15 Rich People Who Tried To Buy Their Way Into Fame

June 18, 2023

Money cannot buy happiness, they say, and maybe they are right. What they do not tell you is money can potentially buy fame. Fame, however, does not just mean Facebook likes and Instagram followers. When you are a rich person, your life is filled with people and, hopefully, some happiness. Here is a list of people who tried to buy their way into fame.

Arindam Chaudhuri

Arindam Chaudhuri is an internet scammer and known fraud who believes he is rich enough to buy popularity. The Director of IIPM Think Tank at the Indian Institute of Planning and Management has written five books and created a large number of MBA ads which turned out to be snake oil, as the degrees he was offering were not accredited.

Even though several court cases are pending against Chaudhuri, he continues to advertise his fake school with full-page newspaper and internet ads as part of his desperate bid to become a famous entrepreneur. He calls himself a rich man from India, which is a far cry from what he really is.

Chaudhuri is the son of Malayendra Kisor Chaudhuri, who founded IIPM. In 2014, the high courts censured the organization and its founder for misleading students. The Chaudhuris were implying their school offered degrees certified by the International Management Institute in Belgium, but an investigation revealed the two men had set up the company, which was not even recognized by the Belgian laws.

Chaudhuri has also produced several Bollywood films through his company Planman Motion Pictures. Whether or not Chaudhuri offers good business advice, he certainly has not managed to create a successful image for himself. He has been involved in several other lawsuits around copyright laws in India.

Rebecca Black

Rebecca Black is the face behind the viral music video Friday. Rebecca used four thousand dollars of her parents’ money to create a music video for the song Friday, which she then uploaded to her YouTube channel in February 2011. It went viral the following month but did not garner Rebecca the fame and success she was hoping for. Instead, the coverage of the song and video was mostly negative. Rebecca was invited onto The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to talk about the song as well as the negative reaction to it. At that point, the song had far more dislikes on YouTube than likes. Rebecca even received death threats following the release of her song.

ARK Music Factory, the company Rebecca used to make the video, actually wrote the song in its entirety. Rebecca eventually started her own music label, RB Records, and released several singles throughout 2011 and 2012. Saturday, the follow up to Friday, charted at fifty-five on Billboard, but was only there for one week, whereas Friday was on the charts for six weeks.

Rebecca has twice now said she was working on an album. One was supposed to be released in 2011 and another in 2015. She has blamed delays on her former relationship with ARK and the challenge of finding compatible producers, but maybe she has realized how hard the business actually is.

Ready to keep up with the family coming next?

The Kardashians

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when the Kardashians became a household name. The obvious would be when Keeping Up With The Kardashians premiered on E!, but the Kardashians had some fame before that. Robert Kardashian, Kris Jenner’s first husband, famously defended OJ Simpson during his high profile murder trial.

Kim Kardashian was a high profile stylist for stars like Lindsay Lohan, and of course, Caitlyn Jenner was well known for her Olympic victories when she was known as Bruce Jenner. The daughters only started appearing in the spotlight more after Robert died of esophageal cancer in 2003, and many people assume Kris pushed her kids into the spotlight.

A former nanny of the Kardashian children recently wrote a tell-all book stating Kris had all of this fame planned from the start. It seems disturbing to think a mother might engineer her daughter’s sex tape to be released to the public to get more fame for herself and her children.

Many people point to the scandal around the 2007 release of Kim Kardashian’s sex tape as the reason for the attention afforded to the family, but that is the allegation Kris regularly faces. Her daughters have certainly made the most of the chances they were given, building high profile careers as entrepreneurs and in the competitive world of fashion.


Often called Powerstar Srinivasan, this is a little known Tamil actor who has exhausted his bank account trying to become famous. He was a medical practitioner who switched careers to try film-making. The Indian actor and comedian has had little success to write home about.

Srinivasan has acted in many Tamil movies and thinks he is a star. An interview revealed he thought his fame was being exploited, and he takes up only small roles in small budget films. It goes a long way to testify his low status in the filming industry. He also appears in single scene appearances for films and promotional videos.

The first film in which Srinivasan starred was called Lathika. The film was released in 2011, received very little publicity, and featured mostly new actors. A year later, Srinivasan claimed the film had been running in theaters for 220 days straight. This was true, but only because of one small cinema. The claim garnered the actor online fan clubs.

He began shooting several other films in which he starred, though few of them were completed. Because his first film positioned him as a spoof artist, this has been the bulk of his roles. In 2013, Srinivasan had a major role in N. Santhanam’s Kanna Laddu Thinna Aasaiya, but since then, he has had mostly very small roles.

Florence Foster Jenkins

While Florence Foster Jenkins died before the end of the Second World War, her story proves the idea of buying fame is nothing new. Florence was an amateur opera soprano and socialite who spent her whole life being ridiculed for her poor voice. Specifically, it was said she lacked rhythm, tone, pitch, and failed to properly pronounce the French, German, and Italian words of opera.

The criticism she faced, however, never stopped her from pursuing her dream. Florence had actually been a child prodigy pianist at the age of eight, touring Pennsylvania. She even played at the White House during the Hayes administration.

Florence wanted to go abroad to take vocal lessons, but her father refused. To retaliate, Florence eloped, but shortly after her marriage, she contracted syphilis from her husband. The only available treatment at the time was mercury and arsenic, which are poisonous. It is very likely this worsened her voice and her ability to hear pitch.

For all that she was never a good singer, she was considered entertaining, and her performances at her Verdi Club were well attended. Florence appears to have been aware of her detractors and said while people might say she could not sing, they would never be able to say she did not sing.

Ted Cruz

Rafael Edward Cruz, more commonly known as Ted Cruz, recently brought his substantial wealth to bear in an attempt to be nominated as the Republican candidate for President of the United States. Cruz’s campaign cost almost 100 million dollars to run, with nearly one million of that financed from his own pockets. Not too many people could afford to drop that kind of money in a bid for public office, especially an unsuccessful one.

Cruz was born in Canada in 1970, and his mother was a United States citizen, which meant he had dual-citizenship with the United States and Canada until he formally renounced his Canadian citizenship in May 2014. He attended some of the most expensive and prestigious universities in the country: Princeton University and Harvard Law School.

Cruz won the Junior Senator seat in Texas in 2012, having previously served as Attorney General for the state from 2003 to 2008. Cruz’s campaign for President was suspended on May 3rd, 2016 after he lost the Republican primary in Iowa to Donald Trump.

There is some irony in Cruz being defeated by Trump, a businessman who prides himself on his investments and funding. Perhaps Cruz’s bid for President would have been more effective if he had not been running against Donald. The moment we all missed this primary season would have been Donald Trump looking across a long table at Ted Cruz, saying, 'You’re fired.'

Prince Harry

Prince Harry makes this list not because he uses money to buy fame, as it is pretty clear members of the British royal family are already famous. But he certainly does use his money to differentiate himself from his brother. At this point, with his father, brother, niece, and nephew between him and the throne, it is highly unlikely Prince Harry will rule the realm. So he gets to be the wild royal while Prince William wears suits.

Some of Prince Harry’s fame in the United States comes from the intense love Americans had for his mother, Princess Diana. Princess Diana also publicly stated she wanted her children to have a wider range of experiences than previous royal babies, which meant Princes Harry and William went to places like McDonald’s and Disney World. Americans also had their hearts stolen by the images of the young boys walking behind their mother’s coffin after her death in 1997.

While Prince William was making royal tours, Prince Harry announced that he would take a tour in Afghanistan. In 2014, Prince Harry launched Invictus Games, a Paralympic-style event for injured veterans, and he has continued to work with those wounded in the line of duty.

In his youth, Prince Harry was labeled a wild child by the tabloids when he was seen smoking cannabis, playing strip billiards in Las Vegas, and occasionally making racist and insensitive remarks. Although he has matured, Prince Harry is still remembered by many for the escapades of his youth.

Paris Hilton

Like the Kardashians, Paris Hilton had plenty of money, but became famous through reality television and celebrity gossip columns. Hilton is the great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, the founder of Hilton Hotels. She began a career as a model when she was a teenager, but caught the attention of the world in 2003 when a sex tape featuring her and her then-boyfriend was released. The timing of the sex tape release gave a boost to her reality show, The Simple Life, which featured Paris with her childhood best friend, Nicole Richie. Hilton went on to write a book, Confessions of an Heiress, act in the horror flick House of Wax, and record an album.

Paris Hilton is often referred to as a 'celebutante,' which is a portmanteau of celebrity debutante. She is considered to be famous simply for being famous. Because of her fame in the media, she has become an entrepreneur, expanding fashion and perfume lines, and creating a host of Paris Hilton stores located around the world.

Hilton makes plenty of her own money, both from product sales and from appearances at clubs and events. She and Nicole Richie were also friends during their childhood with Kim Kardashian. She has had occasional brushes with the law for charges of driving under the influence and possession of drugs, which have only added to her fame.

Rose Farquhar

Before Kate Middleton married Prince William and became Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William was attached to Rose Farquhar while he was at Eton. Rose and William were childhood friends and reportedly are still friendly to one another now. Her father is Captain Ian Farquhar, Master of the Beaufort Hunt.

Since she and William parted romantic paths, Rose has been pursuing a path of celebrity. She attended the Lee Strasberg Institute and recorded an album after missing out on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s reality show, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? Rose was William’s first official girlfriend, and many consider her to have been his first love.

For her part, Rose seems far too busy to ever wish she was in Kate Middleton’s shoes. Her Twitter profile lists her as a singer, songwriter, and fundraiser, and links to her profile on SoundCloud. Farquhar auditioned for the BBC One version of 'The Voice' in February 2016, but failed to make it past the audition stage.

Rose’s audition performance was observed by will.i.am, Boy George, Ricky Wilson, and Paloma Faith, all of whom took on twelve contestants each. She told the press she felt gutted for missing her chance, but was glad she had the opportunity to perform. Time will tell if Rose Farquhar can get out of the Prince’s shadow.

The Cast Of Rich Kids Of Beverly Hills

Dorothy Wang, Morgan Stewart, Bianca Espada, Brendan Fitzpatrick, Earvin “EJ” Johnson, and Jonny Drubel make up the group of 20-something millionaires and billionaires who show off their luxurious lifestyle on E!’s The Rich Kids of Beverly Hills. All the cast members inherited their fortunes, which makes many people even more critical of them than they might be if they had earned their money in some way.

Former cast members include Taylor-Ann Hasselhoff and Roxy Sowlaty. Critics of the show have called it gross, saying it is obvious the stars know they are being followed, and the entire thing is scripted. If nothing else, it is certainly a spotlight for the young and spoiled.

Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal's father, director Stephen Gyllenhaal, descends from an aristocratic Swedish family. The King Of Sweden ennobled them in the 17th century due to their bravery and exceptional military service. In fact, the Gyllenhaal family produced several highly-decorated soldiers for hundreds of years. In 1865, the first Gyllenhaals immigrated to the United States.

Jake's mother, Naomi Foner, is a writer and sometimes collaborates with his father. With this kind of background, their children Jake and Maggie had the right connections to make it. The family money didn't hurt, either. Acting classes, workshops, and up-to-date headshots can all get pretty expensive.

Ready for a surprising person with NFL connections? Keep reading for more.

Rooney Mara

The slight, dainty Rooney Mara is perhaps the last person you'd expect to have big-time connections to the NFL. But she does, in the form of her father's family, the Maras. Rooney's dad, Chris Mara, is a senior vice president in the New York Giants organization, and her great-grandfather, Tim Mara, founded the team. As if that's not enough cash in the coffers, Rooney Mara's mother, Kathleen, has found success in the real estate game.

Rooney's family money and famous name were a big help when it came time to jump-start her career. These days, casting professionals and producers will look at a performer's social media presence and other connections before making a decision, and someone who crops up at NFL events has great crossover appeal.

It's time to light a spark with the next person on this list.

Jordin Sparks

Jordin Sparks may have seemed to reach fame on her own. She was, after all, a contestant on American Idol. Plenty of other singers, such as Clay Aiken and Carrie Underwood, arrived on the Idol stage after a truly obscure background. However, Jordin's family isn't like that. Her dad, Phillippi Sparks, was a football player for the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.

Jordin's name and background made a great backstory for the show, and her NFL connections also make for some interesting social media followers! She always reacts when a family friend has a big game, suffers an injury, or has any major life event. Her dad had a long career in the NFL in two of its biggest markets. He is also on the record about how proud he is of her recent success, and all his fans know it.

Of course, one of the quintessential rich girls had to make this list. Continue reading for more.

Nicole Richie

Nicole Richie, the adopted daughter of singer Lionel Richie, first came to America's attention as one of the snarky rich girls on The Simple Life. Together with heiress Paris Hilton, Richie lived in Arkansas doing chores, which was unlike anything she'd encountered during her privileged childhood. Richie's off-kilter sense of humor made her a star, even though it worried her parents.

Over the years, being a poor little rich girl got Nicole Richie into lots of trouble. She struggled with addiction and was once caught driving her SUV the wrong way on a freeway while under the influence of marijuana and other drugs. Luckily, she could afford some good lawyers and better PR. When she cleaned up her act, Nicole's team made sure everyone knew it, and helped her get right back into America's good graces.

It's time to talk about the son of a truly fresh prince. Keep reading!

Jaden Smith

As the son of mega-star Will Smith and acclaimed actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, Jaden Smith had all the right connections to make it big from the time he was born. Plenty of parents have tried to buy their kids a career with little success. But Will Smith's big name gave him the ability to cast his son in some of his films, such as The Pursuit of Happyness and After Earth.

Jaden also made a big splash in a remake of The Karate Kid. Like his dad, he's also been successful in music and has a gold record to his name. His sister Willow has also had at least one hit song. Having parents who know producers and can afford vocal lessons is clearly a big advantage in the world of pop music!

While it is true all of them were born into their wealth, other critics are quick to point out the parents of these kids did quite a lot of work to get their children where they are. EJ’s father, for example, is Magic Johnson, a famous NBA basketball player. Dorothy Wang’s father, Roger, is chairman of Golden Eagle Retail Group Limited. Morgan Stewart’s father is a property developer in Beverly Hills.Roxy Sowlaty’s father, Sam, runs Acuprint. Taylor-Ann Hasselhoff is, of course, the daughter of actor and German singing sensation David Hasselhoff. So really, what we can learn from all of these reality stars is it is time to go back to scripted TV with actual actors who have real talent.

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