People 02 March 2018
You might call Diana Madison an “It Girl." That would certainly make sense considering her high profile life as an influencer, entrepreneur, and TV personality. She walks the red carpets of Hollywood.
She hardly ever misses a major premiere. And she can often be found front and center at the hottest celeb soirees. Beauty and fashion are her first loves and now she is working side by side with one of the first ladies of beauty and fashion and all things celeb - Kim Kardashian.
They are working together on Glam Masters, a brand-new Lifetime beauty competition series. Madison and Kim Kardashian are co-creators and executive producers on the project. On each episode, beauty bloggers compete to prove they have what it takes to be a part of Kim Kardashian's “glam empire."
Madison got her start at the E! Network and on Entertainment Tonight, working her way up to doing red carpet interviews with top celebs, including Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, and Brad Pitt. She's also the co-founder of Obsev Studios - the digital media content provider behind Hollyscoop, The Fumble, Obsev Food, Obsev.com, Style Lab, and the Low Down with Diana Madison – her weekly talk show. She's also a mom or, as some folks call her, a momhustler.
Madison grew up in East Hollywood in Little Armenia. “My parents were Armenian Immigrants and came to American in pursuit of achieving the American Dream. As a kid, I always would look at the Hollywood sign in my backyard and dream about making it big in Hollywood."
As a kid, Madison says she was very outgoing.
“I have always been social and have had a large group of friends. As you get older, you realize that your circle of friends shrinks in size. You become more selective on who you want in your life and trust. As a kid I would always tell people that I was going to have my own talk show and be on television. People would laugh at me, but now I get the last laugh."
She attended a private Armenian School in Little Armenia called Rose and Alex Pilibos, and later attended the University of California Santa Barbara. Madison says she's always wanted to be a talk show host. “I started creating my own videos on YouTube which led to the creation of my digital media company, Obsev Studios. I co-founded the company with my husband, and we now produce 150 online shows a week with our properties like Hollyscoop, Fumble Sports, Obsev, Style Lab, The Lowdown with Diana Madison, and WT Food. We reached eight billion views through our syndication on AOL, Amazon Prime, Directv, Roku, YouTube, and Facebook."
Madison says that Glam Masters was created from “the idea and my belief that there were a lot of talented makeup artists in the world that needed a platform to show their skills. I would get a lot of makeup artists doing makeup for my shows saying, 'My dream is to be discovered by Kim Kardashian on Instagram and work on her glam squad.' It was to a point where every single person would say the same thing to me. I thought that there has to be a show there."
She describes Glam Masters as “a beauty competition show that showcases amazing talent. The winner gets amazing prizes, and gets to collaborate with Kim Kardashian West. Can it get any better than that?" It doesn't hurt that Laverne Cox is the host and the judges include Mario Dedivanovic, Kandee Johnson, and Zanna Roberts Rassi. “Anyone who loves makeup is the perfect audience for the show. It's inspirational and entertaining, which is a perfect combination."
The biggest challenge they faced in crafting and launching the show, Madison explains, was choosing the contestants.
“We were so blessed to have so many amazing people applying to the show. It was hard narrowing down the contestants as we had an overwhelming response of people applying to be on the show."
Despite any of the challenges, Madison explains, she is “so happy about the reaction the show is getting. I get messages every day from artists asking me if they can audition for Season 2. I also get artists thanking me for creating a platform for them to showcase their talents. The beauty community has been waiting for a show like this for a long time now."
Madison says she loves the fact that you never know what awaits you around the next bend. “That's the beauty in life, you never know what you will be working on and doing. It's always important to dream big, and work hard to make your dreams come true. Every day is filled with surprises and tiny miracles. I embrace all my blessings."
This project is an incredibly exciting one for Madison. But it's not even close to the end of the road. Madison explains, “In the next five years, I hope to take my online talk show to a major network. Oprah has always been my inspiration, and I would love to inspire people all over the world like Oprah has done with her career. In the next ten to twenty years, I hope I can still be doing what I love and inspiring people all over the world."
Her life is pretty remarkable. In fact, it looks like Madison just may have figured out to have it all. How does she do it?
“It's very difficult juggling a career with motherhood. However, as mothers, we just make it work somehow. There is a lot we sacrifice in being a working mother. But woman are great multi-takers. My best advice is to always prioritize your time for what's most important for you and your family."
Above all else, Madison says she feels very blessed to be able to do what she loves. “I am also fortunate to have a supportive husband and beautiful, healthy kids." And, she adds, despite how it may look from the outside, her life isn't all glitz and glitter. “Behind all the glamour is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. One lesson I have learned is nothing good comes easy. Although I love the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry, nothing beats being at home with my husband, kids, and English bulldog."
Her secret to having it all is much simpler than it seems, she says, “Always dream big and never stop pursuing your dreams. Believe in yourself and make it happen!"
Not too many years ago, my advice to political candidates would have been pretty simple: "Don't do or say anything stupid." But the last few elections have rendered that advice outdated.
When Barack Obama referred to his grandmother as a "typical white woman" during the 2008 campaign, for example, many people thought it would cost him the election -- and once upon a time, it probably would have. But his supporters were focused on the values and positions he professed, and they weren't going to let one unwise comment distract them. Candidate Obama didn't even get much pushback for saying, "We're five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America." That statement should have given even his most ardent supporters pause, but it didn't. It was in line with everything Obama had previously said, and it was what his supporters wanted to hear.
2016: What rules?
Fast forward to 2016, and Donald Trump didn't just ignore traditional norms, he almost seemed to relish violating them. Who would have ever dreamed we'd elect a man who talked openly about grabbing women by the **** and who was constantly blasting out crazy-sounding Tweets? But Trump did get elected. Why? Some people believe it was because Americans finally felt like they had permission to show their bigotry. Others think Obama had pushed things so far to the left that right-wing voters were more interested in dragging public policy back toward the middle than in what Trump was Tweeting.
Another theory is that Trump's lewd, crude, and socially unacceptable behavior was deliberately designed to make Democrats feel comfortable campaigning on policies that were far further to the left than they ever would have attempted before. Why? Because they were sure America would never elect someone who acted like Trump. If that theory is right, and Democrats took the bait, Trump's "digital policies" served him well.
And although Trump's brash style drew the most handlines, he wasn't the only one who seemed to have forgotten the, "Don't do or say anything stupid," rule. Hillary Clinton also made news when she made a "basket of deplorables" comment at a private fundraiser, but it leaked out, and it dogged her for the rest of the election cycle.
And that's where we need to start our discussion. Now that all the old rules about candidate behavior have been blown away, do presidential candidates even need digital policies?
Yes, they do. More than ever, in my opinion. Let me tell you why.
Digital policies for 2020 and beyond
While the 2016 election tossed traditional rules about political campaigns to the trash heap, that doesn't mean you can do anything you want. Even if it's just for the sake of consistency, candidates need digital policies for their own campaigns, regardless of what anybody else is doing. Here are some important things to consider.
Align your digital policies with your campaign strategy
Aside from all the accompanying bells and whistles, why do you want to be president? What ideological beliefs are driving you? If you were to become president, what would you want your legacy to be? Once you've answered those questions honestly, you can develop your campaign strategy. Only then can you develop digital policies that are in alignment with the overall purpose -- the "Why?" -- of your campaign:
- If part of your campaign strategy, for example, is to position yourself as someone who's above the fray of the nastiness of modern politics, then one of your digital policies should be that your campaign will never post or share anything that attacks another candidate on a personal level. Attacks will be targeted only at the policy level.
- While it's not something I would recommend, if your campaign strategy is to depict the other side as "deplorables," then one of your digital policies should be to post and share every post, meme, image, etc. that supports your claim.
- If a central piece of your platform is that detaining would-be refugees at the border is inhumane, then your digital policies should state that you will never say, post, or share anything that contradicts that belief, even if Trump plans to relocate some of them to your own city. Complaining that such a move would put too big a strain on local resources -- even if true -- would be making an argument for the other side. Don't do it.
- Don't be too quick to share posts or Tweets from supporters. If it's a text post, read all of it to make sure there's not something in there that would reflect negatively on you. And examine images closely to make sure there's not a small detail that someone may notice.
- Decide what your campaign's voice and tone will be. When you send out emails asking for donations, will you address the recipient as "friend" and stress the urgency of donating so you can continue to fight for them? Or will you personalize each email and use a more low-key, collaborative approach?
Those are just a few examples. The takeaway is that your online behavior should always support your campaign strategy. While you could probably get away with posting or sharing something that seems mean or "unpresidential," posting something that contradicts who you say you are could be deadly to your campaign. Trust me on this -- if there are inconsistencies, Twitter will find them and broadcast them to the world. And you'll have to waste valuable time, resources, and public trust to explain those inconsistencies away.
Remember that the most common-sense digital policies still apply
The 2016 election didn't abolish all of the rules. Some still apply and should definitely be included in your digital policies:
- Claim every domain you can think of that a supporter might type into a search engine. Jeb Bush not claiming www.jebbush.com (the official campaign domain was www.jeb2016.com) was a rookie mistake, and he deserved to have his supporters redirected to Trump's site.
- Choose your campaign's Twitter handle wisely. It should be obvious, not clever or cutesy. In addition, consider creating accounts with possible variations of the Twitter handle you chose so that no one else can use them.
- Give the same care to selecting hashtags. When considering a hashtag, conduct a search to understand its current use -- it might not be what you think! When making up new hashtags, try to avoid anything that could be hijacked for a different purpose -- one that might end up embarrassing you.
- Make sure that anyone authorized to Tweet, post, etc., on your behalf has a copy of your digital policies and understands the reasons behind them. (People are more likely to follow a rule if they understand why it's important.)
- Decide what you'll do if you make an online faux pas that starts a firestorm. What's your emergency plan?
- Consider sending an email to supporters who sign up on your website, thanking them for their support and suggesting ways (based on digital policies) they can help your messaging efforts. If you let them know how they can best help you, most should be happy to comply. It's a small ask that could prevent you from having to publicly disavow an ardent supporter.
- Make sure you're compliant with all applicable regulations: campaign finance, accessibility, privacy, etc. Adopt a double opt-in policy, so that users who sign up for your newsletter or email list through your website have to confirm by clicking on a link in an email. (And make sure your email template provides an easy way for people to unsubscribe.)
- Few people thought 2016 would end the way it did. And there's no way to predict quite yet what forces will shape the 2020 election. Careful tracking of your messaging (likes, shares, comments, etc.) will tell you if you're on track or if public opinion has shifted yet again. If so, your messaging needs to shift with it. Ideally, one person should be responsible for monitoring reaction to the campaign's messaging and for raising a red flag if reactions aren't what was expected.
Thankfully, the world hasn't completely lost its marbles
Whatever the outcome of the election may be, candidates now face a situation where long-standing rules of behavior no longer apply. You now have to make your own rules -- your own digital policies. You can't make assumptions about what the voting public will or won't accept. You can't assume that "They'll never vote for someone who acts like that"; neither can you assume, "Oh, I can get away with that, too." So do it right from the beginning. Because in this election, I predict that sound digital policies combined with authenticity will be your best friend.