On a certain evening not so long ago, I was indulging in one of my favorite secret pleasures: a glass of wine (probably something red) and TLC’s What Not to Wear. After the show was over, another show came on, and I was curious, so I watched it. The show was called Ashley Paige: Bikini or Bust, and it followed the day-to-day adventures of this young and upcoming bikini designer.
At first I was intrigued. Here was a make-or-break story about a self-proclaimed artist (a bikini artist, but an artist nevertheless). But then it all went horribly wrong. Ashley was unable to keep up with her bills, to buy raw materials, and, in short, to manage her own business and life successfully.
I got so frustrated watching this show, because I hate it when people live up to stereotypes.
As artists, we already have a bunch of stuff going against us. We have a government (currently, hopefully that will change after Oct 14) that made $45 million in cuts to arts funding. When people ask us what we do for a living, and we say we are an actor/singer/painter/musician/bikini artist, the response is often, “but what’s your real job?” Those same qualities that make us good artists–creativity, spontaneity, thinking outside the box–if taken just a smidgen too far, can result in flakiness. And that just feeds the stereotype.
Our friend Ashley got a life coach, and was really trying to get it together, so good on her for that. But I haven’t seen the show in a while, so maybe it got canceled. Which would be okay with me. The world doesn’t need any more fuel for that fire.