How To: Play a rich character
Archetype: Serena van der Woodsen / Gossip Girl
- Be snobby. A lot of rich people come from old money which means that the money has been in their families for a quite a while. A lot of rich people cannot even imagine a reality where they have no money. This leaves a lot of time for their parents to pass on their beliefs and prejudices onto their children. For example, it is obvious that Daniel Humphrey is looked down upon for his residence in Brooklyn and social-economic status.
- Be spoilt. It is very likely that your character has everything they crave. Even if it’s on a whim. Their help (maid/butler) would run out to get of for them. A typical maid / employer relationship can be seen in “F.R.I.E.N.D.S,” Rachel and her mother are talking about her childhood nanny and Rachel asks what her full name was and her mother replies, “I don’t know, dear. She was the help.”
- Live luxuriously. A lot of people who lived privileged lives don’t spend a lot of time worrying about how much they spend or where they spend it. They know that if they keep working, they will make enough money to support themselves and their family to maintain the lifestyle they have grown accustomed to.
- Work hard. This is an important one. Those who know what it’s like to have nothing, will work very very hard to maintain their rich status as they never want to return to their former lifestyle. This could turn them into a work-a-holic which always seems to put extra pressure on their personal relationships.
- Be superficial. Rich children spend their lives judging people / things based on how much they’re worth. Unfortunately, they can’t help it. That’s how their parents were raised and that’s how they will raise their own children (if they don’t change.)
- Be formal. Being raised in a rich family means that they have ample opportunity to go to charity events. This means that they are aware of the etiquette that is appropriate at these events and general social contexts.
- Be selfish. One of the least used words in rich households probably has to be the word “no.” Their children are given whatever they want, regardless of how much it costs or how ridiculous it is.
- Be dumb. Rich people are rich for a reason. They didn’t become rich overnight because they know how to flip their hair in a persuasive manner. Your character may act dumb / innocent but you must remember that there is a huge difference in being dumb and acting dumb.
- Be money conscious. Since they have spent their lives being able to afford everything they could ever want or need, they have little reason to think about how much money they are actually spending. They do not understand the worth of a dollar. They just know 100 of those dollars can buy a watch. This can be seen in Gossip Girl at Serena and Dan’s Christmas. Serena has no qualms about buying Dan a 100+ dollar watch but Dan cannot accept it because it is just “too much.”
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER:
- A lot of rich families don’t include parent and child interaction on a daily basis. Their parents would need to work a lot in order for them to have everything they’ve got. So, buying their children everything they want can be a way to compensate for not being there. Depending on their relationship with their parents, the excessive amount of presents can be used to distract, buy affection or just manipulate their children.
- The children seemed to be more attached to their nannies / butlers since they’re the ones who actually take care of them but this doesn’t mean that they know their proper names.
- These habits cannot be erased in just a month / week of character development. It may be hard but do not rush it. It will seem desperate and poorly thought out if you do. Remember that these thoughts have been ingrained into your characters mind and those habits will be almost impossible to break.