Friday, November 23, 2012

It's difficult to accord respect towards someone or something when you are accorded the opposite by said someone or something.    My mother taught me to be polite, to have manners and to always behave gracefully.  I have not always done so, (who am I kidding hahah I have to remind myself how to sit properly) but today, I am mustering up all the lady in me in response to an article in the latest issue of Marie Claire South Africa with the cover headline Time to give ''it'' girls a miss.  What's next for Paris, Kim and Co? I'm a regular buyer of MC (especially when I'm in the social pictures in the back, my life's ambition) and generally enjoy the content and stance of the magazine and would have probably glossed over this particularly chewed subject of an article had it not be for a tweet I was mentioned in by fellow blogger Alex van Tonder of Cape Town Girl.  

The tweet read: I LOLled at 's hoping  & I 'bow out of the party scene gracefully'. Anyone who knows me knows how funny that is.  

I responded in confusion that was eventually cleared up when I read the article sitting on the porch of one of Mememe's suppliers, where I had gone for a meeting.  She handed me the magazine and I read with intrigue a perfect confluence of anti-feminism + snide commentary + irresponsible journalism.  ''They appear out of nowhere, then just as rapidly, their stars fade.'' reads the blurb and the writer launches into an intellectualized quasi definition of what an it girl is, quoting novelist Elinor Glyn's description of it girls from a 1927 issue of Cosmopolitan in which she says ''it'' girls and boys are roughly ''an elusive spirit that draws all others with its magnetic foce, a quality of mind as well as a physical attraction''.  Nothing wrong with that I thought, it's probably a fair description although I find the whole idea of ''it'' girl, ''it'' bag ''it'' anything pretty irrelevant these days.   

The article then takes the predictable turn of contemptuously naming ''it'' girls of a contemporary era, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Tara Parker Tomlinson and 60's model and muse Edie Sedgewick.  I will not do you the displeasure of dissecting the article because the truth is (I wanna get to the juicy bits and) the whole topic is boring and so will this little response if I carry on with it.  I'll just share some golden nuggets that led to me being mentioned in the first place, as a sort of afterthought, a sneaky little jab on the last paragraph. Not that I am an ''it'' girl but, according to Marie Claire, these are some of the qualities of an ''it'' girl, this thing that I am waiting to be:

''Their inherited money and DNA borne status is what gets them noticed in the first place: to ensure attention, it's expedient to hang out in desirable venues with similarly well heeled youngsters''.  Gosh, how I wonder when my good looking grandmother will die so that her spirit can unlock the jewels in the family heirloom cabinet that I am sure to inherit.  

''You need some big break through to crack it girl status'' Can't say when precisely but I think it's happening'' 

''These days they have to look highly groomed in designerwear and at some point launch their own range of designerwear'' - Ok that one is true lol! 

''It girl status is a poisoned chalice: don't expect neutral reviews when you fall back on your talents after cruising along on money, looks and influence for years''  Please. Somebody pass me poison in a metal wine glass and I will willfully insert it into every orifice of mine when I'm done cruising along on money, looks and influence.  

But this is totally presumptuous of me because as it turns I AM NOT AN IT GIRL...BUT (gasp) AN IT GIRL IN WAITING. What? After all the hair swinging, champagne drinking and not working I do, how dare they reduce me to the lower crust wing girl status in the shadows of my predecessors the three K's: Khanyi Mbau, Kelly Khumalo and Kuli Roberts?

''But there always it-girls-in-waiting'' it reads.  ''Replacing the Kuli's, Khanyi's and Kellys are figures like YFM DJ Twins Hlelo and Ntando Masina, model Lauren Marshall, 'Cape Town Girl' blogger Alex van Tonder and Jozi fashionista Milisuthando Bongela.  Let's just hope they know when to bow out of the party circuit gracefully.  There's a reason the term 'It woman' doesn't exist.''

Ouch Marie Claire.  Eina ladies! For a magazine that prides itself on being the monthly choice of thinking women who do their thinking while simultaneously looking amazing, this is a bit of a boo boo innit?  It's something I would expect in Cosmopolitan, (South African) People or even Heat.  Nevermind the fact that Associated Magazines is a female captained ship, with an all female editorial team and a woman at its helm - this is the kind of insular approach that makes us look like bitches who wanna bring other bitches down.  But I must confess, the overseas has-been celebrities mentioned in the article, are not my biggest concern.

Why did you guys feel the need to include hard-working, career driven, focused, intelligent young women who earn their money honestly?  Yes I like to have a bit of a boogie, actually a lot of a boogie at parties, because that's what I like and it so happens to have a positive influence on what I do to make money.  I have a lot of respect for Alex (she has one of the most successful lifestyle and fashion blogs in this country that's much bigger than this one, I mean look at her masthead and sidebars), Ntando & Hlelo (they have a radio show, a TV show and are fully fledged rising starts in local media) and Lauren Marshall (global campaigns are on her CV including Clinique and Pandora), people whose labour is palpable at the click of the search button on Google!  Should I perhaps post my CV on here so you can perhaps at least have an educated opinion of me before you diss me with ink? I don't mind being dissed for the things that I do, do being the operative word. Yes I'm a fashionista and to some that may seem like my life is about attending launches and having tet-a-tet's but I carved my career out of nothing to become someone you guys, Marie Claire sometimes call for my opinion, a contribution and you invite me to your events which I attend with pleasure.  I am very proud of what I do and honoured to be counted amongst my peers. I am not waiting to be anything, I already am who I am.

Ok enough time taken out of my empty schedule for this.  Read Alex's brilliantly droll response to this article on her blog today.


Nomali/Minenhle said...

This is the craziest thing I've seen! Wow remind me never to do anything worthwhile like owning my dreams, having an opinion and like building a media presence or something. And I must remember to never be seen in public having fun.

You are very lovely in who you are, Mili.

Xoliswa Mayapi said...

I'm offended for you. My apologies Mili.

Ms K said...

Hey Milli they totally got this one wrong. Either someone just wanted to ink-slap you or just doesn't know how to write a proper article.

What they totally didn't get is that bloggers/fashionistas are the new It Girls, and their it-factor is based on what they do/know/write about and their following and credibility. So it is actually a shift from It Girls that are just 'it' because they are rich or did a sex tape to It Girls that are actually doing something worthwhile and that have something to say like you and your fellow bloggers.

Zimmy** said...

Hi Milli

Funny, I saw this article yesterday and I too thought it to be in bad taste and not very well researched nor written. Im happy you responded to it. Keep rising**

sindisokhumalo said...

You said it my love " I am not waiting to be anything, I already am who I am." And that is absolutely amazing. KEEP RISING! I LOVE YOU. XXX

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