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You know this woman. note  She's cultured and rich, and she knows how to handle any social situation (or at least upper-class ones). Her rich husband or father adores her, and never tires of supplying her with a constant stream of Gucci and Armani fashions. She lives in a mansion, usually in California, or a penthouse in Manhattan, and she vacations in Europe. Her natural habitat is hanging out at glamorous social events, gala arts openings, and celebrity fundraisers at posh restaurants with a glass of champagne in her hand.

Often she doesn't have a job, but sometimes she can be working part-time in a glamorous high-end position, such as a celebrity publicist or magazine columnist, which gives her access to the right types of people. She doesn't need a job for the money, and her role—staying firmly in the public eye and connecting herself with the most influential members of high society—is a full-time occupation. Her hair, makeup, designer shoes and $20,000 custom-made haute couture outfit are perfect every time she leaves her penthouse, because paparazzi can snap photos anywhere. Media attention, influence, and status are what fuels her.

While the Socialite is similar to — and can overlap with — the Rich Bitch, the Gold Digger, and the Upper-Class Twit, there is a difference: a Socialite is often Spoiled Sweet, and she may very well be a nice woman who just so happens to have inherited a fortune. On the other hand, she can also be Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense, especially if she's been rich since childhood.

Often, she will be either childless or quite distant towards her children. If American, she is likely from an established, respected WASP family on the East Coast and may be an Ivy league alumnus. More modern examples may have her parents come from Wall Street or Hollywood instead. If British or European, she is likely from an aristocratic family. If British, she will either be from the Royal family or, if not, will emphasize her ties to it. British socialites enjoy equestrian activities and other Snooty Sports.

Can also be prone to Conspicuous Consumption, especially jewels, fancy dresses, and furs.

Not to be confused with a socialist, who is likely to hate this type of person, though Bourgeois Bohemian examples could well be both.

Distaff counterpart to the Millionaire Playboy. A Sub-Trope of Idle Rich.

See also Valley Girl.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The main character from Yurika's Campus Life defines herself as a socialite, having few other useful skills besides an almost mystical sway over other women. Her desperate economic situation leads her to become a Gold Digger.

    Comic Books 
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Priscilla Rich is a wealthy young woman from a wealthy background who enjoys going to parties and benefits and keeping up with all the latest gossip and trends, with no apparent employment. She also has a pathological need to be the center of attention and turns to murder when she feels like others are getting more attention than she.
  • An evil example: Helen Heyer from V for Vendetta is the wife of a high-ranking member of Britain's futuristic fascist government but she plans on overthrowing the Leader and installing her husband in his place so that she can rule the country through him. She likes to use sex to control her husband and other influential men and always dresses up to the nines.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Colette: The bohemian world where Willy and Colette live also has its share of wealthy characters, some of them classic socialites, who like to hang out with artists because it’s cool — notably including Missy, who comes from a very aristocratic background.
  • The Duchess is essentially a Biopic of the Real Life Ur-Example (see below).
  • Wallis Simpson in The King's Speech before becoming the Duchess of Windsor, putting her at odds with Elizabeth.
  • X-Men: First Class: According to Charles, his mother cares more about her upper-class lifestyle (e.g. she never goes into the kitchen of her own home, clearly believing that the room is "beneath" someone of her high status) than being a good mother towards him. Parental Neglect is typical of this trope, and it's suggested that the maid spends more time with him than Mrs. Xavier does.

  • "Madam", the aunt and surrogate mother to the series' eventual ultimate politician Lord Vetinari, in the Discworld stories. She primarily appears in Night Watch.
  • Myra Rutledge of Fern Michaels' Sisterhood series is a beautiful socialite in her 60s. She runs a Fortune 500 candy company, and she doesn't know how much money she has, except for the fact that she's a billionaire at least. She is in charge of the Vigilantes, a group that breaks the law to achieve justice, and she will not hesitate to use her money to bankroll the Vigilantes and the connections she has to get the Vigilantes out of trouble. She is one of the good guys, by the way. She also has a pearl necklace that she has a habit of playing with.
  • Atlas Shrugged:
    • Lillian Rearden, the wife of billionaire industrialist Hank Rearden, envies her husband for his ability and revels in making life unbearable for him while forbidding him from getting a divorce because she needs his wealth and power to maintain her place in high society.
    • Ivy Starnes is the sadistic daughter of the industrialist Jed Starnes who relished seeing people who got on her bad side fall into poverty. Ironically, she had little interest in wealth of her own and lived a life of asceticism, which is depicted as making her even scarier than her hypocritical brothers who preached socialism but lived lives of luxury. That was all in the past, though — by the time we meet her after the bankruptcy of the 20th Century Motor Company, she's living in squalor.
  • Yet another evil example (the Socialite gets a pretty bad rap in literature doesn't she?) is Esme Gigi Genevieve Squalor from A Series of Unfortunate Events. When first introduced she's a Rich Bitch and the self-proclaimed "City's sixth most important financial adviser". She's tactless, vain, obsessed with fashion, and orders her weak husband around. It later turns out that she's having an affair with the story's Big Bad.
  • Mistborn: Vin impersonates a socialite rather effectively, pretending to be the pampered niece of a high noble. Both she and some actual nobility who appear to fit this character type are magical assassins.
  • In Sean Stewart's Galveston, the ghost of a socialite provides the main character with some useful reflections.
  • Isaac Asimov's "Satisfaction Guaranteed":
    • Gladys Claffern is a Rich Bitch who manages a social clique that the main characters see as important in advancing Larry's corporate position.
    • After the transformative three weeks with Tony, Claire Belmont has become a witty mistress of social maneuvering.
  • Murder victim Suzanne Reardon in Let Me Call You Sweetheart became a socialite after marrying her husband. She had a lucrative career as a fashion model until she married wealthy architect and contractor Skip Reardon, who was initially happy to support her. Suzanne largely spent her days at a golf club, shopping for luxury items or at swanky parties in and around New York City and conducting affairs with several members of New York's elite.

    Live-Action TV 
  • At Mother's Request, 1987 CBS' two-part miniseries about the Franklin Bradshaw murder of 1978 based on Jonathan Coleman's 1985 true crime novel.
  • The Two Mrs. Grenvilles, 1987 NBC two-part miniseries of Dominick Dunne's 1985 true crime novel, is based on the William Woodward Jr. shooting of 1955.
  • Nutcracker: Money, Madness and Murder, also 1987 miniseries but NBC's three-part telling of the same 1978 case of Franklin Bradshaw's murder based on Shana Alexander's true crime novel.
  • Emily Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. Her sole occupation is to be a corporate wife; planning parties and attending events to keep up the social side of her husband's business. If things don't go her way, however...
  • Fiona Coyne of Degrassi: The Next Generation loves champagne, fashion, and New York City parties.
  • Maris Crane, Niles' unseen wife, from Frasier is the Rich Bitch version of this. She comes from a wealthy family and lives in a huge mansion full of expensive antiques. Her lifestyle revolves around shopping, attending social functions, and treating Niles like dirt.
  • The Real Housewives is based around this trope.
  • Moira Rose from Schitt's Creek embodied this trope prior to her husband Johnny losing his wealth. Her acting career had long fizzled, and she apparently occupied herself with shopping for high-fashion, absurd charity events and ignoring her adult children. Yet, when Johnny loses his wealth, she never even considers leaving him because she loves him so much.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Hunter: The Vigil: The Ashwood Abbey is entirely composed of rich, bored aristocrats and other social stars who pass their boredom by hunting, torturing, and raping monsters. Unsurprisingly, they are one of the game's most controversial factions.
  • Rocket Age has Talvala Festil, a rare male example, although given Mars' Royal Caste have less of a gender divide it is unsurprising. Mr Festil is the money behind the Rocket Cat lounge, but never does any actual work, instead acting as the face, charming and befriending everyone who comes through the door.

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 
  • Mary in Knights of Buena Vista is one, but she still likes to play fantasy games when she isn't attending social events.

    Web Original 
  • Whateley Universe examples: Solange's mother. And step-mother. And maybe previous step-mothers too. Traduce's mother, who (like Traduce) cannot keep a personal assistant because she treats underlings so badly. Not Phase's mother, who has a PhD and spends her time running Goodkind Research.
  • At Mother's Request: A True Story of Money, Murder and Betrayal, @1985 by Jonathan Coleman, true crime-r based
on the 1978 Franklin Bradshaw murder case.
  • Nutcracker: Money, Madness, Murder: A Family Album, @1985 by Shana Alexander, also based on the 1978 Franklin
Bradshaw murder case.
  • The Facebook game Sorority Life centers on this whole concept. You play a college girl who's part of a sorority. Your mission is not to get good grades to get a good job, as one might think. Rather, it's to get as much status, expensive things, and power as possible.

    Western Animation 
  • Many of Bruce Wayne's girlfriends, particularly in Batman: The Animated Series. They're all rich and have doting boyfriends, but they're more Spoiled Sweet than Rich Bitch.
    • Bruce also had a platonic relationship with Veronica Vreeland, a red-headed socialite. She was invariably portrayed vaguely somewhat negatively, usually as Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense.
    • In the pilot episode of Batman Beyond, the socialite who Bruce rescues during his last mission as Batman is none other than Veronica Vreeland's full-grown daughter Bunny. The showrunners stated that they purposely wrote her as being Veronica's daughter both as a Continuity Nod to Batman: The Animated Series and also to show that everyone else in Bruce's life—including former love interests like Veronica—has long since moved on with their lives while Bruce was still fighting a battle that had once again become quite lonely (the point of that was so that when Terry came under Bruce's tutelage 20 years later, it would be a symbolic way of Bruce finding his purpose again).
  • Rarity has an entire episode and sings a song about how she wants to be this.
    • The same episode (Sweet and Elite) also had several negative and positive versions of the character playing off of her. Jet Set and Upper Crust were very much the bad kind: spoiled, elitist, and haughty, who disparages Rarity for her humble origins despite initially loving her (self-made) clothes. Fancy Pants, conversely, is charming, witty, and kind, and compliments Rarity and her friends for their good qualities and doesn't mind at all their rustic backgrounds. (Hilariously, Jet Set and Upper Crust are devoted hangers-on to him, and are forced to change their tunes so they won't fall out of favor.) Between them is Fleur de Lis, Fancy Pants' wife/girlfriend/escort/forelegcandy (their relationship is never made clear), who mostly just hangs around (and sometimes on) Fancy Pants and never states her opinion either way. Fan interpretation tends to paint her nice like Fancy Pants, though.
  • Evelyn Peters from The Simpsons. (Although she's something of a Deconstruction, having graduated from a public high school with non-rich kids and feeling ashamed of this.)
  • The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald: Birdie has shades of this in the earlier videos, as she mentions traveling to luxury hotels in "Scared Silly" and brings her collection of expensive perfumes in "The Legend of Grimace Island". For the remainder of the series, Birdie's lavish lifestyle isn't addressed and anyone who hadn't seen the respective videos wouldn't have been aware of Birdie's financial status.

    Real Life 
  • Georgina Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire is probably the Ur-Example — and has a movie to prove it.
  • Some infamous examples: Betty Broderick who murdered her husband after he left her for a much younger woman.
  • Ann Arden Grenville who allegedly accidentally shot her wealthy husband William "Billy" Woodward Jr. in 1955.
  • Frances Schreuder, born ~Bradshaw, convicted murderess in 1983 of her multimillionaire albeit miserly father, Franklin Bradshaw in 1978 using her younger teenage son who, with her other two children, she abused mentally, as the designated "hitman" (under expulsion threats) so she could live a lavish Manhattan socialite lifestyle in New York City. This case and her life were the subjects of two true crime novels and two television miniserieses.
  • Dorothy Wilde, niece of Oscar Wilde. She took after her uncle in terms of wit and personality.
  • Lucrezia Borgia.
  • In the United States, there is an actual book called "The Social Register", which was originally compiled in the 1800s, and continues to be updated today. Included are the old-money families and the Presidents and First Ladies. After the original version was published, the way to get included in subsequent publications was by five letters of recommendation by existing members, followed by an interview in front of the board, or to be born into a registered family.