Not Everyone Needs to Be a Wrecking Ball


The following is a guest post from Future Buzz community member Courtney Cox.

Now more than ever, it seems celebrities are increasingly using controversy as a branding strategy. After all: no press is bad press, right?

As an aspiring PR professional I have to disagree with this concept. Yes, controversy gets people talking and keeps celebrities’ names in the media, but personally, I think this strategy comes off a little bit desperate. As students we are taught that PR involves establishing mutually beneficial relationships between clients and their publics and maintaining a positive, favorable public image.

How does seeing Miley Cyrus swing naked on a wrecking ball or performing with a lip-syncing kitten benefit me? I can assure you, I have given this question a lot of thought and have yet to come up with an answer.

Maybe Miley should take a lesson from one of these three famous women, who actually have a positive effect on society and, in my opinion, are doing PR the right way:

1. Jennifer Lawrence

The 23-year-old actress from Louisville, Ky., is a modern symbol of female empowerment. Her character in “The Hunger Games” trilogy, Katniss Everdeen, is a strong, independent heroine who isn’t overly amped with sex appeal. Similar to the character she portrays, Lawrence believes she doesn’t have to show a lot of skin to be sexy.

The actress exudes confidence, not only in her talent, but also in her physical appearance as she has publicly stated she would never starve herself for a movie role. She is extremely relatable, down-to-earth, funny and at times, a little awkward. The carefree, outspoken Oscar-winner sends the message that confidence and determination are the keys to success – a message I think everyone needs to hear a lot more often.

2. Hayden Panettiere

I have always admired Hayden Panettiere for her ability to stay grounded and “normal” while growing up in the spotlight. Unlike most other actresses who began their careers at a young age, Panettiere successfully transitioned from child actor to adult celebrity absent a criminal record, drug addiction, stint in rehab or any other shocking controversy.

The actress prefers to keep her personal life more private than most celebrities. Most pictures of her in the media are just to show how cute the 5’0” actress looks with her 6’6” fiancé, heavyweight boxer Wladimir Klitschko. But, while Lindsay Lohan is attending yet another court date, and Amanda Bynes is sorting out her issues in rehab, Panettiere is busy recording episodes of the hit TV series “Nashville,” working with charities such as Ronald McDonald House, and protesting the hunting of dolphins and whales in Japan and Norway.

3. Sophia Bush

I was a huge fan of Sophia Bush in “One Tree Hill,” and the fact that she is involved with so many nonprofits and charity organizations makes me love her even more. She often uses her social media accounts to raise awareness and promote fundraisers for several causes such as cancer research, gay rights and environmental preservation.

Bush was awarded the Bing Philanthropy Award for her work with Pencils of Promise, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing education to kids around the world in need of schooling. She is also known for promoting healthy body images for women and was recently in the news for announcing that she would be boycotting the fashion retail outlet, Urban Outfitters, after the company designed and released a T-shirt with the words “Eat Less” written on the front.

These are the kinds of stories that I would personally like to see more of in the media. While hearing about Miley’s latest twerking antics can be entertaining, it is only a matter of time before the public becomes bored and moves on to the next celebrity controversy. These three women, however, will have the satisfaction of knowing they used their fame and success to do something for the greater good – something that actually IS beneficial to society.

Courtney Cox is a senior public relations major and psychology minor at The University of Alabama. She currently serves as a writer, editor and marketing team member for Platform Magazine, the student-run public relations publication through the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations at UA. She is also an avid lover of music, fashion and college football. 

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