Attention Whore

It worked, didn't it?

We're shameless, we will do anything
To get our fifteen minutes of fame
We have no integrity, we're ready to crawl
To attain celebrity, we'll do anything at all
Pet Shop Boys, "Shameless"

Whatever the cost, these characters have to be the center of attention. They don't even care about embarrassing themselves. That would just get them more attention... negative or positive, as long as all eyes are on them.

But isn't this page what they want? Maybe, but the only thing we can be certain of is that these people are only out for themselves. They don't really care about any side, and if you think they do, you are actually giving them what they want. May be deconstructed if their attention whore behavior is the result of Parental Neglect and they seek attention from other people to compensate.

Usually an attribute of the Alpha Bitch. A few Upper Class Twits do this. Often goes hand-in-hand with a Small Name, Big Ego. Children who are this are the Bratty Half-Pint. A Troll thrives as long as this trope is in effect.

A pathological form of this in Real Life is Histrionic Personality Disorder. It's also a trait of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The key difference being how they react to personal criticism; a Histrionic will spin it in their favor, while a narcissist will become extremely offended. Acquired Situational Narcissism is a more benign form — where the situation the person is in is driving the behavior, and which usually ends when the situation does. Of course, not all Attention Whore behavior is pathological — some of it is intentional and used for PR or promotional purposes. The pathological forms are also generally more extreme and more personal — for example, an Attention Whore who is relatively harmless toward other people or themselves in their attempts to get attention or celebrity (e.g. a noticeably gaudy fashion style, giving everyone business cards possibly for some made up business) is probably not suffering from a personality disorder, but is simply a bit of a Shameless Self-Promoter.

A Sister Trope to Cam Whore, Drama Queen, Shameless Self-Promoter.

Contrast Shrinking Violet.

While this is clearly Truth in Television (and a Trope that's almost synonymous with "celebrity") No Real Life Examples, Please!, as it's an edit war waiting to happen.


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  • Subject of a song by That Handsome Devil, "Powderbomb";
    Guilt don't stop you anymore; Attention whore, attention whore
  • Deconstructed in "Save Me", by Poets Of The Fall: the singer is developing self-destructive tendencies in his quest for attention. Lampshaded in the chorus:
    Save me
    I'm my own worst enemy
    Running headlong to the wall
    'Cause I want my freebie.
  • The subject of "Lifeguard Sleeping, Girl Drowning" by Morrissey, in which the title girl, in need of attention, feigns drowning to gain the attention of a lifeguard, but ultimately gets pulled out in the tide and drowns.
  • Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" is an example and a meta-example.
    You probably think this song is about you...
  • The subject of "Tommy Gun" by The Clash, which mocks terrorists who get a kick reading about their exploits in the news.
  • Billy Joel's "Big Shot" is a sneering Reason You Suck Speech directed at an Attention Whore.
  • "Here Comes Bob" by Sparks, which details a man so desperate to have friends, he crashes his car into others. And Buses. And mobile homes. And passenger trains.
  • In the subculture and genre of Visual Kei, attention whoring is used as an artist promotion tactic. It was more common with early artists and artists from that era, as, in The Eighties and early in The Nineties, artists had to promote themselves rather than work via established labels, establishment PR agencies, and the like — and it became common in the era to do stuff like appear in public fully costumed, stage a public unlicensed live solely for the purpose of attracting media attention and controversy, start a Bar Brawl with another band or trash a hotel or venue, get on the news, real life spam your band's stickers and name everywhere you could, claim to be a supernatural creature, do something offensive in public, etcetera. It's become less common as of The Turn Of The Millennium and The New Tens, as then, visual kei artists (especially established acts) don't have to self-promote as much, can be promoted by established agencies if they can afford it, and the like, and that such behavior is far more often shunned even by fans than it used to be.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In Les Guignols de l'info, the puppet caricaturing Nicolas Sarkozy is very much an Attention Whore. Whenever he tries to tone it down, because it's making him unpopular, it causes him considerable amount of stress.

  • Destroy The Godmodder: The godmodder. The players threw a flash mob party that was meant to be an attack on the godmodder. The godmodder was not aware and thought they were ignoring him and trashed it the round it started.

  • Cyrano de Bergerac: Ragueneau is one at Act II Scene IV, Ragueneau's friends, the poets, don't make much of an attempt to conceal that they are there not to hear Ragueneau's poetry, but to eat his pastries. But he is too charmed by the attention they give to him to care:
    Lise: (entering, to Ragueneau) Here they come, your mud-bespattered friends!
    First Poet: (entering, to Ragueneau) Brother in art!...
    Second Poet: (to Ragueneau, shaking his hands) Dear brother!
    Third Poet: High soaring eagle among pastry-cooks!
    (he sniffs) Marry! it smells good here in your eyrie!
    Fourth Poet: 'Tis at Phoebus' own rays that thy roasts turn!
    Fifth Poet: Apollo among master-cooksó
    Ragueneau: (whom they surround and embrace) Ah! how quick a man feels at his ease with them!...
  • Chicago: Roxie Hart, so much. From her eponymous song:
    Roxie: I love the Audience!
    Chorus: And we love her!
    Roxie: And I love the audience for loving me!
    Chorus: And we love her for loving us!
    Roxie: And we love each other. Because none of us got enough loving in our childhoods.
  • In Christopher Durang's "Vanya and Sonya Masha and Spike," Masha's much younger boyfriend, "craves attention as all actors do." He leaps all over the furniture and strips down to his underwear for no reason. He even does a reverse strip tease and puts on his clothes on in an incredibly sexual way.
  • Violet Beauregarde in the 2013 West End musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a Shameless Self-Promoter starlet encouraged and managed by her Slimeball dad. All they want is fame and fortune, and by hyping up her ability to chew a piece of gum for a long time she's become a Cash Cow Franchise. When she makes the mistake of trying Willy Wonka's flawed experimental gum, she becomes the center of attention in a way she doesn't want...

    Visual Novels 
  • In Grisaia No Kajitsu and The Prologue of Grisaia from Grisaia No Rakuen Michiru acts (badly) like a tsundere because she wants to stand out. Mostly, it just makes people want to punch her, but she's fine with that.

Alternative Title(s):

Attention Whoring, Attention Harlot