Social media have let us in on the lives of celebrities more than ever before. Celebs with millions of followers now have a chance to share their private lives, hobbies and interests more than ever before. With the commercial drone sector in the US projected to reach $5.1 billion in direct economic impact by 2025 according to Forbes, drones are certainly becoming increasingly common in our skies. It was therefore quite to be expected that some celebrities would start to take interest in them, and share it with their public online. And the uses these stars’ drones are being set to are every bit as varied as you can imagine.
Love the Eye in the Sky
It seems that some VIPs do not like drones. You may have heard of Kanye West’s interesting idea of using trained eagles to attack drones. But there are many who have welcomed the drone invasion with open arms and taken the time to explore their possibilities. And, stars being who they are, it’s not always for exactly the reasons that drones were invented – Ronaldo Nazário, the legendary Brazilian striker better known without his surname, has reportedly harnessed the power of flight to deliver his toothbrush to his bed. Hey, it’s probably easier than teaching an eagle, and if you can get your groceries delivered by drone, why not your toothbrush?
Ronaldo’s not averse to a more energetic use of drones, either, and neither is fellow Brazilian soccer superstar Neymar Jr. The pair recently engaged in a challenge which involves them exchanging short videos of skilfully executed, inventive physical feats which often involve drone-related antics – including, in Neymar’s case, the memorable destruction of an airborne craft with a football kicked straight into the sky. It goes without saying that for many of the apparently droneless videos of this challenge – the #raiseit challenge – the drones have been heavily involved behind the scenes.
Indeed, these ever-lighter-and-faster mini-copters do seem to bring out the competitive streak in some of the guys. Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park and everything else) and Liam Hemsworth (Neighbours and, oh, you remember that movie, what was it called…) are among those who’ve tried their fingers at drone racing, and have the video to prove it. Even 85-year-old Rupert Murdoch has one.
Of course, part of it is about showing off. Drones are hip; drones are vaguely macho in that flying one is the closest thing to being a pilot without having to actually, well, be a pilot; and, naturally, the top-of-the-range drones have a price tag to match. These are not just the upscale models from the likes of Autel and Thunder Tiger which head the price rankings on online stores like Amazon, but also the serious industrial-specced hardware which can easily cost you upwards of $30,000.
But other celebs have shown a more restrained yet equally genuine enthusiasm, perhaps none of them more outspoken than Martha Stewart, American guru-ess of fine food and elegant living. Tweets from Stewart about her “amazing drone flight training session” and “amazing photos of my farm taken by a drone” would have reached 3.3 million followers on Twitter – surely good news for DJI, the company that makes the flying machine she owns, which got a name-check too.
Stewart’s not the only one who’s taken to social media to extol the virtues of their drones. Jamie Foxx, the Django Unchained star, went public on Instagram to proclaim “let’s fly!” and show off an attractive carrying case from Dronefly (which sells lots of Stewart’s favoured DJI kit as well as models from Hubsan, Immersion, Prodrone, and others).
Programming the Drones
Even if they don’t all go quite as far as Ronaldo’s toothbrush-delivery exploits, it’s surprising how creative some celebs have been in their use of drones – and by contrast how surprisingly unadventurous Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple and tech-head extraordinaire, was in a rare public pronouncement on the subject. He called video footage of a drone flight over San Francisco “amazing”, which it doubtless was, but couldn’t the guy who changed the personal computer forever have come up with something a bit more original?
Like Karlie Kloss, model and former Victoria’s Secret Angel, who took what you’d think was more of a Wozniak-style approach to drones when she signed up for a Flatiron School course in flying the beasts via code. That’s right – actual programming from Kloss, not Woz.
Love and Music
Or like Enrique Iglesias. The singer uses drones as camera-carriers in his performances. Mostly they take shots of the crowd (photographers find drones handy for all sorts of applications) but sometimes he’ll reach out and grab one for a close-up, though he may be thinking twice about that practice after slicing his hand open on the device.
Or, of course, like Chinese rock singer Wang Feng – who proposed to his girlfriend, the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star Zhang Ziyi, via a drone that delivered a diamond ring made of 9.15 carat gold. It sounds like this is one case where drones have brought true happiness to the world of celebs.
Every bit as passionate as mere mortals, celebs’ access to money allows them to invest in higher-end, state-of-the-art drones. What they choose to do with them is up to their own interests and imagination. What’s certain is that with the popularity of drones on the rise and their applications vast, we’ll be seeing even more celebrities showing off their drones online soon.