Got an Image Problem? Tips from a Fixer to the Famous

Crisis counselor to the celebs, Judy Smith shares her solutions for three common dilemmas

by Rebecca Adler Warren • Associate Editor
judy smith image
Inspired by Smith, Washington offers reputation rehab in Scandal, debuting April 5.
Photograph: © 2011 American Broadcasting Companies inc. all rights reserved

CRISIS GURU Judy Smith knows her way out of catastrophe. She’s counseled the embattled, from Monica Lewinsky to Michael Vick, and advised players in such scandals as Enron and Iran-contra. This month she brings her PR balm to the masses with Good Self, Bad Self (Free Press), an advice book, and Scandal, an ABC series starring Kerry Washington that’s based on Smith’s high-powered crisis-management firm. Here, Smith’s take on three common dilemmas.

Announcing a divorce “You want people to hear it from you, not the gossip mill, so tell them yourself. Then take your time before dating. Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, for example, have been photographed with younger dates. They seem to be in a battle to show one another, ‘I’m so over you.’ That doesn’t make either of them look good.”

Getting fired “Sometimes you know when things aren’t going well at your job. So protect your reputation by resigning rather than waiting to be fired. It’ll be better when you go out into the marketplace to find a new job. A controversial option: Own it. When Carol Bartz was fired from Yahoo!, she publicly admitted, ‘Yep, they fired me.’ She owned it in a way that was unique to her.”

Helping the kids “It’s OK if you want to make some calls to help your child find a job, but you want him to be able to take care of himself. Ivanka Trump got a big boost from her parents, but she’s also done a really good job of establishing herself. She went to Wharton, she has a degree in business, she’s built a brand. She’s had the benefit of the Trump name, but she’s also done the work.”

 

Click here for a Q&A with Agapi Stassinopolou, author of 'Unbinding the Heart.'

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Originally published in the April 2012 issue

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