How Samantha Jones changed the face of PR

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As a teenage girl, I pretty much grew up watching the renowned TV show Sex and the City. These four independent, fearless ladies taught me a lot about what it means to be a woman and how to stand up for myself. Other than boyfriends and great clothes, all of them had amazing careers. As far as I was considered, Samantha had the IT job – public relations executive who owns her own company. Who wouldn’t find that amazing?

Screenshot: Sex and the City, season 1, episode 1

Screenshot: Sex and the City, season 1, episode 1

Except it seems nobody did. To this day articles are being written on how Samantha Jones ruined PR. Did she really do that? The creators of Sex and the City imagined her as this Manhattan power woman who spends her days lunching with her gal pals and running around town in 400$ shoes. When she wasn’t doing that, she was dining in some of NYC’s most fabulous restaurants and attending openings of the hottest clubs in town. We rarely ever saw her doing business behind her desk or writing a press release. Samantha made PR seem glamorous, as if it was all about party planning, rubbing elbows with celebrities and Cosmoing her way through every happy hour in town.

This kind of portrayal of a successful publicist caused a backlash in the ‘real life’ PR department. Angered women who work in PR to actually make a living claimed Samantha’s character ruined their reputation and made newbies have huge expectations. But is that really the show’s fault?

Sex and the City was meant to be a show about uncensored female friendship and the way women uplift each other no matter what. It was never about their jobs, hence the excessive glamorizing of freelance journalism (Carrie), being a lawyer (Miranda) and in the end, PR. Their jobs were never meant to be the focus point of the show, but more of a cool backdrop that emphasized how independent they actually were.

I feel as if anybody with ‘’an ounce of brain’’ would be aware of that. Who in their right mind would actually believe these four women, who all had super reputable careers, had the time to lunch, wine and dine almost every day of the week? Who would buy into PR being these lavish parties with the NYC’s crème de la crème?

Real life PR is all about planning market strategies, counseling clients, analyzing data, and communicating with the media. That’s the literal description of the job. Never-ending work hours, bringing your work home with you and stressing over deadlines are just some of the bad things one might encounter when choosing PR as a career path. But every job has some negative aspects to it and there’s not much to be done about that.

If you’re interested in PR because you think it’s all about fancy events and celebrity friends, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re buying into media’s portrayal of publicists and women in PR, you might as well believe in fairy tales. It’s the show creator’s job to make his work interesting. We shouldn’t be debating on why they decided to make Samantha the way they did – why aren’t we talking about how young people are obsessed with money and fame to such degree they don’t even bother to google the job they’re after?

Samantha Jones didn’t ruin PR. She portrayed it in a fairy tale like way to make the show more appealing to the audience. Because who would care for a stressed out publicist who doesn’t even have time for herself? If you’re having doubts about your career choices, you need to ask yourself – would I be doing this if it wasn’t for the money?

Tena Tuzla

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