite like Liza Minnelli. The singer-actor described mother Judy Garland’s reaction to her talents being noticed as that of a lioness, but she tells The New York Times that she’s never known differently and is genuinely grateful for having grown up around her mother’s talented circle.