WHEN IT COMES to the bad (young) girls of Hollywood messing up and seeking redemption, usually for thousands of dollars at a secluded rehab clinic, there’s never a dearth of stories, from singer Brandy’s vehicular manslaughter charges earlier this year to Paris Hilton’s jail stay.
So nary an eyebrow raised when actress/singer Lindsay Lohan got charged with her second DUI in just two months (May 27 and July 24), prompting the former Disney princess to enter yet another drinking rehab facility, this time in Utah.
Even though young adulthood can be the most rebellious period in a person’s life, when it comes to this rule-breaking stage for Hollywood’s elite teens and young adults, their actions can have a far greater impact on their adoring fans and how they deal with the news. Some say Lohan’s status of being a sweet, innocent role model has been flushed down the toilet along with her sobriety.
“Lindsay Lohan thinks that since she is famous, she can do whatever she wants and get away with it,” said Rachel Allensworth, 17, a rising senior at Hickory High School in Chesapeake.
“She is portraying this idea that it’s OK to do drugs and drink and drive, be punished for a few days and then just go out and do it again,” said Shelby Green, 15, a rising sophomore at Nansemond River High in Suffolk.
When you’re in the public eye, said Mike Goodove, coordinator of the Southside Mothers Against Drunk Driving, it’s important to be a model for fans. “She’s sending a bad message to those that look up to her.
“Anyone that drinks and drives and says after one chance (she) ‘learned her lesson,’ but doesn’t, sets an awful example,” Goodove said.
Lohan’s in her third stint in rehab, and people are paying attention to what happens next.
“She’s setting an example of what not to do, what can happen if you drink and drive – it could have been a lot worse,” said Ridgley Ingersoll of Virginia Beach, mother of two boys, 11 and 17.
“If someone told me that they looked up to her, I’d ask them about their personal goals and standards. She’s irresponsible,” said Dustin Goodwin, 16, a Hickory rising sophomore.
Kayla Robinson, 17, a rising senior at Granby High in Norfolk , added: “I’d look at someone funny if they considered her a role model. It doesn’t make any sense to invest ideas in her because she’s in rehab.”