Celebrities can provide both positive and negative influences for teenagers

In a 2013 poll that surveyed parents across the country, Miley Cyrus and Chris Brown were voted the worst celebrity role models for teenagers. Also making the list were Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan, Kanye West and Justin Bieber.

Struggling to find the direction the rest of their lives will take, many teenagers look for guidance from role models. Some look up to a relative or close family friend, while others admire those whose fame has made their actions public knowledge.

“My role model is Miranda Lambert because she saves animals, she is super nice, an awesome singer and is married to Blake Shelton,” junior Julia Teatro said. “Those are the kind of characteristics I think are important in a person and that is why I look up to her.”

Lambert’s MuttNation Foundation has donated thousands of dollars to animal shelters across the country. As a volunteer at Adopt-a-Pet and in fostering stay animals, Teatro finds comfort in a celebrity sharing her passion.

“I spend my life saving animals and she is a celebrity who has that in common with me,” Teatro said. “It makes me feel like saving animals is worth my time because someone famous supports it, too.”

Role models also have an influence over athletes. Freshman wrestler Shae Parson finds inspiration in Olympic wrestler Jordan Burrows.

“My role model is Jordan Burrows, a U.S. Olympic wrestler,” Parson said. “As a wrestler, he encourages me to get to the Olympics. He was one of the best college wrestlers and he is a really good guy. He gives back to his fans and actually cares about them.”

Sophomore Travis Morris shares a similar story. As a mountain biker, Morris looks up to Brandon Semenuke. Semenuke is a professional mountain biker and is well known on Youtube for his mountain biking videos.

“I look up to Brandon Semenute, a famous mountain biker,” Morris said. “I look up to him because I like mountain biking and I want to become a professional mountain biker too. He pushes me to do harder things on my bike.”

Role models can also have a negative impact on teenagers. Senior Gabrielle Farren believes celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Charlie Sheen can cause teenagers to participate in inappropriate behavior.

“When celebrities are seen doing something negative, it makes people think that doing inappropriate things is okay because their role model does them,” Farren said. “It causes people to act in a socially unacceptable way that they may regret later.”