Each month I give my verdict on who has shown the world the strongest and most attractive brand. My latest personal brand of the month goes to…
Nigella’s brand is one that is often associated with this time of year. In fact, her book published last year, Nigella Christmas, is pretty strong evidence of this festive co-branding! But there’s another characteristic that I often associate with Nigella Lawson, and that’s her resilience. From death to divorce, from issues around drugs to domestic violence, Nigella has dealt with them all under the public spotlight, whilst building a brand as a Domestic Goddess that is instantly recognisable, glamorous, often copied and above all, unique.
Nigella drifted into public consciousness long before her incarnation as a food writer and TV presenter. People first knew her as the wife of the dying John Diamond, who chronicled his illness and decline in The Guardian, and a woman who had already lost both her sister and mother to cancer. Left with two young children after his death and firmly in the public eye, Nigella went onto marry Charles Saatchi.
With her cookery book How to Eat gaining public acclaim, and a TV career just about to hit the heights, things were looking good. The public lapped up this new personality: both men and women alike were drawn to this woman who proved that you could be nurturing and sexy. The Nigella brand grew quickly, with its only real wobble occurring in response to a drug use controversy in 2013. She has since spoken openly about her history of drug use, and her brand has emerged relatively unscathed.
When news of Saatchi’s man-handling her in an exclusive West London restaurant hit the tabloids in 2013 and divorce began to appear on the horizon, Nigella remained stoic in the public eye. Unlike some other celebrities, Nigella did not rush to disclose the details surrounding her private life. In fact, although there has been endless speculation, we probably will never know the full truth behind their marriage and its break up.
While she may know when to stay quiet, she also isn’t afraid to speak her mind… and reveal a very authentic side of her personal brand to the press.
Like our personal brand last month, Adele, Nigella often speaks out against fat-shaming. In a recent interview with www.news.com.au she stated: “You know, my mother had an eating disorder, so I felt very strongly that I was not going to be tyrannised in that way. Also, if you’ve known three people you love very much die of cancer, you do not equate extreme thinness with healthiness.”
She also recently spoke out against the “obsessive clean eating trend”, and shared her believe that restrictive dieting can often belie an eating disorder. She told The Irish Independent earlier this month: “People are using certain diets as a way to hide an eating disorder or a great sense of unhappiness and unease with their own body. There is a way in which food is used either to self congratulate – you’re a better person because you’re eating like that,” she said, “or to self-persecute, because you’ll not allow yourself to eat the foods you want.” Earlier this year, orthorexia – an unhealthy obsession with food believed healthy – was under consideration for inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
She further explained: “Healthy eating habits are one thing, but a life out of balance – and without cake – can be harmful, too .” She reminds us that what’s really important is “that you’re healthy and you’re fully embracing life”.
In a world where magazines and websites are littered with celebrity diets and restrictive eating trends, this is a breath of fresh air.
With a new book Simply Nigella currently on the stands, plus a Christmas cover on Red magazine, Nigella’s resilience and authenticity has once more helped her move onto the next steps in her career and personal life.