Romanians copy lots of things. Bling sells as well as in Ukraine and Russia. Every street corner has a Turkish kebab booth. Romanians have Paris-like limousines, steel and glass towers, Swarovski crystals and all others that glitter. Some of these imports cause a loss in the deep being of each Romanian.
Gold necklaces and bracelets worn by taxi drivers and pretzel bakers hide wives with torn shoes and children put to work. Glass towers crush the last remaining crumbs of pleasant and romantic history. No wonder people seek soul shelter in TV shows, glossy magazines and tabloids. Accepting their pettiness, externalizing their feeling, living mandatory soap opera lives, Romanians find fit to waste their time worshiping the just-as-petty gods promoted in heavy-rotation by the media.
Hard to tell who was the first to start drawing the vicious circle. It may have been the journalists, hungry for a story. It may have been the need for representation, branding or rebranding of those VIPs who can afford the advertising. It matters less in Romania whether you’re famous for your butt cheeks, your available cash, your last romance or the incredibly dirty language (Romanian MEP Becali and other alike are always desired in live shows). It may prove to be more difficult to become a public figure because your inventions, innovations, revolutionary sparks of genius, literature or art accomplishments. It is not the time, nor the place to open such quarrels, though. Today, we’ll just lay eyes on the latest media treat: businesswoman Camelia Sucu.
Recently divorced, she gained a 37.5 million Euros share out of the furniture business she developed along with her former husband, Dan Sucu. Soon after the divorce, around March 2009, Camelia Sucu begun to spend her time on photo shoots, rather than business. She may ignore the wall of paparazzi during the topless sunbath on the luxury Vega beach or she may wear XVIIIth century gowns in Venice, she may become Madonna for a day (a shy month short of Madonna’s concert in Bucharest) or just speak about her past and shattered or future and shiny projects, one thing is certain: it’s hard to see a newspaper stand without a picture or a title regarding Camelia Sucu.
Spending holidays in Thailand, chasing vintage jewelry, convertible Bentley hustling, remaking Madonna’s Vogue video, becoming the “Woman on top” or the “Lady Cash”, posing topless for some papers or hiding her charms from others, investing 70 MN Euros in real estate projects or sponsoring theatre happenings – she makes it to the headlines. Some bad counseling becomes apparent, just seeing the pictures from one magazine to another. It makes no sense to look like Britney Spears in “Luxury”, in July, that go through a metamorphosis and become Madonna, in August. Even though tabloids claim no surgeon touched that noble skin, it is obvious that the Photoshop paintbrush hasn’t left any wrinkle alive…
This problem is not Camelia’s, in fact it is rather one that newspapers and journalists should have assumed in time. There is a step, in putting up an article, a feature or an interview. It is called “pre documentation” and it refers to finding out details about previous interviews, public statements, news and other trivia regarding the subject. A step that most Romanian young female journalists (it seems that only women get to interview Camelia Sucu) forget about or simply ignore. As a result, all interviews seem to tell the same story, about the strong, beautiful, independent, modest, motherly and nurturing, implicated, charitable, discreet person that is Camelia Sucu. Publishing the same interview already put up by another journalist / publication is both a prove of lack of professionalism from the journalists and an unpleasant admission from Camelia Sucu, who accepts to endlessly repeat the same words as soon as the collocutor changed.
The joker, the spark, the journalistic “IT” are absent. Instead, an endless row of yes-men praise the virtues of the newly discovered diva. “Meeting Camelia Sucu is just as spending the holidays in Thailand” (Viva magazine). “Their noble beauty wrote a new story on the legendary Italian soil” (Tango). “44 years-old Camelia Sucu, a renowned elegant presence in the business environment, has never called for the services of a plastic surgeon. Her coveted body was built in gym and fitness halls, with exhausting daily exercises” (Click). These are just a few of the phrases Camelia would never speak, but journalists are ready to prompt.
There is an explanation for the sudden gathering of an army of pens, all fallen into admiration with one of the top business executives that practiced a discretion close to invisibility a couple of years ago. This explanation is simple: Camelia Sucu will spend 500,000 Euros for promoting her furniture brand, Class. In times of trouble, this manna budget is negotiated along with interviews and advertising articles. The client has his / her say on the content of these articles.
I got and I hold nothing against Mrs. Sucu. As a matter of fact, I prefer her presence, instead of any of those half-illiterate pop stars. But I’d rather like to see her as she describes herself – less feline, noble, with the dominating glimpse of the people standing on a fortune large enough to ensure certitude and lack of unpleasant surprises. Even more, I’d like to never see Mrs. Sucu again. I’d like to know that there is – somewhere, wherever – a Romanian woman who is strong and rich and does her best to cope with her success, ignoring the ephemeral glory of tabloid covers.
To be honest, I’d like to import some VIPs. As well as we import all the unnecessary crap, we also import the truly good stuff – jewelry, timepieces, luxury clothing and fine wine. We should all chip in together and buy a palace for Ivana Trump, then let her tell an endless story about her life with Donald. At least, it wouldn’t be the same interview over and over again. Because, after all, the copy / paste journalism won’t live long. The time will come again for those who know how to contribute to the birth of a story, pushing and pulling, shouting and whispering, creating news where mundane existed. For those who think journalism is more than a struggle for advertising budgets.
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