It’s been a while since I have posted to this blog, and I have to say it’s a long time coming. I wish I could say that I was so swamped with work that I just couldn’t find the time. I wish I could say that my wildest dreams came true and time flew by because I was having way too much fun. Both would be lies. I have been at a sort of stand still. The dreams are all still there, but the execution/follow through has been lacking a bit.
It wasn’t until Friday that I suddenly had a spark of intrigue and drive to write again. THANK GOD FOR THE LITTLE THINGS!
It all started when Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s Vogue cover came out.
I have to say that I have not received more phone calls, more texts, and more emails of rage and true mourning for something that most people would find so minuscule.
So I decided to get my, recently expanded, tush off the bench and get back in the game. I can’t think of a better way to do so than to address this cover. And as always, I’ll be tackling the issue from the dreamer’s perspective. DUH!
If you know me, you know that I am a fan of Vogue. But not just any fan. I or I should say we, considering there were over 2000 Facebook posts expressing regret over the cover, are the fans that have been with the magazine since our own conceptions. We started reading the pages before we knew the right way to say Lacroix was not phonetically. I call this special group the “Vogue Purists.” You know the ones??? The ladies and gents that can name the last 12 Vogue covers in order. The ones who know all the editor’s names, even though they have never stepped foot in the office. And the ones who know every single model to ever strike a pose since the 90’s bombshells (Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, and Linda Evangelista).
To me, Vogue represents a dream. Within those glossy pages is a life worth striving for. With a simple change of a coat, you have to ability to teleport from jet setter to master of the board room. Everything is elevated. Your status, wardrobe, social circles, and even your posture. It represents the best of what a life “in vogue” could offer.
To play devil’s advocate for just a sentence or two, I have to admit that I do know why Vogue had to do what they had to do. Behind everything in life is a business. The magazine world is shrinking with the creation of every dot come site and blog. Magazine subscriptions are decreasing so much so that they just raised the price on the newsstands from five to six dollars. My best guess is that the decision came as a way to garner fresh eyes on to the mag. Also, to make waves. I have already seen coverage for the controversial cover on over a dozen television programs. Anna Wintour is no fool, she knew exactly what she was doing and what was to come. But you know what they say “Any press is good press.” Business, whether in Silicon Valley or in the glamorous halls of a fashion magazine is about quotas, quarterly earnings/projections, and the infamous bottom line.
That being said…What I think Vogue did not take into account was their legacy. For over 120 years Vogue has positioned its place in the world as being in the upper stratosphere of the culture. High fashion, high society, high work ethic, etc. They branded themselves before we even knew what branding was. And it has worked for them for over 120 years. When you think of the best in fashion, the go to for style and substance, you think of Vogue. There is a reason why it’s nicknamed “The fashion bible”. Even Anna Wintour has been quoted as saying, “To be in Vogue…It has to mean something.”
When the magazine came out with the now infamous cover, if you listened carefully, you could hear the shattering sound of millions of dreamer’s hearts crushed by the sight. No longer does the young actress, who dreamed about being on the cover as a signal for “making it” in the business feel the same. The young designer who wanted Vogue to feature his designs (i.e. John Galliano when he first took the reigns at the house of Dior) doesn’t feel so honored. And the young journalist, who has worked her fingers to the nub in Des Moines Iowa just for the opportunity to live out her dream and work for the magazine who has profiled the biggest, best, and brightest movie stars feels it may not be worth the trip anymore.
It’s really less about Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, but what it signifies. Not to take away from Kim or Kanye, because it does take hard work to constantly keep your name relevant. However, if a reality star whose career is to simply build her brand, and a very talented musician who, now a days, is known more for his arrogance and ego can land the cover of one of the most coveted magazines of all time…that’s signifying something big. The days of the dreamers and the days when legacy, tradition, and standards meant something are over!
And it all comes down to the question “At what cost?” Lower yourself for what you think maybe a big payday (literally and figuratively) or stick to your guns and power through. This debacle has been a huge teaching lesson for me, I have to confess.
The last thing I don’t think Vogue thought about is the time we live in. In an era where the Millennials don’t pay for anything, it was a bad move to try to appeal to them (if that’s what they actually were doing. I don’t have any inside info so I’m just speculating) Millennials get their info in quick tid-bits hear and there online. It’s how they watch their television, read their magazines, do their homework, and even socialize. All on line and all for free. I can’t think of a single Millennial who is shelling out six dollars for a magazine that they can digest online via the website or the blogs that cover them. Well, anyone other than myself.
By putting Kim and Kanye on the cover Vogue, unintentionally, excluded the people who got the magazine to where it is now…the “Vogue Purists!” The men, women, and dreamers a like who have been renewing their subscriptions since the Reagan administration. The fashion enthusiasts, who buy magazines off the newsstands at three, five, and now six dollars per issue. The people who believed in what Vogue stood for and have stayed with the magazine through every change it’s made since the very beginning. A.K.A their bottom line.
However, I choose to believe that all is not lost. By the time we blink, the May issue will be out featuring a stellar cover model and the April issue with Kim and Kanye will be distant memory.
And who knows… maybe Vogue has a really good sense of humor and this was all one big April Fools prank.
P.S. honorable mention for the amazing talents that work at Vogue. Phyllis Posnick, Grace Coddington and, my personal favorite, Tonne Goodman. These women can take a pile of scraps and transform them into style dejour. Whatever we may think of the subjects, the photos and the styling were beautiful.
Until next time Dreamers
Fear of Success
You’re fairly confident in your abilities, but you balk at the pressure of maintaining success once you have it. You know that your achievements will breed higher expectations, and you worry that you won’t be able to meet them. You may even be experiencing what psychologists call impostor syndrome, the fear that those around you will discover you’re not really as talented or competent as they think. People who fear success often credit their achievements to circumstances rather than to their talent and other assets. The key for these people is to accept responsibility for their accomplishments. Many of my clients find this simple exercise helpful: Think of a recent success—say, a new account that you won. Now make a list of the skills and qualities you drew on to win it—determination, intelligence, creativity, charm.… (If you’re struggling, ask a friend for help; others can often see your assets more clearly than you can.) Make this exercise a habit each time something goes well at work. Once you begin to see your strengths in action every day, you will recognize that you are, in fact, well-equipped to tackle whatever challenges lie ahead.
(From left to right: Roseborn (future super model), Me (future TV media mogul), Tunisha (future producing phenom), Honorable Mention: Shanti (future billionaire business mogul)
I am trying to start two businesses as well as launch my television career, not an easy task. As I was going through the process of writing up business plans, I came to the section marked “Assets”. I started to think about my assets. Of course I thought about the money I have in my bank account, which made me cry. Then I took it a step further and thought, “What is the greatest asset a dreamer like me could have?” Many of us would think that it is monetary, so that you can financially achieve your dreams (which as we all know, is the hardest part), or serious connections. However, as I found on a visit with my great friend Shanti, the greatest asset a dreamer can have is other dreamers.
Now I am not just talking about friends. According to our Facebook accounts, we all have “friends”. However, I am talking about the truer than true friends. I’m talking about those special friends that you connect with on another level. The ones who have bigger dreams for you than you have for yourself. The ones who have big dreams and goals for themselves as well. Take my friend Shanti. She is going to be a billionaire business mogul. My other friend Roseborn is going to be the next Naomi Campbell. And another friend of mine, T, is going to be the next great television producer. They are each striving for bigger and better than anyone would ever think possible.
It’s already hard enough to come out and say, “I want to be the next…” or “I want to be better than…” without being ridiculed and told to set your sights lower, which basically means that they think pigs have a better chance of taking flight. But other dreamers get it. For example, when you say to another dreamer, “I want to be the first gay President of the United States,” what others would think is complete heresy, true dreamers congratulate you for having the courage to say it out right and then push you to succeed. Your dreams are our dreams, and the dreams of others are yours.
I always love visiting with my friend Shanti. We have the best talks about the future. We discuss my talk show and media empire, and we talk about her billion dollar companies. Our names on the doors of several buildings, and the freedom to design our own lives. What we will do with our kids that our parents weren’t able to do with us. Plus, all the trips we will be taking, either on her yacht or my jet. HA! We leave each conversation energized and ready to press forward.
The old adage is true, “You are who you surround yourself with.” Doing anything worthwhile is going to be challenging, we all know this. But having people around you who know the ups and downs, the highs and the lows, and the sheer torture it takes to achieve any dream because they are going through it themselves is a resource that cannot be replaced. They push you to push yourself further. They inspire you to dream even bigger, and they give you the peace of mind that all will be well and long as you have each other rooting for one another. One positive voice can be greater than that of the most negative of crowds.
My advice to all you dreamer chasers: find yourself a couple of true dreamers. With a little hard work and tons of stamina, you are sure to conquer the world. It won’t be lonely at the top when you have your true friends standing there with you.
Famous and SUCCESSFUL Best Friends
Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King
Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti
Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell