Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Doing things As If you're doing them, Or Awakening your inner diva

I was writing in my previous post about marketing yourself and it got me thinking about the truly envious ability to have a bit of diva in you. Trouble is when I think of the people I've met in real life who deserve to be called diva, they don't actually seem to have all that much talent. No. Their real talent lies in being able to market themselves all the time. Not just through facebook or myspace or blogs or whatever. They are actually just walking, talking advertisements of themselves, whether they've just come out of the loo, or adopted a child from Darfur. So, what qualities do they have that make them so good at marketing themselves?

Doing things as if you're doing them
Let's start with Russell Brand. Now that guy is genuinely funny, and not a bad comedic actor. But what makes him an A-list celebrity?  It's not his funniness but his ability to perform himself. (Though it may have a little something to do with his SA - no, I don't mean his sex appeal, I mean his sex addiction.) He does what Simon Doonan would call, Doing things as if you're doing them. When Russell Brand walks into a room, he is always making an entrance. In fact, he doesn't walk, he sashays down a catwalk. When he flicks his hair out of his eyes he is saying, Look at me!!!!!!! It's like when he takes a crap, it's a Crap! with sparkles and drum rolls and disney characters dancing all around it. So, if we're trying to get a soupcon of a quality from a diva, from Russel Brand, I would like the ability to put my life in inverted commas and exclamation points! 

Knowing you're just simply brilliant
Another enromously successful diva is Vogue editor Anna Wintour. If you haven't watched the documentary that follows the Vogue team as they put together their September Issue for 2009, watch it today. Now, there is nothing in my life that would make me want to be more like Anna Wintour. I mean, Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada doesn't hold a candle to the real article. If you want a dictionary definition of the term "cold bitch" it would likely have a picture of Wintour under it. But I would like a tiny little element of one of her qualities. The ability not to second guess myself all the time. I find myself thinking - yes, pretty much all the time, "Oh no, does doing this make me a Bad Person?" or "Did I do that to Hurt Someone?!" There is altogether too much of does this mean and does that mean in my life. So, to invoke a little bit of Wintour, I would like to have the kind of belief in myself now and again - just to know what it feels like - that doesn't really and truly give a crap about what anyone else feels or thinks. Heaven!

Being a rude bitch
A quality that both Wintour and another diva called Gordon Ramsay share is the ability to say whatever is on their mind, even if it is what normal people would consider very, very, extremely rude. Now, I don't know about you, but I was taught not to be rude to people. To be nice and polite and not hurt their feelings. Basically, to be deadly boring. In fact, I've realized that when confronted with people I don't like, I actually get nicer and more polite! What is that about? While I don't like Ramsay, and I don't really get apoplexy when my soup has too much salt, I do admire the ability to say whatever you like to whoever you don't like, and not be riddled with guilt. It is an enviable quality immortalized by judges on reality TV, people like Simon Cowell and Craig Revel Horwood. If there's one quality I really want to adopt, it's that one. Give up on pathalogical guilt.

Making a fool of yourself
Then there's the ability to make a fool of yourself and not mind what everyone else thinks of you. Lots of celebrities do this on a regular basis. Britney Spears, for one, and Amy Winehouse for another. Believe me, I'm not advocating being more like these pop divas, in fact, I probably spend quite a lot of my time not being like them. But they truly look ridiculous pretty much every time you see them in the news, yet, they carry on doing exactly what they're doing! I mean, are they not haunted by past ridiculouness?! An enviable skill.

Telling people how dark and twisted you are inside
The fourth quality I'd like to call upon is the ability to not be quite so private. I saw an interview with Salman Rushdie a while ago, in which he talked a lot about his childhood, his emotions, his success and failures, in a very personal way. In fact, talk radio (and BBC Channel Four) thrive on exactly such celebrities who have no problems revealing dark and complex parts of their psyche at the drop of a hat, to pretty much anyone who wants to listen, without many qualms about being private. And it sells! It's like those contestants on reality TV who're always, always crying...

Saying what makes you quite so cool
The fifth quality I'd like to invoke is the ability to casually drop into the conversation with a V.I.P all the cool things you're doing or have done, or even ones that you haven't really done, but where you can make it sound like you have. Divas do this all the time. It's difficult to think of a celebrity that does that, because of course if they're a celebrity they don't need to do it anymore. But we all have colleagues who have turned this into a fine art. Yes, they are the same people who hang around the water fountain waiting to talk to the boss or the star of the organization, and they rarely say hello to people who're lower down the social heirarchy. They name drop, they say, "Oh, when I was talking to the senior editor of Cosmopolitan..." or "I said to Barack, really darling, you've got to do something about this little Middle-East problem." They talk about the things they've done, the people they've seen, and the places they've visited.
So here are the top five qualities I would like to borrow from divas...

Disclaimer: This is meant to be funny, so much better not to be rude, on the whole, and maybe the sex addiction thing is not a great idea either!

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