Ladies First: Kourtney Kardashian

by Nikki Lakin in , ,


The average parent would object to their adolescent offspring taking part in the enjoyment of empty reality TV programming. Growing up in a relatively open house, it wasn’t much of a surprise that my parents condoned and sometimes even encouraged me to watch their favorite TV shows with them, many of which were in the realm of reality TV. From “American Idol” to “Jersey Shore,” we got a taste of it all, but a family favorite for several running years was “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”

Much like fans can admire fictional TV characters (what girl doesn’t want a Chuck Bass? Really?), they can develop attachments to anyone through the small screen, and it’s a lot easier to do so when it’s through a reality show where the stars are the same (I’m saying this loosely in spite of the “reality TV is scripted!” argument, but let’s save that for another time) on camera and in person. And since KUWTK’s storyline is centered around the daily lives and debacles of the family, viewers can sympathize with them and find relations to the family-slash-cast members.

Even though one of the family’s biggest claims to fame was the success of the late man of the family, Robert, the Kardashians are a female-dominant family. Under the direction of “momager” Kris, all of the Kardashian kids have pooled into good fortune one way or another and continue to multitask different projects without breaking a sweat.

Whether you care about pop culture or not, you know about this family. You know about KimYe, Khloe’s separation from ex-husband Lamar Odom, Kris and Bruce Jenner splitting up, and Kendall’s rise on fashion runways. But we can’t forget where the next generation of the Kardashian empire first got its start, which was with the first-born daughter, Kourtney.

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From the beginning of the series up until now, Kourtney has been in full command of expanding the family’s boutique business, Dash. While Dash is a collaborative effort among her, Kim and Khloe, Kourtney has taken most of the responsibility for the business, from seeking out the retail space to hiring staff to merchandising the store. This is the one project that has continued to succeed and brand the family while other members are taking care of their own personal brands, endorsements, appearances, the list goes on. But Kourtney never lost sight of making sure that Dash continued to occupy the retail and fashion world - and it’s still keeping up (pun intended).

And yes, everyone in the Kardashian family is a multitasker, but the other side of Kourtney’s life is another career all on its own. She’s the mother of two adorable tots and raises them with her comedian of a boyfriend, Scott. While the two have had their share of drama, her relationship with him now is where I see the most strength and inspiration in Kourtney. Scott bends over backwards to treat Kourtney like a queen, but as a mother, the first-born, and the undeclared head of a national boutique, she naturally toughens up around his actions. She doesn’t fall for his slick words and has to keep him on his toes to be the best man he can be. And when a woman can put her enjoyment aside to assert herself - and it proves to work - that’s where I find the power in a personal empire.

Might you be laughing when I say that the Kardashians are influential? Maybe. But for girls who envision themselves as double-duty women - career moms - Kourtney has proven to be successful at this.

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Ladies First: Life Lessons Lauren Conrad Taught Me

by Nikki Lakin in , , ,


Pretend it’s 2005. You’re in sixth grade again and spending your Friday afternoon sipping on caramel chillers (with whipped cream) at Panera, gossiping about the guy Allie has a crush on, and wondering whose house you should hang out at for the rest of the evening. Eventually, you annoy Allie enough to get her to let you come to her place so you can stalk this cute boy’s MySpace page. After an hour of sharing quizzes on your homepage and looking for quotes to put in your AIM profiles, you decide to turn on MTV, which Allie’s parents weren’t big fans of. But this was your version of rebellion at 12 years old and you were proud of this forward march.

A scenic b-roll backdrop of the Hollywood sign appears on the screen and you and Allie screech “Omigod!” Everyone’s favorite TV show back in 2005 is on: “The Hills.” The two of you kick back on the couch, pop some popcorn and catch up on the reruns that you’ve already seen three times since the most recent episode aired.

Admit it: you lived vicariously through lives of the leading ladies and pictured yourself as a grown-up/20-year-old showrooming at boutiques on Rodeo Drive and grabbing sushi with your girls, followed by a late night at Les Deux.

Out of all the girls that were featured, though, the show revolved around one in particular, Laguna Beach belle Lauren Conrad. Let’s be real, you probably read that and just sighed, thinking, Ugh, I love her.

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Although “The Hills” was criticized as pseudo-reality, every aspect of Lauren’s personality was as fresh as a batch of bakery goods. You could smell the sugar of her personality through your TV screen. Audrina described her as an “old soul,” almost beyond her years. She balanced school and strived for success at her challenging Teen Vogue internship. She sincerely valued the well-being of her friends and even when they didn’t return the favor, she still made efforts until the end. She never fought, but she was firm.

LC can be credited with teaching millennial girls across America some of the most important lessons they’ve ever learned before they turn 15. From trying to defend her friendship while Spencer and Heidi were dating and ditching to picking up roles in her career. So I’ve put together a relatively short yet important list of life lessons Lauren Conrad has taught me:

Life Lessons Lauren Conrad Taught Me

1. Bows before bros, AKA sisters before misters, AKA your friends are the most important relationships. (In some cases, yes, male counterparts are considered "bows" or "sisters")

2. A few close, trustworthy friends are better than a lot of fake friends.

3. “Just always go to Paris!”

4. You can’t click with everyone.

5. Surround yourself with people who build you up.

To say that Ms. Conrad is a class act is an understatement. But even to this day, her success grows among various levels. She operates two fashion lines, is a philanthropist, and is planning a wedding. Oh, and she’s still giving the best advice in the world on her site, LaurenConrad.com. It takes talent to remain so poised while so busy. When I say I want to be Lauren Conrad, I’m completely serious. I hope Allie’s anti-MTV parents can learn to agree with me.

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Hailing The Queens

by Nikki Lakin in , , ,


One of my favorite movies this past holiday season was, to say it nicely, a controversy. Orchestrated by a renowned director and performed by a half-rookie, half-Oscar-nominated cast, The Wolf of Wall Street stole my heart in a mere 3 hours. I did not want to stop talking about it. I would’ve paid to see it again. And again. It was unique, engaging, and sticking to the point of entertainment in general: entertaining. Dubbed by my friends as fairly “prim and proper,” they were surprised to learn how much I enjoyed this film that was referred to as “softcore porn.” But as an entertainment enthusiast, my response was, “It was just fun. And the action never stopped.”

If you’ve seen the movie, then you’ll know that the action never really did stop, no matter where Jordan Belfort was, and no matter who he was with. Does the name Naomi ring a bell? How could it not? Belfort’s deviant-turned-mistress-turned wife slayed him at first glance.

But dare I say it was more like lust at first sight rather than love? She was golden tan and platinum blonde and voluptuous, so of course the power-hungry (or, power-thirsty, rather) Belfort craved for her affection. And he got that on the first date: a full-frontal right at her living room entrance. Not just for Leonardo DiCaprio to enjoy, but for everyone who paid $12 to see this cinematic masterpiece.

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This is where the majority of the controversy lies, though. Noted as offensive and an objectification of women, ladies were warned that they wouldn’t last through this movie. Even my vocal, open-minded aunt confessed that she left halfway through. Critics complained that Margot Robbie’s nudity – along with others' that were displayed in the movie – sold women as objects of desire. However, Robbie defended her character and said that it was voluntary. She told a British magazine, “If it’s justified and the character would do it, it should be there."

One of her biggest points was during a Red Carpet interview at the Golden Globes that I never initially took into consideration, but resonated and stuck with me. When asked about being criticized as a result of her nudity, she felt that it was expressing how much power women actually do have over men – but in a desirable way. More specifically, in this case, the benefits of Naomi’s body won over Belfort’s heart and mind, and with that, she was able to get anything she wanted from him, whether it was material, physical, or emotional.

Any girl can use this to her benefit. But that’s not a good thing. Whether a woman wants to climb a corporate ladder or pin a guy into a relationship, sex isn’t the way to achieve it. The pleasure can only last for so long.

So a man hires a woman for a relatively important role based on looks rather than professionalism and qualifications. Sure, she’s attractive, but just because she gets the job done in between the sheets doesn’t mean she knows how to use Google Analytics or write up a flowchart. If you fall for that, then congratulations, you’ve been officially screwed in two ways!

And no matter what the physical exchange is for, the results are short-term for men, but whether women want to fight it off or not, the feelings last with them, thanks to oxytocin. That’s the hormone that’s released when a woman peaks. Therefore, it is literally impossible for women to not emotionally attach onto men they sleep with. Once again, guys, you are screwed in two ways.

As much as my or any other girl’s body can be a powerful tool to get what they want, there’s no breath of relief that compares to any professional accomplishments I’ve had. My personality and my passion will get me where I want to be, both personally and professionally. Not my body.

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