Three lessons from Ashley Judd’s TODAY Show interview

Hi media rockstars & video vixens!

I’m not sure how many of you happened to see the powerful TODAY Show interview Ashley Judd did last week, but it’s worth sharing. Here’s the premise: she’d done an interview where she appeared puffy, bloated and was self-admittedly a little heavier than normal after a “lazy six months.” Critics went crazy, saying she must have had work done for her face to be so puffy, even though she said she was on steroids after struggling with being sick for an extended time. Some even went so far as to call her names for being overweight. As a size 8. If you want more of the scoop, read what she wrote on the Daily Beast.

Clearly, that would be enough to wound any human’s spirit. But, Ashley Judd did something we can all learn from, and here are my three take-aways:

1. She didn’t get angry, lash out or call anyone names in return. She used the media to make a point about how she feels women are treated  and came across articulate, wise and very level headed. And she did it on her own terms in her own time. So, if you’re ever attacked by media or feel that someone has said something untrue about you or your brand, there is a way to fight back. But to be most effective, you have to prepare. Deal with your emotions first so you can think clearly during your interview. If you don’t like a question or feel yourself getting flustered, stop and take a break. Make sure you’re staying true to yourself and getting your message across without letting your emotions interfere.

2. She fought back on her terms. The first thing we read about Ashley Judd fighting back was an article that she penned herself. She made a point of sharing her opinion in full, on her own terms. That way, she had complete control over what was written and the context around it. She knew what she wanted to say and knew that she could articulate it without anyone’s help. Once the article was out, she no doubt chose exactly where she wanted her story to be told. She did the interview with the TODAY Show and shared her perspective again on video.

We sometimes forget that we get to chose how to share our story and it can be incredibly powerful when we take time to be deliberate about the ways that we choose to express ourselves. Remember, your blog (or any other space you choose to write online) can be a vital part of you getting your opinions out to the world in their totality. Also, you don’t have to say yes to every media interview, especially if it’s a sensitive topic. It’s more than okay to be strategic. It’s downright brilliant.

3. She had a clear purpose. Ashley obviously spent some time thinking before she wrote or said anything on the subject. I guarentee this wasn’t her gut reaction to everything that she saw & read about herself. Instead, she took a deep breath, looked  far beyond her own circumstances and thought about how she could make the most impact. She got to work putting together a plan of defense and had a clear purpose in mind before she typed a single letter. She didn’t stray off topic once in the TODAY Show interview and she kept us interested by using very effective soundbytes to share her feelings.

In every interview and online video, I recommend having a clear purpose in mind. Think about what you’re trying to accomplish, how it plays into your brand and how you can be most effective with your information. Even if you have watched the story on NBC, watch it again to see just how well Ashley manages to show us exactly what her purpose is and stays on course:


Bravo, Ashley Judd. Nicely done.

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