The influence of celebrities means they could slowly but surely come to rule the world

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OPINION: I’m getting to the stage where if I lived in the United States, I think I might vote for rapper Kanye West for president, but the words ‘frying pan’ and ‘fire’ spring to mind.

While I’m not serious about voting for him, his pitch for president makes it seem increasingly likely that celebrities will slowly but surely come to rule the world.

In the last US election Oprah Winfrey was touted as a possible contender. She’d bring a level of intelligence and professionalism to the role that I could live with, given the alternative.

Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West in politics one day?


Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West in politics one day?

I remember friends poo-pooing me when I said celebrities would soon take over politics after President Donald Trump was voted into office. They said it would never happen, but it will.

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If the Kardashians are as influential among voters as the president and more well-known than most US politicians, then prepare yourself, celebrity world leaders are heading this way.

Is it bad? Not if the celebrity world leader shared my values, got young people engaged in politics, championed the things I think are important, made some real change, got people excited and involved in big issues?

Sue Allen feels celebrity politicians will become more common.


Sue Allen feels celebrity politicians will become more common.

So let’s play the game of: ‘Celebrity World Leaders. Who would you vote for?’

Let’s start with New Zealand. Then do a random trot round the globe.

We would probably look to great rugby leaders like Sir Graham Henry and Richie McCaw, though I imagine they’ve got other things to do with their time.

Actor Sam Neill likes to get stuck into the odd issue and seems a generally nice guy with a bit of gravitas.

All Blacks legend Richie McCaw retired from rugby in 2015.


All Blacks legend Richie McCaw retired from rugby in 2015.

Australia? That’s a gig likely to come up again soon. They’re on their fourth premier in 10 years, so expect a vacancy anytime. I’d go Russell Crowe, simply to annoy the Aussies as we know he’s really still a Kiwi.

Or there’s Kylie Minogue, Nicole Kidman, or maybe sprinter Cathy Freeman.

Celine Dion is highest profile Canadian but actors William Shatner, Ryan Gosling, Ryan Reynolds and comedian Mike Meyers would be highly entertaining choices from Canada, though I must draw the line at musician Justin Beiber.

Ireland? Surely U2 lead singer Bono has to be a shoo-in. He’s already a vocal spokesman on issues. Or at a push, Ronan Keating for a soft filter variety of leadership.

Russell Crowe in Australia?

Getty Images

Russell Crowe in Australia?

In Sweden? Abba has surely got it sewn up?

Ex-world class cricketer Imran Khan is already Pakistan’s Prime Minister, proving celebrity really can help your election chances.

The United Kingdom has got to be Hugh Grant. He’s already made the role his own in Love Actually.

But what about going full circle and Prince Harry carving out a role in British politics with a comeback plan to be prime minister with Meghan Markle as first lady. Or they could go for the clickbait option of footballer David Beckham and wife Victoria.

Prince Harry and Meghan have stepped away from royal duties.


Prince Harry and Meghan have stepped away from royal duties.

The point is, if the line between politics, reality TV and name recognition is starting to blur then we should expect to see more celebrities in the running for office.

The fact that they already have strong personal brands and are recognised names is more than half way there to being popular in the polls. And many celebrities are already involved in social issues anyway.

There are ‘disruptors’ out there in all other spheres so why not politics?

Bots write news articles; fake people answer your online and phone queries; Uber scrambled our idea of taxi services; Expedia, Trivago, Webjet and others mean we can by-pass travel agents.

So, why would we think the hallowed grounds of government will remain untouched by change?

– Sue Allen has worked in journalism, communications, marketing and brand management for 18 years in the UK and New Zealand.


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