NETFLIX SERIES: THE CASE OF CLAIRE UNDERWOOD (SPOILERS)

A couple of years ago when the show, “House of Cards” had debuted on Netflix, I was obsessed but after binge watching all I could possibly binge watch, I was not about playing the waiting game for the next season to come out. I fell off the bandwagon for a bit but now I’m back on and I’m just as hooked with the show now, as I was back then.

Just like Scandal and all those other politically charged drama series, there’s just something about these types of shows that really fascinate me. I don’t know, maybe its the cheating, lying, sex, manipulation, etc. but it seems to expose people and makes you wonder what really goes on behind closed doors with the politicians we elect. It makes you wonder if the things that happen in the show really happen in real life. And if they are happening in real life, what can you do to stop it from happening?

I know, I know, this is just a show, but seriously, it really does make you wonder. Which is why we can’t take our eyes off of our TV or computer screen when it’s on.

One of the characters that I admire a lot is Claire. The wife of the lead protagonist, Francis “Frank” Underwood. She is a lobbyist and runs an environmental nonprofit organization. Not only that but her ‘doesn’t take no for an answer even from her husband’ type of attitude is what really draws viewers to her character. You just really want her to win, because you can tell she is hardworking and grateful and she has to deal with a congressman as her significant other. So, naturally, I began to dissect what it really was that made her so appealing.

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Claire, from what we know, does not engage in outright antisocial behavior. Unlike Frank, she has not murdered anyone and we have not seen her engage in very reckless or impulsive outbursts. However, she rarely shows emotion–her smiles seem fake, her laugh empty, and her expressions are bland. She is more restrained and guarded than Frank and she does not reveal her inner thoughts to the viewer the way Frank does so it is much harder to know what could be going through her mind.

According to Shaili Jain M.D. from Psychology Today, believes that there has been enough information to venture forth with an assertion that she may have Narcissistic Personality Disorder and is capable of traumatizing the people around her (i.e. her dropping by Zoe’s place).

Correct me if I’m wrong, but Claire seems to stop at nothing to get what she thinks she has always deserved. Is this a result of her disorder or is she falling more and more into her husbands world? I suppose you’ll have to keep watching to find out!

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KOCKTAILS WITH KHLOE

“Yes, bitches, it’s another Kardashian show. You love it.” Spoken like a true descendant of the Kardashian clan, Khloe Kardashian opens her new talk show Kocktails With Khloe with a casual insult to her audience. I am one of those so-called “bitches” to which she is referring to, and yes, I do love it– or I love seeing the Kardashians on TV as much as possible to be honest with you.

Khloe opens the show on her set kitchen witha mute Kendall Jenner and celebrity chef Sharone Hakman; Kendall rests her lithe body against the countertop in the corner of the screen and Sharone buzzes about the kitchen searchign for cocktail ingredients. It’s a curious choice to open the show in such a lackadaisical way. It’s also a curious choice for the first family-member guest to be the most boring sister, and someone who is underage, on a show whose main focus is kocktails and fun. I mean why not Everybody’s Favorite Best Friend, Malika, or even a newly not-as-boring-as-Kendall-but-legal Kourtney Kardashian??!!!?

The show started back in January, so Khloe has since then redeemed herself with guest star appearances from Ne-Yo, Snoop Dogg, Tory Spelling and even Snooki. The show is unlike any other late night talk show that I have seen. The show includes a variety of segments that include dishing on the celebrities lives, pop culture, fashion, celebrity gossip and more!

Tune in to FYI every Wednesdays 10/9c!

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CELEBRATING WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH

March 1st marked the beginning of Women’s History Month! And to celebrate, I will be kicking my weekend off spending some time in the cool city of Philadelphia. Coincidentally, this will be my first experience being a tourist in the city and there happens to be a plethora of offerings, attractions and a wide variety of events to observe the important occasion.Whether your interest lay in art, literature, politics, film, history, music or pop culture, I know I will have no shortage of opportunities to celebrate throughout the City of Brotherly — and Sisterly! — Love. Find out March happenings in Philadelphia here!

sojourner truth

Picture of Sojourner Truth from womenshistorymonth.gov hosted by the Library of Congress.

To show my gratitude towards the great women of our countries history, I will be using #WorkingWomanWednesday each week to acknowledge women that I admire and respect. Not only will I be giving personal shout outs to awesome working women I will be shedding some light on the history of women and the individuals who led the way for women’s rights and suffrage.

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Picture of Hillary Clinton from womenshistorymonth.gov hosted by the Library of Congress.

 

Fast Facts: Women’s History Month (compiled from NYTimes blog)

  • On Jan. 12, 1915, the United States House of Representatives rejected a proposal to give women the right to vote.
  • On Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing American women the right to vote, was declared in effect.
  • On March 4, 1933, the start of President Roosevelt’s first administration brought with it the first woman to serve in the Cabinet: Labor Secretary Frances Perkins.
  • On Jan. 11, 1935, aviator Amelia Earhart began a trip from Honolulu to Oakland, Calif., becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean.
  • On July 6, 1957, Althea Gibson became the first black tennis player to win a Wimbledon singles title, defeating fellow American Darlene Hard 6-3, 6-2.
  • On March 22, 1972, Congress sent the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution to the states for ratification. It fell short of the three-fourths approval needed.

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7 THINGS WE COULD ALL LEARN FROM THE KARDASHIANS

If you know me you know that I am completely, utterly and disgustingly (to most who don’t bat an eye at their names) obsessed with the Kardashian clan. Roll your eyes if you want, but these business-savvy women have built an empire that competes against the top actresses/actors in Hollywood. Not everyone are privy to the Kardashian ways. The sisters in particular have become media magnets, with Kim being the ring leader. You may not be a fan of there personal lives past or present, however, they repeatedly hog the headlines of the tabloids, appear in fashion magazines (and on the covers), and endorse products like the notorious waist-trainer and Hairfinity, a vitamin proven to improve hair and nail growth.

All three sisters are among the top 10 highest paid TV reality stars in the industry. The Kardashian/Jenner clan net worth is over $300 million with Kim’s earnings being $85 million and Caitlyn Jenner’s earnings at $100 million according to Forbes and Life and Style magazine. So, no wonder there’s so much buzz over these Hollywood socialites. Most don’t understand why or how they got famous but in their defense they make money off of being themselves, which I’m sure all of us would love to make millions solely off of being ourselves.

Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian West

Below are 7 things we could ALL learn from the Kardashians:

1. Keep it REAL

Perhaps the one thing that has made and continues to make the Kardashian series and its spin-offs so successful is their consistent focus on real people and real issues. This has made them more times than not relatable to everyday Americans (or humans for that matter).

Scott and Kourtney

Scott and Kourtney

For example, there are often episodes that cover the relationship problems between Kourtney (the oldest sister) and Scott, episodes that highlight sisterly issues between the three Kardashian sisters and the two Jenner sisters, and episodes that highlight problems between mom Kris and her kids, among other personal problems. Each episode always ends with some sort of resolution.

Kendall and Kylie (left to right)

Kendall and Kylie (left to right)

Some may think it’s too much but I like how the Kardashians have shared their lives to others so openly and honestly. They don’t try to pretend to be people that they aren’t. They could have kept their family and personal problems under wraps, but instead they made their lives open books to the world. I think it takes a courageous and an open character to do so. This enabled many around the world to learn from their struggles, and probably the reason why they have won the hearts of so many Americans.

What I took away from this is the importance of keeping it real in all compartments of your life.

  • In business, connect with your customers with your heart. Gone are the days of corporate sheen. People want to connect with real lives and real people today.
  • Again in business, help your customers solve real-life problems. Get to know them as individuals, then help them to overcome their problems. That’s why reality TV series are so popular today; they depict real people with real issues. It also helps when we see when other people have the same issues, whether big or small, and you realize you’re not alone.
  • In relationships, present your true, authentic self, not glossed-over, fake personality. People want to know you as the real you, including your insecurities and vulnerabilities. Constantly projecting a front merely erects a barrier that makes it impossible for people to connect with the real you and vice versa.
  • In life, stay true to yourself, even after you achieve great success. Keep it 100% (insert 100 emoji here). The successful people whom I truly respect and look up to are the ones who keep it real and remain down to earth.

2. Make your work an extension of your life

One thing that I really respect the Kardashians for is their ability to make a huge living off just living their lives. For example, they are paid huge sums just for filming their reality TV series, which “require” them to hang out with their family members and do their day “jobs” (photo shoots, interviews, running their clothing store DASH, etc.) Many of these are things they were already doing prior to their series; they are merely doing what they used to do before. How awesome is that?!

Some of you might think that it’s impossible to make your work an extension of your life, and that work has to be something that you deliberately have to work at. But I’m doing what I love right now, all the while building up my resume as I write this blog post. Think about men and women who make a living off of MaryKay, Avon, Stella & Dot. All of these self-starters are making a decent living as an extension of their life; so it is possible. I think it’s about identifying what you’re passionate about in life, turning that into a living, and then making your career a natural result of living your life.

Of course, turning your passion into a career, and subsequently making a living by simply going about your daily routine isn’t an overnight affair. It isn’t something you just go “BOOM!” and make it happen, just like that (*snaps fingers*). But it is very much possible though; I’m living proof that it is. It takes an astronomical amount of hard work, especially if your passion is not directly related to your current field of work, but it is definitely achievable.

3. Focus on your core (applies to business, life, and goals)

Most people would write off the Kardashians’ or Kim Kardashian’s immense rise to fame as the result of sheer luck, but I actually see a business strategy behind it.

The strength of the Kardashian/Jenner brand lies in their reality series, so that is the area which gets their top attention. They have been consistently producing new seasons of Keeping Up With The Kardahians (at a rate of one season a year), along with four spin-offs Kourtney and Kim Take Miami, Kourtney and Kim Take New YorkKourtney and Khloe Take The Hamptonsand Khloe & Lamar (which have aired for two seasons each, with possibly more to come).

The series and its spin-offs then serve as marketing platforms for their upcoming endeavors. For example, Kris Jenner’s memoir, the Kardashian sisters’ autobiography, Kardashian Konfidential, Kardashians’ new DASH stores, Caitlyn Jenner’s (then Bruce Jenner) documentary, and last but not least Kim’s self-proclaimed selfie coffee table book called Selfish and lets not forget the very successful Kim Kardashian application/game. These are among the many products that are strategically weaved into the reality series’ plots.

Whether this is done as an intentional marketing ploy or merely the natural result of filming their day-to-day lives, we will never know. You have to admit though, that is a very intricate system of marketing they have going on. They build up their brand with their reality series, which in turn fuels their other ventures.

The biggest lessons I get from this is that we should:

  • Leverage. Learn to leverage on your existing skills and success to achieve more success. You don’t have to do everything from scratch. Be smart in how you approach your goals. BE STRATEGIC IN EVERYTHING THAT YOU DO (wise words of my professor and mentor Dr. Jennifer F. Wood).
  • Focus on the core. By core, I’m referring to the thing that matters the most to you; the epicenter of it all. This advice applies to business, life, and goals. Read this helpful piece at Forbes on “The Secret of Sustained Success” (answer: focus on your core). In life, focus on the thing that drives you and gives you the most joy. With your goals, focus on your top priority goal first, before you foray into other goals.

Here’s a Wall Street Journal interview of the Kardashian sisters (June 2012), where Kim acknowledged that their series served as phenomenal marketing platforms for their products and goals (buffer to 1:38 min):

4. Turn adversities into assets 

Kim’s constant positive outlook is something to be admired. I think that’s what draws audiences to her. Her simple personality, sharing attitude and, of course, her positive outlook. She is genuinely a simple woman who makes the best out of what she has in her life, has ambition and drive, and is surrounded by talented people who are able to capitalize on her strengths and assets to achieve international stardom.

Something as damaging as the sex tape scandal would have incapacitated most, but Kim made the best out of the dark situation. As such, she has openly addressed questions about the sex tape in many interviews, rather than decline to take such questions.

Her hard work is apparent if you have followed her meteoric rise to fame. In recent years, she has constantly been doing features, photo shoots, endorsement deals, product launches, and other work that comes with the territory. No, nothing earth-shattering here given they are mainly vanity work that does not involve the the brain, but it should not negate the fact that she has worked hard for at least part of her success.

Perhaps you might be facing some adversities in your life now. My questions to you are: “How can you make the best of this situation? How can you turn this incident from an adversity into an asset?”

5.  Continue to BUILD your success…Complacency is the enemy of success

I really love how the Kardashians continually build their business empire rather than becoming complacent and expecting things to flourish. Like my father always says “You don’t work, you don’t eat.”

Much of it has to do with them continually taking on new ventures and expanding their portfolio. From reality TV spin-offs, new fragrances, new books, new clothing lines, new endorsements, documentaries, they are basically doing everything (while still focusing on their core). Their flagship series, KUWTK, has just finished their 10th season on E! Network.

I guess sometimes, people like to adopt the “What I’m doing now is good enough” mentality, rest on their derriere’s, and simply not want to do anymore work. I don’t believe there’s ever a “good enough” though. I think all of us have unlimited power to do whatever we want. I strongly believe there is unlimited power to do whatever you want. The sky is the limit!

Take Bill Gates, for example. This guy is consistently ranked as one of the world’s wealthiest people and recognized as one of the top entrepreneurs of the world. Today, Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates basically dedicate themselves to their foundation’s work. As of 2007, Bill and Melinda Gates were the second-most generous philanthropists in America (if not in the world), having given over $28 billion to charity. They plan to eventually give 95% of their wealth to charity. Bill Gate’s influence has trickled onto other big names in the industry prompting them to give back to the community.

I think the true indicator of one’s long term success is what the person does after the person achieves the initial success. Does the person kick back and relax and enjoy the ride? Or does the person strive to work harder, better, and supersede his/her past results? There’s no right or wrong answer here. The person’s actions (or lack thereof) will simply determine how he/she does in the long haul.

6. Dress to Impress

The Kardashians have style to go around, with fashion being their main source of how their empire was built. The importance of dressing to impress no matter where you’re headed off to has always been of importance to me. I have learned from seeing how the Kardashian’s dress; you never know when an opportunity may arise. When that opportunity comes knocking at the door, how do you want to be perceived or remembered? Although the Kardashian style may not be your cup of tea they are notorious for being on the world’s top fashion magazines because they take pride in what they wear.

It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed. When you’re in a certain type of clothing you act a certain way. For example, a person dressed in a suit will have a certain appeal and confidence to them versus a person wearing a t-shirt and sweatpants. Always remember that some opportunities are once and a lifetime. Dress like you want it.

7.  Embrace yourself

The last and final lesson that I feel we can all take away from the Kardashians is the way they openly embrace themselves, albeit their Armenian culture, themselves as people, or their own beauty.

For example:

  • They openly embrace their Armenian heritage (not to alienate non-Armenians, but simply as part of embracing their heritage) and mention it quite often on the show. Just a couple of months ago Kim and her little family (Kanye and North), Khloe and their cousin traveled to Armenia to embrace the culture. They are some of the most famous Armenians today and have driven greater awareness for the culture. The Kardashians have helped to introduce different images and ethnicities as beauty standards too.
  • Before Kim became insanely famous, huge boobs and hips were not part of media’s ideal image of beauty; being a size-0, stick skinny figure was. There were (still are) frequent comments lambasting her for being fat. She embraced her curves. Today, the media projects her voluptuous figure as one of the sexiest bodies in the world.
Khloe Kardashian

Khloe Kardashian

  • Khole is frequently touted as a great example for plus-size women today. Despite being under intense public scrutiny about her weight and despite wanting to lose weight herself, she does to turn to self-harming methods to do so.

There have been exceptions where they make decisions based on insecurity and fear (such as Kris and her constant interest in plastic surgery to “fix” her looks, and the big question as to whether Kim Kardashian has gone under the knife before), but I do have a reason to believe the Kardashians promote self-acceptance and learning to love yourself.

I don’t agree with all of the things that the Kardashians do for the sake of fame but you’ve gotta give it to them they’ve made small little mishaps into huge business venture for themselves.

If you enjoyed this article, let me know what you think of the Kardashians in the comment section. Also, give me your opinion on success and how it can be attained.

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