The PR beauty myth

This is an article by Emma Penny.
You could write for Behind the Spin too. Find out how here.

‘The Spin Crowd’ is an American reality show which began airing on Channel 4’s ‘4music’ on January 4th. The programme ‘goes behind the scenes’ of New York and LA based public relations company ‘Command PR’.

‘Command PR’ is run by Jonathan Cheban and his right-hand man, Simon Huck. The pair have already been dubbed ‘public relations gurus’ in the American media.

The show follows the ‘Spin Crowd’ as they attend star-studded events, manage press for celebrity clients and create celebrity branding, as well as all the office antics.

The show’s executive producer is none other than LA socialite Kim Kardashian. If you haven’t heard of Kim, she is famous for her own E! Reality series, her modelling and her ‘sex tape’.

Jonathan Cheban claims to be trying to show the best parts of the PR business; the exciting, glamorous side of PR:

“We’re out there working it. We go to the Hamptons, we’re in Miami, we’re on planes and yachts, and the girls always look gorgeous and fashionable.”

The Spin Crowd series kicked-off with a half-hour special entitled SPINdustry, followed by the first episode. I watched in disbelief as Cheban pushed one of the office girls to have her lips ‘done’, as he thought they were too thin. He then went on to thoroughly embarrass the poor girl by getting all the others in the office to stand up and show her how she should be dressed.

To sum up: Cheban is tactless and image driven. Huck is more lovable, extremely camp and has worked his way up from an apprenticeship. The ‘girls’, ie the rest of the staff are all tiny waist-ed, fashion loving beauties.

It’s all so cliché that it’s funny. Or is it? As a PR student I’m hoping that this is not the real PR. I’m hoping it’s not based on the body proportions’ of the practitioner, but on the quality of the work they produce.

The programme may be creating great PR for ‘Command PR’ and boosting more people’s awareness of PR, but is the show just giving the rest of us ‘non-celebrity’ PR practitioners a worse reputation? It is bad enough that a business all about reputation management and communication has a terrible name with the general public, with many thinking of evil twisting spin-doctors, rather than the vital communicators and crisis managers we can be.

It is not my intent to stop readers from watching the programme – it is very entertaining. I am worried about those watching the programme who will now believe that this is all public relations is about.

I sincerely hope that the programme does not inspire students to study PR with the Spin Crowd as their only image of what it is to be a PR practitioner.


  1. On the contrary, I now *want* to watch this programme! It looks entertaining, but should be taken at just that – fake, unreality TV entertainment.

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