I am drawn to series where a central character is a writer of sorts. I think deep down I just want to be inspired. I re-watched Ugly Betty because I felt the need to watch an interesting caterpillar turn into an inspiring butterfly. Deep in my own consciousness, I am probably referring to myself (or what I hope I would become some day). Mind you, in my recent viewing, I am not in the same “age bracket” as Betty when she joins Mode magazine, fresh out of college. Mode represents an opportunity for Betty, a dream of running her own magazine someday. Working in book publishing is my dream, though I had to go around the block a few times before I got my foot in the door. Despite the age gap, I understand the feeling of newness of role in a dream field. This is where I connect with Betty the most. For her, Mode magazine presents her with a journey of learning, growing up, and finally gaining good editorial experience as well as fashion sense. It’s the same for me at Bloomsbury Publishing, though I have years of work experience behind me. For a newbie like Betty, with her ever matching sunny disposition, she presents a conundrum for her colleagues to either like her or mock her.
Outgrowing but remaining true
During my teenage years and my early twenties, I had some questionable taste in clothes. I was experimental, in colours and quickly embraced fashion trends that did nothing for me. But like Betty, I gradually outgrew my “quirky” taste and learned to dress for my body instead. I don’t think Betty ever outgrows her sense of style; though she may have stopped wearing prints and patterns together, her love of colours remains strong and evident.
Finding your own niche
Throughout the series and despite her best efforts, she struggles to find her niche in writing about fashion the way Mode magazine expects her to write. Her personal blog serves her an opportunity to write about fashion using her own authentic voice. Remember the episode where she blogged about “walk a mile in their shoes”? I think many people can relate to this, especially those who write for a living. Despite gaining a good sense of fashion, she remains true to her herself. At the end of the series, she leaves Mode to run a meaningful magazine that reflects her values and ideals.
Dare to take risk
All throughout the series, Betty is known to take risks and I am not talking about fashion risks. Whether she is helping the magazine in their 11th hour crisis, or her family, she is at the forefront of it all. It took her nephew Justin in the series finale to remind her that she is a risk taker. Being thick skinned when it comes to handling taunts and ridicule from people who are not so taken by her, allows her to take risks without worrying about what others may think of her. The fact she lets Marc and Amanda get away with mocking her, shows she is not focusing on a small picture, but rather, a big picture.
I must admit, I wish I could take risks of Betty size proportions in my daily life, perhaps then I could speed up my editorial journey at Bloomsbury. Most of the time I play it too safe, like that one time I joined my first ever cover brief meeting. Prior to the meeting, I had prepared notes on each book cover with an intention to participate. As soon as the meeting started, I lost the nerve to speak up. My main worry became not looking stupid in front of my colleagues. Suffice to say, I regret keeping quiet.
Confidence is a built-in thing, right?
For all the haphazardness that is Betty, she is super confident. She knows she is different on the outside, but that doesn’t stop her from going after her goals. . Her can-do attitude and positivity enables her to believe in herself. Though she is acutely aware of the preferential treatment that exist in Mode, she doesn’t let it get to her.
So, Betty taught me confidence, take risks (I’ll start with small for now), finding my own niche (can you believe this took me 13 hours to write?!), being true to my goals and metamorphosis – it can happen anytime and anywhere (metaphorically speaking of course).