Like many people, I’m currently engrossed in the Jodi Arias trial in Phoenix. Sometimes, I listen to it with an earbud in one ear while I work. Occasionally, I’ll check out the live video stream during my lunch hour. When I get home from work, I usually spend a mindless hour or two watching CNN’s HLN network, which has turned into the “All Jodi Arias, All the Time Channel.” And I’m doing things I never thought I’d ever do, like tweet Nancy Grace (she never tweets back by the way).
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here it is in a nutshell: Attractive girl in Yreka, Calif., drives to Mesa, Ariz., stabs her ex-boyfriend 27 times, slits his throat, shoots him in the head and calls it self-defense. She claims she had been abused and degraded throughout their relationship. His friends and family claim she was a nutso stalker. It reminds everyone of the Casey Anthony trial in that her guilt seems so cut and dry, yet everyone’s waiting to see if she’s going to succeed in winning over the jury with her “poor little me” stories and a bit of reasonable doubt. If convicted of first-degree murder, Arias faces the death penalty. Her testimony (19 days of it, to be exact) is long and dramatic with lots and lots (and lots) of graphic sexual details. Obviously, I can’t get into them here, but let’s just say I am never going to be able to eat a Tootsie Pop again.
I think we’re on Day 9,000 of this trial by now. And whenever I watch it, I can’t help but analyze some of the key players from a PR perspective.
Take prosecutor Juan Martinez, for example. He’s totally not my type, but I’ve developed kind of a weird crush on him. I think it’s the combination of intellect, confidence and ferocity that does it for me. So remember that, men of the world. If you don’t have women chasing you around, try acting a little more feisty. Go ahead and roll your eyes, but hey, I get paid big bucks to give this kind of advice. (OK, make that “some bucks.” But they’re still bucks.)
My hormones aside, Martinez wins my award for Person I’d Most Like to Toss Back a Couple of Martinis With. (See? He even makes me want to throw caution to the wind and end sentences with prepositions.) I’d get some drinks in him and tell him to tone it down just a little. I’d tell him it makes me a little sad when he YELLS AT nice older ladies with spiky hair. I would generously bestow my valuable courtroom PR counsel upon him and tell him there’s a fine line between displaying your passion and looking like a character on “Ally McBeal.” And then I would run like hell. Because dang, that guy is kind of a gunslinger. Don’t get on his bad side.
Moving on to lead defense attorney Kirk Nurmi, I’d tell him to stop wearing ties and socks that look like optical illusions. It’s like he’s trying to win a spot in the Striped Socks Hall of Fame or something. MY EYES, MR. NURMI! Have a little mercy!
We always tell our PR clients not to wear bold patterns on television. As evident here, it can sometimes result in viewers covering their eyes and wailing. It’s hard for people to hear your key messages over their agonized screams of pain.
As for Jodi Arias, well, she’s got me a little stumped, actually. She used to be a vivacious-looking blond bombshell that radiated sex. It’s clear from various testimonies that she hypnotized almost every man who crossed her path. Now in court, they’ve got her all frumped up. Her hair is dark brown and kind of plastered to her skull. She’s wearing big glasses and absolutely no makeup. Her drab clothes look like they came from the Opposite of Sexy section of her local thrift shop. She looks like a meek, worn-out librarian.
I can’t tell if the make-under is helping or hurting her. Sure, she doesn’t look like a trampy sex machine anymore, but she’s also lost her magic powers to enchant men and even fascinate women on the jury. She has transformed from eye candy into someone that’s downright unpleasant looking. It’s unsettling. I think in trying to make her appear mousey and harmless, her lawyers accidentally made her look like a serial killer.
In fact, lately Jodi Arias has really got me thinking about the power of appearances – how someone can go from seeming influential and magnetic to helpless and ineffectual just by changing her (or his) hair, clothes and body language. It makes me want to hire a stylist, actually. And possibly bleach my hair. And maybe stop wearing comfortable oversized cardigans and PajamaJeans in public.
That’s about it. Did you think this post was going to be full of sage advice and deep, intellectual insights on the Jodi Arias trial? Oops, sorry.
I guess I can leave you with this one last suggestion: If you don’t like the way your life is going, try changing your hair and buying new clothes. Heck, some of us women have been doing it for years.