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: Samantha Jones

by Nikki Lakin in , , ,


Every girl has a defining, distinct moment that she remembers where she believes that she emotionally (not physically, there’s actually a difference) (at least in my book) transforms into a woman. Some may replay the memory of their first kiss playing spin-the-bottle and consider that their coming-of-age tale. It may be the purchase your first Coach purse with those backwards and side-to-side, outlined in glitter C’s. On a more graphic note, I was blessed with this moment sitting in front of the TV at age seven or whatever, exposed to a censored ad for HBO’s “Sex and the City.”

I knew my parents were avid fans of “The Sopranos,” but they assumed they could hide it from me. From then on, I was aware that any content on HBO would be risqué, but ads for “Sex and the City” did pop up on other cable outlets and I couldn’t avoid them. But from what I saw, it was just a group of girls hanging out and gossiping, which, even at age seven, my friends and I were guilty of.

So it was relatable. But it wasn’t until I entered my last year of middle school that the movie was released, and a year after that, it was running on HBO. By then, I was 15 and I finally got to meet Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and the infamous Samantha Jones.

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At that age, my career interests were seeping into public relations and, to quote myself, “wanting to make people famous.” I related to Samantha because she was a PR executive with her own firm. I quickly caught on that her boyfriend/eventual ex-boyfriend was not just an actor, but also her client, who she helped to quickly rise to fame.

While I can’t say that I’m on the same page as all of Samantha’s lifestyle pursuits, I do value her as a career inspiration. After watching the first SATC movie and then catching up on the series via E! re-runs, I admired her non-stop life in PR and her constantly evolving circle of colleagues and friends. Just as a high school student, I envisioned myself like her, working in a floor-to-ceiling glass window office by day, speaking boldly and confidently branding herself, and running around from event to event, including those that she most likely threw together without breaking a sweat, with her clique by night. As fictitious as her character is, her career is achievable for hungry girls like myself. What she does when the work is done, however, isn’t something she has to share.