What is a Media Darling & How To Become One

What is a Media Darling & How To Become One



A media darling is someone who is loved by the media.


There have been plenty of media darlings throughout the ages.

I believe media darlings were more prominent before the rise of the internet.


When the mainstream media had control, it was easier to control the narrative of who the public should love and who the public should be wary of.

You can build a ton of media literacy by analyzing the current media darlings.


Who is someone that you can think of that was loved by the media?

Did they stay loved or did the media eventually plan their downfall?


Breaking Down Michael Jordan


Michael Jordan was a branding machine.

He had a friendly face, was gifted at his craft, and was business savvy.


The media loved Mike and Mike loved the media.


He was the media darling of the 90s.

His story was something written out of the books.


He spent 7 years not winning a ring to finally win one.

Scratch that… he didn’t win one, he won 3!

He led the Chicago Bulls to become a dynasty.


At the peak of his career, his dad got murdered.

Due to the emotional pain, MJ walked away from the game.


He switched fields to become a baseball player instead.


He played baseball for some time until he decided to return to the NBA.

The papers captured his iconic line:

‘I’m back.’


MJ came back, and not long after, he led his Chicago Bulls to another 3 championships.

This man was a legend, no denying that…

He was the media darling of the 90s.


Where is MJ’s Legacy Now?


Despite being the media darling of the 90s, MJ still had his fair share of controversy.

There was a time when the public had “MJ fatigue.”


They saw his face on everything.

The public eventually began wondering what his skeletons were.


2 glairing criticisms of Michael Jordan came out:

  • He was not politically active.
  • He was a notorious gambler.


These 2 criticisms came out in the 90s.

Nowadays, the criticisms have only stacked up.


With the rise of the internet, MJ’s reputation has taken more hits.

  • The crying Jordan meme.
  • Stories about MJ being a jerk.
  • Becoming the poster boy of the “We are done with the 90s” movement.


MJ was once a media darling.

He could do no wrong.

As time passed, his legacy has seen a lot of ups and downs.


How to Become a Media Darling


To become a media darling, you need 2 things:

  • Skills.
  • Marketability.


You need to understand that the media is a business.

They are in the business of selling ads to their viewers.

They need to make sure they are using the right talent to draw in viewers, so brands feel comfortable publicizing their product with this media channel.


The star needs to be talented and have marketability.

What does marketability mean?


I would say marketability is a clean-cut look and a controversy-free life…


This is why Chris Brown is not a media darling.

He is highly skilled, but he is plagued by controversy.


With stories of his gang affiliations, beating up Rihanna, and stalking Karrueche… he is plagued by bad press.


He’s the most talented artist of our generation!

He can sing, rap, dance, act, and so much more.

But that doesn’t matter.

He only satisfied the skilled bullet, but not the marketability bullet.


What about Taylor Swift?

‘She seems like a media darling. I can’t turn on the TV without hearing about her.’



She is skilled.

Aka: she can sing and write her own songs.


Plus, she isn’t plagued by that much controversy.

Even if she is, I’m not aware of it.

And if the general public is not aware of any skeletons, then the media is happy.


What Comes Up Must Go Down


There is a famous saying:

  • “The media builds you up to only tear you down.”


Look no further than Michael Jackson.


Michael Jackson was a phenom from the early age of 5.

He was the lead singer of the Jackson 5.

He gained amazing publicity for having so much soul in such a little body.


As he was growing into a teenager, the media turned on him.

They didn’t like how he was no longer a cute boy.

They weren’t fond of his growing pains of going from a teen to a man.


Fast forward more time.

MJ is now a solo artist.


He proceeds to create some of the best content of his life.

Thriller being one of them.

He goes back to being a star.


Fast forward more time…

The 2000s arrive.

Michael Jackson’s skin color is changing, and he is plagued with controversy of being inappropriate with little kids.


Back to bad publicity.


Michael Jackson dies.

The media reevaluates his legacy.

He is seen as a legend again.


This happens to all media darlings.

They are loved for a while.


But if they have been in the spotlight for long enough, then eventually, the media will tear them down.

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.


If these celebrities keep bouncing back, then their legend status will be solidified.


Building Media Literacy


Look at which celebrities are getting a lot of love.

Understand why certain celebrities get so much hate.


You’ll see certain celebrities that get pushed down your throat.

Haven’t you ever wondered why?


Because they make dollars for the media conglomerates, of course!

They have a morsel of talent PLUS they have that marketability look.


The more you engage with the media, rather than consume the content like a passive bystander, the more you will build your media literacy.


Spot the media darling of your time.

Also, spot the media villain of your time.

Who keeps receiving bad publicity?


Keep asking why.

The more you drill down with why questions, the more you will build fluency for the content that you’re consuming.


For more insights into storytelling, check out the Art and Science of Storytelling Book




– ArmaniTalks ????️????



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