to be like anyone else, that’s not my goal. I don’t want to be anyone but me. I’ve always been a storyteller and nowadays I’m a businesswoman too. I bring those skills together everyday – through the magazine, through reality TV, through talk shows, and perhaps through my own TV network at some point. So what matters to me isn’t being like anyone else – although I certainly respect the accomplishments of people like Oprah – what matters is taking the opportunities presented to me to convey a message of positivity, of hope, and of self-empowerment. I believe that if you can dream it, you can do it. And I want to make sure every young woman knows that the sky is the limit.
4. In response to the claim that I haven’t “made it” yet: I am happy and comfortable right now. And I’m extremely proud of what I’ve accomplished in just a few years: proud to have graduated from an Ivy League school, proud to have built a magazine from the ground up, proud to have created and sold a TV show to ABC/Disney, proud to have starred on multiple TV shows and been featured on several more, proud to have served as the face of some breathtaking fashion lines, proud to have taken the slings and arrows from jealous haters, and proud to have done it all while staying true to who I am. External validation – whether through book sales or screaming fans – wouldn’t make me any more successful. I firmly believe that the only person who can define your success is you! Most importantly, I’ve achieved all of this honestly. I want to show young women that you don’t have to do drugs or sleep around or lie, cheat and steal. You don’t have to choose between your principles and success. It might not always be easy, but you can achieve your dreams through study, dedication and hard work – and doing it the right way makes success that much sweeter.
5. Friendships – You mentioned on the phone that I surround myself with friends. While I certainly appreciate the great friendships I have, the truth is that I interact with all kinds of people on a regular basis – from friends to colleagues to photographers to writers to TV producers to businessmen to media barons. I will put you in touch with a couple of sources who might be able to add further texture to your understanding of me by speaking from a different point of view.
6. This article has given me an opportunity to reflect on exactly who I am and to distill it into words and sentences. Here goes: I am a normal girl who has worked very hard for everything I have. I realize that TV and fame are not achievements in and of themselves; Reaching people is the achievement and the various forms of media are simply ways to do so. I refuse to believe in impossibilities, but have faith that anything is possible with enough dedication and desire. While naysayers and haters will no doubt attempt to deter you by saying you have to choose either to be smart or beautiful, to be athletic or artistic, to be a good person or a success, my message is one of optimism and self-empowerment: You can have it all!
When we spoke last night, I was really scared and defensive because the idea that I’m trying to be “like” other reality stars or “be a brand” simply isn’t what I’m about – as I said above, I am trying to reach an audience and send a positive message that’s also entertaining. And as far as being a working person in the reality medium, I do consider myself to be someone who has successfully starred in, produced, and sold shows. Right now I’m feeling much better because I see this email as an opportunity to shed light on the truth. I signed on to do this article with you because you said this wasn’t going to be another shoddy piece that represents me falsely. So I want to remind you that just because someone has a self-interest in attacking me doesn’t mean that their quotes are true or newsworthy. During the time we spent together, I do believe that you were honest, straight-forward, and genuine – and that’s why I’m optimistic. From our visit at Maggie Norris, to putting you in touch with the people that know me best, I did everything I could to open up to you and share who I truly am. I hope I see that person in your article.
Thanks again, Laura.