This is what I read during September:
Free Gift with Purchase by Jean Godfrey-June
Before she joined Gwenyth’s Goop-iverse, Jean Godfrey-June was the beauty editor of the now-defunct, albeit legendary Lucky magazine. While I read her work at the Conde Nast publication, she actually landed on my radar after reading about how much Cat Marnell looked up to her as a boss in the younger’s memoir How to Murder Your Life. Upon revisiting Marnell’s book last month, I caught on about her experience reading Jean Godfrey-June’s memoir therefore inspiring her to pursue a role working as an assistant for the Lucky beauty editor.
I loved Free Gift with Purchase. I loved reading about Godfrey-June’s “improbable” ascent into publishing. I loved reading about – and attempting to crack – the nightmares she worked with during the 90s at Elle. My guess was Gilles Bensimon and everyone’s favorite Scary Island RHONY trainwreck, Kelly Bensimon. I loved reading about her job at the failure of the tech startup job, which I believe if only she joined in an alternate universe three years later under more competent leadership, would have been a smash.
Born to be Brad: My Life and Style, So Far by Brad Goreski with Mickey Rapkin
I revisted Born to be Brad by Brad Goreski (and ostensibily his ghostwriter, Mickey Rapkin), after going on a weekend The Rachel Zoe Project season one binge. Rachel seemed like a nightmare at times (as an example, kicking Brad out of the adjacent? / within? / unclear hotel room circa February 2008 New York Fashion Week. Eventually Taylor, whose constant curmugeon-ness was justified, allowed Brad to stay in her hotel room. As opposed to Rachel’s suite, the assistant / associate duo shared single queen-or-king size bed in a key that could not have been larger than three hundred square feet.
I was interested in re-reading about Goreski’s climb from Canadian camp employee to Hollywood stylist. I wanted to read about his experience on the other side of the camera. Goreski reflects with a humorous lens, yet serves as an inspiration.
Read it, and then watch Goreski’s Bravo spinoff, It’s a Brad, Brad World. Come for the style, stay for the humor.
How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World by Jordan Christy
I cannot tell you what possessed me to purchase this. I know I procured the iBooks iteration of it circa 2012 and it has been sitting in my queue for nearly a decade. In that time author Jordan Christy wrote an updated edition titled How to be a Hepburn in a Kardashian World, which seems like a more timely reference for the overly filtered and fillered Revolve-fluencer time in that we are living.
While I think we could all benefit from putting down the phone trafficking in social media feedback and pick up a book (I actually had this thought verbatim yesterday), Christy’s first version came off sanctimonious. Holier-than-thou. Granted that being married with a career and child checks off the boxes that Christy sets for the reader, I know that this is not the blue print for everyone’s life. However, I am aware that the culture was different when this book was published.
Christy would warn you against this, but getting buzzed off of margaritas after getting a sitter for the littles and having a plan to safely get home that does not involve driving drunk, is perfectly fine. It is a level of adulthood to which I aspire. Until I can find a vaccinated, English speaking nanny in Central Asia….
Living in Style by Rachel Zoe
I bought this after wrapping up the fourth season of The Rachel Zoe Project. I am fascinated about how Zoe balances motherhood with a demanding career, though I know from the show that it involves one (or more?) nanny who toted her first born around. I also suspect that she had a baby night nurse. No judgement, I would have hired one too, had the United States not have closed down in the beginning of a pandemic as I was in labor.
Zoe’s second entry into the written word reeked of white woman priviledge. Her version of Living in Style is contingent on having disposable income. I would not have had the resources (ie money) to be able to Live in Style until my early thirties. And not having student loans (granted, I hustled hard via earning a graduate assistantship and several third party scholarships, each chipping away at tuition and living expenses), I am the among the luckiest of my 2008-to-2012 college and graduate school peers.
Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht
While I missed Twitter during the days of @dknyprgirl, I initially read Leave Your Mark on a plane circa 2016 and found it wildly inspirational. In fact, it was part of the reason that I started this blog. Since then, I subscribed to her podcast and listen to it on a weekly basis.
I knew I would re-read it back then, but I did not anticipate reading it through a different lens. I am in the same field as I was when I initially read it and never made a cross industry professional transition that I then dreamed of.
Licht discusses when to go to a promotion, which is more applicable than ever. Now that I am feel fairly compensated, I have never enjoyed my 9-to-5 more. Turns out, feeling valued is a huge chunk of career satisfaction. Who knew?