An Open Letter to Jennifer Lawrence: On visibility, vulnerability and life in the spotlight
No doubt you've heard that 22 year old actress Jennifer Lawrence won the Oscar for Best Actress last night for her role in Silver Linings Playbook.
Kudos to her for the win, of course, but even more kudos to her for her vulnerability, her authenticity, and her sense of humor (about life and herself). Why can't all actresses wear their (mild) neuroses on their sleeves?
She is so much more real than Jessica Chastain, more accessible than Naomi Watts (sorry neighbor), and more interesting than Jennifer Aniston.*
And so, an open letter to Jennifer, wherever you may be (hopefully basking in the win and also probably reminding everyone around you that not much has changed because of it), my letter of admiration and (small amounts of) admonition.
1. Please don't ever get a boob job. Or some crazy plastic surgery. Or go on a crash diet. Your strength and curves are gorgeous, natural, and remind us women outside of the Hollywood bobble head bubble that real is beautiful. And if we eat a cheesesteak before we're due to wear a slinky dress, you've taught us that we can always double Spanx it.
2. Please continue to poke fun at yourself. When are you hosting SNL? Soon, I hope. I think you and John Stamos should do a skit together.
3. Please don't ever turn false modesty into an art form. Your self-deprecation might actually be that and not some lame attempt to remind people how awesome you are by trying to convince them that you're not.
4. On the other hand, we love it when you announce your awesomeness. And how hard (or not) you've worked for it. You are awesome by nature and you affirm that. Sometimes you work for awesome. Surely a winning combination.
5. Please continue to live your life. I know the paparazzi suck and getting cameras shoved in your face by fans on top of it can't make you want to emerge from the house/sweatpants very much, but I sincerely hope you will cultivate a normal life of grocery runs and yoga classes and date nights and pumping gas wherever you choose to live.
Sincerely and with much warmth,
Lauren! Now, for the rest of us, what can WE learn about visibility/vulnerability (oh yes, the essence of Magnetism) from JLaw?
First, laugh at yourself. If you take yourself too seriously, whether you are a CEO or big time speaker or celeb-status expert, people will not dig your vibe. When you are in the spotlight, it is even MORE vital to take the fame machine lightly.
Second, to quote my little brother, "You do you." And that's it. You cannot be like any other. Be your own unique, weird self. Let your freak flag fly! That is what people want, not the spackled and shined up version of you.
Third, understand your responsibility, but wear it with ease. Sometimes with visibility comes this ponderous weight of obligation. Maintaing one's image and such, delivering something to the fans/constituents/employees. Pffft. Own the impact you have as a leader and be humble enough to realize that a thousand others behind you could step into your shoes.
Fourth, get a life. You are more than your work, your legacy, your public persona. Cultivate your life. Volunteer, read, take classes, connect with family and friends, have a hobby, and get out of your comfort zone. You'll come back to your mission/passion with renewed vigor.
*Not meant to insult these ladies. Intention is to codify JLaw's likeableness. Comparison helps.