Photo Credit: Bravo
Boy, Bravo loves its fashion shows. Got an idea for a reality show about the clothing design industry, and the melodramatic, ostentatious people who work in it? Pitch it here, people. The network will fit you in somewhere. But do it quickly: The schedule is getting a little tight.
There's Launch My Line, The Fashion Show, and reruns of Project Runway, about fashion designing. There's Tim Gunn's Guide to Style and The Rachel Zoe Project, about fashion styling. There's Make Me A Supermodel and syndicated reruns of America's Top Model, about fashion posing.
And now there's Kell on Earth, a reality show about the fast-paced world of fashion branding premiering tonight at 10 p.m. At the center of the whirlwind—in fashion, everything's always a whirlwind—is 44-year-old, public relations whiz, Kelly Cutrone, and the company she founded, People's Revolution. "We brand brands, meaning that we try to make their names bigger than what it is that they make," she explains to viewers, who may be uninitiated in PR lingo. "If you think about Ralph Lauren, it's bigger than a polo shirt. So that's what I mean about that."
According to the show's press materials, Cutrone is a fast-talking, no-nonsense "force to be reckoned with" and "one of the coolest, most intimidating persons ever." In one scene in the first episode, she summarily tosses a photographer from a fashion show she's running; then lets the groveling guy back in later, when she spots him and needs a photo fast.
Conversely, Cutrone is also depicted as a loving single mom with a heart of gold. "On the one hand, I'm this independent, ball-busting power girl," she says. "And on the other hand I'm like a 1950's housewife." Her daughter, a tween named Ava, seems well adjusted and happy in their trendy, Manhattan apartment, with her full-time nanny and the country house they escape to on weekends.
But I'm not sure I buy Cutrone's tough-cookie-with-a-mushy-core persona. In general, it's her way or the highway: Hence the title, a term that an ex-boyfriend tossed off while dumping her. Cutrone says that she wanted to cry, but instead she ran upstairs to trademark what she thought would be a perfect TV show title.
There's a common complaint among feminists: Assertive men are considered confident. Assertive women are considered bitchy. A lot of strong career women cite this double standard as they fight for what's rightfully theirs—like equal pay for equal work. They're absolutely right. But what if a woman actually is bitchy?
At one point, Cutrone remarks on the preponderance of gay men in her industry. "We don't really get to see straight men," she says. "And when we do, we [she and her female staff] grab them immediately for ourselves and then we eat them up and throw them out into the priestess temple, which is what we call People's Revolution." It's a joke, but it could also be a metaphor for the way she treats people who don't fall in line with her vision.
I can't help but wonder: What if this incredibly aggressive and successful dynamo threw herself into a more altruistic cause, rather than "trying to make a designer's name bigger than what he makes"? Imagine the incredible difference she could make in the world. On the other hand, then she wouldn't get a show on Bravo.
Do you think aggressive women are unfairly labeled as bitchy?