Attention Whore

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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? No, this page is telling you attention is all they want, and warning you that such people in Real Life 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.

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. A Troll thrives as long as this trope is in effect.

Very much Truth in Television. When this occurs in Real Life, it's called Histrionic Personality Disorder. It's also a trait of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Contrast Shrinking Violet.

No Real Life Examples, Please - you know someone like this. For the many minor celebs famous for being famous (for a very low value of 'famous') this trope is a mandatory job requirement as well as inevitable character trait.

Examples of Attention Whore include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Demegawa from Death Note. It gets so bad that "Kira" Teru Mikami (though Light Yagami approves of his new understudy's taste and timing) winds up killing him. Considering he was The Scrappy who all sides of the Death Note fandom found annoying, his death was a massive relief.
    • There's also Kiyomi Takada who loves to be the center of attention.
  • Saki from To LOVE-Ru. It never works, as Lala keeps inadvertently upstaging her.
  • Sae from Peach Girl. This is pretty much what drives her to do everything in her power to undermine Momo because she's jealous of Momo for gaining the attention of their sought after Bishonen classmates Kairi and Toji, and she wants to remain the most popular girl in school. In fact, she gets extremely nervous whenever it appears Momo is the focus of their classmates attention.
  • Mr. Satan from Dragonball Z.
  • Kanon the Idol Singer from The World Only God Knows is a dramatic example of this who isn't in it for the attention in and of itself, having spent much of her school life being completely ignored, later finding fame and a sense of worth by joining an idol trio, then breaking out as a solo act.
  • Asuka Langley Soryuu from Neon Genesis Evangelion. This is eventually revealed to originate from deeply-ingrained insecurities caused by her mother's psychotic break and subsequent murder-suicide...with the doll she called "Asuka".
  • Unfortunately, one of the characters from Bitter Virgin (Daisuke's self-proclaimed girlfriend, Kazuki) combines this with Yandere and gets pretty close to saying almost exactly the quote at the top of the page. Later on she does try to (falsely) accuse Daisuke of rape, but fortunately no one believes her.
  • America from Axis Powers Hetalia. "I'LL BE THE HERO, OF COURSE!"
  • A creepy and very self-destructive version of this trope is Akito Sohma from Fruits Basket. The more traditional version would be Kimi.
  • The Luchadora Castor, a.k.a. Rachel Stanley, in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, absolutely must be the center of attention of all times. If someone is receiving more spotlight than her, no depth is too low to sink to in order to steal it back. She goes as far as to listen to Ma Kensei's advice on what to do.
  • Yukari-sensei (No, not that one, though she might qualify too) from Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu is a big drunken flirt. She'll often make outrageous statements to her class and express disappointment (read: throw a tantrum) if the class doesn't react as she likes or ignores her.
  • Kyouka from Kyouran Kazoku Nikki who wants, no demands, to be worshiped as a god.
  • Yukino Miyazawa, especially at the start of His and Her Circumstances.
  • One of the possible interpretations of Autor in Princess Tutu. Although he comes across as a loner, he sets up a dramatic meeting with Fakir and quickly offers him his knowledge of Drosselmeyer, seeming rather giddy about the chance to get to show off. On top of that, when he runs into Rue and is instantly attracted to her, he flirts with her by... talking about himself and how great he is. He even has several cameos showing him yelling at people in the library to be quiet, and quite possibly making even more noise than the offenders were. He seems to have an inferiority complex, which doesn't help.
  • Black☆Star from Soul Eater. An early chapter has him claiming he's the protagonist, when the actual main character is not an Idiot Hero like him, but Badass Bookworm Maka.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya. Of course, as it turns out, the world really does revolve around her.
  • Misaki from Welcome to The NHK. In the manga, when the self-inflicted cigarette burns on her arm don't impress her schoolmates, Misaki cuts her wrist to get attention.
  • Liliath from Kaze to Ki no Uta.
  • Mayu from Kaguyahime often pretends to be sick and faints on the spot to get attention.
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei: Probably the motivation behind Nozomu's attempts at suicide every action. There's also Nami Hito, but her Attention Whore tendencies only really show in her first appearance, in which she tries all kinds of gimmicks to gain pity and attention from her classmates (culminating with a threat of suicide). They all fail, of course.
  • The Millennium Earl in D.Gray-man. In chapter 188, Road and Wisely are seen commenting on the Earl's need to always be the center of attention.
  • Both Shiori Takatsuki and Kozue Kaoru of Revolutionary Girl Utena have shades of this.
  • Ryuumonbuchi Touka of Saki.
  • Ami from Toradora! is behaving like this for Ryuuji, at the beginning.
  • Don Patch from Bobobo-Bo Bo-bobo.
  • Liang Qi of Canaan takes this to disturbing levels to attract her Onee-Sama Alphard, up to wearing skimpy lingerie and literally throwing herself at her feet. Alphard however couldn't care less about her, so Liang Qi takes out her frustrations on her Beleaguered Assistant Cummings with an airsoft gun.
  • Slam Dunk: Hanamichi Sakuragi's biggest flaw is this.
  • Miu Matsuoka from Ichigo Mashimaro.
  • Haguro Dou from Wolf Guy Wolfen Crest wants main character Inugami Akira to pay attention to him on a very disturbing level.
  • Naruto starts out as one of these as a result of the extreme social isolation he suffered from being the Kyuubi Jinchuuriki. He mostly gets over it once he makes real friends.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Elixir from X-Men. He subconsciously used his powers to change his skin into a reflective golden color so he'd stand out more. Before he discovered he was a mutant, he joined an anti-mutant terrorist group because he thought it would make him more popular.
    • Also, the Mimic, from earlier in the X-Men. This is about 90% of his motivation for screwing around with the X-Men, showing off.
  • One of the reasons why the Riddler from Batman does what he does.
  • Booster Gold, he often ruins covert hero operations by alerting his publicist to where he and the rest of the Justice league will be just so he can draw a crowd.
    • Later subverted when Booster gets recruited by Rip Hunter as a guardian of the time stream. By this point Booster has become a competent, serious hero, but he has to maintain his public image as a screw-up attention whore to avoid getting killed in the crib.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Darla from Cats Don't Dance.
  • Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory.
  • One of the villains of The Lives of Others, having just declared that "there are only seven types of subversive artists", declares one of the main characters to be one of these. To curb his subversiveness, it's recommended that the government's spies gather enough information to prove he's guilty, then give him a perfectly fair trial so he can't grandstand and make himself into a martyr. If he's convicted, he should be sentenced to solitary confinement for months on end, and when he gets out, he'll never write anything again. (There are hints he's underestimating the artist in question, but it's never made entirely clear.)
  • Sid in Virtuosity is one hell of a "virtual" attention whore.
  • Dr. Frank N. Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show just loves to be the center of attention and Lord help you if you steal his spotlight (even if by accident).
  • Despicable Me:
    • Gru doesn’t want to be a villain. He wants to be the number one supervillain. Doctor Nefario assures him he is still number one when he talks to him. His minions are there only to give him the attention his mother denied him in his childhood.
    • Vector neither wants to be a villain. He wants to be the number one supervillain. His attempts to get attention are even more pathetic:

Margo: Four boxes of Mini-Mints, two Toffee-Totes, two Caramel Clumpies, and... fifteen boxes of Coconutties.
Vector: Exactly! I'd like to see somebody else order that many cookies! Not likely! Name one person who would order more cookies than me!
Margo: That'll be $52.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Discworld played with this in the book Maskerade, where two performers at the opera were competing for attention in the middle of a crisis. One is a major side character, who's looking to replace the other, older performer. At the first sign of trouble, she emits a little sigh, does that movie-swoon that ensures a pain free landing. Upon revival, she looks around baffled and asks, "Where am I?". The other also fainted, but because everyone was paying attention to the other singer was forced to revive herself and faint again several times before eventually resorting to hysterics.
  • The titular murder victim at center of James Ellroy's The Black Dahlia is characterized as the epitome of this trope (and pays the price for it).
  • Carmelita Spats from A Series of Unfortunate Events. As well as Esmé Squalor and to some extent, Count Olaf. Naturally, Carmelita is adopted by Esme and Count Olaf in book eleven and thought of as "the daughter she never had".
  • Gilderoy Lockhart from the Harry Potter series. Even after he accidentally erased his own memory with Ron's broken wand he still thinks people want his autograph. Why? "I suspect it is simply my good looks!"
    • The Ministry of Magic also forces the newspapers to portray Harry as this after the events of Goblet of Fire.
    • The staff of the hospital seem to think Lockhart's penchant for autographs means he's recovering. That said, he's vaguely aware that some people think he's a big deal, he just has no idea why that might be. But he likes the attention (another good sign, according to the healers), so he doesn't really let it cost him any sleep.
  • Joyce Reynolds from the Hercule Poirot novel Hallowe'en Party.
  • Lydia from Pride and Prejudice.
    • Mary as well, though she has more of an excuse. She's the least beautiful of the sisters, tries to be "accomplished" to make up for it, and thus never passes up an opportunity to show of her "accomplishments."
  • The Idiot: Ippolit Terentyev seems to be constantly seeking attention. Other characters think his main motivation is bitterness over the fact that other people can be happy while he's dying of tuberculosis. At one point, he interrupts a party in order to read aloud a letter he wrote—which turns out to be a suicide note. Upon finishing, he grabs a gun, points it as his head, and pulls the trigger. The gun doesn't fire and Ippolit is unhurt, which just leads more people to assume that he deliberately loaded the gun incorrectly, and that the entire incident was just a cry for attention.
  • Misty Carpenter from The Identity Matrix is a literal attention whore: She's a prostitute who becomes a stripper to get more attention and an upgrade in her johns.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

Liz: You're so insecure you get jealous of babies for their soft skin!
Jenna: And how much attention they get.

    • Jenna's response to finding a positive pregnancy test in the trash?

Jenna: Oh, no. Someone's going to get more attention than me.

    • There's more:

Jenna: Oh, don't be so dramatic. That's my thing and if you take it away from me, I will kill myself and then you.

  • Jane on Coupling. When viewed through "subtext vision", all her speech registers as "Let's all talk about me!" Oliver even reasons that Jane says weird things just to seem provocative, and probably isn't even really bisexual, if she were to be completely honest with herself.
  • Most of the characters on Arrested Development.
  • Kim from Kath and Kim.
  • During his guest appearance on Saturday Night Live, Jim Carrey did a skit wherein he impersonated an elderly Jimmy Stewart, who ruthlessly tore into Carrey's need to be the center of attention.
  • Michael Davies from The Latest Buzz.
  • Stephen Colbert's character, Stephen Colbert, from the Colbert Report.
  • Both Nathan and Alisha from Misfits pretty much fit the bill, which is probably why they don't like each other much. Although Alisha at least seems to prefer positive attention, and she shamelessly flaunts her body, flirts and simulates sex on inanimate objects [1] to get men to notice her and do what she wants (it usually works like a charm... but whenever it doesn't she assumes the man in question is "gay"). Nathan, on the other hand, seems unable to discriminate between positive and negative attention and just desperately needs everyone to be noticing him all the time regardless of the circumstances. He occasionally goes to jaw-dropping lengths to make himself impossible to ignore. And usually ends up getting hit by someone.
    • Alisha grows up a lot in season 2, and probably doesn't qualify as an Attention Whore any more (although she definitely did in the beginning). Nathan, on the other hand, is shameless as ever - he thinks nothing of taking a dump on someone's bed just to prove a point.
  • Vince Noir of The Mighty Boosh has elements of this.
  • Mahna Mahna from The Muppet Show is an example of this trope.
  • Trina from Victorious. This actually goes to the point where she sells the song that Tori wrote for her "birthweek" and passes it off as her singing, despite not being a good singer at all.
  • Ricky of Noah's Arc, whose promiscuity is at least in part due to this. In fact when his employee doesn't actively pursue him he relentlessly tries to understand why, actually confronting the employee about it.
  • Pretty much the prime motivation of every person who has been on any Reality TV show ever made.
  • Rachel from Glee. She sent a prospective club member with a really good voice to a crack house so that she wouldn't upstage her, then tried to pass it off as protecting the roles of the others. Finn calls her out on this, but it's too late by the time he does because the prospective member's already been taken up by Vocal Adrenaline thanks to Sue.
  • Jen from The IT Crowd doesn't always act like this, but her behavior includes singing loudly (and badly) to announce her newest relationship, complaining constantly about problems to her (usually uncaring) co-workers, and pretending to speak Italian when she can't because no one was paying attention to her and because another woman's performance at work was outshining her own.
  • Michael Scott on The Office:
    • At Christmas, he insists on being Santa, even though there's already a Santa.
    • At Phyllis and Bob's wedding, he tries to get into all the pictures and feels he needs to keep talking, even though he only has a minor role in the wedding.
    • At the Dunder Mifflin shareholders' conference, he was only supposed to wave when he was introduced, but he insisted on giving his own version of a pep rally.
    • When Dwight goes to the hospital for a possible concussion, Michael insists on talking about the burn on his foot and even goes so far as to try to stick his foot into the MRI machine when they're scanning Dwight's head.
    • In every meeting he attends, he tries to be the center of attention.
    • He comes up with "Scott's Tots" as a way to get attention by claiming he will pay for college for a bunch of kids, but then doesn't follow through. He did it all for the attention he got.
    • He creates his own presentation to compete with the sensitivity training.
    • The Dundies.
    • When he is on board ship and no one is paying attention to him, he goes so far as to claim the ship is sinking!
  • This type of character makes up the vast, vast majority of Rik Mayall's body of work. This live appearance at Comic Relief in the mid-'80s pretty much says it all.
  • The Doctor of Doctor Who can drift into this at times. He rather likes to be admired and adored, and that's part of both his hero complex and the reason he has companions (besides the many, many other things they do for him.) On the other hand, he does always leave before he can get credit for all the life and universe saving he does.

Doctor: I'm being extremely clever up here, and if there's no one to stand around and look impressed, what's the point of having you all?!

Cordelia: People who think their problems are so huge craze me. Like this time I sort of ran over this girl on her bike. It was the most traumatizing event of my life, and she's trying to make it about her leg! Like my pain meant nothing!

  • Sherlock also likes lots of attention, and in the first episode he clearly enjoys it when Watson tells him how fantastic his deduction are. Later he says of Moriarty that 'genius needs an audience', to which Watson gives a non-committal answer, because Sherlock likes an audience too.


Music[edit | hide]

  • 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.


Theatre[edit | hide]

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!...

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Narshen in Fire Emblem: The Sword of Seals.
  • The third Phoenix Wright game features a character named 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".
  • The King of All Cosmos qualifies. Also, the in-game profiles for a few of the Royal Cousins label them this; mainly Ace, Dipp, Ichigo and Peso. And considering the profiles are provided by the King himself...
  • After the official tests end and you escape the scheduled incineration, GLaDOS quickly degenerates and switches between childish threats and pleading, all the way to begging for a relationship that doesn't really exist. It's implied that she's been doing this over and over while the subjects get closer and closer to actually getting to her.
  • Shadow Rise in Persona 4 is a stripper who wants everyone to look at her and is willing to "bare it all" to ensure it. She represents hidden desires within the real Rise Kujikawa, who once was an Idol Singer and stopped doing to since she feared no one would see her as anything but that.
    • Mitsuo is shown to be this, and is probably a bigger one than Rise He kills Mr. Mooroka simply to get attention, and the times he shows up in town before then all his remarks are long-winded rants about what he thinks about this and that
  • The Scout of Team Fortress 2. At least 5 of his lines are some form of "LOOK AT ME!".
  • Captain Spark of Super Monday Night Combat. He perpetually narrates his own actions to draw attention to himself:

Spark: I've destroyed their turret with my powers of- is anyone even paying attention?" [sigh] "I'm not going to narrate myself if no-one can be bothered to even listen..."

  • Flambeaux from City of Heroes - she even turns villain for the attention. It doesn't work.
  • In Dragon Age, the Guardian of Andraste's ashes accuses Leliana of this if she's in the party as part of his test of the group.
  • Mark of the Wolves has Bonne Jenet, who took up piracy out of boredom. Every facet of her existence seems designed to get her noticed. Try running with her. She waves the entire time.
  • Count Zap from Mega Man Battle Network. He wears clothes adorned with flashing lights so people can't help but see him, even in the dark.
  • Asagi of the Disgaea series is a sympathetic example. She was supposed to be the star of her own game, Makai Wars, a follow up to Makai Kingdom. When it fell into Development Hell, she was so distraught that she started showing up in other characters' games in an attempt to seize main character status for herself. By the fourth game, her desire is so great that it turns her into a Reality Warper, and after joining the party one of her quotes is admitting that the despair has made her somewhat Bi-Polar.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Union Jackie in Fans! hides a narcissistic, self-obsessed craving to be the centre of all attention beneath a bubbly, perky exterior and Fake Brit accent; when she learned that Will was interested in her, she loudly and publicly shot him down, going so far as to shamelessly flirt with another guy almost immediately afterwards. She was genuinely shocked when Will's friends told her that they didn't really like her that much as a result of this. Then, when it looked like Will had moved on and was attracted to someone else, she immediately launched a campaign to outshine her plainer rival and once more be the centre of his universe, shamelessly leading him on - this fails, however, and Will ends up with the other girl. By the end of the first run of the strip, when it seems like her self-obsession has almost doomed humanity, she eventually resolves to change her ways.
    • Mentioned in-continuity by said rival, in fact, when they faced down a horde of mechanical spiders that caused them all to be mentally consumed by their worst fears/personal versions of hell.

Shana: Jeezum, Crow, it really is all about you, isn't it? (As she was trying to snap Will out of his own fugue-state)

    • Bonus points: This was the exact point Jackie started her campaign, and did it in a truly underhanded manner. She hypnotized him with certain triggers that were supposed to push him further towards her.
  • Cosplay Girl from Ghastlys Ghastly Comic. In one strip she strolled down the street in a string bikini - in January, in Hamilton, Ontario. "In Canada, winter is what separates true attention whores from the posers." ("You crazy bitch, your nipple just poked out my eye!")
  • Monique of Sinfest is prone to striking provocative poses while exclaiming "gimme attention!" or the equivalent. Male lead Slick once comments "I feel so used" after obliging her. She was also shown as an attention-addict. Or:

Porn-hating Girl: (stunned) What was THAT?
Slicky: Hurricane 'Nique. The attention-sucking vortex of doom.

Monica: Geeze Shelley, there is a difference between good and bad attention.
Shelly: ...
Monica: Well?!
Shelly: Oh, I was waiting to hear what the difference was.

  • Science and Ink has Attention-seeking aliens. And very unlucky ones. "Just what the hell is on your TV that's so very special?"

Web Original[edit | hide]

"Can you believe him? I can't believe Tom is still doing his stupid little show with that... fat boy and that... ugly chick! Just thinking about it makes me wanna barf! Tom, why aren't you spending that time with me?"

  • The "Annoying Facebook Girl" meme takes this quite literally, and is often used to make fun of people who post attention whore comments on Facebook, among other things.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

Chris: (to the campers who are all staring dreamily at Justin) Hey! Stop looking at the gorgeous man-candy! Focus on more on me!

  • Stewie and Peter on Family Guy, to hilarious extremes. Meg qualifies as a more desperate and lonely version of this, though she's always played as the Butt Monkey.
  • A possible tragic example of this trope is Clay Puppington, the self-centered father of Moral Orel. This is especially apparent in the third season episode where we see his past. He thought himself the center of his mother's world, and was distraught when he learned he had several older siblings who were miscarried due to his mother's blithe ignorance of proper activities to do while pregnant (knitting: yes. going on roller coasters and trampolines: no). This caused the accidental death of his mother when he pretended to have died and gave her a heart attack. When his father ignored him after this, he deliberately and repeatedly goaded the man into hitting him, and now with his own son associates beatings with affection.
  • Bender of Futurama pulls stunts all the time so that people will pay attention to him. The biggest probably being when he got a slave population to build a towering statue of him that said "Remember Me!" and then shot fire from its eyes.

"Hey! Look at my head! Look at my head! Look at my head!"

    • On Mom's bithday, all the robots went to celebrate with her. Bender started trying to draw her eye from the crowd, blithely yelling, among other things, "I need attention!"
  • Kuzco from the The Emperor's New Groove/School series. Even after his Character Development at the end of the movie, he still acts like a attention-loving jerk.
  • This has become something of an Animal Stereotype for ducks.
    • Daffy Duck
    • Plucky Duck
    • Darkwing Duck.
    • Donald Duck and his girlfriend, Daisy.
    • Oddly enough, there's a level of Truth in Television to this, because this is how ducks actually behave. They're one of the few types of animals to walk right up to people without a hint of apprehension. They are noisy and always try to out-noise other ducks (and people). And when there are ducklings, the mother will parade them around everywhere.
  • Ty Lee from Avatar: The Last Airbender, with a Freudian Excuse She is from a very large family and will do anything to make herself stand out from her many look-alike sisters.
    • Aang too, sometimes. Though he really just naturally finds himself at the center of attention, being the Avatar and all, and likes it there. Especially when it comes to Katara.

Hey Katara, look what I just learned to do with earthbending!

  • James the Red Engine. He always wants to show that he's the best, and his accidents just seem to be a bit... more ridiculous than those that the other engines got into.
  • Eric Cartman of South Park.
  • Bill Dauterive in King of the Hill is this when wanting to have someone to interact with.
  • Bianca in Beverly Hills Teens does everything she can to be on top, and have her way. But always loses to Larke.
  • Bart from The Simpsons is very much this.
  • Allen in Allen Gregory is this in full spades. Everything he does always has to drawn attention to himself and everything has to be about him (he is only 7 years old!) His father, Richard, is even worse; if the attention isn't focused on him, he will make it be on him, regardless who it affects.
  • Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic can slip into becoming a real attention horse at times, up to the point that in the episode "The Mysterious Mare Do Well", she puts people in danger by insisting on shouting her new catchphrase instead of saving them from accidents.
  • Quinn in Daria seems to enjoy being the center of attention a little too much.
  • The Equalist promoter in The Legend of Korra is said to be one, according to the official website.

  1. the "bottle scene", anyone?