- Alison Hall
S2:EPISODE ONE - ELIZABETH HOLMES
Elizabeth Holmes is an accomplished journalist, author, influencer and royal commentator. After her instagram stories series "So Many Thoughts" took the internet by storm, her book, "HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style" was released in 2020 with much fanfare. She continues to share her insights and context on the who, what and why of royal fashion and has recently launched an informative and delightful newsletter. On Between Headlines, Elizabeth shares her *many* thoughts on covering the most famous family in the world, the expectations and pressures set for royal women, her impressions of both Meghan and Kate and why we should all care about the dynamics of royal fashion, influence and power.
Between Headlines Season 2: Episode 1 - Elizabeth Holmes
Meghan, Kate, people, royal family, fashion, royal, harry, diana, women, wearing, important, life, reporter, learning, elizabeth, new york, conversation, dress, world, cover
Alison Hall, Elizabeth Holmes
Alison Hall 00:09
You're listening to between headlines. I'm Alison Hall. Welcome back to between headlines season two, I am so excited to be back for season two of this little corner of the podcast world. But first, I'd like to look back at my season one, I am so proud of the stories that we shared and discussed. Most importantly, I am so grateful for the people who opened up to me and in turn to you. And of course, all of you who listened with an open mind and hopefully learned just a little something. We covered so many different topics from COVID, to grief to racial injustice, to caregiving and disability rights, mental health, and so much more. The common theme among them, at least in my view, is resilience, compassion, and the ability to look at a situation with Nuance by asking questions, learning and trying to do better. And that is exactly what I'm hoping to continue to do in season two of between headlines. I have some incredible episodes in store for you, featuring some wonderful people who are generous with their time and their energy and sharing their stories and their passions with us. For my first episode, I am going behind the headlines of the most famous family in the world, the British Royal Family. No, I did not land an interview with any of them. But I landed an interview with someone who covers them expertly. Of course, they have been covered extensively throughout history, and especially with the rise of tabloids and social media. And let's be honest, a lot in the last few years with this new generation of royals. But what I love about my next guest is the way in which she covers them. It's not salacious, it's not gossip, it is equal parts substance and style. My guest is the one and only royal fashion reporter Elizabeth Holmes, but if you think you are here to listen to us discuss our favorite Kate and Meghan dresses, you'd be wrong. While that is a more than worthy conversation to be had royal fashion is fascinating. It's beautiful. But above all else, it's powerful. It sends a message and gives us a window into the lives choices and passions of some of the most famous and influential people in the world. Elizabeth has a massive following on Instagram where she provides her commentary and well researched context for nearly every British Royal Engagement, a book HRH so many thoughts on royal style that came out just last year, and a new fantastic newsletter, where she shares even more thoughts two times a week. I am a subscriber and I love hearing from Elizabeth straight into my inbox with her musings recommendations and knowledge. Elizabeth and I discussed the reason why we care about royal fashion. The pressures placed on royal women and women generally, the difficult conversations to be had around the varying treatment of Duchess Kate and Meghan Markel, and the very nuanced way in which she examines their clothes, and ultimately what they represent. Elizabeth makes an argument for why we should all care and why we should never stop both analyzing and critiquing and defending the very powerful and purposeful choices, both of royals and women generally. I got to be honest here I am a fan of Elizabeth Holmes myself as a reporter who loves the Royals and has had a few chances of covering them. Speaking with Elizabeth was a longtime dream of mine. I remember sending her a DM back in 2017, when I was asked to cover the wedding of Harry and Meghan, we did not know each other. I just knew she would be excited for me. And she was so getting to speak with her again today felt pretty special. I'm so grateful for Elizabeth's time and all of her thoughts. And I hope you delight in and learn from this conversation. Now on to Elizabeth. I would love for you to just explain the unique path that you took to start reporting on royal fashion. And have you always been a fashion and style reporter or how did your career start out?
Elizabeth Holmes 04:48
So I started you know, I went to college and I wanted to go into business, whatever that means, you know, I wanted to get dressed up and go to an office building. But I really liked economics and I majored in English and economics and That was sort of the path I was on. And then I joined the school newspaper. And I just got hooked on journalism. I just found it. That like, that's where I wanted to spend all my time working on the school newspaper. And I actually took very winding path to where I'm at today. And I never set out to be a fashion reporter. Like that wasn't a goal of mine. Right after college, I was an honor reporter for like a hot second in the middle of nowhere, Michigan, and then realized really quickly, that TV journalism was really hard. It's really hard. I really admire what you do, and that I wanted to get back to writing. And so I actually went to grad school and moved to New York, for Columbia and fell in love with the city. I feel like it's every 20 Something does, you know, when you set foot there, it was a real dream come true. And I went to Columbia, I graduated and then needed to find a job and I moved on, I didn't have a job. And I was like, Okay, what do I do now? And I worked for local paper outside of Chicago, I'm from the Midwest, and then got a call from Columbia, Professor mine who had been on staff at the Wall Street Journal. And she said, What are you doing? Like, why aren't you back in New York? And I was like, How do I get there? What can I do? And she was like, let me get you an interview with a journal. And they were hiring for reporting assistants at the time. And I was like, Well, I've been a reporter for a couple of years. Like, this feels a little weird. But then it's the journal Right? Like, I would pour coffee. I was like, whatever you need, like, I'm your girl. And so I moved back to New York to join the Wall Street Journal. And I and I really, I spent a decade on staff there. And that's very much sort of like how my writing career was formed, but also how my like, lens on the world was shaped because this being the journal, it was very much the business of everything. You know, it's not just about beautiful clothes. It's about the branding and the messaging behind those clothes and selling those clothes. And what does that mean? And so, actually, the journal, I did a number of different things as a political reporter. I that was my first full time reporting gig. There. I cover the 2008 presidential campaign. And when that was over, I realized it did not want to cover politics anymore.
Alison Hall 07:03
And you actually were one of those like traveling political, yes. Right. Yeah. So
Elizabeth Holmes 07:08
he was on the campaign trail for 14 months, I lived out of a suitcase. And it was it was a great, I mean, like, Listen, I've been a recording assistant, I wanted to become like a full fledged reporter. And I was like, How do I get there? And I raised my hand for everything. I got turned down for a bunch of stuff. And then finally, they were like, Well, do you want to go on the campaign trail? And I was like, Yes, I'm young, I'm single, I live out of a suitcase, like put me out there. And I thought it was like putting my life on hold. I was gonna, like, dive into this career of being a political journalist. And while reporting our campaign was amazing, and so, so illuminating, it was politics. This is not for me. So I think part of life is figuring out what you don't want to do. So I said, I really want to go back to New York, I had been in DC for the journal and they said, Would you like to cover retail? And I said, Well, you know, I like to shop, but I'm not. They were like, we're not really asking. And I was like, great, I would love to cover retail. That would be amazing. And again, there's been the journal it was like, apparel manufacturing, more so than like clothes, it was like supply chain stuff and earnings calls and that kind of thing. I think that was a really great introduction to this world of style, because it helped me understand understand sort of the machine behind it. And then I graduated to the future world and had a real dream job at the journal, I was writing a column, I got to go to fashion week in New York in London, like it was, it was amazing. And I did that for a number of years. And then I was like, Well, what's next and leaving that Job was really hard, but I think that's where my whole like sort of next chapter of my career started because I left and I was determined to make it as a freelancer and I was like, I had all these wonderful contacts and I loved it. I was writing for you know, different editors and working with different people and and then I like, I stumbled into the world of royal commentary. I mean, I just like I wish I could say it was strategic. I wish I was like, Okay, I'm going to start this thing and I'm gonna grow this thing and this is what's gonna be my thing. And it wasn't it was just me on Instagram. I was like, nursing my second son and I saw willing Kate's holiday card and I thought to myself, like, I have so many thoughts about this. I just, just like posted them like I just, I just put a bunch of text bubbles on an Instagram screen and it turned out that a lot of people had thoughts too and wanted to talk about it and wanted to read it and discuss it. And from there I've sort of taken on this whole new like side hustle turned main hustle, writing over oil fashion.
Alison Hall 09:26
Wow. And I know at first it started a little bit more jokey and a bit more fan girly. How did it evolve into something a bit more serious? And I loved it then and I love it now.
No, I mean I look back at those early ones and I kind of cringe because it was I again like I truly started it because I was trying to entertain myself like I was I have always well since 2011 Since will and cake up area and I've been interested in the royal family and been fascinated by what they do and especially Kate and MEGHAN. And so when I started commenting on their, on their public appearances on Instagram, I was going for like a joke, I was sort of like this is going to be entertaining to me, this is like a, like a respite from your life. And I can kind of just like, have fun with it. And what I realized was what was resonating with people were more insights I could provide because I had spent so long reporting on the business of fashion for the journal, I like saw things differently. I saw like I can decode their outfits in a way. And also like royal style, I think, if you don't know, it holds a lot of meaning and holds a lot of power. These women dress very thoughtfully, they dress with a lot of intent, they choose the brands and the colors and the silhouettes, they were very purposefully because what they do is appear in public. And what we see are their clothes, you know, we don't hear from them a lot. We're hearing from MEGHAN and Harry, certainly a lot more than we have Royals in the past. But for the most part, their job is to step out in public and what you see is what they're wearing. And they know that they use that. And so connecting the dots for people I think was really what what stuck with my audience. And so what in certainly, so many thoughts has sort of progressed, I try very much to still entertain a little bit, but then also and fan girl a little bit. But also like provides some, you know, some sort of backstory, some context, some information about why they might be wearing what they're wearing.
Alison Hall 11:24
Yeah, for sure. And I mean, as you said, with the business of fashion. I mean, there's an entire, huge billions of dollar industry behind fashion. And I imagine so many of these fashion houses, I mean, they would do anything to have MEGHAN or Kate wear a piece of clothing, everybody goes out and wants to buy what they're buying. And they must know, too, that they have that power that what they wear is going to be looked at and sourced. And I think that that's really interesting. And something that I know, you talk about in your book and with the Kate effect, I could you just talk about the power that they have in actually sort of keeping this fashion economy moving.
Elizabeth Holmes 12:08
Yeah, I mean, I think like royal fashion is so singular in this sense, because it's like you can see a celebrity step out. And there's, you know, you can admire an outfit. But is there a rush to buy what they're wearing? I don't think so not in the same way as certainly Kate or MEGHAN now, because what happened was when Kate hit the scene, there was already an immense interest in royal fashion because of Princess Diana. And then Kate hit the scene at the time that like blogging, fashion blogging was on the rise, and certainly e commerce was too and so these fashion bloggers who are extremely talented, could identify exactly what Kate was wearing, and naked provide a link to it. And because Kate tended towards things that were more quote unquote accessible, I wouldn't say they're like super affordable in a lot of ways. But they were accessible that you could buy them she was wearing stuff that she bought off the rack, and you could buy them and so suddenly, people were buying them and that connection. I don't know if you've ever bought a royal inspired piece, but like if you do, like, I have these boots that Meghan wore on tour, and like I wear them and I think of them as my MEGHAN boots like that it does something for your affection towards them, and it makes you feel the kind of special like, Oh, I'm wearing the boots that MEGHAN or you know, like there's there's a real intense connection, I think that's formed that way. And so this, this economic power that Kate and MEGHAN have to put a brand on the map to really, you know, sell out an item that is profound as well as like our experience when we wear something that they have worn. You know, like that is profound, too. And so I think there's there's like all these, like, touch points about why royal fashion is so important. And I think decoding it like trying to understand what they're trying to say what the fashion is a way of honoring all the effort that goes into it. Because they know, they know their outfits get this attention. And so they put a lot of thought into them. And I think it's just I think it's so smart. It's really truly a way of like honoring that effort.
Alison Hall 14:00
Do you ever face? Well, not just backlash, but even just questions I know, as a royal fan myself, I'll have people go, why do you care? Why do you care what they're wearing? Why do you care about them? Like what do you say to people who say things like that to you? And especially diminish the fashion aspect of
Elizabeth Holmes 14:19
it? Yeah, I mean, I get that all the time. And I say I care because they care. Clearly they care. They know what they're doing. Like if you look at their choices, and you know, Kate last night at the James Bond premiere it like that was designed to have a huge effect. And it did you know, they put a lot of work into this. They have teams of people that help them get dressed like I care because they care. And I do think very much that trying to decode their fashion trying to understand and recognize what they're doing with their fashion is a way of honoring that effort. Now, I will say that I think in general like we should be having the conversation about the burden of appearance of expectations. on women's fashion, right, because wil and Harry aren't subjected to the same scrutiny. They're certainly not the focus on their clothing. And they get to just talk about their work. But does their work at the same amount of attention? I don't think it does. And I think so like, it's this real double edged sword here. And so I think that yes, we should absolutely be talking about the amount of attention whether it's unfair, unfairly placed on these women, but I think they recognize it as an opportunity.
Alison Hall 15:29
For sure. Yeah, it is interesting. I know, someone mentioned that will was wearing a velvet jacket. And that is a bit of a bit of fashion forward look for a man but with Kate wearing that golden dress, there's like, you're only looking at her.
Elizabeth Holmes 15:43
And if you look at the front pages out of the UK last night, it was Kate, you know, Charles was there a future king was there, Camilla was there? Well, it was there. But Kate, Kate got the coverage. And like, that's because her dress was fantastic. It was and she knew it. I mean, she's never gone that hard. I don't think like I've seen every gown moments of hers. And like that was that was a huge moment. And she knew it. You could tell by the smile on her face that she was like having a good time. Like there's nothing better than that. And then seeing like, there's there's no comparison certainly here in America too. Like, that's the fairytale. That's the fantasy, right? And like Kate, on Friday, it was like playing tennis in a tennis skirt. And today she's out doing rugby. You know, like the range I think is really important when it comes to royal fashion and royal moments, but like, they know what they're doing. They get us excited with their clothes.
Alison Hall 16:31
And it seems like they know what they're doing in doing some of these repeats or odes like with MEGHAN with Diana's bag. And with Kate. Was it also a James Bond premier that Diana wore a very similar dress to like, why do they make those decisions? Well,
Elizabeth Holmes 16:47
listen, there's a lot of conversation around Princess Diana right now. And I think it's because of the Crown has like obviously caught up to her and they're in their narrative. And so there's a lot, I think, to a new generation is being introduced to Princess Diana story. There's a new musical coming out. It's on Broadway now. And it's coming out on Netflix. You know, there's a Kristen Stewart movie coming out this fall. There's a lot of Diana in the discussion there was also the Diana statue unveiling like a new generation is learning about Diana and I think that both Kate and MEGHAN pick their Diana nods very carefully. And I think sometimes the media is like too quick to call it a connection. Like somebody said that, you know, Diana had worn a purple suit and Kate's wearing a purple suit today and is that tied? And I'm like well, you know, I like I don't know if we can go that far. But there are some times the James Bond premiere is one of them the MEGHAN Kerry and the Lady Dior handbag on her New York tort like there's some that are so obvious that they like scream to me that like yes, yes, that's what they're doing. They're honoring her. And fashion was such a big part of Diana's legacy that I do think, keeping her memory alive in that way. And like Kate had to have known that people would surface those pictures of Diana from 1985 to James Bond premiere and like, that keeps Diana and her work in the discussion. And like what a wonderful thing to do. I don't know, I I think it's actually I think it's very lovely. And I think that at the heart is like, like women honoring women through their clothes. Like that's an amazing thing.
Alison Hall 18:20
It totally is. I also think it's interesting. I mean, the success of the royal family and the longevity of them, especially in this day and age definitely is related to how much people love them how much people are interested, what stories they're clicking on, what stories the press is reporting on, does it seem to you that it falls on the women often to create these headlines, as you said, Kate was the cover of all of the British tabloids this morning, not the future king, it should probably be the future king, if we were looking at it from like a rational perspective, what is the future king doing? But instead it's about Kate and her fabulous outfit and that amazing mega watt smile. And it's seems like that was the case with Diana as well. And they, I mean, they must know that people are interacting with them in that way. And that is very powerful. But I just do find it interesting that not only does it fall on the women to look really great and to send these messages with their clothing, but also in a way to keep people interested.
Elizabeth Holmes 19:23
Yeah. And I think you know, we are in a position now with the Queen and her descendants that like we're not going to have another queen for right. And I think a lot of this you know, like sort of stems from the queen in a way because you know, she is the female figure her you know, she is the she is the person in power. But what's so different is Diana, Kate and MEGHAN are clearly not you know, I mean, they're they're the spouses, they're the partners and they're supposed to play the supporting role. And with Diana, it was a huge issue. I mean, it was a huge issue in her marriage and you know, her relationship with the royal family that she got so much attention, and the royal family struggled mightily. With that, they're like Charles had been, you know, the bachelor, you know, the the most eligible bachelor in the world and all the attention had been on hand and then along comes Diana and everybody's way more interested in her. And what did that mean for him. And that was like a real tough pill for him to swallow. And ultimately was a big part, I think, in the demise of their marriage. But what is really striking to me, especially about last night, is that it feels as though the royal family has fully embraced now and understood that it is the women that get the attention, you know, like that, that they, Kate wouldn't have done that. If, you know, she didn't have the blessing to have that big standout gown moment, like if she didn't have the blessing of everybody else. Like I think she's very much a team player here. And so I think they understand like she was the one that shown last night, and they were okay with that, because it's somebody shining and, and building affection for the whole family. And they don't see it as a threat anymore. It's a different conversation, I think when you talk about MEGHAN and Harry, because that was clearly a threat Italy just gonna Yeah. And that, that shows clearly the massive shortcomings of the royal family. And I think that's an important conversation we're having because that attention around MEGHAN and the opportunity, truly, that MEGHAN and Harry offered the royal family and the and the ways in which, you know, the what they went through and the racism they faced. In some ways, the royal family has come a long way. And in some ways they have not, you know, I mean, they have not, and they have failed spectacularly. So, yeah, it's a complicated conversation. But I do think that the women, it's undeniable, the women are the headlines,
Alison Hall 21:34
and even just trying to relate that moment last night to if MEGHAN had done that, if she looked that fabulous. And if she was the front page that everybody was talking about in front of the future king, I don't think the conversation would be as flattering. I think that it history tells us that it certainly wouldn't be
Elizabeth Holmes 21:52
no. And I think I think it's really important to sort of reflect on that, you know, I mean, obviously, MEGHAN and Harry are in a different position than Will and Kate and the line of seniority. And so somehow them I think being further down the line and being being such a draw, you know, bringing in so many new fans like that was somehow even more threatening, right? Because it wasn't like it like didn't fall into rank kind of thing, which is like, so wildly offensive. But that's how they, that's how they think about things. And I think yeah, I mean, if you, it's so important to stop and think like if MEGHAN had worn that dress, what would people have said about her? And what do people say about her New York fashion? And how did they critique that and the price tags and all that I didn't hear one conversation about how much Kate's gown could have cost. But you know, people were tallied up MEGHAN's New York tour wardrobe. And why is that? You know, I mean, that the amount of unfair criticism that MEGHAN has faced than the amount of sort of like, coated racism in the coverage. I mean, there's been the obvious racism, but there's been a lot, a lot of very damaging, just like this, like constant stream of like negative headlines about MEGHAN and her clothes and how they're used to cancer. And that's thing about fashion, right, it can be a real asset. And it can also be a source of much criticism.
Alison Hall 23:12
Absolutely. And I mean, I can't even imagine the pressure that is on all of them. For Diana, for Kate, for MEGHAN, I mean, even for the queen way back when I think she seems pretty comfortable in her fashion choices now. And nobody would dare to say anything negative about it. But I can't even imagine that. Imagine the pressure, like I get nervous when I have some sort of a big appearance. And I'm looking through my wardrobe. Okay, what am I gonna wear, I'm not thinking about the entire world, looking at me and critiquing what I'm wearing and the choices that I've made and how much I've spent and how it fits my body. And that comes from a very privileged place as an able bodied, slim white woman. And so you take that, and you amplify it, but what, by what MEGHAN went through, and the lack of support she received, it's honestly, incomprehensible.
Elizabeth Holmes 24:04
Yeah, I think there was a real sense. So like, The Queen is, if you'd like look at her tenure, I mean, it's staggering. It's phenomenal what she she has aged in front of the world, you know what I mean? And like, she didn't dye her hair, and she didn't do Botox, and she just aged and not always gracefully, you know, I mean, I was when researching my book. Ah, right. It was it was surprising to me that people who took digs at the Queen's appearance, you know, like when she she started to look folder, quote, unquote, and she read those headlines and kind of course corrected and her suits got a little bit more fitted and a little bit more tailored and a little bit but you know, I mean, like, so I think to a certain degree, there was a sense among the royal family that like everybody goes through this, right, like everybody's criticized for their appearance, and you just sort of like, just sort of take it and you move on and Kate certainly was, you know, in her early days. It's not the same with MEGHAN and it's really important to point that out because what MEGHAN went through Because of the racism that she faced, it's like so much harder and so much worse. And it's just important to say that over and over and over, especially as a white woman commenting a number of fashion like that her experience is not the same as Kate's it's not the same as the Queen's and it's not the same as Diane is there are parallels, right? And there are similarities at times, but what MEGHAN went through, and the other rain, you know, of her in those early days, and I, you know, I'm gonna just come out and say, like, I was part of that, you know, I mean, that was a unintentional, but very, very shameful thing that I did. And I am grateful for my community on Instagram, because I've learned a lot. And I feel like, have had some really difficult discussions and really reflected on my role and all of that. But yeah, it's so important to look at MEGHAN and her entrance into the royal family and listen to what she's talked about in terms of how difficult it was on her mental health, and honor that in a way, you know, like, really, really sit with that, because what MEGHAN was subjected to, is sort of unconscionable. Truly,
Alison Hall 26:12
truly. And I know we're months past this now. But the Harry and MEGHAN Oprah interview was mind blowing for all of us. I mean, I thought that it would be revelatory, and we would learn something new. But I mean, it I think it blew all of our expectations out of the water. How did you feel about that interview? Were you surprised by the amount of intimate details that they provided?
Elizabeth Holmes 26:35
I mean, yeah, I think we were all shocked. I mean, I was shocked, I was truly shocked. And I I, you know, if you think back to 2020, and their appearances, and you know, when they stepped out and said they were taking a step back, and they were trying to figure it out, and we were all trying to like read between the lines, and what is the statement mean? And you know, what are? What are they trying to do? And where are they moving to? And all the stuff? You could sort of tell that it had been really bad, right? Because they were making some really dramatic moves. But I don't think anybody understood how bad it had really gotten, you know, like, what, what they had faced, how difficult it was for both of them, like why they absolutely needed to leave, you know, and I think MEGHAN being able to say that, you know, she talked about the difference between perception and reality, and how you're, you know, you're like, living the reality, but you're being judged on the perception of being a member of the royal family and how difficult that was. And so the Oprah interview felt very much to me, like a, an attempt to merge the perception, the reality, like tell her story, so that everyone knew, like, Hey, here's why we did this. And it certainly informed my commentary since I mean, I think it's informed everybody's viewpoint. But you know, I mean, when when she talked about that moment, where they stepped out, and she was in that sequence dress, and how difficult that moment had been, and how we had all seen that those sequined dress photos and thought, My goodness, it's so gorgeous, beautiful. Here's this glowing woman, you know, Duchess stepping out kind of thing. I'm pregnant that just, and wow, right? I mean, just just, it gives me a pit my stomach to think about what she went through. And certainly, I hope, my sincere hope is that they are able to do things on their terms fully now, you know, to only go out when they want to go out to only do the things that they feel comfortable with. Because clearly this public life takes a huge toll. And the unfair criticism they receive, you know, massive, awful, unfair racist garbage, like that takes a huge toll. And so I feel like we as loyal fans, and loyal followers need to be very aware of all of that and be very, and keep it in mind with all of our coverage.
Alison Hall 28:49
I find it interesting to be a fan of something, but also to know that it can do better and that it there are huge flaws within the systems and that you can, like the Royals or liked or enjoy looking at their fashion and the pomp and circumstance of it all, but also love Harry and MEGHAN, and see that there were some serious issues that drove these two people out.
Elizabeth Holmes 29:15
People ask me all the time, like why are you still following them? And it's a great question. I think if you look at Harry and MEGHAN and and their choices since leaving, they have not tried to blow up the monarchy. Right? They could have named names in the Oprah interview, they could have gone a lot further and they did it. They named their daughter after the queen, you know, like, there's clearly still strong ties and affection for that for Harry's family. You know, at the end of the day, this is Harry's family and so in a lot of ways I'm taking my cues from them, which is like, Okay, this is an institution that is deeply flawed and needs a lot of work. But they're staying in it. You know what I mean? Like they're not severing ties completely And so I am interested to see, and I think the monarchy will be so much better. In the long run for all that Harry and MEGHAN are doing right now. It's sort of painful to watch it all play out. But I do think that as royal fans, it's a truer experience to understand, as you said, flaws of an institution as well as all the things we like to celebrate about it.
Alison Hall 30:24
And, and to celebrate, but also to critique. And I think it goes back in a way to what you said, I care because they care. I care because the world cares. And just ignore something so huge. And that affects so many people, especially in the Commonwealth, like I grew up in Canada, singing God Save the Queen and having the queen on our money, like she's the queen. And the monarchy is a pretty big part of Canadian life. And it's even bigger in other areas of the world, in the Commonwealth. And so I think to just ignore it and say, oh, you know, they've done bad things, or it's frivolous, or, you know, they're not relevant anymore, I think is to deny these hugely influential people. And it's important to both maybe be a fan, but especially to critique and examine what they're doing and how they're changing, hopefully,
Elizabeth Holmes 31:18
yes, yes. And to call them out, like when, when all when it was all sort of unfolding this spring, and, you know, a reporter shouted a question at will, like, Are you a racist family? And he's like, Well, you know, we're very much not a racist family. It's like, whoa, like, like, I, I mean, I immediately was like, no, like, that is the wrong answer. Like any white person who has done any reflecting, will understand that, like, we're all racist, and we all have work to do, and especially somebody who comes from an institution founded on colonialism, like, it was, it was shocking to me, and to call that out, and to talk about it, again, as a white woman, like, it's like, I did not start following the royal family, because I wanted to, like take on systemic racism, here we are, and this is part of the conversation, and I am grateful for it, I'm grateful to know more and to do better, and to hold them to account. Right to understand, you know, when somebody when somebody in wills position says something like that, how problematic it is, and how important it is in you know, my little corner of the internet, to have a conversation about that. And to you know, help people sort of understand how wrong it was. And, you know, have the debates, I had a lot of debates with people about that, like that, that is a is a place that I want to be it's a much messier and more difficult place, certainly than being like, oh my gosh, look at that gown. But it's just, it's so much more important.
Alison Hall 32:43
It also the fashion can sort of be a lead into it. I remember, like in journalism school, I'm gonna butcher this, but the general principle was like, you could give the audience a little bit of candy with their greens, the candy is the passion. And then you put in some greens, and you educate them and talk about maybe things that are a little a little bit more substance. And especially with the royal family, when sometimes all we have to look at is their fashion, as you've said, because they don't often get to express their opinions. We can sort of enter the conversation with the fashion, but then talk about all of the other stuff that needs to be examined. And I think that you do that really, really well. Your platform.
Elizabeth Holmes 33:23
Thank you. Yeah, it's like eating your vegetables, right? Like you can, you can enjoy. You can enjoy the Yeah, the chocolate chips in there. I I do think though, too, it's important point out that like even the fashion conversation is problematic. And like, in reflecting on, you know, where I contributed to this, especially around MEGHAN. One example that really sticks out to me is how I referred to her messy bond. And that was a hairstyle as especially as a beauty reporter at the journal I talked a lot about the rise of the messy bond and the messy bond. And, you know, that was a term and that's a term that mean a MEGHAN's hairstylist on her wedding day called it a messy bond. But that is not inappropriate for a white woman on the internet to call it a messy bun like that, to not understand sort of the depths of the conversation around black women and their hair, and how offensive that was. And, again, not my intent. But that doesn't matter. It's all about the impact. You know, I offended a lot of people by calling it a messy bun. Am I talking about MEGHAN's hair at all, you know, as a white woman. And so even in the conversations that are meant to be fun, you know, and meant to be kind of like the the candy of at all. You have to be really aware of words and how they matter. And again, I'm just so grateful to learn and to do better and to share with my audience.
Alison Hall 34:45
Absolutely. And I think that that's so great about Instagram, with stories and just how much of ourselves we share online. I think that you've really taken your audience along for the journey sharing what you're learning, sharing how you're making money. And I just think it's really great to to share. People like me going Oh, okay. Yeah, that's a really good point. I didn't realize that either. And I'm also going to make those corrections. Yeah,
Elizabeth Holmes 35:10
I mean, I think learning in public or learning on the internet is not always like the easiest thing to do. But I always sort of lean into it when somebody corrects me in a DM or something and try and share it. Because if I'm learning it, there's probably a chance some other women in my feed need to learn it too. And so I've, you know, a lot of things around language. I'm just always grateful to know more and do better.
Alison Hall 35:33
Something you mentioned earlier that I jotted down about the Harry and MEGHAN interview and just their new, private public life. This is a question that I get a lot as well, or it's phrased as a question. But it usually comes with some criticism of what happened to them wanting to step out of the public life and show me where their privacy is, when they're doing their New York tours are doing the Harry and MEGHAN Oprah interview are talking to James Corden. And so I find myself having these questions a lot as I'm covering them. I'm curious. I imagine you get that a lot. And what you think about
Elizabeth Holmes 36:06
that? Yeah, I mean, I don't think they ever said they wanted to, like, step back and become hermits. You know what I mean? Like, that was never, I never expected that from them. And that's never anything they ever said. They wanted more control over the public narrative. And as a journalist, you know, you want access and you want, you know, you want to, like, tell the real story and like, get it a sense of them. But like, as a person on the other side of that, who is a public figure, like crafting of life in public, they want to control over it. And I don't think, you know, working within the palace machine, that they were able to do that. And certainly when they were subjected to the coverage of the British tabloids, which, again, was biased and racist in their coverage, and so they're feeling trapped, like they can't talk, you know, within the royal family. And there, there's just this, like, flood right, of coverage of that's unfair that they want to speak out against. And I think what they were trying to do is sort of separate themselves and have their own say, and they still want to do work. And we've been a member of the royal family is like devoting your life to public service. And I think Harry feels that. And I think that's exactly what MEGHAN signed up for, like, that's why she walked away from acting, because she wanted to do a lot of good. And that requires them to be out in public, you know, they're not going to do it from behind closed doors, and they just want control. You know, I mean, it's so interesting, if you look at their New York trip, where they allowed photographers to capture them, and where they had their own private photographer, and then they released photos, I mean, even just that sort of dynamic, because if it was like a standard Royal Tour, there would have been the royal Rota, and all those cameras would have been there. And there would have been, there would have been pressure from that to, you know, to the media team from the royal family. And they would have, you know, set up these access points and things like that. But instead, like this time, I was so encouraged, because it's like, clearly Harry and MEGHAN had to say, the journalist in me is like, Well, no, I want her last access. But then the royal commentator in music Well, no, I totally understand what they're doing. And so I think that they are public figures, they will have a public life. And they should, they're doing a tremendous amount of good. I mean, just what they were pushing in New York with vaccine equity, so important. They just want a little bit more say they want a little bit more control, and they want to do it on their terms. And I don't blame them. I truly don't know, especially after what we've learned on the Oprah interview
Alison Hall 38:21
of what I think is so interesting about MEGHAN, and I think her diehard fans like us know this, but maybe some people don't is that MEGHAN has been doing, or has been advocating for various philanthropic and humanitarian issues her entire life. Like obviously that letter she wrote as a kid to the soap company. Yep. Big Ag. Yeah. And everybody knows about that. But I mean, I was a big follower of the TIG long before she met Prince Harry. And it was like equal parts style and substance. She would talk about her favorite shirt or outfit, and then she would also talk about the work she was doing in India to destigmatize menstrual health there. And that was all before Prince Harry. And I, I do think it's really interesting. And I know you've talked about this before, but like she was a 36 year old, very successful woman, she had nearly 2 million Instagram followers herself long before Harry. And then she, in a sense, gave all of that up, but also stepped into an even larger role. I mean, if it was me, I would think, Oh, my goodness, I already care about all of these things. Now I'll have an even bigger platform and be able to continue doing some good. I think sometimes the criticism of her can be interpreted in this sort of like manipulative, wanting to, you know, suddenly be this influential person. She was already influencing people and trying to make positive change in the world before Prince Harry. And this just elevated her platform. I mean, to a ridiculous degree.
Elizabeth Holmes 39:57
She was hugely accomplished and also have lived a very full life. And I can't underscore this enough. So like Diana got engaged when she was 19 years old to have not lived life. Kate started dating will when they were in university and like, yes, it took, you know, eight years until they got engaged. But like her whole life, her whole adult life was defined by being associated with the Royal Family. MEGHAN lived a whole life all on her own did so many impressive amazing things. You know, I mean, she was an established actress, she had this fantastic platform on mind, she was used to using her voice. And you said she sort of gave it up, she totally gave it up. She had to give it up, they made her shut all that down. And, you know, going inside her head, I can imagine that the calculation was well, okay, I will, you know, say goodbye to that so that I can say hello to this. And if you watch their engagement interview, oh my god, it's so painful to watch now, in hindsight, because the potential the excitement for what they were going to do together within the royal family. I mean, it was all there, you could see it. And because MEGHAN knew what independent life was like, outside the royal family, I think that's why life inside the royal family was especially hard. And I do think like Harry could have married just about anybody. I think MEGHAN accomplishments are certainly what drew him to her. And she showed him sort of what the world could be like outside because all he had known right was life inside the royal family. And so like, it gives me chills, because it's like, these two people really are going to do a lot, you know, and like, what a squandered opportunity on the part of the royal family. Like, it's a family, there's not that many chances to diversify, like in here was MEGHAN here was Harry like, wanting to do this. And, and then again, you know, the royal family got threatened or whatever, you know, I mean, transpire between the brothers. And it just took such a dark turn. And it's just so unfortunate. I think what MEGHAN was doing was, was really impressive. And I think that's why they're post, you know, their their work here in America and elsewhere, after you know, stepping down, is going to be great, because she knows what she's doing. She's done this before. And like, that's, that's so important. In all of this, like, they're, they've hired really wonderful people, like really smart people, like they're, they're trying, it's really hard to live this life, that when you're that famous, you can't just live your life, you know, you have to be very thoughtful about it. And I think that they are and New York, the New York trip gave me like a tremendous amount of excitement for it, because it was really well done. They did a really great job. And you
Alison Hall 42:29
think, do you think that the New York trip sets us up to see more of them? Do you think we're going to see more of those sort of like royal style engagements from Harry and MEGHAN, throughout the United States?
Elizabeth Holmes 42:39
I hope so I do think that it will, that having them here will do a lot for America's fambam of them, you know what I mean? Like, it was, it was so familiar for me to see them around New York that I was like, I felt instantly closer to them, just because they were in a city I lived in for so long. And so I think there's a real opportunity for them there. And also, like, they are commanding big names and their meetings, you know what I mean? Like they I think they could call up just about anybody, and they would, you know, could get a meeting with them. And so like, that was a huge opportunity. And I think they'll be right, yeah, I mean, I, I loved what they did, and putting together I mean, as I've not been on a royal tour, but I have been on a political campaign, and presidential campaign and the amount of work and the logistics that go into organizing those appearances. Like they have clearly put together a team that can do that now that can handle that now, and they can do that on their own.
Alison Hall 43:32
And that's really impressive. And did a really good job of it. Like you told
Elizabeth Holmes 43:36
me I mean, you were the one that was there like, No, I mean to have I mean, they had like very defined engagements and like defiant, you know, like, they're, they look at a singular purpose throughout the trip, which was vaccine equity, and they had like that big, you know, crescendoed up into, you know, the VAX live concert. And I just thought like, that was really hard to do. It's really hard to do on your own, and they're pulling it off.
Alison Hall 43:59
There weren't really any like paparazzi photos, like at least in a traditional sense. Of course, there's paparazzi following them around generally, but like there was no I mean, MEGHAN walking down the sidewalk. Yeah, at
Alison Hall 44:12
Right? Yeah, baby shower, there was a lot of paparazzi that sort of followed her and her friends around. Whereas this was like pretty locked up.
Elizabeth Holmes 44:21
And again, like that's their team, I would imagine like that's that they know now where to stay, where to go, what cars to take, what entrances to take, you know, all of that stuff takes a lot of planning. A lot of thought,
Alison Hall 44:34
I am so curious, have you ever heard as to whether anybody in the Royal Orbit has either looked at your Instagram, read your book, anything like that?
Elizabeth Holmes 44:45
I will just say that I have a sense that they are aware. I don't know how to say that. Yeah, I mean, there are enough royal adjacent people who follow me on Instagram that I am very Certain they are aware of my book. It's It's interesting as a journalist, because you don't like somebody asked me like, Are you interviewing Kate for your book? And I was like, that's not really how this works. Like, they don't do that. And like, that's a weird thing, right as a journalist as I'm writing, because like, of course, I would love to interview keep it like that she does not talk ever anyway. I know, I know. It was so funny. Was it a press luncheon? Like so you're interviewing Kate, MEGHAN? And I was like, Well, no. Yeah, there are a number of people who are like, Riley, Jason, I know, follow me and see this stuff. So I'm quite certain they are aware of it. But I have not heard and do not expect to hear from them. I could slide into my DMs anytime.
Alison Hall 45:42
Seriously? Well, I mean, it is I what I think is so great is it's all very positive, there's substance and there's beautiful images. But you're not critiquing what they're wearing, at least not in a snarky way. If there is ever anything that has any sense of oh, this could have been better, or they reflected on it themselves, and thought it could have been better.
Elizabeth Holmes 46:03
Well, again, that was part of my journey. And if I mean, my early SMTs, there was more criticism, and I did feel like these public women were fair game, and I did not think that they needed my championing, you know what I mean? Like, I was, like, Kate and MEGHAN, are very famous and very beautiful and very accomplished. And like, yeah, they're fair game, I mean, to, you know, I look back at some of my SMTs. And I was like, yeah, like, I didn't understand the need to like, vocally support and defend these women, you know, because they are famous and accomplished and beautiful, and, you know, living very impressive lives. And the thing is, like, they're not gonna see my commentary, but like, a lot of other women, do you know what I mean? And, like, I want to make sure that my page is constructive above all else, you know, I mean, I don't love every single thing they do, or wear. But I also try and see why they did it. It's much more intimate. I'm not gonna be like, ooh, that's an ugly dress. Like, it's like, well, why did that dress miss the mark for this moment kind of thing? And like, also, why are they wearing that dress? Like, why did they choose that dress that's more interesting to me than being like, Oh, I don't like that dress. And I just think like, again, being a white woman on the internet. And with a platform, that is an opportunity, and I hope very much to share my, like, I hope that my like, approach is contagious in a way that other people see it. And they're like, hey, look, you can build a following. And you don't have to, you know, tear one apart, or, you know, like, make fun of them, or pit them against one another. Like, you don't have to choose a side. Like I you and you don't have to love everything. I don't think you have to love everything. But you don't have to be mean. You don't have to foster any kind of negativity. That was another thing. I learned that like, even if I wasn't saying something, people in my comments, or my community were and I didn't do enough to shut that down. And, again, it's been a real journey. I'm in a much better place for it.
Alison Hall 47:55
I've been following you for a long time. And so I've, I've certainly noticed everything that you're talking about. And I think it's a really positive development. Elizabeth is there any thing that you want to close with
Elizabeth Holmes 48:06
mostly takeaway always is like, the power and fashion, you know, it's so easy to dismiss things that women like, and that women take pleasure in and that women delight in. And you can delight in something and it can be incredibly meaningful, and it can be powerful. And I just, I think that's what's resonated with my sort of page overall, is that people want to have smart discussions about fashion, like and that's, that's valid and worthy of your time. And do I dress like a royal? No, do I think about how they dress when I get dressed? Yeah, sometimes, and I think there are lessons that we can all sort of take away in our like daily lives. I you know, when I wanted a book, I like made sure to match it with my clothes. And that was really fun and meaningful to me and I think I look back and I'm, you know, like that was just a little like special extra thought that I put into it. And so I just want to validate like if you're interested in fashion or or, you know, whatever interests you like, it's a worthy, that's really important to me, because I think clothes hold a lot of meaning.
Alison Hall 49:07
Well, thank you so much. This was so interesting and educational, and I just absolutely love speaking with you.
Thanks for listening.