On the eve of New York Fashion Week,Target held a splashy party in a former carriage house transformed into four brightly coloured pop-up shops. It was as if a suburban mall had momentarily alighted in the meatpacking district.
Celebrities included Jessica Chastain,Hailee Steinfeld and Lauren Bush Lauren,all of whom wafted through like angels in the food court. There was another winsome scion there: Alexandra Richards,26,a daughter of the Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards.
But Richards wasnt browsing the racks or sipping cocktails. Rather,she stood behind a small folding table,propped before two turntables and a laptop,playing classics from her fathers generation (Led Zeppelin,the Spinners) and hits from her own (Azealia Banks,M83,the Black Keys).
I love playing the classics that everybody recognises but mixing it up a little with obscure tracks, said Richards,headphones wedged between her shoulder and ear,as models and shoppers walked by.
Richards is one of the many children of celebrities who have turned to turntables to eke out a living. As a party DJ,the hours are easy,there is not much in the way of formal training,the pay can be pretty good and,a boldface last name all but guarantees a gig.
A scan of party invitations in New York,Los Angeles,Miami and Las Vegas reveals a growing list of DJs with celebrity parents: Connor Cruise,17,the son of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman; DJ Demetrius Mosley,20,a son of the record producer Timbaland; and Pierre Sarkozy,27,a son of Nicolas Sarkozy,the former president of France.
A lot of people think DJing is easy,and a lot of people think DJs are cool, said Rob Principe,a founder of Scratch DJ Academy,a decade-old DJ school. So I can see how it would be appealing if you dont have to worry about income,like these kids.
These children might be trying to avoid Frank Sinatra Jr. syndrome,that is,becoming a second-rate imitation of their parents, said Dr. John Altman,a psychiatrist in Los Angeles who treats many children of celebrities.
That might explain the allure for the young Cruise,17,who often sports a mohawk and is frequently photographed flashing a peace sign. Cruise,who performs under the name DJ C-Squared,has hit the corporate DJ circuit. In July,he performed at a store in Times Square,playing an eclectic mix that included Whitney Houston,Gotye and Coldplay,according People magazine. According to The New York Post,Cruises fee for a two-hour set is $10,000.
One of the fringe benefits of booking a teenage DJ with a famous last name is that Daddy sometimes shows up. At an August appearance in London,the younger Cruise was joined by his father. Daddy cool Tom Cruise checks out son Connors DJ set at London club, wrote Hello! magazine.
Not all children are as eager to milk the family name. The young Sarkozy did not make his French debut at the Parisian nightclub Queen until last June,after his father was voted out of the Elysee Palace. I wanted to prove my value outside of France first, he said in an interview.
Likewise,Richards said she paid her dues first at dive bars and bar mitzvahs.
Why are DJs with celebrity parents hired in the first place? Its not to rock a crowd,but to stir news media coverage,Facebook postings,Twitter messages and Instagram photos. Media coverage is one of the most important goals of our events, said Joshua Russell Thomas,a spokesman for Target.