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I love my Image Consultant

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

It's finally February, and the theme of all the blog posts this month is -- Show some Love!


A scene from a wedding. The friend adjusts the bride's veil.


I love my image consultant.


She’s smart, and always gets back to me when I text her. She tells me what fonts look good, what images to use, and what reels to make. She offers suggestions for blog posts and promotional campaigns for when my book comes out.


There was a time when most of my image consultations were about which necklace to wear with what sweater, which foundation matched my face, and why I should never ever try to pair purple with red.


In case you haven’t caught on, it’s Slone.


Slone and I became friends back in the late 90s. I was sitting at my desk in the newsroom typing up my story for the week. I had to get it to the copy editors before starting the layout and design for my section. I wasn’t talking to anyone. I wasn’t sneaking off to take a smoke break. At the time, I had this incredibly long red hair, that I never even bothered to style. It just hung curly down my back. This is when my image consultant stepped in.


She was back on campus, returning to get her master’s degree in marketing. Everyone was making a big deal out of her return. I didn’t get it. The last I remembered before she’d graduated, she’d called me at my dorms and told me to haul my ass down to the newsroom pronto because I’d promised her a story that I never delivered on.


But she was back, and not bossing around writers anymore. She was running the ad department now. Which in my brain meant, we would never really interact.


I was wrong because the next thing I know, she is hovering around my desk asking me if I would let her braid my hair.

“Do whatever you want. I have to finish this.”

She raked her hands through my locks like a hairdresser, chatting to everyone who was not working on a story.

The next thing I know, we’re in the car heading to Clarksville to hit up the mall and then get our nails done.


Slone is all about aesthetics. Often her inner question is “How can we make this look good?” Her house looks good, her car looks good, her clothes look good, and her kids look good. She’s never caught without makeup. At no point has she ever taken an ugly photo.


Yeah, I am often annoyed with it as well.


But respect, because she knows how to do it. She knows what people like. She understands what captures people’s interest. I mean, she's got a marketing degree, an Ed.D. in leadership, and has again returned to school for an MBA.


Over the course of our friendship, we have had many conversations deliberating our problems. I will offer advice and she would decide whether or not to take it. When she rejects it, I always wait for the inevitable follow-up phone call where she would reluctantly have to admit that I was, in fact, right. As we have gotten older and live in different states, I have told her that sometimes I will capture a sense in the air, a tingle down my spine knowing that, yet again, Slone has found herself in a situation where she will be compelled to admit that I was, in fact, right, and when that happens I wait for the inevitable text message or Instagram DM. I love those moments. I won’t even pretend to have the class to not delight in confirmations of my rightness.


But in this space–the aesthetic space, the marketing space, the promoting one’s self space–I have no choice but to admit that Slone is right.


So I listen. But that doesn’t mean we don’t disagree about certain things. Lately, we’ve been having the same conversation.

“You should include your biscuit recipe in your newsletter. Everyone loves biscuits.”

“But I’m not running a food blog.”

“You should post something about making cookies and include a recipe.”

“But I’m not running a food blog.”

“You should post a reel of you in your kitchen.”

“But I’m not running a food blog.”

And each time the response is, “I know that. But everyone loves food.”


At times, I wonder if her suggestions are self-serving. But again, she’d not wrong. Baking Day is one of the most anticipated days of my social media year. When I polled friends about the types of posts they wanted to see, it was mostly food related. Slone’s right. People are interested in yummy food.


The other conversation she and I have is about Facebook. I have a Facebook page. I never post on it. I never check it. It is a space that doesn’t make me happy, so I don’t use it. Slone can’t comprehend this because she is someone who is constantly on Facebook monitoring what everyone else is up to. Even if I don’t post, she assumes that I at least check it, which I don’t.


I hear this often:

“You could put it on Facebook!”

“I don’t post on Facebook.”

“See what this woman is doing? She posts her videos on Facebook.”

“I don’t post on Facebook.”

“Well, you should because that’s where your audience is.”


And again, she’s not wrong. Most of my readers don’t pop up until after Hubs posts something on Facebook about it. He’s been an excellent hype man. But I am never there, and Slone has finally caught on. When she wants to send me something from Facebook, she sends it to Hubs instead. So I’ll get messages from him while I’m at work, “Your image consultant has something for you.”


For the past several months, I’ve been texting her cover art, post promos, and things to pre-read before they go on my website. She’s been so on call, I have felt guilty for monopolizing her service. When I offered to pay her, she shut it down quickly, “This is a family affair. I wouldn’t take it anyway.”



Sometimes when she tells me a suggestion, I resist it, even when my brain tells me it’s a good idea. It’s the Tennessee in me – my home state’s motto should be “you can’t tell me what to do”. I will absorb all the suggestions and then try to find a way to do it my way. It takes about 24 hours for the process to work.


On our first conference call, she said she felt like she was dragging me kicking and screaming into the spotlight. And in a way, she’s right. I don’t like being vulnerable. I’m often consumed with the idea of being judged by people. I might come across as confident, but only because I feel secure about the walls I have built around me. I don’t like telling people what I am doing because I imagine what their response will be, and what I imagine is never flattering.


Per our last call, she tells me, “If they’re coming for you, it means you’re doing something right.”


All press is good press to Slone. And while I am consumed by the prospect of negative comments, I have consistently been proven wrong. When I announced I had a book coming out, people messaged me to say how excited they were. Friends will message me to say they like my posts. I’ve had people sign up for the newsletter.


Essentially, Slone was right. She’s gonna love to see that in print.


In honor of showing some love – I will happily and delightfully share my from-scratch biscuit recipe with anyone who signs up this week for the upcoming February Newsletter – to be released on February 14! Sign up today at brandibradley.com/newsletter.

Don't forget, you can also reach me via email, Instagram, or Twitter.

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