She Won’t Stop Changing: Miley Cyrus and her New Image

When you think of Miley Cyrus, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Short, pixie-cut hair, nude selfies, her iconic tongue sticking out of her mouth…

Less than a decade ago, no one would think twice before saying the exact opposite: innocent, sweet, and long, brown hair.

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Miley Cyrus starring as Hannah Montana.

While she was once an actress on one of Disney Channel’s most popular television shows, the Hannah Montana star managed to torch her Disney façade and emerge as a completely different person—in about six months. Through a whirlwind of crazy outfits and raunchy music videos (paired with swinging on a wrecking ball) Miley Cyrus reinvented her public image. She transformed into an A-list superstar with an immense fan base. Everyone knows who she is. And like it or not, she’s here to stay.

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Co-stars Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth being all lovey-dovey in The Last Song (2010).

A few years back Miley’s increasing provocative image clashed with the adorable school girl/singer her television persona carried. She was a Disney star, and young girls looked up to her. Her less-than PG-13 antics led to outrage from the general public. Parents were in an uproar and they didn’t want a sexually-inappropriate teenage influencing their children. Miley quickly became an anti-role model, and parents immediately started to prevent their kids from having anything to do with Hannah Montana (reducing the sale of merchandise as well). Eventually, Disney was forced to retire the character all together.

Next was her her high-profile relationship with Liam Hemsworth. Her break up with her The Last Song co-star in 2013 was full of media attention, but that didn’t stop her.

Fast-forward to the release of her Bangerz album and the 2013 VMA awards. Remember when Miley appeared in her teddy bear suit? Her racy “Blurred Lines” duet with Robin Thicke? Her twerking all over the stage in her flesh coloured underwear ensemble? After that performance, she became the most watched personality on the internet.

It was a risky move for the singer, but it certainly transformed her public persona.

Currently, Miley released a new free album on SoundCloud called Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz, an experimental more psychedelic rock made in collaboration with the Flaming Lips. Unknown to many, Miley also released her own nonprofit organization, the Happy Hippie Foundation. Aimed specifically at helping homeless and LGBT youth, she released numerous smiley faced hoodies and tees for the cause. She’s also set to be a judge for season 11 on NBC’s The Voice.

While there is still controversy over how she dresses or carries herself in her personal life, there’s no doubt that as a music artist she is unmatched in terms of fame. The Bangerz singer is a new woman, and there’s no doubt this chameleon won’t stop changing.

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Miley Cyrus, with her iconic tongue sticking out. 

Sources:

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6671437/miley-cyrus-next-album-not-a-miley-record

http://www.bustle.com/articles/81912-miley-cyrus-happy-hippie-foundation-clothing-is-available-for-purchase-net-proceeds-will-go-towards

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3214394/He-wanted-naked-possible-Miley-Cyrus-calls-Robin-Thicke-saying-DID-know-going-racy-twerking-2013-MTV-Video-Music-Awards.html

 

 

 

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Taco Bell & A Lesson in Crisis Management

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In 2011 Taco Bell faced a public relations nightmare. A class action lawsuit, filed by the Alabama firm Beasley Allen, was issued. It claimed that Taco Bell conducted false advertising regarding the amount of actual beef in its ‘taco filling’.

Taco Bell did not hesitate in its aggressive response to the allegations. In fact, due to Taco Bell’s public relations efforts, Taco Bell came back stronger than ever.

According to Brad Philips, there are seven rules to remember when it comes to crisis, and crisis management.

1. You will suffer in the short-term:

There is no question that Taco Bell’s reputation took a substantial hit as a result of the allegations. However, to quote Brad Philips “When handled well, crises can ultimately enhance an organization’s reputation, increase its stakeholder loyalty, and add to its bottom line.” Ultimately, this was the case for Taco Bell.

2. You need to communicate immediately:

Taco Bell immediately responded with print ads, Youtube videos, Facebook posts, and tweets.

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3. If you don’t talk, others will:

Taco Bell recognized this rule, and as a result become the main source from which reporters could obtain information.

4. Saying “no comment” is the same as saying “we’re guilty”:

Taco Bell took this to heart. Rather than merely let the whole fiasco blow over, the CEO himself was featured in a video which broke down the ingredients in their seasoned beef. Furthermore, they took out ads in major newspapers with the caption ‘Thank you for suing us’, to aid in ensuring their response received adequate media attention.

5. Your response needs to be about the victims:

Rather than initially focus on how this defamation was affecting the corporations bottom line, Taco Bell reassured consumers that their products were “100% USDA inspected” and explicitly stated the contents of their seasoned beef.

6. Facts are not enough:

In addition to assertively ‘correcting’ the accusers, Taco Bell ran extensive game on social media. Additionally, they both pulled their menu for children, and introduced healthier options to their menu. Lastly, they started a couple charitable initiatives in order to further persuade their consumer base.

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7. Get it all out:

This rule states that if there is any other relevant ‘skeletons in the closet’ that are likely to be revealed as a result of the crisis, to come out ahead by making them public and thereby control the spin. Taco Bell did just that: they stated that the seasoned beef was actually only 88% beef, the remainder consisting of their secret recipe, which they released in detail.

 

If you were a public relations professional for a billion dollar corporation faced with a crisis of this magnitude, could you follow in Taco Bell’s footsteps? I urge you to keep in mind these seven ‘rules’ should you ever find yourself managing a public relations crisis.

 

How Anthony Bourdain Changed The Way We Look At The Culinary World… And It Wasn’t How You Would Expect It

The days of pretentious top hat chefs with a curled handlebar moustache yelling at their employees has ended. The connection of chefs and restaurateurs to their clientele has reached a more personal level. Tattoos, vulgar language, partying – a real rockstar lifestyle. Those that are interested in the culinary world chefs and foodies alike are aware of this new rockstar appeal in the culinary world. There’s simply a great deal of appeal to travel the world, party in culturally diverse cities, learn from the best chefs in the business, and of course, eat amazing food.
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Of course there’s another side to this though. Insane working hours, high stress conditions, impossibly demanding clientele, and low pay. The trade-off for living the seemingly “rockstar” life comes with its pitfalls. Self-medication can become common with many chefs claiming their drug and alcohol problems stem from their involvement in the restaurant industry.

Yes, there are obvious positive and negative aspects to pursuing careers in the culinary arts. But how are we aware of all these things? How is it become common knowledge of this fast pace lifestyle that is common place in the culinary world?

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The release of Kitchen Confidential brought diners into a world they had never seen before.

We need to take a look into the past for this. The year 2000. Y2K had blown over, the world didn’t end, the Internet was taking off in modern culture, Bill Clinton was president, and most importantly for this blog, Anthony Bourdain released his book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.

The title says it all. The book divulged into what goes on in the life of a modern chef, what happens behind the whooshing kitchen doors in the steamy rushed background. Bourdain went into great detail about the restaurant industry in his tell all. Like what types of food to avoid, don’t order fish on a Monday because it’s likely leftovers from the weekend or Friday. Or to avoid eating beef that’s been cooked well done as it cooked further to mask its flavour from being of lower quality.

psabBourdain also divulged into the life of a chef on the bar. Working hours from 7:30am to midnight was commonplace, partying for a few hours, then sleeping (maybe) and being back on the line prepping all over again. How does one preserver through this insane routine? With cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin, large quantities of booze and whatever else could get you through the pressure cooker that is the kitchen.

Anthony Bourdain’s acknowledgment of drug and alcohol use and abuse was monumental. No chef before him had never been public about what was going on in commercial restaurant businesses. All of the debauchery that was going in restaurants was purely unknown to most people unless they’ve previously been involved in the industry.
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And as this is a PR blog it’s important to take this information and specify how the release of this book relates to public relations. It’s quite simple. Kitchen Confidential changed almost everything on how people viewed the restaurant industry. The exquisite chef du cuisine that had popularly been portrayed for years on years was changed. The perception of a Chef Boyardee-looking cook was dissolving. The book had weeded out those who were not aware of the difficulty of being a chef, encouraged others to get in this crazy and fast paced life, and in this writer’s opinion, a sympathetic view on how hard chefs work to make us food to only get paid dirt cheap wages.

You might still see the uppity chef every once in a while but the overall culture has changed and is here to stay thanks to one chef’s decision on sharing what’s really going on behind the kitchen doors at restaurants.

 

The Importance of Saying ‘Sorry’

Canadian pop star Justin Bieber, who was discovered via Youtube, went from a young and innocent boy from Stratford, Ontario to Hollywood bad boy in less than a couple years. In 2015 Justin was sued by his neighbour whose house he egged. Jeff Schwartz, the neighbour, wants to be compensated for the emotional distress he says he and his family suffered at the hands of the singer and his entourage.

Bieber plead no contest to the vandalism charges and was put on probation, and was also forced to pay out $80,000 for the repairs.  The neighbour also claims the egg incident was the just culmination of months of the musician terrorising his Calabasas neighbourhood, with loud parties, drag races, and he even claimed Bieber spat on him once, something the singer denies.

Another incident involved Bieber peeing into a mop bucket instead of going to a bathroom like a civilized person. This incident was caught on camera and further embarrassed the star.

Finally, Justin Bieber was arrested for a DUI, drag racing and resisting arrest. Bieber was taken into custody and transported to the police department where his blood alcohol level was tested. Law enforcement sources say Justin was given a field sobriety test at the scene and failed. He was then taken to jail where he was booked and processed.

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After this rough stretch (for him, for humanity), he began 2015 with an apology tour, first releasing a video in January on his Facebook page addressing his recent problems, after an awkward appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to say he wasn’t proud of how he acted in the recent past, telling his laptop’s camera, “I’m not who I was pretending to be,” and, “I want to make the best impression on people and be kind and loving and soft.” The next week he went back on The Ellen Degeneres Show to further explain the feelings he expressed in the video.

Now that he’s confessed, the Comedy Central roast would be his public penance, a place to take his lashes and then hopefully move on. Kevin Hart introduced the roast as “possibly the beginning and the end of Justin Bieber.”

LIKE US, DAVE CHAPPELLE JUST “WANTED TO HEAR JOKES ABOUT JUSTIN BIEBER BEING A LITTLE SHIT.”

For the most of taping, Bieber seemed to be enduring and often enjoying the abuse he was taking. At the end of his time, Bieber abruptly switched tone and solemnly asked for forgiveness. His willingness to pay his dues, to be roasted and in the end not roast back – which was tradition – but instead apologize quickly and started to change the publics mind.

After “sorry” this is the end of apology tour

Justin-Bieber-Sorry-2015-1500x1500-e1450728864520The most important move Justin Bieber made was ending his apology tour. Once he released his song, “Sorry” he made it known that from this point on he was a different man. That he felt remorse but he needed to take the next steps in his life.

This was all a perfectly laid PR masterpiece. The thing with masterpieces is is you really only get them once. Time will show if he will fall back into his old ways or if this new Bieber is here to stay.

Until then, it looks like the world is full of beliebers.

How Bill Clinton overcame the Lewinsky scandal

In 1998, a huge scandal rocked The White House and shook The Clinton administration and family. The truth came to light and the world knew that, despite despite Bill’s vehement denials he did, in fact, have a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, an intern half his age working at The White House at the time.

 

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President Clinton with Lewinsky, 1995. Via Telegraph.co.uk

Bill Clinton was impeached shortly thereafter. The American public really had no choice. How could they possibly believe a word he said after he proved that he could lie not only to his family and his wife, but all of America? How could they possibly take his word on anything going forward? It looked as though this scandal would loom over him for the rest of his days and stain his entire legacy. What could he do to repair his damaged image?

First, he publicly apologized before religious leaders. He apologized for betraying his wife, and he apologized for lying to the world. Bill has always been a very good public speaker, and it showed in his apology. The world saw him not as a lying philanderer, but as a man who made a mistake, and felt remorse for his actions and the damage he dealt through them. It comes as no surprise that his approval rating was still very good even as he was being impeached.

After his presidency, he focused on philanthropy. In 2001, he founded The Clinton Organization, a not-for-profit organization that focuses on working together towards a better world through collaboration. They achieve this by bringing together various world governments, corporations, NGOs, and individuals to work towards various causes, including climate change and child obesity, according to their website.. The Clinton Foundation has gathered support from people all around the world, including both American Democrats and Republicans. Indeed, this organization knows no political boundaries.

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Bill Clinton speaking on climate change on behalf of The Clinton Foundation. via www.wclimate.com

His charity work has further shed the image of a dishonest, disloyal man and replaced it with that of someone who deeply cares for the world, somebody who not only wants to enact change, but who also has the leadership and know-how to actually do it. In the public eye, he’s no longer seen for his mistake, but the breadth of his achievements instead.

It wasn’t just Bill’s apology and philanthropy that helped mend his damaged image, but his wife, Hillary Clinton has as well. After the news broke of President Clinton’s indiscretions, she chose to stick by him. I cannot stress how much this shaped public opinion after the fact. If the woman that Bill betrayed the most was willing to look beyond his weaknesses, how could the public at large continue to hold a grudge for his actions?

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Bill and Hillary Clinton, center, greet people as they exit the funeral for Mario Cuomo at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Since then, we’ve publicly seen Bill and Hillary Clinton working together. I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, but Hillary’s a huge contender for the leader of the Democratic party, and, therefore, The President of the United States. Bill’s hit the road, campaigning for her, speaking to her leadership skills and her ability to enact change in America. The two of them are an image of unity, a couple that has put the past behind them and are working towards greater heights together. The message here is clear: they’ve moved on from the scandal. I think it’s about time that the rest of us put this behind us, too.

Monica Lewinsky: Public relations and the final burning of that blue dress

It was the scandal that rocked the world.

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Lewinsky, with Bill Clinton at the White House in 1995

I won’t go into the dirty details, because I feel like maybe we’re finally done beating that dead horse. But for a quick review, way back in 1998 news broke that the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, had an extra marital affair with a White House intern. He went on national television and infamously stated that he “did not have sexual relations with that woman.” You’ve probably heard this quote before. I know back when Limewire was a thing, there was always the risk that the Blink 182 song you just illegally downloaded was actually going to be Clinton’s drawl.

Turns out, he did have sexual relations with that woman and he ended up getting impeached, yadda yadda yadda.

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Lewinsky, leaving lawyer’s office in 1998

 

I don’t want to review the whole situation because frankly, we’ve all heard enough about it, and sure, Bill is a comeback story all his own, but today, we’re going to focus on “that woman.”

When you type “Monica Lewinsky” into Google, the recommended searches are “Monica Lewinsky now”, “Monica Lewinsky married”, and “Monica Lewinsky TedTalk”, but there was a time where you would have received vastly different recommendations.

If you didn’t understand my earlier mention of Limewire, it’s because it was early days of the internet. Which, unfortunately for Monica, led to the first instance of worldwide public humiliation. In her own words she says “I was the first person who’s global humiliation was driven by the Internet.

Her reputation and everything she had worked for was destroyed, and the scandal and the

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Lewinsky, for Vanity Fair

Clinton administration had branded her, and no matter where she went, that brand stuck.

 

She tried a few different paths after the scandal, but despite being overqualified for many positions she applied to, she was never the “right fit.” So, here we have a woman unable to shake this horrible brand that had been sewn into her story, unable to find her footing and no matter where she ended up and whatever opportunities she was faced with, she was always “that woman.”

So, from the public relations standpoint- she had a few options. There was the attempt at re-branding; she could try a new field in maybe a new country, and try to start fresh- which she did. She went to England to study, and earned a master’s in social psychology (her thesis was titled ‘In Search of the Impartial Juror: An Exploration of Pretrial Publicity and the Third Person Effect’)

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Lewinsky, in a Jenny Craig commercial, 2008

 

 

Or, she could try and use her new-found infamy in her favour. She could start a business(like creating a handbag line-check!), become a spokesperson for a brand (like appearing in commercials promoting Jenny Craig-check), and try to get by despite the tarnished reputation (check?), but that didn’t end up working out either.

And then there was a third option, the option that ended up working out in her favour. Disappear and then come back into the public eye and embrace the reputation and use the infamy for good.

She stayed out of the public eye until 2014, until she wrote an essay that was published in Vanity Fair, titled “Shame and Survival.” It’s an excellently written, brutally honest

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Speaking out about navigating a media storm at Forbes Under 30 summit, 2014

perspective (maybe the first brutally honest perspective throughout the 16-year ordeal) outlining her experiences and lessons, everything from 1998 until the day it was published.

 

And then she took the opportunity to use her horrible experiences as patient zero of global online humiliation to tackle the issue of cyberbullying. When it comes to reputation management, becoming an ambassador and supporter of a global cause is an excellent way to get back into the public’s good books.

She found a way to embrace the past that she couldn’t quite shake and channel all that humiliation into something that she had a front row seat for. She was out of the public for years, yet still couldn’t find a way to make a life without the scandal, so instead she found

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Her TedTalk titled The Price of Shame, 2015

a way to give “purpose to her past”, and help fight an issue plaguing youth across the world.

 

Yet you still see Monica Lewinsky-type situations played out so much in the media, and Lewinsky knows it, as she puts it in her essay much better than I could-

“Every day, it seems, my name shows up in an op-ed column or a press clip or two—mentioned in passing in articles on subjects as disparate as millennials, Scandal, and French president François Hollande’s love life. Miley Cyrus references me in her twerking stage act, Eminem raps about me, and Beyoncé’s latest hit gives me a shout-out. Thanks, Beyoncé, but if we’re blog6verbing, I think you meant “Bill Clinton’d all on my gown,” not “Monica Lewinsky’d.”

Even though the tired situation still manages to sneak its way into television and music, Lewinsky is no longer at the core. She had done her time. And now, she’s back in the public, respected, an advocate for anti-bullying, and gives intelligent talks about how she had to embrace her past and history to not necessarily to re-brand herself, but re-assert herself, even in her own eyes.

She’s simply annoying: Paris Hilton

It’s amazing what a small media stunt can do for someone’s career. PR is effective in the sense that all a person or product needs is one good piece of publicity to generate buzz and gossip. Whether said stunt is accidental or on purpose, some exposure (if done properly) can certainly go a long way.

Paris Whitney Hilton, a.k.a. a wealthy heiress is famous for literally just that—being famous. Her iconic chihuahua Tinkerbell, long blonde hair, pink Bentley, and snobby attitude certainly cranked up the level on the “spoiled rich girl” stereotype. She’s a celebrity not through talent or work, but through inherited wealth and lifestyle. Oh, and a sex tape. You can’t forget that sex tape.

Her diamond-studded ticket to instant stardom was thanks to 1 Night in Paris (2004), an amateur home video featuring herself and her then-boyfriend Rick Salomon. The leaked footage went viral overnight and she was everywhere—billboards, magazines, gossip sites, social media, memes, conversations, tv show parodies… the list goes on! At the time there wasn’t a celebrity or talk show host that didn’t reference the socialite. She quickly became an “It girl” media sensation.

After the tape, she was mostly known for her ridiculous reality shows: The Simple Life (2003-2007) with her co-star and friend Nicole Richie, Paris Hilton’s My New BFF (2008), Paris Hilton’s British Beat Friend (2009), Paris Hilton’s Dubai BFF (2009), and The World According to Paris (2011).

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Paris Hilton (right) and Nicole Richie (left) on The Simple Life.

The Simple Life continued to run for five straight seasons, and it quickly became her most well-known television appearance. This reality show focused on the two of them doing manual low-paying jobs, from farm work to summer camp councillors and, of course, serving in fast food restaurants.

Yet despite all her fame and fortune, she still had a brief run-in with law enforcement. Between filming seasons of The Simple Life, she was sentenced to 45 days in jail for violating the terms of her probation by an alcohol-related reckless driving case. That didn’t stop her from her other ventures, however. Between the court hearings and the television appearances, there was more than enough exposure for the woman to dabble in more than simple reality shows.

Paris was able to land numerous acting gigs, some of her films being House of Wax (2005), Bottoms Up (2006), and The Hottie and the Nottie (2008). Here’s a spoiler alert: she more or less plays herself in these movies, a rich socialite who’s ignorant about the world outside her bubble.

The celebutante dabbled in music as well, with her not-so-great album Paris (2006), and a flourishing DJ career (2012).

Believe it or not, she was there at the Sao Paulo music festival. Naturally, you can tell how well that went. On the other hand, she got signed onto a music label.

And her success doesn’t end there. Paris wrote a book that became a New York Times best-seller, she’s released various fashion lines for shoes/clothes/perfume/pet accessories, and she’s starred in numerous commercials to endorse products. According to Forbes, the socialite has 45 Paris Hilton stores in more than 40 countries, Variety named her its ‘Billion Dollar Entrepreneur’ in 2011 and her fragrance collection is fast approaching a $2 billion industry.

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Paris Hilton, the author, with her book Confessions of an Heiress (2004).

 

The moral of today’s story? In today’s world anyone can be anything. All you need is one good sex tape.

Sources:

http://www.businessinsider.com/10-celebrity-pr-twitter-comebacks?op=1

http://www.celebritycarsblog.com/celebrity/paris-hilton/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/dansimon/2014/06/04/paris-in-the-springtime-the-caricatured-ditzy-blonde-reinvents-herself-as-serious-entrepreneur-and-crushes-it/#b49f4776bf87

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger is BACK!

I hereby challenge you to think of a better rags-to-riches story than that of the life of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Despite having been born into a very modest household in Austria, Arnold always aspired to greatness. He moved to America at the age of 21 with a limited English vocabulary, and at age 23 (1970) won the Mr. Olympia title in New York (a title which he would proceed to win six more times). His fame as a bodybuilder however, was not enough to quench his thirst for success.

Arnold entered into Hollywood and gradually became an action superstar, starring in such memorable titles as The Terminator, Predator, Total Recall, and The Running Man. All the while, Arnold was utilizing capital from both his entrepreneurial ventures and winnings from competitions and wisely investing it.

Schwarzenegger's Hollywood Walk of Fame Star

At the age of 30, Arnold was a millionaire! But, he did not stop there. He went on to marry John F. Kennedy’s niece, Maria Shriver, and in 2003 ran for and ultimately became the Governor of California.

In 2011, after leaving the governor’s office, it came to the media’s attention that Schwarzenegger had fathered a child with the family’s housekeeper, Mildred Baena,  14 years prior and that as a result of discovering this, Maria Shriver had terminated their relationship.

Thus began the public outcry that typically follows word of any such scandal. Politicians and celebrities alike were out for blood.

Following the the aftermath, Arnold did an interview on 60 Minutes and released a memoir entitled Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story. Both of which address his failures, specifically the affair with Mildred among others, but simultaneously reminded the audience of his success.

When asked about the affair with Mildred during the interview, Arnold said “It was terrible. I inflicted tremendous pain on Maria and unbelievable pain on the kids.”

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I am by no means saying that I condone Arnold’s adultery. I will however state that I respect how he responded to the publicity crisis that ensued. He took responsibility in the end for his actions, reinforced his accomplishments, and moved on with his career.

Since these events took place Arnold has starred in a handful of films  (with more to follow), been tapped as the future host of The Celebrity Apprentice, and declared the executive editor of some established fitness magazines.

Love him or hate him, there is no denying that Arnold is fulfilling the iconic promise made in The Terminator.

Arnold Schwarzenegger from Terminator

I’d like to end with a quote from the comedic genius Bill Burr [Warning: NSFW]:

“This guy, he’s not a great man anymore; Terminator doesn’t count, is that what the **** you’re telling me, because he ****ed Alice, really? He’s still not a great man, because he did that, then that’s – the whole thing is over. Anybody here think they could move to Austria, learn the language, become famous for working out, then be a movie star, then marry into their royalty, and hold public office. How many life times would you need? I’m on my third attempt at Rosetta Stone Spanish, right?”

From Less Than Zero to Hero: Robert Downey Jr., Comeback Kid

Everybody loves a good comeback story.

Ranging from Abraham Lincoln to Britney Spears, there have been countless comebacks from unlikely heroes and the public has just eaten it up. For a popular public figure, sometimes the line between what is acceptable and can be repaired versus an irreversible scandal, can be blurred.

There is a constant stream of articles printed daily featuring wild claims about public figures and celebrities, all riddled with new scandals and humiliations. These stories are constantly making headlines and entertainment shows, they’re blowing up Twitter feeds and making Ryan-Seacrest types jump for joy. Yet no one seems to bat an eye anymore. These ‘career-crushing’ situations don’t really seem to be all that career-crushing anymore.

And despite saying otherwise, we love following along with the drama.

Yet, sometimes a celebrity or public figure’s reputation can be severely harmed by a scandal or information getting out to the public. But with the assistance of a good public relations team, a good attitude, a selfless act of charity perhaps and occasionally, blind faith, a reputation can be restored in the eyes of the public.

It’s not uncommon, there are a lot of skilled public relations teams who know exactly how to correctly persuade (read: manipulate) the public into getting their client back into good graces.

Today, we’re focusing on Mister Tony Stark himself.

Robert Downey Jr. began acting at a young age and by age 22, he landed his first major role on the big screen in The Pick-up Artist (1987). Also in 1987, he starred in Less Than Zero in which he played a drug-addicted party animal.

 

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RDJ in Less Than Zero

Unfortunately, his role in Less Than Zero was not too far off from his reality. RDJ had a serious drug addiction, and his role in the film felt like an extension of himself, “…for me, the role was like the ghost of Christmas future. The character was an exaggeration of myself. Then things changed, and, in some ways, I became an exaggeration of the character.” Downey Jr. said to The Guardian in 2003.

His drug problem followed him even as his impressive career advanced. He was nominated for an Academy Award in 1993 for his portrayal of Charlie Chaplan in Chaplan (1992). Although he put on an impressive performance, showing his knack for physical comedy as well as his emotional range, Downey and the Academy were met with backlash following the nomination. He had earned a reputation as one of the most talented actors of the generation, but also as a controversial bad boy.

Downey’s life for the next several years was a series of headlines, dramatics, illegal activity and just general debauchery. There were multiple trips to prison, rehabilitation centers and naked drives down Sunset Boulevard.

However, Robert Downey Jr. is still a commonplace name when discussing Hollywood actors, and not just those who were busted with cocaine while wearing a Wonder Woman costume (it’s a short list). So, what did he do?

One of the most remarkable things about Downey is his modesty and raw honesty, even while he was suffering with his addiction, he owned who he was and was unapologetic about it, something that might not have worked if he didn’t have the face that he did. When asked about his role on the award-winning television show Ally McBeal (we all remember his duet with Sting, right?) he laughs it off, says that it’s funny that all it takes is to put a man in a Hugo Boss suit and feed him his lines, and he can be fantastic, he also says that this role was during his lowest point regarding his addiction.

After all the chaos, Downey sought help. In 2003, he was officially clean, with the help of facilities, yoga, therapy, and meditation, as well as a new relationship with producer, Susan Levin. His commitment to sobriety has carried him into 2016, where he is still a prevalent name to movie-goers and tabloid followers alike.

 

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Tony Stark, himself

When he was cast as the billionaire-playboy-philanthropist, Tony Stark in 2008, he had more than hit his stride. He continued his role as Ironman into a few films in the Marvel franchise, and is still most recognized as the hero. But, he also used this fame and recognizability for good, another step in the right PR direction.

 

Downey joined with Limbitless Solutions, a non-profit organization, as Tony Stark to visit Alex, a young fan who received 3D-printed arm which matches that of the Ironman suit.

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RDJ making amends, hanging out with Alex, a young Iron Man fan who received a new 3D printed arm

Downey is also involved with several other charities, and recently raised more than £1 million for a British hospice by raffling off tickets to win a luxury Tony Stark’esque date with him to watch the world premiere of the new Avengers film.

 

If you talk about Robert Downey Jr. now, most people would associate him with Ironman and the Avengers, and not DUI’s and rehabilitation centres, and although it took a great deal of courage and strength to seek the help that he needed in his darkest days, he has clearly emerged from the other side a better man for it.

RDJ4Aside from the self-care and rehabilitation required to get better physically, to get better
publicly can be an even bigger challenge and there’s no correct way to persuade the public to abolish you of sin. In Robert Downey Jr.’s sake, it took hard work, impressive acting talent, a lot of charity work, and a perfect dash of self-deprecating wit.

Mike Tyson: Not Your Typical Pop Culture Icon

“Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.”  A true enough statement coined that couldn’t be more applicable to the man who said it. Mike Tyson was a goliath in the boxing world, a giant in sports throughout the 80s and 90s.

Tyson, The Baddest Man on the Plant, Kid Dynamite, Iron Mike, or whatever you chose to call him was undoubtedly a terrific heavy-weight boxer. Like many others who had been thrown into the limelight, Tyson was no different than other celebrities who fell under the pressure of a celebrity lifestyle.

Beat in the ring and broke where was the next place to go? Finding another field isn’t an option when you’ve dedicated your life to sport. Unless you’ve set yourself up for a breezy retirement in Orlando through careful spending or start promoting your own line of cooking appliances (S/o to George Foreman). Tyson may not ever get back to the level of fame he maintained at the height of his boxing career he’s managed to maintain relevant in ways just as interesting as his character.

Most people over the age of 20 years-old are more than familiar with the Hangover films. Tyson’s appearance in the first and second films were the first real introduction for myself. Not being heavily learned about Iron Mike a sense of curiosity about the face-tattooed-tiger owning-heavy weight was sparked. Where did he come from? Who was this Vegas dwelling player? And most importantly, how was he getting publicity?

Digging around I found some of the obvious information regarding his boxing career, but Tyson’s legacy as a boxer was only scratching the surface.

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Tyson’s New Wacky Animated TV Series

His outlandish comments and behaviour have created an interesting image which continuously gets squeezed to its fullest. A great example being his portrayal in Mike Tyson Mysteries. The show is interesting to say the least. Being able to benefit from his erratic behaviour by putting it into an animated show is ingenious.

Not the first time Tyson’s likeness has been used in a cartoon show. He’s had his likeness continuously used throughout in the Simpsons as it only makes sense to use such an animated person in an animated television series.

A friendship with Tupac Shakur, multiple film roles including one in Rocky Balboa (big surprise), an ongoing Simpsons parody, the likeness of his name being used to reference outlandish acts done by other athletes, Ottawa Senators goaltender Ray Emery had a picture of Tyson on his goalie mask.

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Senators Goaltender Ray Emery Sporting a Mike Tyson Themed Goalie Mask

Yes, just a shortlist of his involvement in a range of popular culture. The stem of this though? His purely outrageous behaviour.

 

The pursuit of fame and fortune usually revolves around being able to to work to your God-given skills and talents. Well, for athletes this isn’t as easy. Yeah, there’s exceptions but in Tyson’s case this pursuit questions his character. At the end of the day those who remember Tyson will be remembering him for his brash behaviour. A side of PR that has become too common over the years. Being famous for the sake of being famous or just being famous for all the wrong reasons.

More often than not outrageous behaviour will garner attention for someone. In Tyson’s scenario he was already well known for being over the top. Did I mention he bit off a boxing opponents ear during a match?

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