Sunday, September 5, 2010

So You've Fucked Up. Now What?

I just saw the commercial for the upcoming new season of Desperate Housewives. The beautifully shot 61 seconds features all four of the housewives and a newly-arrived-to-the-hood Vanessa Williams.

In 1983, Vanessa Williams was crowned Miss America only to have to relinquish the title after naked pictures of her were published in Penthouse magazine. She rapidly became persona-non-grata and had as only prospect becoming a Wal-Mart greeter.  But instead, she mostly stayed away from the talk-shows and the media circus and retrieved to figure her life out. She always wanted to sing and act so she worked on her crafts – hard.  Vanessa released R n’ B hit after R N’ B hit. She hit Broadway and got rave reviews. She had children, raised them, ended an unhappy marriage, married a NBA player, and had another child while continuing to work on her crafts. 

As a publicist, I often recommend as crisis management to admit fault or address the problem, show remorse and humility then fade away until you have something good to say or when you have something good to sell. Brilliant examples of this mantra are Drew Barrymore, Nicole Richie, Robert Downey Jr. and Tiger Woods – once he wins a major again.  I wish Lindsay Lohan would follow this advice. Images of her out at Chateau Marmont right after rehab will do nothing for her career - nor will it garnish her the public's sympathy.

We all fuck up. Success will be determined on how you manage the post-fuck up in your second act.

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