TW: This post briefly discusses bulimia and eating disorders.
Last night, CNN presented its annual CNN Heroes gala. It’s hosted by Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa and highlights the good work being done by charities around the world. Each of these people/charities receives $10,000. At the end of the gala, one of the 10 charities that’s been highlighted receives the award of CNN Hero of the year and a cheque for an additional $100,000. It’s a feel good event and shines a light on a lot of causes that could use help to be expanded so their work can benefit more people.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s CNN Heroes gala was pre-taped. There are always guest appearances by celebrities, but last night one celebrity made a surprise video appearance. Guess who it was!
We have a lot to talk about from this 2-minute video.
1. She’s wearing the same blouse that Kamala Harris wore on the night she and Joe Biden were declared elected VPOTUS and POTUS.
It’s a Tory Burch satin pussy bow blouse. Important for two reasons. The first: there has been talk of Meghan wanting to throw her hat in the ring of American politics. There has been further talk of Meghan wanting her first political campaign to be for Kamala Harris’s now-open seat representing California in the United States Senate. Seems like a pretty clear message of “this is the woman I’m aspiring to be.” Second:
2. She’s showing that she can wear a pussy bow just as well as, but in a different way from, Kate
Kate wore this purple Gucci pussy bow shirt a couple of weeks ago to do a video Q&A session re: her Big 5 Questions survey results rollout. Meghan wearing a pussy bow shirt but without actually making it into a bow seems to say “I can do whatever Kate is doing over in London, but I’m going to do it my way.” Or at least that’s what I think. Tell me if I’m too deep in it. But I don’t think I am – members of the royal family use their clothes and the way they wear them to speak when they are unable to say something straight out. This feels like a dig at Kate to me just as much as it feels like a political campaign kick-off/nod to Vice President-Elect Harris.
3. It looks like it’s copying Charles and Camilla’s Christmas card
A very smart reader pointed this out to me and I totally see it. What do you think?
4. Who set up the video?
A lovely reader sent me the following question, and it’s an excellent one: Isn’t California in total lockdown right now? The answer is yes! Santa Barbara County, where Harry and Meghan live, is under a regional stay at home order, and many non-essential businesses have closed. So why did Meghan think it was okay to have presumably multiple people come to her house, set up lighting, 3 video cameras, possibly do her makeup, and possibly direct? If she had even one person there, she was flouting coronavirus restrictions that were put in place to protect herself and others. It’s irresponsible.
5. The language was strangely similar to Diana’s Panorama interview answer on her bulimia struggles
Finally, as I watched Meghan’s CNN Heroes video, this line really stood out to me:
The imagery of eating feeling as comforting as a hug was striking to me, because it was one of the analogies that Diana famously used in the 1995 BBC Panorama interview to describe the comfort that bulimia provided her during her tumultuous years as a member of the British royal family:
At best, this feels like an incredibly coincidental mistake by Meghan, her speechwriter, and her communications team. She apparently has more than a dozen PR staff working for her – she didn’t have one person on that staff who would have seen the similarities between Meghan saying a good meal can feel like a hug and her late mother in law saying that binging during an eating disorder could also feel like a hug?
And if she knew the wording would call back to the Panorama interview, why would Meghan/her team do such a thing? There is currently an independent BBC investigation into Martin Bashir and Panorama for possibly tricking Diana into doing that interview in the first place. Why would you want to use phrasing that would remind people of the interview itself, or of the difficulties that Harry’s mother had during her time in the royal family? Either way, it’s a failure on Meghan and her team’s part.
Oprah, golden lattes, and business investment
That seemed like quite enough Meghan news for one evening. But then, just after Meghan’s speech on CNN Heroes was finished, Oprah popped up on Instagram to say that her neighbour M (so as to tell you that it’s Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, she says in the caption “Yes that M” followed by a crown emoji) had just dropped off a basket of her favourite oat milk latte products.
(A reader asked “Why would Oprah say “M” and not “Meghan” or “the Duchess of Sussex”? Great question. It’s probably because by only using the initial and the crown, she can claim plausible deniability when she is sued for not using the hashtag for #spon or #ad or disclosing that her friend has a financial interest in the product Oprah is recommending. Kind of like when there are Super Bowl ads but they don’t say “Super Bowl”, they say “the big game” and you know what they mean without them having to buy the trademarked “Super Bowl”. Additionally, it’s likely that a section of the Sandringham Summit agreement included a clause that prohibits celebrities cashing in themselves or helping Harry and Meghan cash in on who they are. By just using the M, Oprah/Meghan and Harry can possibly get away with not having broken the stated rules of the contract – though they have already broken it many times this year.)
My favourite part of the video is how Oprah never explicitly says “these are tasty” or “these are delicious” or “I like them” in any way. She says the golden latte is her “favourite”, but you can have a favourite from a list of bad things. It’s art.
THEN, this morning,
everyone’s Meghan’s favourite royal reporter hype man, Omid Scobie, announced on his Twitter account that Meghan has actually invested in the latte company, Clevr Blends, which had been so thoughtfully dropped on Oprah’s doorstep to try/do spon about. A fun coincidence!
The full(ly sanctioned) article on Meghan’s investment in Clevr Blends can be found on the Fortune website here. You’ll remember that Meghan appeared at a couple of Fortune virtual summits in the last six months, and was paid handsomely to do so. The Fortune article does mention that Meghan appeared at two of its virtual summits, but declined to disclose a conflict of interest and say that Meghan had been paid in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to do so.
I will also point out that Meghan’s close friend Serena Williams is married to tech wizard and angel investor Alexis Ohanian, who co-founded the internet site Reddit. (I met an ex-boyfriend on Reddit, but it didn’t work out. I don’t hold Alexis personally responsible for this!) Alexis got Serena into investing and the world of tech – see her seat on the board of directors of SurveyMonkey in Silicon Valley and her investment company SERENA VENTURES – yes, it’s capitalized. Alexis was also chosen by Meghan and Harry to speak to them on their Time 100 curated talk about online bullying and fostering better online environments. So it doesn’t come as a massive shock that Meghan is investing in brands and trying to build her fortune/her status as a California investor.
The strange thing is that Meghan would give a heartfelt speech about people not having enough to eat in 2020 due to the economic ramifications of the coronavirus crisis, and then immediately ask Oprah Winfrey, one of the richest women in the entire world, to do spon for a latte company in which she has just invested. A company that sells its product for $28 US a bag. Is Oprah doing this as a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” move? Will Meghan’s first in-depth interview post-Megxit be with Oprah? Did Oprah secure the interview with this public support of a brand in which Meghan has a financial interest? As always, it’s a gigantic mess.
Thank you as always for reading. Please keep sending me your thoughts and theories. You can contact me a bunch of different places, they’re all on my Contact page. You can also support me by buying me a coffee here, or by purchasing merch here.
Please stay safe, wear a mask, and when the time comes, PLEASE get the COVID-19 vaccine.