Fashion

WHY I’M FORGIVING THE WOMAN WHO BULLIED ME AT TORONTO FASHION WEEK

Jealousy makes us do terrible things. Things our rational selves would never ordinarily do. It makes us say hurtful words,  or behave uncontrollably like petulant children. Rooted in insecurity, fear, and anxiety, the anticipated loss of status that comes with jealousy is never more apparent than during fashion week.

Recently at Toronto Women’s Fashion Week, I experienced some of the worst bullying and emotional abuse I’d ever been subjected to in my entire life.

What is important to highlight is that this bullying was from a woman who was twice my age, and since I’m not familiar with her for the purposes of this post – we’ll call her Felicia. Not that I would ever argue that age is ever an excuse for vile behavior; we do generally expect more from those who have more experience. In a desperate attempt to assert her dominance in the situation, Felicia reamed off her accomplishments like verbal diarrhea. However, given the extended list one would hope they would warrant more class.

So let’s backtrack here to what transpired… After leaving an interview with the wildly talented designer (Jordan Erin McKay of Hendrixroe) my friend and I hastily made our way to the next Fashion presentation. For those who don’t attend Toronto Fashion Week there are three lines: general admission, media, and VIP, and they all filter into the same room for everyone to find their respective seats. As my friend and I were media, we excused ourselves and bypassed the general admission line to make our way to the media line which I can only assume severally shattered this woman’s fragile ego.

For some perspective, had we not cut through the general admission line to make our way to the media line we would have had to circle the entire building to get on the other side – and since time was already short having run longer than expected from the previous interview, it just didn’t make sense.

Despite apologies, Felicia persisted. Although unsuccessful in rallying a crowd, she did get her companion in on the action, throwing shade at the blogging industry, advertising agencies, modern media- you name it they covered the spectrum of anything they thought I would or could be associated with.

Ganging up on me relentlessly while I had my back turned to them in our respective lines, for twenty minutes straight she didn’t so much as take a breath because she was determined to spare no time in ripping me or the industries she believed I might work in, to shreds.

Only upon gaining access to the show was I free, or so I thought, from their prowling dominance. Because I was in floor-length floral dress with a bright magenta lipstick I’ll admit I was easy to pick out of a crowd. Parking themselves strategically across from me and my friends, Felicia and her minion continued their taunting from the other side of the room. From laughing and pointing, to blatantly taking photos of me – no ill behavior was off limits.

To Felicia and others who see no problem with this behavior – here’s what I have to say to you: given what I can assume is your traditional albeit accomplished media background (taking her word for it) I can sympathize that you may not respect bloggers as traditional media; however could you please, at least, respect them (us) as human beings?!

What transpired Friday evening during Toronto Women’s Fashion Week was nothing short of a classic textbook definition of bullying. And thankfully I am emotionally intelligent enough to be aware of that. Felicia and her spineless minion showed all the classic signs: flaunting their amazing accomplishments, belittling me and my industry or anything remotely close, and of course, attempting to get others on their side.

Their hurtful words, their condescending tone, and their excessive volume were dripping in insecurity and what they fail to realize is that, it says so much more about them than it ever will about me.

It really just goes to show that it’s so SO important to be mindful of the company you choose to keep. I would hope that no matter what my accomplishments that my friends and colleagues would call me out when I’m being a straight up disrespectful jerk, and if nothing else, snap me back to reality.

But this was not the case. Sadly the crowd was so big, and the music so loud no one I knew was aware of what was happening. The ones that did hear what was happening collectively shook their heads at each other in disbelief. I was alone in my defense and I knew it would be a losing battle. Unfortunately, you can’t reason with people like this because their moral compass is just so completely and utterly shot. I decided to rise above it and keep my cool. I knew if I opened my mouth to them I would have fallen to pieces. I decided to stand there with my back turned and just take it. I stood with head held high, fought back the tears, and at times even stuck a finger in my ear to block out their characterless criticism.

I’ve honestly never been so emotionally battered in my entire life and to have experienced it in a public scenario that I traveled so far, worked so hard to be a part of, and am so passionate about supporting – was truly disheartening. While I fully recognize that this is most definitely more of a reflection of this woman and her tactless companion’s misunderstanding of current media practices and largely in part due to their insecurities or him wanting to impress her: it definitely was not the highlight of my week.

However despite all of this you might be surprised to know that I’m actually glad this happened to me. What they don’t know is that this is not my first rodeo. Despite also being on television myself I don’t feel the need to broadcast to an entire room full of people to establish my worth. I would much rather people come to appreciate my work television or otherwise (because it is work) authentically.

I’m actually happy this happened to me because I can handle it. However, had this disgusting event transpired at my first fashion event it would have broke me and they would have won. But it wasn’t my first show, or my first fashion week so I know the magnitude of the kindness and support that exists in Toronto and the fashion industry, and I’ve thankfully experienced it a million times over – even as recent as that morning when 12 Toronto bloggers showed up to a brunch I’d organized so that we could connect on a personal level, when they could have quite literally been anywhere else.

To all bloggers (aspiring, new or and even seasoned) I am more than happy to have taken this bullet for you.

And to Felicia – the seasoned woman who’s worked in TV for 30 years and manages four websites: I have no idea who you, or your friends are, but shame on you and your despicable behavior. I feel sorry for you because while you are twice my age no one in your 30+ career has ever taken it upon themselves to educate you on how to treat human beings with respect and dignity and I assume this creates a very comfortable existence for you, however tumultuous for all those who encounter you.

Felicia, whoever you are, I want you to know is that while you don’t deserve it – I forgive you because investing any more emotional energy into the drama you create isn’t worth my time  – so I’m happily moving on.

As Bob Dylan said:  “…your old road is rapidly aging. Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend a hand. ‘Cause the times they are a-changing…”.

The new wave of media is built on kindness and support and there is absolutely no room for anything else.

 

 

 

xx

Kayla

 

 

 

Shout out to Christian Stokes for snapping this photo for me.

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23 Comments

  • Reply Heather Laura Clarke March 14, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    I’ve been waiting for this post! HOW AWFUL of that woman! I can’t believe she would do something like that. You are an awesome person to be able to forgive that kind of behaviour. xo

  • Reply The IN Box | Chatty Tees March 14, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    […] past weekend to TWFW I wore a graphic tee with words on it, as well as my fellow blogger Kayla from Short Presents. It amazed me how a simple top with a couple words on it, changed how people approached you, the […]

  • Reply Frank March 14, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    Way to go Kayla you are smart and beautiful and that’s why they are intimidated by you and they should be .
    Keep up the good work as you are a natural at it .
    If companies have anything on the ball they will hire you to there blogging

  • Reply Meg Norris March 14, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    BYE FELICIA. So sad this happened to you! You’re a goddam ray of sunshine with a heart of gold and killer style and I’m betting she was super jealous.

  • Reply John & Ferne March 14, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    Hi Kayla – we are so proud to see you take a stand and respond in such an articulate manner- goes to show how awesome and professional you are with an insecure rant! obviously she does not know you! Way to go -John & Ferne

  • Reply Lori March 14, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    You make us proud!!!

  • Reply Natalie March 14, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    And to think that you just spoke about kindness and how important it is in the digital world and this women who grew up without the possibility of digital bullying engaging in this sort of public bullying is shameful
    A proud moment for you to have been able to rise above and keep your head held high
    I shed some tears for you while reading this post you were indeed the bigger woman in that room xo

  • Reply Ashley March 14, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    Standing ovation to you, lady! You’ve come a long way as a blogger and absolutely deserve all the success coming to you. Shame on that vile woman for taking out her own insecurities on someone else. Fantastic post!!

  • Reply Deanna March 14, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    Written with poise and maturity … well done xo

  • Reply Ruth Ann March 14, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    Good for you and I am so proud of you for keeping your head up. No one deserves to be treated like that.
    Thank you for sharing this story and reminding people to be nice to one another.

  • Reply Heather Crosby March 14, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    Thanks for sharing Kayla and for your strength. It’s an awful situation to be in and I hope that your post reminds people that they need to practice kindness always. I am glad you are strong! So many others face this without that strength.

  • Reply Megan Marsiglio March 14, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    I hate bullies. It gets me so angry when I read stories like this. How can someone be so mean and disrespectful to another human being? It just doesn’t make sense. You are one strong lady and should be so proud of yourself for how you handled the situation. Bye Felicia!

  • Reply Savannah Belsher-MacLean March 15, 2017 at 12:00 am

    Wow! What a horrendous way for someone to behave, no matter her age! I’m 100% with you that she must lead a very uncomfortable existence, and I can’t imagine that show was the highlight of her weekend either…or if it was, she has no business attending an event like TFW when the focus is supposed to be on the inspiring the industry not attempting to crush it. All I can say is, “Good on you!!” for getting it off your mind and writing this post, and moving on. And thanks for everything you do! Your blog is one of my top faves, as is your IG and Snapchat. <3

  • Reply Krista March 15, 2017 at 12:37 am

    What horrible behaviour! I honestly would have cried (and have in similar situations). Good for you for keeping your cool and staying above the pettiness. I hope the rest of Toronto Fashion Week was enjoyable and you don’t let that vile person taint the experience for you. “BYE FELICIA.”

  • Reply Kristy-Lynne March 15, 2017 at 2:05 am

    How aweful 😩 You rock! Don’t let the haters get you down, ever.

  • Reply Angie March 15, 2017 at 2:06 am

    I just started following you on insta from little old PEI and I wanted to say how great you are. You handled this with grace and class and it shows how mature you are. Keep doing what you are doing! I foresee big things in your future!

  • Reply Jessica Botelho March 15, 2017 at 3:09 am

    I’m so sorry that you had to experience something so horrible like that. People like that are extremely insecure with themselves and they try to bring people down to make them feel better about themselves. I’m glad you were able to rise above it.

  • Reply Alexandra March 15, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    Thank you for sharing this story. I was fortunate enough to have never been truly bullied in school, however I’ve been recently dealing with a bully. I am 25 and we give older people the benefit of the doubt that they will be mature and decent human beings. As emotionally damaging as it can be in the beginning, it’s important to find that strength, keep your cool, and realize that it’s not a fault of yours that they’re attacking, but the bully’s own insecurities that are lashing out. Again thank you, reading this helped me. You just got a new follower 🙂

  • Reply Vanessa March 15, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    That is AWFUL. What the heck?! I thought that kind of bullying only happened in teen movies. You definitely exhibited grace and maturity in that situation. Unreal. But also – what I’d like to know? If she’s got such an illustrious media career… why wasn’t SHE in the media line too? 😉

  • Reply Katherine March 15, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    What a terrible thing to happen, The fashion industry already has the feeling of exclusivity and we don’t need this behaviour to persist. As a designer who has presented at these shows, it use to be my biggest fear to run into someone like that. I now realise that people like that are few and far between and most people are pretty nice in the industry. So to that woman who has no business acting l like that I say “BYE FELICIA!”

  • Reply Ella March 15, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    I can’t believe this is real! And you’d think people in media/marketing/PR would know better than to be publicly rude and bully someone (from a business standpoint). Good on you for taking it so professionally and learning from it!

  • Reply Laura Snow March 15, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    Hells yeah! You are such an incredibly strong, smart and talented woman Kayla! I’m so glad you didn’t stoop to her level by responding to her bullying. I’m shocked this crap still happens and especially from someone who is supposed to be older and more mature! And good for you for forgiving her. It’s the only way to really let it go isn’t it? HUGS!

  • Reply Jackie March 15, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Um. WOW. I still cannot believe that happened to you, but your attitude about the situation is refreshing. That woman is obviously threatened by all of the changes to the industry, and I actually feel badly for her. I feel badly that she felt the need to bully someone like you, just to make herself feel “better.”

    I’m sorry that happened to you, but I do love that you’ve taken it as a unique opportunity to emphasize the power of kindness <3

    Jackie
    Something About That

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