What made her suicide so news worthy? The dark side of fashion, fame and the glitz…
First of there was the abandoned Louis Vuitton handbag by the side of the bridge that Ashley Anne Riggitano left behind as she jumped off George Washington Bridge this Wednesday afternoon. And what was even better was that it wasn’t fake but real even though in some way Riggitano’s existence as a fashionista felt and looked fake (more on that below).
That said the unfortunate death of Riggitano may have more to do with what she necessarily wearing or carrying with her at the time of her death but more about the aspirations of similarly young women in the city, some local raised, some foreign born, many who come here looking to make NYC their bastion.
Looking to come here to live the Sex and the City wet dream, experience The Devil Wears Prada peekaboo, looking to become their own ‘gossip’ reality series (but in muted tones of course). But ostensibly looking for the following, to make some decent money or maybe marry into it, become the it girl or know it girls, make a dent creatively or financially (or maybe have enough friends who do) or just simply crossing the pond to live the excitement and inspiration that is suppose to make NYC. Of course the excitement in NYC has already come and gone by the end of the early 90’s but don’t let all those reality shows have you believing otherwise.
Yet here’s the big but. Ready, it’s going to sting ladies, and you might hate me for saying it, but I’m going to. Most of you are never going to make it NYC. Most of you are never going to last in NYC. Most of you are not good enough to make it in NYC. Most of you don’t have the heart, soul or charisma. Or even the patience, the discipline or the ‘it’ factor. Then again some of you do, but that still means paying your dues, being patient, sucking ass, working for bullshit wages, interning for people who you wish you could secretly tell off. Yes it sucks and it’s brash, but that in essence is the real NYC dream. I know, cause I have lived it. And nearly died getting there myself.
By now you will find yourself tortured, possibly abusing drugs (cocaine was my choice) and misbehaving and even increasingly disillusioned. Disillusioned because you have to make it, disillusioned because you don’t know what will happen to you if you don’t make it, disillusioned because you really don’t have the stomach to going back to living the patriarchal existence you so desperately escaped to become the real you finally.
And this is where Ashley Riggitano’s tale becomes more appealing. She was white (I’m going to pose a question here but would we the media have cared had Ashley been black, especially a non famous black person?), fairly attractive, well into her fashion wardrobe, came from some a well to do background, played and looked the part socially but somehow Ashley still managed to fall off the wagon.
Some reckon that is because she was bullied but most are now agreeing it was probably a confluence of a steady predilection towards the abuse of adderall and klonopin (and god knows what else?) which only served to heighten the hysteria, neurosis in her own mind. But I’ll tell you what, she probably had every reason to feel neurotic and hysteria, cause NYC is a mean city. It doesn’t real care if you make it. It doesn’t really care if you have to starve or suck dick to make it here. It just doesn’t. All it cares is that you do. Until then no one cares about you or is really interested in you unless you have money, looks, social clout or a whole lot of talent.
Yes there are down to earth people who live here too that will accept you but they are unfortunately in the minority and often just struggling to hold their own in a city that never stops churning out stars, the dream and the real you that you so desperately deserve…
Reflects jezebel: But struggling has a dark side. And this town is harsh: Expensive, competitive, soul-crushingly oblivious to your feelings. You can wear the heels and carry designer handbags, but you’re not in a TV show. When you’re just starting out, trying to find your path, youthful ambition often comes with instability — financial and/or emotional — and a good support system is key.
Except it now seems Riggitano didn’t really have a good support system, or at least that’s the way she saw it.
In fact on the day of her death, one of the 5 individuals black listed in Riggitano’s suicide note that she left behind before she jumped to her death, Victoria Van Thunen, her business partner and supposed best friend had this to offer on a Facebook message to Riggitano:
‘Those who incessantly blame others as the cause of their issues should perhaps take a step back and reevaluate these situations. The common thread may be that “they” aren’t the problem, but rather that YOU are.’
Perhaps in the end Riggitano took it all to heart and was just unable to back off and put some of the nasty coming of age experiences that we all go through behind her. Perhaps in the end if she could have just felt comfortable to reach out to someone she trusted she would have been fine instead of choosing this permanent solution to a very temporary problem.
Then again there is also another solution, stop believing all the hype and just get on with the job of finally accepting yourself whether you look glam or not or whether you get to live the ‘dream’ (whatever that is anymore) or maybe move to a more forgiving sensuous part of the world where back stabbing, crude friends/environment and materialism isn’t the be end and end all of your darling existence.
Then for those of you who do make it and live the dream please keep inspiring all of us so we can hang onto our sanity as we continue the delicate task of affirming our identity in a fly by night town like NYC that buses in, flies and trains in another soul every two minutes giddy thinking that they too are going to make it. Make what though exactly….?