Designer blue jeans and descriptive nouns

CVintage 80s Gloria Vanderbilt jean pocket imageNN correspondent Anderson Cooper recently debuted his day-time talk show in the U.S. titled, “Anderson.”  Earlier this week, Mr. Cooper conducted a special interview with his mother, living legend Gloria Vanderbilt.  At 86 years old, Ms. Vanderbilt is still leading a creative life — she’s recently written a new book and is still producing her own fine art.

Ms. Vanderbilt hasn’t been a part of mainstream media focus in several years and is no longer involved in the world of fashion design.  Still, it’s likely that many women in their 30s and 40s today who are witnessing the summer-to-fall, “new” trend of colored denim jeans are recalling their childhood and teenage closets in the early 1980s where Gloria Vanderbilt designer jeans once lived.

The first statement within the Wikipedia listing for Ms. Vanderbilt includes six descriptive nouns to describe Ms. Vanderbilt as a person.  She is described as an “American artist, author, actress, heiress, and socialite most noted as an early developer of designer blue jeans.”

How many descriptive nouns would you use if you were asked to draft a similar statement to define yourself right now?  And how would you prioritize your list of descriptive nouns?  And, how many more descriptive nouns may be added to your list in the future?

How to define one’s self is a critical aspect of life.  Often individuals are passive in the task, allowing others to define their roles and contributions.  In his essay, “Self-Reliance,” Ralph Waldo Emerson urged readers to trust their own inner voices and hold steadfast to their own points of view.

With so much data being generated across traditional and new media communications channels today, the ability to make one’s own distinct voice and perspective heard among the masses of information is a significant challenge.  I wonder what related advice Emerson would give to individuals who are trying to meet this current challenge?

After watching Anderson Cooper interview Gloria Vanderbilt, I’m guessing that Ms. Vanderbilt might prefer to actively define herself further and appreciate the authors of her Wikipedia listing editing the listing to include a seventh descriptive noun: mother.

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