Emma Roberts says critics of nepo babies 'don't see all the rejection along the way'

Emma Roberts believes the public has an oversimplified view of nepo babies.

It seems that Hollywood ancestry is a two-sided coin for the “Scream Queens” actor, who is the daughter of Academy Award nominee Eric Roberts and the niece of Academy Award winner Julia Roberts.

“People like to say, you know, you have a leg up because you have family in the industry. But then the other side to that is you have to prove yourself more,” she said during the latest episode of Bruce Bozzi’s podcast “Table for Two.”

Roberts made her film debut at age 9 in the crime drama “Blow,” playing Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz’s daughter. At 13, she scored her breakout role as Addie Singer in the Nickelodeon sitcom “Unfabulous.”

More recently, she’s struck up a creative partnership with Ryan Murphy, starring in several seasons of FX‘s award-winning anthology series “American Horror Story.”

“I’ve always wanted to work and have a sense of purpose,” she told Grazia in 2023.

Still, the actor’s career has not come without its setbacks, she said on “Table for Two.”

“That’s the thing that I always talk about — people kind of only see your wins because they only see when you’re on the poster of a movie. They don’t see all the rejection along the way,” Roberts said.

She added that she tries to be transparent about the roles she doesn’t land, “otherwise people just think everything’s been so great and linear and easy, and no, it’s not at all. But of course it looks like that to the outside perspective or to the naked eye.”

The actor also highlighted a gender bias within the nepo-baby discourse, arguing that male actors such as George Clooney — the nephew of Emmy-nominated and Grammy Lifetime Achievement award-winning actor-singer Rosemary Clooney — receive far less scrutiny than “young girls.”

“I think there’s something to be said where everybody loves the kind of overnight success story,” Roberts said. “And so if you’re not the girl from the middle of nowhere that broke into Hollywood, there’s kind of an eye roll of like ‘Well, your dad was this.’”

At times, Roberts said she feels Hollywood isn’t for her — “because I decide it’s not, or because the industry will decide it’s not” — but she’s become more confident with age.

“I feel so lucky that I get to be 33 and still get to be doing things that I love,” she said.

Roberts’ new movie “Space Cadet” — on which she also serves as an executive producer — premieres July 4 on Prime Video. The actor likened the romantic comedy to “nostalgic,” “fish-out-of-water” stories like “Legally Blonde” and “Private Benjamin.”

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