Author and media personality Jeetendr Sehdev, the man behind New York Time bestseller ‘The Kim Kardashian Principle: Why Shameless Sells’, is ready to share his insights on social media, celebrity branding and more on February 6, at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.
In his 2017 book, the British-American Sehdev dissects the changing media landscape and why authenticity has become a winning formula.
We caught up with Sehdev over email to discuss his work so far, and why he believes letting go of judgement will free you up to happiness.
‘Why Shameless Sells’ has an undercurrent of ‘no judgement’ running through it — how did you come to a place of wanting to write about that topic?
There’s a lot of peace and power that comes with freedom. I think when you free yourself from the judgement of others you finally become free to live your authentic life. I moved from a strict British culture to Hollywood and that’s when I found my own freedom to be who I really wanted to be. So, I think it’s an important message and I find myself wanting to share it and inspire people to do the same.
Can you tell us why you chose Kim Kardashian as the centre of your principle?
Because she’s a new world leader and a cultural force to be reckoned with. She’s also a strong woman and I’ve always been inspired by strong women — as a matter of fact, I profile many of them in my book.
Did you always know you wanted to work in entertainment?
I always knew I’d live my life in the spotlight but I didn’t know what form that would take — would I be an actor, a model, a presenter? I was voted ‘most likely to be famous’ at school, so I suppose I was somewhat destined for Hollywood.
You’ve discussed authenticity driving brand exposure and success. But can capitalism and authenticity really coexist, when the end goal is usually making as many sales as possible?
Of course capitalism and authenticity can coexist, especially if your authenticity is all about being successful in a capitalistic society. I think that’s why digital influencers are so effective. They don’t hide the fact that they’re commoditising their lives, their passions to make a living. They live to work.
On a more individual level, is it possible to be truly free of people’s expectations and backlash when social media exists?
Absolutely. As human beings I believe we have enormous power. We don’t have to be reactionary, we don’t have to be dictated or even affected by the opinions of others, and we don’t have to listen to the noise if we don’t want to. It’s easier said than done but it’s certainly possible.
You’ve been credited for inspiring Nike’s powerful Colin Kaepernick campaign. What are your thoughts on the campaign?
It’s the most talked about advertising campaign in recent history so I’m glad the rules of The Kim Kardashian Principle work! When I see the impact of my work and my thinking around the world, it always brings a smile to my face. That’s why I do what I do.
At what age did human behaviour start interesting you? How did your journey of observing and analysing begin?
Ever since I can remember, I think. I always use to be very observant of people and what was going on around me. I think as the youngest of three children, I watched what my older sisters did closely.
Some of your work focuses, ultimately, on how to be a happier person. Would you say you are happy?
I think all of my work focuses on being happy and content. I’d like to think I’m a happy person.
Some people may believe there’s no one-size-fits-all philosophy for improving your mindset or outlook. Do you find there are universal messages within your own work?
I do think my work has universal messages. I’m not interested in prescribing how to live a happy life. I’m interested in expressing myself and provoking thought and empowering people to come to their own decisions on what life is right for them.
Don't miss it!
Tickets to attend Jeetendr Sehdev’s February 6 session (7.30pm-8.30pm) at InterContinental Dubai — Festival City are available for Dh59.