World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0000845832
Reproduction Date:

Title: Socialite  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Jill Kelley, Grace Hightower, Kim Kardashian, W. Scott Wilkinson, Charlie Brooks (racehorse trainer)
Collection: Occupations, Socialites, Sociological Terminology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


A socialite is a person who has a reputation in society for spending a significant amount of time participating in social activities such as parties and other fashionable events, entertaining guests and being entertained by others of similar standing.[1][2]

American members of the Establishment, or an American "Society" based on birth, breeding, education, and economic standing, were originally listed in the Social Register, a directory of the names and addresses of the "preferred social contacts" of the prominent families in the 19th century. In 1886, Louis Keller started to consolidate these lists and package them for sale.[3]


  • 18th and 19th centuries 1
  • 21st century 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4

18th and 19th centuries

The concept of socialites dates to the 18th and 19th century. Most of the earliest socialites were wives or mistresses of royalty or nobility, but being a socialite was more a duty and a means of survival than a form of pleasure. Bashful queens were often forced to play gracious and wealthy hostess to people who despised them. Mistresses had to pay for their social reputation and had to use their social skills to obtain favor in the court and retain the interest of their lovers.[4]

With the increase of wealth in America in the 19th century, being a socialite developed into a role that brought power and influence.[4] Men and women became social climbers, which was made easy due to their abundance in money and means of attaining it (usually from inheritance).

21st century

In the 21st century, the term "socialite" is still attached to being wealthy and socially recognized. The lines between being a socialite and celebrity with an exuberant partying lifestyle have since become blurred due to the influence of both popular culture and the media, particularly when the status of being a celebrity is largely due to that lifestyle. Celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian are examples of 21st-century socialites due to their ability to attract media attention and fame simply based on their connections and associations. Hilton is the great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, the founder of Hilton Hotels & Resorts and heiress to the Hilton Hotel fortune. Due to her outrageous lifestyle, Hilton was hailed by the media as "New York's leading It Girl" in 2001.[5] Kardashian, herself the daughter of prominent attorney Robert Kardashian, first gained media attention through her friendship with Hilton, a modern-day socialite, and soon became one herself.[6]

Gossip Girl, an American television show from 2007 to 2012, focuses on the lives on New York socialites who live on Manhattan's Upper East Side. The show is a strong influence on how socialites are regarded in the 21st century because of the presence of scandal, wealth (and what it can get you), and fashion in each episode. Pop culture gives the impression that by simply being wealthy and fashionable, an individual has the opportunity to become famous. Consequently, it is an individual's ability to climb the social ladder due to his or her wealth and recognition that makes him or her a socialite.

According to The New York Times, socialites spend between $98,000 and $455,000 per year (young and old, respectively) to maintain their roles as successful socialites.[7] Just the evening wardrobe of an individual regularly attending society functions can cost $100,000 annually.[8] Examples of American socialites include Olivia Palermo, Jill Kelley, Jean Shafiroff, and Tinsley Mortimer. Palermo's fame came after being on the reality television show The City, which focused on the lives of Whitney Port and her friends. She is prominent among the other socialites who live in New York City and is known for her role in the fashion industry.

See also


  1. ^ "Socialite definition". Reverso Dictionary. Retrieved 2010-10-28. 
  2. ^ "Socialite". Merriam-Webster Online. Retrieved 2010-10-28. 
  3. ^ "About Us". Social Register Association. Retrieved 2013-07-31. 
  4. ^ a b "What is a Socialite?". wiseGEEK. Retrieved 2013-12-30
  5. ^ "Paris Hilton Biography – Facts, Birthday, Life Story". Retrieved 2013-10-24.
  6. ^ "Kim Kardashian Biography". The Biography Channel. A+E Networks. Retrieved 2013-10-24
  7. ^ "The True Cost of Being an NYC Socialite". Business Insider. Retrieved 2013-12-30
  8. ^ [1] "What Price Generosity?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-2-01
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.