Our own columnist Samantha von Sperling “Ask Sam,” recently learned how the media is out to exploit and what started out innocently enough has turned into a McCarthyism nightmare. T2C decided to help Sam, but to also show how the Internet is the Wild Wild West and there is no sheriff in charge. Your own recourse is to get your story out there and combat the negative responses. You will need thick skin.
Samantha is an etiquette expert who was asked to do a well-known talk show on her thoughts on “Rush Coaching.” If you talk to Sam her answer is the same. This is what she thinks: “Sorority rush coaching is just a natural progression of the trend we have been seeing in celebrating and obsessing over the rites of passage in a young person’s life. The USA is something like 27th place for math and science. It does not mater how many gold medals we take home from the Olympics. This disgrace means that American universities are accepting more foreign students than ever before because they have the brains and the means to gain admission. Naturally this means more competition for a place within the sorority sisterhood. There is a global economic crisis, a bleak future for those graduating right now. There is strength in numbers. Women in sororities cultivate life-long friendships that can translate into business opportunities later in life. It’s hard to be a woman at any age, especially a young woman away from home for the first time as she explores who she is and will be in the world. A support system of positive like-minded young women who support you is definitely good thing. We all have our weaknesses and our strengths, that’s why we have accountants and hairdressers and coaches so we can get help with the things in life we need help with and get better results. Most teenage girls can text and tweet a mile a minute, but are incapable of engaging in face to face conversation. I would bet the ones that can are the same kids that grew up with sit down dinners with family. If we no longer have charm school, and a girl’s mother works a demanding full time career or may lack manners or charm, a young girl may not gain the skills she needs to maneuver socially and gracefully into social clubs like a sorority. A coach can give a girl the skills she needs. Identity is two sides of a coin; our esthetic packaging, and how we interact and communicate with the world around us. My process whether for political figure, CEO, celebrity or sorority rush girl, is the same. My mission is only to help them put forth the best version of themselves. These are skills that a woman can use for the rest of her life;- first summer internship, job interviews, clients, making friends and business networking events; finding a mate. These are life skills.”
T2C sat down with Sam to learn more.
T2C: The New York Times called and asked you for your opinions and if you had any clients that hired you for the newest trend of hiring coaches for sorority rushing, what happened?
Samantha: I said “yes.” I had only had a few clients of this nature and was more than willing to show how this kind of coaching and getting into an organization can help you for the rest of your life. They were more interested in the cost. I was more interested in the process because the process of coaching for a CEO in a company, politician, diplomat, celebrity or sorority girl is all the same. I deal in the identity of people and things. I talked about a hard case client but did not name the name that spent $8000.00 over a weekend due to the amount of work involved. The Times took that as my fee.
T2C: What was the backlash?
Samantha: People started responding with what the hell are the 1% spending their money on but more than that, production companies and other journalists swooped down on me.
T2C: What were they saying?
Samantha: On twitter and general cyber space, the comments ran the gamut of positive and snide. Then DailyMail.Uk wrote me up and the piece that they wrote was fair and decent. Good Morning America called and we filmed over three days. All of the intelligent things that I stated about the coaching process and the value to a young girl and that these are life skills for life, were aired.
T2C: What was aired?
Samantha: The segment was about 2 minutes long and the only quote was from a Skype session stating accessorize, accessorize, accessorize. All of the intelligent things that I stated about the coaching process and the value to a young girl and that these are life skills for life, were negated. This started an onslaught on negative Internet backlash. The sorority was upset with my client. I got several angry messages from the client’s mother even though the client knew she was being filmed and wanted to be on this. This particular client I took on pro bono basis in order to be able to talk about her in the press. She got her coaching and was accepted into the sorority of her choice. Then the piece aired and because she mentioned the name of the sorority, which was her mistake, it remains to be seen if she will be allowed to continue.
The onslaught of comments on my fee, which is $300.00 an hour, really hit the roof. People were furious that others pay this for my services. The fact that I do pro bono work for people who really need my help, that I spend time volunteering for any good cause that asks me, failed to be heard. This includes inner city schools, job training for disadvantaged women. There is footage to this effect.
Update: Fox news ran a piece the next day which combated some of the negative publicity, now Sam has offers for a reality TV show but the comments keep coming no matter what she says. In Sam’s words: “The joke is nobody that commented has ever asked me.”