Why celebrities are drinking less
We talk to celebrity PR Max Clifford about why celebrities are cutting back on alcohol.
Actor George Clooney wants to stop wasting his mornings. Model Kate Moss is trying for a baby. And EastEnders actress Natalie Cassidy is on a diet.
According to recent tabloid press they’re all cutting back on alcohol to help them achieve their aims.
A decade ago we were used to seeing pictures of celebs stumbling out of nightclubs when we picked up the morning paper. Back then programmes like Ibiza Uncovered and Booze Britain filled our TV schedules. These days, we’re more likely to see paparazzi photos of celebrities coming out of the gym or with their children in tow. On the box, it’s cooking, weight loss and home improvement shows that dominate prime time viewing. Drinking less appears to be a trend that’s here to stay.
Celebrity PR Max Clifford thinks that drinking less has become a trend because more celebrities are aware of the potential problems of drinking too much. “The media love to pick on stars making fools of themselves and there are more celebrity magazines now which show the impact of having too much drink,” says Clifford, who helps promote everyone from X Factor judge Simon Cowell to TV presenter Nick Knowles. “Stars might get angry and come out with a mouth full of abuse if they’ve drunk too much which upsets their fans or followers.
“Popularity and being liked plays a huge part of their success. Most of these people have huge egos and suddenly, if they’re pictured falling out of cars in the media, people are turning off them as opposed to on to them – and they hate it.” This affects celebrities’ popularity and appeal which hits them in their pocket. “They lose money from sponsors or advertising,” says Clifford.
The current financial climate is also responsible for the trend of drinking less. Showbiz commentator Simon Thompson says celebrities know that fans are no longer interested in their frivolous and decadent lifestyles in times of austerity. “The media holds a mirror up to celebrities and they can see that drinking to excess is not aspirational, not sexy and not appealing to the people who buy their music or go and see their films,” says Thompson former showbiz editor at Heart FM.
“Companies are less willing to put money behind someone who drinks too much and whose behaviour becomes erratic and unpredictable. The industry is not as lavish these days and there’s always someone else waiting round the corner.”
This trend is being mirrored in the ‘real’ world too. Celebrities who are drinking less reflect a general ongoing trend of cutting back on alcohol. Britons have been drinking less every year since 2002. Data from the Office for National Statistics* published earlier this year shows that from 2008 to 2009, alcohol consumption in the UK fell by 6%. Men in the UK drank 16.3 units of alcohol a week on average in 2009, down from 17.4 in 2008, while women drank eight units a week on average, down from 9.4 in the previous year.
But how much of a part do celebrities really play in the fact Britain’s drinking less? Clifford thinks stars have a huge influence because of the massive amount of media coverage they get. Thompson, meanwhile, says that with the impact of social media, fans feel more personally connected to celebrities and compare their lives to their own. “There’s an aspirational feel in that connection; we think we can be like these people,” he says. “If celebs are talking about the benefits of drinking less, we’re much more likely to cut back ourselves. It’s about where that message comes from.”
Effects on appearance
Of course, there will always be celebrities who do the opposite. But Thompson believes that seeing the physical manifestation of drinking heavily over a prolonged period on the faces of certain celebrities also encourages shocked fans and observers to drink less.
Indeed, drinking over time can have a permanent effect on your skin as it is thought to deprive it of certain vital vitamins and nutrients.
Helping you to cut back
Unlike celebrities, the average fan doesn’t have access to a personal trainer or an expensive life coach to help them cut back. MyDrinkaware is an online tool which can help you stay motivated and cut back on your drinking, as well as set yourself drink less goals. It will help you keep an eye on what you drink, who you normally drink with and figure out the units and calories in what you’re drinking. It also allows you to add notes so you can track exactly how the previous night’s drinking made you feel.
You might not wake up to newspapers full of pictures detailing your drinking to excess antics like some unfortunate celebrities but staying within the recommended guidelines will help you stay in control and ensure you don’t do anything you later regret.
Drinking less is a trend that shows no sign of disappearing in both the celeb world and ‘real’ world so if you want to be on trend, it’s time to cut back.
National Office of Statistics, General Lifestyle Survey 2009, 27 January 2011.http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/ghs0111.pdf
Page updated: April 2013
Did you know?
More than 1 in 10 deaths of people in their 40s are from liver disease, most are from alcoholic liver diseaseAlcohol and the liver
Calculate your calories
Find out how many calories are in your drinksTry our unit calculator