BUTTE, MT - Whether you've lived in Montana for a long time or you just got here (in which case: welcome, Stranger!), you know exactly what celebrities live here and where in our beloved state of Montana. Though the famous artists—the two most popular and infamous being Justin Timberlake and John Mayer—who live here flock with seemingly good intentions, there are undoubtedly hidden impacts to everyday life that you may not be aware of.

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Pop star John Mayer. Credit: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images
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In fact, before I had moved here myself, I remember friends from back home who mentioned that, "Montana is where it's at, man! John Mayer just dropped 'Paradise Valley' and it sounds sick!" I had never thought about moving to Montana at that point, but after hearing about the hype from conversations that like to Timberlake releasing his own Montana-themed album a few years later, Man of the Woods, I understood there was a movement happening here in the Treasure State.

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Yellowstone Club member Justin Timberlake. Credit: Amy Sussman/Getty Images
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Here are the unexpected and hidden impacts of celebrities living here in Montana.

Economic Impacts

Although presumably obvious, the economic impacts celebrities have here in the state have deeper veins that affect your day-to-day life. With celebrities now residing here and, with it, more publicity of Montana, there has been an increase of folks moving here themselves. What does that look like? Increased population means increased pricing (from groceries to housing), increased political undertones (especially found in Big Sky's Yellowstone Club), and even increased traffic on your daily commute.

It's not all bad, though! Economically-speaking, the state of Montana has controversially seen upticks of housing projects, restaurant revivals, and lucrative employment opportunities. Plus, the extra tourism and philanthropy because of these celebrities have allowed for more money and opportunity to pour in to our National Parks economies. Is this all because Timberlake released a song called, "Montana"? Probably not, but it definitely didn't hurt.

Community Engagement

Though JT and John Mayer are the most popular to talk about (and usually to hate on), there are others here that have been known to quietly and successfully help the communities we hold dearly to our hearts. For example, Glenn Close, who you may know from her extensive career as an actress, has shacked up in Montana's very own city of Bozeman and has been extremely active in the community, from advocating for kids to join local music programs to teaming up with her daughter for a cooking program. Other celebs in the area have also been known to be privately endorsing or working on community issues in the background, without adding new ones to our plate, so that sounds like a win in my book. Plus, who doesn't love a good cooking show?

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Actress Glenn Close. Credit: Rob Kim/Getty Images
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Shifting Our Culture

A good portion of the sentiments towards celebrities moving here to Montana have been a deep-rooted concern in a shift of cultural values, such as Montana politics, Montana cost of living, where our government leaders spend the taxpayer's money, and even our cultural identity. When famous Paramount+ TV show "Yellowstone" came onto the scene, our state has been plagued by a surge of messy tourism (which, admittedly, isn't all bad; see above), a skew towards unaffordability in housing building and purchasing, and the destruction of our environment; three things us Montanans hold dearly to our heart and helped develop our cultural identity.

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Actor Kevin Costner and Writer Taylor Sheridan sit at a panel for Yellowstone. Credit: Frederik M. Brown/Getty Images
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In the end...

Depending on who you ask, celebrity culture here in Montana is either not-so-bad or life-threatening. The answer, I believe, lies somewhere in between, like most things in life: celebs can spend their time propping up the communities they've dug themselves into, like advocacy for community issues, or distancing themselves from the state and its values by releasing an album dedicated to the state and keeping quiet. Either way, whatever keeps our costs down and allows us to continue living here in one of the world's most beautiful and peaceful places will do fine by me. Maybe just keep the crazy California lawmaking over there on the coast, capeesh?

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