Famous For Being Famous: The Kitty Fisher Story

Social media has become so pervasive in our modern existence that one can barely fathom how fame and fortune was seized upon by potential celebrities before the advent of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. Born in London in 1741, Kitty Fisher was the Kim Kardashian of the 18th century. In a nutshell, she was famous for being famous. Kitty was catapulted into widespread notoriety following an accident on The Mall in London. While riding with a friend, her horse was spooked. It galloped away, reared up, and deposited Kitty onto the ground. The only injury was to her pride. It was Kitty’s quick wit — or maybe her natural good humor — that helped her to seize the opportunity to turn her mishap from a negative into a positive. Kitty laughed at herself and made light of the drama. The crowd that had gathered was initially concerned, but then charmed. Within days, Kitty became a fixture in the local newspaper. Prints showing her accident began to appear, and Kitty became an overnight sensation — the first woman to become a celebrity by today’s standards. Ironically, she died at the young age of 25 from the effects of lead-based cosmetics. Kitty Fisher’s life exemplifies the power of mass media publishing and how fame for fame’s sake can take on a life of its own.