I recently had a conversation with my girlfriends about what constitutes credible fame. Is it a talent, skill or notoriety, regardless of its origin? I couldn't help but contemplate this topic considering the fame of women such as the Kardashians and Amber Rose -- their popularity is based on their romantic affiliations. They've managed to transform their former images of groupies into women with business ventures, television shows and other enterprises that fatten their pockets. Other shows that feature the "wives" of prominent men -- the Housewives Franchise, Basketball Wives, Love and Hip-Hop, etc. -- are insanely popular, as well.
The "wives" and "girlfriends" transformed the idea of fame because it no longer requires any skill or talent -- fame is about popularity and name (a.k.a. brand) recognition. Or perhaps the skill these women possess is getting noticed.
Filmmakers such as Tyler Perry recognized opportunities to make money and he's currently under fire for bringing Kim Kardashian on as a cast member for one of his films. His very loyal fan base complained that Kim is not a "role model" or a positive example for young girls. Perry expressed indifference because he knows that Kim will attract an entirely new audience that religiously follows her every move. Amber Rose is a judge on a DJ battle show with no prior experience as a music connoisseur and Nene Leakes graciously blessed us with her attempts at acting via a guest appearance on the hit show Glee. Bethenny Frankel made a fortune from exercise videos and Kim Kardashian runs a posh boutique in Soho.
With these prevalent reminders of non-conventional success in entertainment, it makes me wonder how the concept of fame for women will continue to manifest. The world of reality TV makes the idea of dating a prominent male exciting, especially when it will increase your chance of being plastered on the cover of any tabloid magazine. They are employing Machiavellian tactics to exploit themselves for money -- it's all a means to an end. Their husbands or exes get to use them as arm candy while the ladies cash in from spilling details about their lovers on national television.
Do you connect with them women in these shows? Do you feel like your life mirrors their experiences in any way? Are you contemplating fame through the world of reality television? In an effort to bring folks back to basics here is a list of warnings to put things into perspective:
• First and foremost, limit your intake and amount of "wifey" reality shows. Please no more than two shows, maximum two hours a week. If not it'll creep into your subconscious, decreasing any objectivity toward the programming before you realize it.
• Understand that these shows are purely for entertainment. Not profound life lessons.
• Don't read tabloid magazines. It's the perfect ingredient to turn your brain into mush. If you must, only while waiting in line at the grocery store or Target!
• Go to school and get a specialized trade. Figure out a skill. Own a business. Your credentials and qualifications will never be taken away from you. In other words, legitimize why people should care about what you do and why you deserve to be on television.
• Have friends with varying levels of success. When you speak to them you'll have a balanced level of exposure and insight to a healthy adult life.
• Stop shopping so much. I know that's hard in an image-conscious society but the temptation for material items grows the more you shop. You will eventually be basing your self worth on where you found the latest Louis Vuitton Bag or who is getting it for you.
• Don't seek out men of power out of desperation or validation. They can smell it and you'll be just another one in line. Sometimes it's better be with a great regular Joe. He'll probably make you happier, more sane and is faced with far less temptation to cheat.
• Stay away from status driven environments if you can. It fuels a desire to keep up with the Jones'.
• Most important of all... don't put your success in the hands of a "wifey" reality show. If you overlook this tidbit, participate at your own risk! Clearly the women who were in these shows took a hint and branched out with additional ventures.
On the surface things may appear to be awesome for these wifeys. However, they endured a lot of drama, infidelity, humiliation, drama and superficial affection from their lovers. And the most popular characters on these programs are also the most miserable because they start the most drama. Even if any of them decide to experience a spiritual soul cleanse from earning money through televised catfights, their prior image lives on forever.
I talk to a lot of women, often, who are chasing fame by any means necessary. But not all of us have the liberty to make huge errors and redeem them. Before throwing your hat into the ring, heavily evaluate if you can handle it and if it's fair to yourself, your loved ones or the man you are using to gain access to opportunities in the first place. The wifey route isn't for everyone.