I was a 22 year-old assistant, although, at the time, those of us on desk bitch duty were called “secretaries.” A transitional time as it were. A corporate entertainment brand, traditional cable television, again, as it was referred to, before digital separated itself from linear. I was newly minted into adulthood, my obsession with New Order and The Smiths and other “The” bands all that I listened to, would continue to for decades to come. I didn’t know yet that all the money I would make between the ages of 30 and 50 would need to be painstakingly saved (something I didn’t learn until way too late). I didn’t know so much yet. I did have a sense of corporate style though: I eschewed beige stocking, I favored black skirts with black tops, and I shopped at TJ Maxx, as it was all I could afford. I wore blue eye shadow, painstakingly administered, contouring and highlighting, essential to a quality look. My eyes were, as ever, a deep brown with flecks of green. No, I’m lying. They were, as now, brown through and through. I loved the juxtaposition of blue coloring over my eyelids, my olive complexion, and those eyes. I thought–and I stand by the thinking–that it worked. I’m not sure how long I’d been working as a desk bitch when a woman approached me. She was an executive, possibly the age I am now. And she told me I needed to lighten up on the shadow. I am sugar-coating what she said; she was in fact, terribly dismissive of my approach to my look. I sat there, behind my typewriter, flummoxed. No quick reply. No defense. No ability to say, “This is my look.” I was humiliated. It felt a betrayal of womanhood to me; I was an affront. I spent weeks writing and re-writing the script of how the scene could have, should have played out, avoiding her as much as I could, until I had a definitive reply. What should I have said in that moment? Maybe I could have gone Miranda Priestly on her, explaining where blue eye shadow originated. Maybe I could have shown her photos of Siouxie Sioux and Madonna, explaining who there women were, and how they influenced my style. Maybe I could have simply just said, “Noted.” To this day, I’m glad I did. That I took all that time to churn in my mind, different scenarios where I emerged triumphant instead of ashamed. I didn’t know how to react to what she said on the spot. I rehearsed it for all this time afterwards though, as if that moment would come again. However I did learn something. I learned that not everything I wore—whether on my face or on my body—would be agreeable to everyone who observed me. And I learned not to care. To believe in my own style, to trust it, to be it. To judge myself on my own terms. To be me.
Pussy Riot kicks ass.
Joyce Beatty: “As a member of Congress, it’s imperative we tap into trending topics to help deliver important messages to the next generation, especially when it comes to the importance of voting and using one’s voice.”
Caroline Kepnes: “That’s just the most important lesson in writing—whether it’s a draft or a new project—that while it’s there, let the work be the work. You have to step away from it and do the thinking time and it’s so much easier to do the thinking if you’ve started writing. You just start and you get to know what you’re making.”
The Time Lord and HER companions.
And now have a laugh with Marina Franklin.