High School English with a Twist

The musings of Susan E dot Cohen

Category: The Duchess and Kim

For Royal & Kardashian Watchers

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On the eve of this new year, word has spread that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West  are expecting. The news follows the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s announcement of a Royal baby on the way.

I have previously shared that I am intrigued by the personal evolution of the Duchess and Kim. Personal evolution is difficult, let alone personal evolution with the world watching. Each in her own right, the Duchess and Kim have evolved and learned to carry themselves with the grace and poise appropriate of their respective roles. To quote my own piece:

“The process of evolution is powerful. Maybe that is the power that intrigues me. The power to evolve and change oneself. Evolution is a chance to decide who you want to be and how you want to get there. Kate has decided what kind of Royal she wants to be through her wardrobe that ranges from Top Shop to Alexander McQueen as well as her charity work. Kim had the chance to rebrand herself as a calmer, more interesting Kardashian after her split from Kris.” (Cohen, July 13, 2012)

The Duchess and Kim are evolving again as they prepare to step into their new roles as mothers. The former will be the mother of the future Head of the Commonwealth and the latter will be a mother to tabloid and television Royalty. I am sure E! will be spending New Years Eve inking away deals with grandmother Kris Jenner. Perhaps I am naive to think Ryan Seacrest was not already in full KimYe baby preparation mode.

As much as E! will prepare, the network has nothing on Buckingham Palace and St James’s Palace, which are prepping for the most important production of them all – a heir/heiress to the monarchy. The royal baby preparation marks the third consecutive year of major Royal events – Wedding in 2011, Diamond Jubilee in 2012, and a Royal baby in 2013. Add in the London Olympics, and the Royal staff has been quite busy.

I will have much to keep up with in the coming year as I await the arrivals of the Royal baby and baby KimYe. I especially look forward to the evolution of the Duchess and Kim into powerful nurturers. 2013 is looking very exciting for this Royal Watcher who spends her Sunday evenings Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

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Keeping up with Kate, Kim, and Katie

I follow a Kate, a Kim, and now a Katie. The Kate is the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton. I would like to refer to her as Catherine, as she prefers this to Kate, but for this piece to work, I need to use the latter. The Kim is Kim Kardashian of reality royalty fame. And the Katie? The Katie is the recently emancipated Katie Holmes. Beyond all three of these women having names that begin with a K, what do they have in common?  How could I be following a true Royal one moment and then be following a reality star the next? Why did I add on an actress most famous for marrying Tom Cruise alongside Kate and Kim? The simple answer is that I am intrigued by powerful women. The more complicated answer has to do with personal evolution.

Kate, Kim, and Katie started at very different spots than the ones they currently occupy. Kate was a middle-class British young woman who had attended the right schools, but would not have been considered Royal material. Kim grew up in LA, but prior to her friendship with Paris Hilton and an infamous tape, was not on America’s radar. Katie was famous for playing Joey on Dawson’s Creek, but was nowhere near the A-list. However, things changed.

Kate met William, waited, and then emerged from the Waity Katie period as the future of the British Monarchy. Kim’s tape leaked and her mother capitalized on her new fame by linking up with Ryan Seacrest to get America Keeping up with the Kardashians. Katie met Tom, he jumped on Oprah’s couch, they had Suri, were married, and then she performed  a Mission Impossible that led to her becoming Top Gun, while threatening The Firm of Scientology. Personal evolution at its finest. They did not start out powerful, but each, for very different reasons, is now a powerful woman.

If I like personal evolution and power, why these three women? Before answering this question, I should mention the following: I think Hillary  Clinton is as cool as they come (especially with that ponytail), count the Queen among my role models (Royal Watcher), and root for Serena Williams (ferocious). As my admiration for Hillary, the Queen, and Serena demonstrate, I have a wide network of women who I respect and follow. I could highlight any one of these women and write a thesis on them. Barnard required me to write a thesis so I feel I now have the skills to write a thesis on whomever and whatever I see fit. So that brings me back to why Kate, Kim, and Katie?

I selected Kate and Kim because I have had a chance to watch them evolve and  watch how they have handled themselves as they have evolved into a more powerful position in society. Katie has just started the evolution process. I will have the chance to see how she handles herself as she becomes a more powerful woman. Before supporting my thesis, I must fine define power. I define power not in the way of a President or CEO. I think it is more a power that is a combination of how society perceives them and how the media further solidifies that position through coverage. Kate is Royal, which although not directly powerful in British government, is still a very important status and symbol in the nation. The media attention she receives further solidifies Kate as a powerful woman. She has the power to wear an outfit and then cause that outfit to sell out minutes later. Kim is the ultimate brander. Her brand is her power. Each time she steps out, the brand steps out. I am not sure any of us realize what it means to carry a brand 24/7. Katie is new power. In asserting herself two weeks ago, she went from wife of an A-list actor to A-list all by herself. She is the new woman on the block. The world is her oyster.

Kate, Kim, and Katie have each had a very different personal evolution. Kate’s evolution is as far as you can go. I might have missed the Waitey Katie period, but I still watched Kate evolve from fiancée in the blue Issa dress, to bride, to budding Royal. Kate has done her due diligence when it comes to being a Duchess on everything from how she carries her self, to her wardrobe, to the charities she has selected to patron, and of course, that moment when she gave her first formal speech. Even before she was engaged, Kate kept her distance from the media and kept quiet. She understood that she had to stay out of the spotlight. Now that she is in that spotlight, she continues to keep a low profile, except for obligations. Each time she steps out for one,  she is more confident. I think we can each learn something from how her poise, elegance, and grace. I certainly have learned from her.

Kim has evolved on Sunday evenings and in the media over the course of several years. Although she is famous for the tape, since then, she has kept it pretty straight and narrow. She is never in compromising situations. Even though she dresses provocatively, her public behavior is the opposite. I should say a lot of Kim is thanks to having her mother Kris as her manager. However, Kim is savvier than the camera leads on and she definitely knows how to work it. When she decided to divorce Kris after 72 days, I believed she would come back bigger and better. I felt this way because it takes a lot of courage to admit you made a mistake. Yes, I knew they were a mismatch and that they had not spent enough time together, but it still took Kim courage to do what she did. After Kim admitted her mistake, she went into hibernation, and reemerged as a smarter, stronger Kim. I support this with the Oprah interview. Her vocabulary alone was superb. Her new boyfriend, Kanye, provides further evidence of a smarter, stronger Kim. She realized she must date someone who understands her lifestyle and vice versa.

Katie is actively evolving. Yes, she has previously evolved upon marrying Tom, but that pales in comparison to the evolution that is currently taking place. In declaring her independence, she asserted a Katie we did not know existed. She showed that she is a smart woman and mother. She stated what she wanted and it appears she got it. Katie was not going to be muscled by Tom and Scientology. She was able to outsmart both of them. It is too early to tell who Katie will become, but I look forward to watching her evolution.

The process of evolution is powerful. Maybe that is the power that intrigues me. The power to evolve and change oneself. Evolution is a chance to decide who you want to be and how you want to get there. Kate has decided what kind of Royal she wants to be through her wardrobe that ranges from Top Shop to Alexander McQueen as well as her charity work. Kim had the chance to rebrand herself as a calmer, more interesting Kardashian after her split from Kris. Katie, as I previously stated, is actively evolving. It is too early to tell who she will become.

I think that each time I watch a woman in the public eye evolve, it reminds me that I too can change. I too can decide who I want to be and how I want to become that person. I have Kate, Kim, and now Katie to thank for that lesson. You go girls.