by Theresa Agonia · 04 Nov 2019 · 3 min read
Love her or hate her, there's no denying that Kim Kardashian is a force to be reckoned with. From Paris Hilton's paparazzi partner to a global icon, Kardashian has redefined the term "celebrity" and profited off it--in a major way. But what is the secret sauce behind her fame? What makes her resonate so widely and so deeply?
I've spent years now encouraging people to have difficult conversations, to talk about the things that are bothering them and yet, remain unspoken. I've read the research showing that couples who argue effectively, instead of staying quiet and avoiding conflict are ten times more likely to have a happy relationship.
When I immigrated to the United States at 7 years old, at first, this country was so completely foreign to me that I didn't yet understand that there was any such thing as living in a "poor area. Moreover, I couldn't even begin to conceive that I was most definitely living in one. The inner city was the only United States I knew.
Growing up, every image depicted around me gave the message that most dark girls were ugly. So, when people would say, "You're pretty for a dark-skinned girl," I took it as a compliment.
A few months after I left my corporate job as the Head of Merchandising for Old Navy Online, I walked into the Everlane concept store in preparation for an upcoming meeting at their corporate office. As I looked around trying to find an outfit, a feeling of alienation came over me. From the perky twenty-something sales associate that looked at me askance when I walked in, to the array of androgynous, box-llooking, nondescript apparel, it was clear that I didn't belong. I finally landed on a streamlined navy dress that was seemingly appropriate for my meeting — a nothing special, medium quality, basic dress that felt like a millennial uniform. I never wore that dress again.
It's easy to be inspired when progress is being made. However, the true challenge of hope will always be to maintain it when momentum slows or, harder still, when the opposition is gaining more ground than we are. While these statements may seem obvious as we consider moments in our lives where the going got tough and the tough had to get going, it's sometimes a challenge to see these ideas represented in traditional entertainment where we can usually count on a happily ever after.
I was about one month into my dream job as a forensic psychologist in a remand facility for adolescent girls in Brooklyn, New York. Unlike my old job, this one did not offer a parking lot for employees, but I was issued a state parking plaque to use in front of the building when there was space. However, that employee-issued parking plaque was enough illicit the suspicion and disbelief of the NYPD leading to me getting wrongfully arrested and detained for two nights. This experience was not the only instance of racial discrimination in my life, and it certainly was not my last as an employee. I chose to tell this one as it was, sort of, my official introduction to life in America as an educated, African-American woman.