Dame Elizabeth Taylor – The Original “It” Girl
My father was a very tough, very private man. Spending 5 years in a POW camp will do that to a person. Add in a life long love affair with whiskey, a hair-trigger temper and a proclivity to flip his finger at the world and it’s easy to see why very little seemed to impress him. There was one person who was an exception to that – Elizabeth Taylor.
I am not sure why she got under his skin the way she did, but she did. And it’s something that I have always been grateful for. It made my father seem alot more human to me which is something that I had issues around for a long time. I honestly think that it was her sheer courage and determination to LIVE as big a life as possible that caught my father’s attention. She was a true survivor who chose to live with passion and purpose. She has been quoted as saying, “ I’m a survivor – a living example of what people can go through and survive.” That would be something my father could appreciate and resonate with.
Elizabeth was a drop dead gorgeous, supremely talented, highly public mess for many of the years that she was in the limelight. It took her most of her life to overcome her own challenges. However, that is not what this article is about. I want to talk about how she was able to become and remain the quintessential “It Girl” in spite, maybe because of, all that stuff.
Almost everyone has heard something about her marriages, addictions, insecurities, jewelry, homes and the people and things she was most passionate about. What was always hidden underneath the surface of all that stuff, was Elizabeth Taylor’s extraordinary business acumen.
Fortune Follows Passion … Elizabeth Taylor’s Passion
“I was always able to sell Elizabeth Taylor. Passion is the ingredient in me that has made me who I am. It’s my passion for life . . . my passion for passion that has made me never give up.” Elizabeth once said.
The marketing genius of Elizabeth Taylor is timeless and will work as well today as it did over the past 60 years. It is fundamental to the creation of hugely profitable brands and businesses which remain evergreen.
1. Know Who Your Ideal Client Is And Give Them What They Want
It all started with a lemonade stand she set up with her brother at the age of seven. Even then, Elizabeth always knew who her audience was and she understood what they wanted. So, she gave it to them.
2. Don’t Be Afraid To Make Lots Of Money And Do Good Things With It
She learned to leverage everything she had to work with – incredible beauty, violet eyes, winsome personality, even the hint of a scandal. While under contract with MGM, Elizabeth’s face was used to advertise many products – Lux soap, Max Factor cosmetics, Luster-Creme shampoo, Woodbury Creme, Whitman’s Sampler Chocolates, greeting cards, as well as her own line of paper dolls, and painting and coloring books.
With these high profile endorsements, as well as a succession of radio show appearances Elizabeth was able to supplement the income she was earning at MGM. During her marriage to Sir Richard Burton, wise investing continued to quietly yield very handsome profits. However, with the introduction of her first fragrance, Passion, the public came to realize just how business savvy Elizabeth really was.
3. Have The Right People On Your Side
When Malcolm Forbes (the publisher of Forbes business magazine) introduced Elizabeth at a top secret press conference announcing her new business venture, a perfume called Passion, the world collectively gasped and took notice. Passion was an overnight success and became the first successful celebrity fragrance.
4. Give People Something To Connect With
Elizabeth felt very strongly that perfume was the PERFECT business to go into. “I think perfume is more than just an accessory for a woman. It’s part of her aura. I wear it even when I’m alone.” The real secret to Passion’s was Elizabeth’s participation in every step of its creation—from working with the chemists to develop the perfect scent, to the packaging in her signature shade of violet. Elizabeth knew her public, knew what they wanted and delivered it to them in such a way that they loved her even more for doing so.
5. Keep On Producing Phenomenal Products
As successful as Passion was, the next perfume that Elizabeth produced, White Diamonds totally took the world by storm. Introduced in 1991, White Diamonds has remained on the list of the top ten selling perfumes. By the year 2007, White Diamonds had made more than a billion dollars, earning it the title of “the most successful celebrity fragrance of all time.”
6. Have A Purpose Bigger Than Yourself For Everything You Do
“I have to show up because it galvanizes people. People know . . . I’m not there to sell or gain anything. I’m there for the same reason they are: to get something done.”
The discovery of HIV/AIDS changed the world forever. It also redefined Elizabeth’s life and purpose. She was the first person in the entertainment industry to have the courage to stand up and take a leadership role in a time when few were willing to even listen, and even fewer were willing to help. Since the early 1980’s she remained at the forefront of the battle against this devastating disease, a loyalty that earned her the name of “ the Joan of Arc of AIDS.”
7. Don’t Just Talk About Being Different – SHOW People That You ARE Different
Elizabeth once spoke about how she got involved in the battle for a cure for Aids.
“I remember complaining, ‘Why isn’t anybody doing anything? Why isn’t anyone raising money?’ And it struck me like lightning: ‘Wait a second, I’m not doing anything.’”
“I decided that with my name I could open certain doors, that I was a commodity in myself—and I’m not talking as an actress. I could take the fame I’d resented and tried to get away from for so many years—but you can never get away from it—and use it to do some good. I wanted to retire, but the tabloids wouldn’t let me. So I thought, If you’re going to screw me over, I’ll use you.”
And she show us she did … BRILLIANTLY!
8. Learn To Leverage The Reach And Impact Of The Media
Elizabeth’s plan to use the media worked. The press had followed her every move for decades, and by attaching her name to the AIDS crisis, they would have to publicly acknowledge it. Elizabeth Taylor leveraged her love – hate relationship with the media and broke down the stereotypes associated with the disease. Thanks to the press, people all over the world knew who she was. She leveraged the media to start educating the world – AIDS was not a “gay man’s disease”. AIDS could potentially affect everyone … and noone was immune to it.
Elizabeth’s AIDS work has been recognized throughout the entire world. The legacy that she leaves to all of mankind is that she has made a huge a difference in the lives of those who have contracted this terrible disease. To date, the different AIDS groups that she worked with have raised well over $300 million dollars. She used every single one of the resources she had … and LEVERAGED them to the hilt!!
With the recent advent of Social Media, Elizabeth stepped out even further into the public by creating a Twitter account, @DameElizabeth, in 2009. Although she tweeted infrequently (131 tweets total), she tweeted right from her heart.
Elizabeth’sTwitter page gives us a peek into to the final years of her life.
“I was honored with the great privilege of seeing ‘This Is It’ last week. I was sworn to secrecy, but now I can let you know about it,” @DameElizabeth tweeted. “From ‘Black And White, ‘Man In The Mirror.’ The inspiration behind ‘We Are The World.’ We must take his words of responsibility seriously.”
Her passion and support for the Aids work being done worldwide is evident with this tweet,
“One Color Unites Us on WORLD AIDS DAY. Show your support for @joinred. Buy (RED) Save Lives.”
If you take the time to read through her Twitterfeed, you can see the words of wisdom and inspiration she poured into her followers …
“You can’t cry on a diamond’s shoulder and diamonds won’t keep you warm at night, but they’re sure fun when the sun shines!” one of her very first tweets in 2009. And one of her last tweets in 2010, “Every breath you take today should be with someone else in mind. I love you.”
9. Stand For Something – Your Opinion Matters
Elizabeth learned to keep herself in the public’s eye. She was not at all shy about sharing her opinions about things.
“I don’t think President Bush is doing anything at all about Aids. In fact, I’m not sure he even knows how to spell Aids.” she once said !!
10. You Simply Cannot Please Everyone – So Don’t Try And Don’t Take “NO” Personally
In January 1985 she was asked to support a dinner being held by APLA (AIDS Project Los Angeles). Elizabeth knew from the get go that getting support form the Hollywood community was going to be really tough. Elizabeth experienced first hand the fear and condemnation surrounding the disease when she tried to recruit longtime friends and peers to lend their support of the dinner.
“I have never had so many ‘no’s said to me. They didn’t want to come to the evening, didn’t want to be associated. People not only slammed doors in my face and hung up on me, but I received death threats. Something happened to the world, and I think it was massive fear.”
Obviously Elizabeth ignored all of it and pushed forward. Thank God she knew what her mission and purpose were and never gave up!
The world is a much better, far more interesting place because of Dame Elizabeth Taylor. Thank you for YOU !! You were truly a gift from God. You will always be the original “It Girl”.
Oh, to be freed from puffery. Oh, to be spared Brangelina-style twofers and got-up Gagas and hotelkeepers’ grandchildren. Oh, to be rescued from lighter-than-air celebrity for its own sake.
Oh, to witness heart. Oh, to witness soul. Oh, to witness talent. Oh, to witness appetite. Oh, to witness beauty. Oh, to witness strength. Oh, to witness stardom.
Oh, to witness Elizabeth Taylor. Oh, to witness Liz. La Liz.
One of my favorite scenes with Dame Elizabeth and Sir Richard … Enjoy !!
Credits for the photos and quotes in this article go to:
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Rose Mis is the author of “Dead Blogs Don’t Lie ~ 7 Secrets To A Wildly Popular High Traffic Blog” and the editor and publisher of The Frugal Networker Newsletter. She is the creator and Executive Chef of the internet’s only Award Winning Attraction Marketing Training Kitchen. Rose is one of the top MLM / Network Marketing bloggers online today and is a featured blogger at thatMLMbeat.com. You are invited to stop by the Kitchen anytime you have any questions about blogging, marketing or mindset. Rose is here to help you get the results you are looking for as quickly and cost effectively as possible.