The Emma book – finally here!

I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting to make this announcement for ages, and have been holding off until the book’s been made available on Amazon as well as iTunes.
The Tycoon's DaughterThe Tycoon’s Daughter, aka The Emma Book, is finally available! You may remember the first mention of Emma in The Rock Star’s Daughter, when Taylor wanders into a mall and finds comfort in seeing the familiar face of her high school adversary in a window display at a Hunter Lodge store.

To all of her classmates at The Treadwell Academy, Emma appears to have everything a girl could want. She’s gorgeous and filthy rich, and if that weren’t enough, her father made her the face of the campaign for his iconic clothing brand. She’s on the cover of Hunter Lodge’s sexy catalog, and every teenage boy in America knows who she is.

But the tricky thing about having everything is that it can’t last forever. When Emma gains weight the summer before her junior year and her father’s creative team ever-so-gently removes her from the upcoming holiday catalog, her self-confidence is crushed.  What begins as a diet manifests into a dangerous obsession with losing weight, and as Emma pursues a high fashion modeling career to get revenge on her father, she quickly learns that everyone wants something from her, and rarely are other people’s intentions in her own best interest.

It took me quite a while to finish this book because I know from exchanging emails with my readers that body image obsession and self-harming behaviors are very, very common among this generation of teen girls. It seems like for the last ten years or so, young women have been force-fed even more unrealistic images of what the “ideal” body looks like by the media than when I was a teenager – back when Kate Moss’s Eternity ads launched a “heroin chick” wave of anorexia (not that Kate Moss should be personally blamed for that).  I’m not ashamed to say that I think the Victoria’s Secret Angel fashion show is about the most Satanic thing televised, ever, and I find it not surprising that there is no equivalent annual broadcast to send men into dizzy tailspins of dieting and exercise. However, times are changing. It delights me to see new faces on television and in movies of more diverse women being presented as “normal.” Lena Dunham’s a bit of a hero in this space, and I consider Ireland Baldwin (6’2!), Gabourey Sidibe, Demi Lovato, and Lorde to be refreshing role models for young women. Girls who say “this is who I am and how I look, deal with it” rather than publicly conforming to unhealthy standards, and women who have been vocal about their own struggles with body image so that young women feel less alone.

While Cameron Diaz isn’t a nutritionist or a psychiatrist, sometimes it’s more interesting for young women to get advice from someone who’s internationally famous for her beauty and talent, so I’m going to go ahead and plug her book, The Body Book. Cameron comes right out and states a simple fact that a lot of girls need to hear: when your body is hungry, you have to feed it. You have to feed it the right stuff and take care of it, because you’ve only got one life, and it’s a shame to go through it spending all of your time worrying about how other people view you.

Check out The Tycoon’s Daughter on Amazon and on iTunes.

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On celebrities and eating disorders

I’m now just *days* away from the release of The Tycoon’s Daughter, the Treadwell book about Emma’s struggle with an eating disorder in the modeling industry. The book is very close to my heart, maybe more than all of the other Treadwell books in the series, because I think body image is such a profoundly important issue for young girls.
I’m sure this may be perceived as a bit of an inflammatory post because Little Monsters are quick to defend Lady Gaga, but knowing that, I’m going to post anyway.

Ke$ha

Ke$ha

Pop star Ke$ha, who landed her own record deal and became a star in her own right after singing backup for Britney Spears, just announced that she checked into Timberline Knolls, an eating disorder treatment center (oddly enough) in the town where my father lives outside Chicago. I can’t clap my hands loudly enough for her, because she’s let her fans know that this is an issue with which she personally struggles, and she’s demonstrating total girl power by getting help for it. THIS is setting a good example.
Last year, when Lady Gaga was called out by the press for gaining weight before her European tour, she made a big deal about informing her fans that she suffered from an eating disorder, then didn’t publicly make any statement about seeking treatment, and suddenly appeared 30 lbs slimmer in photos again once her tour ended. I’m a fan of Lady Gaga’s music, but I felt that this behavior of hers was completely counter-intuitive to her “Born This Way” platform and sent an indisputably negative message to fans, male and female, about body weight.

Jennifer Lawrence recently caused a stir when she told Barbara Walters that she thinks it should be illegal for the media to call people fat, and while I’m a big supporter of freedom of speech, I do think that there should be fines for making derogatory statements that impact how youth view themselves and their peers. Ms. Lawrence’s point that radio stations and networks are fined for cuss words is a valid one: who do cuss words really hurt, anyway? Do they inspire healthy kids to go on diets, find ways to get their hands on drugs to stimulate weight loss, and manifest in ways to cause other negative behaviors, like cutting? If more celebrities were forthright about their own personal struggles with body image, they might inspire more young fans to seek help and get serious about getting healthy.

Kudos to Ke$ha for her honesty and courage. I hope the lovely people of Lemont, Illinois take good care of her. For anyone struggling with this issue who could use some good advice, here’s one of my absolute favorite stars, Demi Lovato, addressing kids in treatment at Timberline Knolls, where she, herself, received treatment:
http://www.mtv.com/videos/news/746211/demi-lovato-stay-strong-visiting-timberline-knolls.jhtml

Hurricane Emma… on its way

Hello, everyone! I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been so busy finishing The Tycoon’s Daughter and editing it for release that I

1) haven’t gone shopping in like… ages

2) haven’t gone to the beach in even longer

As I’ve been working on The Tycoon’s Daughter, I’ve been particularly sensitive to conversations going on around me about weight, food, and eating disorders, since that’s a huge part of Emma’s story. It’s always surprising to me, truly surprising, that so many women even my own age still struggle with all of these issues. So many girls define the quality of their lives on a daily basis by how they perceive their body to look, and ladies, we need to stop the madness.  I’m going to write a lot about this topic over the next few weeks, but in an effort to not be too preachy all at once, first I’m going to encourage everyone who has a computer to get their butt over to Oprah’s 21-Day Meditation Challenge.

Yes, it’s hippy new-agey stuff. Sort of. But it’s not just for old people, it’s for teenagers, too.

If you could feel better about yourself and see yourself as you really are instead of through the I-Hate-Myself lens by just spending a few minutes every morning clearing your mind and focusing on your own happiness, why would you avoid that?

Here’s a totally free way to have access to the world’s most famous physician and meditation guru: Deepak Chopra. He’s the guy celebrities turn to for help with establishing balance in their lives, and he’s made all of his best stuff FREE for all of us.

You may hate meditation. It may make you sleepy. That’s OK. The point is that too often we speed through our lives, letting negative thoughts build up. You are worth slowing down for a few minutes each day and focusing  on how YOU really feel.  Humor me. Just try it. And word: Jerry Seinfeld has been meditating for 40 years (since he was a teenager) and credits much of his success to it. So it’s not just for weird yoga people.