Celebrities and Their Life Stories

Caitlyn Jenner

2015’s Most Courageous Woman


In April 2015, Bruce Jenner revealed that he was transitioning into a woman. In June of 2015, Jenner announced via Twitter that she is a woman, now known as Caitlyn. For nearly sixty-five years, Caitlyn hid behind Bruce. In the mid 80s, Jenner went through various stages of transition including taking hormones and having his beard removed through an incredibly painful two year regimen of electrolysis. Bruce did so with no pain medicine because he believed pain was part of who he was. He was famous for competing in the Olympics; he also secretly wore panty hose and a bra underneath his suit because he wanted to feel some sensation of his true identity. Bruce then stopped his transition in the late 80s because he feared what would happen – the rumors and what his children would think. Throughout his live, Bruce always fought with what can be called gender dysphoria. From the age of ten, he would sneak into his mother’s closet or sometimes his sister’s trying on dresses and scarves. Jenner said he was fascinated by it all. When he competed in the Olympics, he thought it was the ultimate sport of a man; he got married, had children, competed in other sports and hobbies continually telling himself that things would be O.K. Then, in March 2015, Bruce left Kris Kardashian, leading to the end of a twenty-three year marriage. From that moment on, Jenner set forth on her journey to becoming who she truly was – Caitlyn Jenner.

Caitlyn Jenner received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award and was the Women of the Year in 2015. Many people see Jenner’s story as very inspiring after everything she went through for sixty-five years and finally had the courage to transition to her new life and she is not afraid to show it. To see how philosopher Todd May would evaluate her life click here: https://u.osu.edu/myers.1316/mays-theory/ Another philosopher, Susan Wolf, might analyze Jenner’s life in another way. To see her ideas, click here: https://u.osu.edu/myers.1316/wolfs-theory/


Donald Trump

Time To Make America Great Again


A contender to be the 2016 Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump is best known as a billionaire real estate mogul and a television personality. At age thirteen, Trump was an energetic and assertive teen, so his parents sent him to a military camp hoping he would channel his energy in a positive way. He graduated as a star athlete and a student leader. Trump went onto college at Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated with a degree in Economics. After graduating school, Trump began working with at his father’s real estate company. Later in 1971, he was given control of the company, which he renamed the Trump Organization. Eight years later, Trump leased a site on Fifth Avenue that would become the location of his fifty-eight story building named Trump Tower. This lead to Donald Trump expanding his empire in Atlantic City, Manhattan, Florida and Los Angeles over many years. Around 1990, the real estate marked declined, reducing the value of and the income from Trump’s empire. The Trump Organization required massive loans to keep it from collapsing, however, Trump eventually managed to climb his way back to success. In January 2005, Trump married his third wife and shortly thereafter has his fifth child. Around this same time, he began starring in a hit reality TV series, The Apprentice. With his political interest stirring up, Trump announced he was thinking about running for president, highly critical of the current President Obama. On June 16, 2015, Donald Trump made his ambitions official and announced his run for president as the Republican candidate. Since that date, Trump has been a very controversial candidate, offending some and receiving the support of others. Can Donald Trump’s life be portrayed through narrative values as Todd May would use (https://u.osu.edu/myers.1316/mays-theory/) or does his life have meaning according to Susan Wolf’s definition of a meaningful life? (https://u.osu.edu/myers.1316/wolfs-theory/) Please visit these links to see what these philosophers would say.


Kanye West

No One Loves Kanye like Kanye Loves Kanye


Split between parents at a young age, Kanye West was born in Atlanta. At the age of three, his parents divorced and he was then raised in Chicago by his mother, an English professor, and spent summers with his father, a photographer who became a church counselor. Kanye West graduated high school and went to college for one year at Chicago State University. In 2001, West moved to New York to pursue a full time music career where rapper Jay-Z hired him to produce songs for his album. He then signed a record deal and began recording in the studio. On his way home one day, he was involved in a head-on collision that resulted in a fractured jaw he had wired shut. He returned the studio and continued to record his album, The College Dropout, that went on to sell 2.6 million copies and won a Grammy award. A few years later, in 2007, West lost his mother when due to complications of a cosmetic surgery. The next year, Kanye put out another album that won him more awards. In 2009, West released two albums in the same day, debuted his line of shoes designed for the famous brand Louis Vuitton, and continued to engage in charitable events and supporting the charity his mother created in 2007. The Kanye West Foundation works to reduce the number of high school dropouts. In the past four years, West became the child to two children and married Kim Kardashian, who revealed her fertility struggles with their second child on the tenth season of her reality show. He continues to release new music, collaborating with other rap artists. West continues to critique the country’s criminal system and compares being a celebrity to being a slave. Throughout his life, Kanye West has encountered many struggles, and has appeared to be successful. To see what philosopher Susan Wolf would have to say about his life, click here: https://u.osu.edu/myers.1316/wolfs-theory/ To see what might be considered a different perspective as to West’s life being meaningful, click here for a review through Todd May’s eyes: https://u.osu.edu/myers.1316/mays-theory/


Hugh Hefner 

America’s Playboy


Hugh Hefner – editor, journalist, illustrator, producer, entrepreneur and WWII vet – has lived a crazy and wild ninety years. Hefner started his life out as a very intelligent student, starting a school newspaper and comic book showing early signs of journalistic talent. After high school, Hefner served two years in the U.S. Army as a noncombatant soldier toward the end of WWII and was discharged in 1946. He then enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. He later landed a job at a magazine company and later decided not to remain at the publication company when they denied him a pay raise. Hugh Hefner then decided to pursue his dream of starting his own publication and thus, Playboy magazine was created. Through the years, Hefner built Playboy Enterprise into a major corporation. He has received numerous awards for his contributions to society and the publishing industry. In 1998, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the American Society of Magazine Editors. In 2000, Hefner received the Henry Johnson Fisher Award and became an honorary member of The Harvard Lampoon. Hefner recently married his third wife in 2012 and then in October 2015 announced there was going to be a radical change to the Playboy magazine – the featured girls would no longer being nude. In March 2016, the magazine issue featured a bikini-clad girl on the front page, marking the first time Playboy has presented itself as a non-nude magazine.

From the perspective of Todd May, Hugh Hefner exhibited narrative values in his life. To learn more, click here: https://u.osu.edu/myers.1316/mays-theory/

Philosopher Susan Wolf may also define Hugh Hefner’s life as meaningful. To see the reasoning behind this, click here: https://u.osu.edu/myers.1316/wolfs-theory/