Beauty Bitch – Wear It Big: This Season’s Look For Egos

Beauty Bitch ON Jun 19, 2009 AT 3:41 pm

The Bullying Boss

The Bullying Boss

Ok, so we are in a very small bubble here in beauty land, that doesn’t have any true bearing on real life. It’s a place where lipstick is Queen and the arrival of an eyeliner is newsworthy. I’m quite often scornful of fashionistas, where every stitch dreamt up by Karl Lagerfield is literally dribbled on by people for whom spending £1000 on a jacket is commonplace and in fact, is positively encouraged, but were no less blinkered in beauty. I had a funny time with a beauty PR recently who had swapped the world of fashion for the slightly kinder world of beauty after being called ‘that’ by an editor. As in, why is THAT wearing white? While beauty might be slightly less soul ravaging than fashion, there are tales abound brought on by the recession, in part of work place bullying, horrible pressure tactics and devious redundancies as those at the top de-stress by making those on the lower rungs lives miserable. Praising in private but criticising in public seems to be a favourite technique of the bullies.

How do you handle a mean boss?

How do you handle a mean boss?

There’s something very distasteful about people who can only feel better themselves by making someone else feel worse, and sorry to say, this is a ridiculously commonplace occurrence, especially in the beauty PR industry. Suddenly, I’m getting emails at 10 o’clock at night as reduced workforces desperately struggle to fill the gaps left by redundancies. Interestingly, it’s almost always the juniors sending out these midnight missives; I haven’t had a single one from an agency owner, who are no doubt snuggling down to a nice bowl of pasta and an evening of Big Brother at home while cracking the whip from the sofa. When is the penny going to actually drop that bullying is a very short-term tactic? You push people especially good, hardworking folk and eventually they won’t have it any more. Clients will start to wonder where your staff went? And, because we’re a small bubble, word soon gets around. Motivating with praise is a business basic, surely?

Big egos are notorious in the fashion & beauty industry

Big egos are notorious in the fashion & beauty industry

Saying this, it’s not just internally that the beauty PR’s get it in the neck. Another PR told me about the time she phoned an editor to talk about a product. She was literally told to f**k off and the phone was slammed down. Now, we all feel like saying it, but what’s the difference between those who actually do and those who bite their tongue and come out with a more mannered response? Ego. And there are plenty of those in this industry. I’ll flip back to a press trip I took a while ago with some pretty powerful beauty editors. One was fussing about missing her flight back as she had a really important wedding to go to. I mean really fussing. So, I bit and asked her whose wedding she couldn’t miss? I couldn’t POSSIBLY say, she barked as though I’d just asked her for her pin number. On this occasion, I couldn’t mind my manners and told her to stop showing off I thought it was something really important like her best friend’s wedding, not some stupid B lister that she was going to write a crucial commentary on the colour of the celebrities gloss.

Is it really such a stretch to view the economic crisis as a time to keep people closer, to act with moral responsibility and to take it all on the chin? Passing the buck while polishing your ego is certainly this year’s ugliest trend.

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