If you were in the UK last weekend, you may have come across my interview with the Saturday Times Magazine. When the Times first emailed me asking if I wanted to do an interview with them, I jumped for joy. Who wouldn’t want that kind of exposure for their debut novel? During the interview, I decided to be so saccharinely sweet with the journalist, thinking that if I was nice to her, she was going to be nice to me, right? Well, when I read the article this past weekend, that’s when I realised that I was a complete novice at this ‘press’ game.
It appears that she was ‘disappointed’ when she met me. Well, I want to clarify my disappointments with the article.
Firstly, I was disappointed that the points I wanted to discuss during our interview were not mentioned at all:
- The point that pushy mums need to be careful about pushing their children into anxiety and other mental health issues.
- The point that we should all be nicer to each other and that there is no need for female bitchiness. Women and mothers should support each other and stop with the bitching. We are all mostly trying out best. #womensupportingwomen
- The point that women still haven’t figured out the right balance after becoming mothers. The working mums still feel guilty about not being home with their kids and the stay-at-home mums still have to figure out how to keep their identity. And their sanity.
- Motherhood is challenging today, whether from isolation, loneliness, feeling lost or from all the competitiveness. We should give each other a break. #strongwomen
I was also disappointed that they mentioned that I had ‘Asian’ features. I am not sure how it is relevant that I have Asian features or how I look, and I am sure that the gorgeous woman on the cover of the Saturday Times Magazine (above) was not described as having ‘Caucasian’ or ‘very white’ features in her interview. And if we are going to mention racial backgrounds, then perhaps it would have been more appropriate to write about the fact that there are so few minority, female authors, especially in the UK. Or we could have had a comparative discussion on the Syrian Refugee Crisis versus the Vietnamese Refugee Crisis.
Was she disappointed that I wasn’t tall, skinny and blonde? (the journo was skinny and blonde) Because a few lines later, I am described as ‘certainly no Elle McPherson.’ Well, I was disappointed in the article which decided that that this was their ultimate standard of beauty. I am not tall, I have brown hair and brown eyes and everyone knows that I am NOT a supermodel! And well, there is only one Elle McPherson. Elle McPherson. No one is asking Elle McPherson to assist in a liver transplant in a third world country, or to diagnose an 18 year old with a lymphoma or to write a book. And so they shouldn’t.
I was also disappointed by my make-up. They put way too much make up on me! And I didn’t like the stylist’s choices of outfits. But I was such a novice that I let them do my make-up and style me anyway they wanted and I was stupid enough not to put my foot down and speak out. A friend remarked of the second picture of me in black, ‘I know it’s you but it doesn’t look like you,’ because I ended up looking like a scary dominatrix. (Now I get how divas become divas). Again, when the Times says jump, you just jump.
I was disappointed with the fact checking. There was none. I do not have a medical degree from an Ivy League university. I have one degree from an ivy league university AND another medical degree from a UK medical school AND I spent almost 10 years of my life in the NHS, so would like some recognition for my hard work. Let’s not start with house prices and household-name billionaires.
Finally, I was disappointed in myself for being so naïve. I knew there was going to be a high likelihood that the article was going to be controversial. And perhaps I was just given a dose of my own medicine.
But, still, I received so many kind and congratulatory emails, texts and messages, that perhaps it was all worth it in the end. And now, since the interview, I can see on Amazon that ‘Customers who bought this item (on pre-order) also bought Tommee Tippee Sangenic Refills.’ Hilarious.