The article explores a key aspect in the development of contemporary European populist parties: the celebrity dynamics of their leadership. It presents a systematic comparison of leaders from the main populist parties, exploring the correlation between leadership visibility, fame, and the ideological and organisational characteristics of parties. Furthermore, it investigates the subset of leaders whose public notoriety predates their political involvement, with a view to establishing how they balance the demands of political responsibility and authenticity of character, both in terms of organisational control and communicative strategy. [---].