Around the sandbox today was the latest talk on Bravo TV’s reality star Sonja Morgan from, The Real Housewives of New York City. Currently in divorce proceedings with millionaire JP Morgan, viewers saw a resilient well trained Sonja under tremendous pressure from the announcement of her bankruptcy. Her blog on Bravo shows consistent viewer support and sympathy. Why?? In this communication expert’s opinion it was her ability to stay consistent with her messages. Recently, we have just witnessed former Congressman Anthony Weiner crumble under the pressures of his Twitter sexscapades, with his less than honest responses during his first-round of media interviews. Perhaps he should have taken a cue for Morgan, who was open about her situation, including the fact that she was in the process of wrapping her hands around the entire legal issue.
English author Ernest Bramah had once quoted, “A reputation for a thousand years may depend on the conduct of a single moment”. What I saw last night was Sonja the survivor protecting her reputation by providing consistent messages, and staying on point. A natural concern for any pr pro is that the client will be led into talking too much, talking off point, or saying something that could be misconstrued.
Being consistent with your messages, as Sonja was, is so very important. We hear this all the time, but the reality of reality TV and life is that there are usually far more critics than supporters, which can take you down faster than a toddler having a temper tantrum. Sonja was a trooper, and while this had to be an emotional hurricane for her, not only did she maintain her composure, but she was vigilant in her key messages:
- “I was advised by my lawyers to file to protect my assets. I have a lot of outstanding business, my assets tied up in divorce, and needed some time to sort it out. Never in my life did I imagine being in this situation. I pay my credit cards in full every month — as well as all my bills and mortgages. I have stellar credit, so it was a scary move for me.”
- “I am heartbroken that I have had the worse advice from so called experts. I trusted that my managing director who had 20 years experience in the movie business knew what he was doing and that my financial advisors and lawyers had me covered — all while going through a divorce and a financial market crash.”
- “It has been a steep learning curve in a business I knew nothing about. That was my mistake. I am back to doing what I know and will recover some of my loss with continued hard work. I have always been a hard worker and pull my own weight in my relationships.”
I would advise Sonja to resist disclosing too much information such as the brief explanation of her managing director—it gives the appearance that she is placing blame on someone else, and from what I gather, she was in due diligence mode figuring out exactly what happened. Only talk about what you know for sure. Otherwise, well done Sonja.