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Attention Whore

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Kyle: Why are you looking at me?
Stan: Why are you looking at me?
Cartman: Why isn't anyone looking at me?

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-seeking 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 Drama Queen, Shameless Self-Promoter.

See Fame Through Infamy for this trope at its darkest.

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.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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     Audio Drama 
  • Deconstructed in the Big Finish Doctor Who story "Infamy of the Zaross". Jess Ellmore is introduced as determined to appear on a reality show, but it quickly becomes apparent that this is her way of dealing with being the Un Favorite to her mother; she needs external validation, and she's not going to get it there. Her belief that she needs to be famous reaches the point where she takes the side of the alien Immoral Reality Show even when they're going to kill her, because being dead and famous is better than the alternative. Rose is horrified, tells her it is always better to be alive and everyone is important whether they're famous or not, and later gives Marge Ellmore an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech.

  • 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 narrator in Amaranthe's "Drop Dead Cynical".
    I need attention, feed on my addiction
    I want the action, satisfaction
  • "Angel On Fire", from Halsey's second album, is a somewhat tragic example, presumably drawing from Ashley's struggles with bipolar disorder.
    Nobody seems to ask about me anymore
    And nobody ever cares about anything I think
    Nobody seems to recognize me in the crowd
    In the background screaming, everybody look at me!
  • 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 '80s and early in The '90s, 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 '10s, 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.
  • Used word by word in Suicide Commando's song Attention Whore and is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Alice Cooper's "Headlines" is from the perspective of one, detailing various crazy things he does to make the front page.
  • Charlie Puth's appropriately title "Attention" is all about him tearing down one, when he realizes his ex-girlfriend is going around bad mouthing him to get a rise out of him and trying to get him to pay attention to her, when he knows she doesn't care about him at all, and she's just doing it for her own vanity.
    You just want Attention, you don't want my heart
    You just hate the thought of me with someone new
    Yeah, you just want Attention, I knew that from the start
    You're just making sure, I won't get over you!
  • Murdoc Niccals of the band Gorillaz, who is both their founder and the band's bassist, is this trope to the extreme, as he is fully willing to do practically anything and everything to get the attention he desires. This is including but not limited to making an actual Deal with the Devil just so that he can get more popular.
  • Deftones' song "Elite" from their hit album White Pony contains verses that call out those who desperatley seek attention.
    You like attention
    It proves to you you're alive
    Stop parading your angles
    Confused? You'll know when you're ripe
  • Brynn Elliott's "Tell Me I'm Pretty." She gussies herself to look like a magazine model then goes out into the open expecting people to do what the title says. Subverted in that she comes to an epiphany that she doesn't need anyone to tell her how she looks.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Most heels have this a character trait.
  • Jeff Jarrett, at least in the early years of TNA's existence. By 2007 he got most of it out of his system.
  • Hulk Hogan, both onscreen and in Real Life. Yes, he is the biggest name in the history of Professional Wrestling. But the general consensus amongst modern wrestling fans is that Hogan is also the biggest Attention Whore in all of Professional Wrestling — he is absolutely desperate to keep the spotlight on himself, to the point of obsession. This led to him holding down younger talent in WCW so he and his friends could still be at the top, and was part of why the second biggest wrestling promotion in history eventually folded. He would then repeat the phenomenon with TNA, which is very close to folding for similar reasons. And to add to that, in 2010, Hogan would interrupt the aforementioned Jeff Jarrett, who was making a heartfelt speech to the audience, and accuse him of shunting aside the younger talent to keep the spotlight on himself — a legitimate criticism of Jarrett, had it not come from Hogan. The fans of the Impact Zone, knowing full well the hypocrisy of that statement, didn't hesitate to boo Hogan out of the building.
    • Reportedly, the reason Bobby Roode's big face win at Bound For Glory 2011 didn't happen is because it would've eclipsed Hogan's big Heel–Face Turn that night. While it did eventually work out for the better, most generally agree that Bobby should've won that night.
  • Matt Hardy. Matt went into a personal and professional downward spiral after Lita cheated on him with Edge. It completely derailed his career, and the last couple of years during his WWE run had him squandering in the midcard before making attempts to get fired. It's effect on him, however, wouldn't really show up until after he was released from TNA — Matt posted cryptic messages insinuating that he was going to commit suicide, many of whom believed that and were genuinely afraid for his safety, to the point of calling the police on him. As it turns out, it was a work to "test his fans" and advertise his "rebirth" — there was massive backlash from this that destroyed his reputation on top of upsetting several of his friends and his sister-in-law. In fact, for many years afterwards, the previously derided drug-addled Jeff Hardy, Matt's little brother of whom Matt was always considered more professional than, ended up being considered the more responsible Hardy brother, especially after Jeff took responsibility for his actions and stayed clean. This is the same Hardy who got convicted for drug trafficking. To Matt's credit, he's worked to get his life cleaned up since then and has gotten most of it out of his system.
  • Teddy Hart. A member of the famous Hart family, his own uncle Bret Hart noted his talent at a young age. So did the then-WWF, who signed Teddy at the tender age of eighteen to a developmental contract. The problem? It bloated his ego well beyond what his family name would allow. He got released in 2002 due to "attitude problems", and entered the indies, where he showcased exactly why he got fired. In the fledgling ROH, after a cage match, Teddy started to do unplanned high-risk high-flying moves off the top of the cage, forcing several wrestlers to catch him and endangering not only him but them as well. It was a blatant attempt to show off and severely diminished the story of the match. He got blackballed from ROH as a result. As the years have gone by similar stories of Teddy's backstage issues have surfaced, and many companies have admitted to firing him for his own safety since many of his coworkers were very close to murdering him.

  • A few of the teens in the Cool Kids Table game Creepy Town. Spencer's compulsion is looking cool, and Veronica's is just attention in general.

    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.

  • In The Bible: Jesus deals with this problem among the religious people in His Sermon on the Mount in the gospel of Matthew by pointing out three things: (1) don't announce your doing good deeds before men with trumpets or "let your left hand know what your right hand does" because the only reward you'll get is from men, not from God; (2) don't pray in public in order to garner public attention unto yourself, for the same reason; and (3) don't draw attention unto yourself to the fact that you are fasting, also for the same reason.

  • In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, Daigo wants to have all eyes on him, and creates grand spectacles to draw people's attention to him. Benedict criticises Sebastian for calling the police on Daigo precisely because that's what Daigo wants.
  • 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The reigar in the Spelljammer are a whole species like this, as they always have to be center of attention. They dress in flamboyant, colorful clothes, have dyed, oddly cut hair, and extreme amounts of piercings and tattoos. They act the same way, giving an expression of exotic otherworldliness. Being artists (often Mad Artists) they simply don't believe in subtlety.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse:
    • Guise is extremely prone to elaborate showboating and trying to make everything revolve around him. It's one of several reasons why, among heroes, he is The Friend Nobody Likes.
    • Guise's archenemy, Wager Master, may be even worse, which is kind of impressive in a terrible sort of way. Per Word of God, his appearances during the OblivAeon event, a titanic battle against an evil godlike entity planning to destroy all of reality, were motivated by irritation that the heroes were paying more attention to said evil godlike entity than him.
    • Ambuscade/Stuntman, especially in, ironically enough, his heroic incarnation, where a fair few of his abilities actually get bonuses for him popping up in other people's turns to use them. He even has a card called "Steal the Scene" to let him do so. That being said, you'll appreciate it when he pops up and bypasses the villain turn entirely.
  • Princess: The Hopeful: Each Princess of Mirrors believes herself to be the True Heir, the one destined to drive back the Darkness and restore the Kingdom, and Mirrors Charms are specially designed for empowering the Princess herself and making her the center of attention. This is even Enforced: If someone takes the spotlight from a Princess of Mirrors and she doesn't or cannot take it back, she loses her powers for the rest of the day.

  • 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-cooks—
    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 Double Homework, Morgan suspects that Lauren is this, and Lauren herself admits it on her romantic path: she started dating the protagonist for the recognition of dating of celebrity, and invited Daniela to the club to take a picture of them on their first date.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations features the self-styled "Ace Detective" Luke Atmey. Even better, his theme song is titled "I Just Want Love...", and his Japanese name is Aiga Hoshiidake which translates to "I just want love".
  • In The Fruit of Grisaia and The Prologue of Grisaia from The Eden of Grisaia 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.
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair gives us Mikan Tsumiki. The reason she started learning medicine was because no one else would treat her injuries when she was abused, and the reason she learned enough to be considered the Ultimate Nurse was because if someone is helpless, they would depend on her absolutely. She also implies that she would rather be literally tortured than ignored.
  • Yuika from Every Day's Different very much wants all eyes on her and dresses and acts to attract attention. This is likely due to how little her parents bother with her.


Video Example(s):


Kadee and Finn

Kadee just wants to get away from the cameras- while Finn milks them for all they're worth.

How well does it match the trope?

4.86 (7 votes)

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Main / AttentionWhore

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