Sarah Ferguson’s current job post is listed as “Spokesperson, Author, Producer and Humanitarian”.
They bullied the Duchess of York relentlessly over her hair, her fashion choices, and her weight, even going so far as to dub her the ‘Duchess of Pork’ in headlines. They criticised her for leaving her daughter, Princess Beatrice, at home in the UK as she joined Andrew on an official tour of Australia. They fabricated a feud between her and Princess Diana.
In early 1992, months after her and Andrew’s separation, a tabloid published invasive photos – taken with a long-lens camera, naturally – of her sharing an intimate moment with financial manager John Bryan as they holidayed together. And, even after her divorce was finalised, the scrutiny didn’t cease: all you need do is type ‘Fergie’ into Google to see the long string of so-called scandals attached to her name.
“There’s always a twist of negativity and it just gets so sad and tiring,” Fergie said recently, reflecting on the tabloid bullying she’s been subjected to over the years.
“It’s hard and mean.”
All of this, of course, means that Fergie’s achievements have been largely buried. You may not know it, but she’s penned a number of children’s books, including Budgie The Little Helicopter (yes, really). She’s spoken out against media bullying on multiple occasions. She’s also launched a YouTube channel, aptly dubbed “Storytime With Fergie And Friends”. Much like Mrs Hinch, her cleaning hacks have proven very popular. And she’s rolled up her sleeves to deliver coronavirus care packages to NHS staff and key workers during lockdown, too.
It’s also worth noting that Fergie’s worked with a number of charities, including the Teenage Cancer Trust, Children in Crisis, The Sarah Ferguson Foundation, Not For Sale, and Springboard for Children. Indeed, just last year she became patron of the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation, an organisation founded in honour of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died in 2016 due to an allergic reaction after consuming a sandwich.
Wholesome stories like these, however, are never going to make it to the top of the newsfeed. Not when there’s a dubious ‘inside source’ and sleazier scandal to catch readers’ eyes.
This week saw all of that change, however, when Fergie launched her own LinkedIn profile.
According to the duchess’ profile, Ferguson’s current job post is listed as “Spokesperson, Author, Producer and Humanitarian”.
Better still, Fergie’s accompanying bio reads: ”The subject of countless media interviews herself, The Duchess has also found success as a reporter and presenter.
“In America, she has been a special correspondent for NBC’s Today show and has presented specials and documentaries on ABC, FOX, and CNN,
“In Britain, she has presented and co-produced specials for ITV, BBC, and Sky TV.
“She has served as guest editor on BBC Radio 4 Today programme and has regularly contributed to BBC Radio 2’s primetime lifestyle show ‘Steve Wright’.”
While some have openly teased the royal for listing her achievements in this manner (don’t think we can’t see you on Twitter, folks), the majority of tabloids have reported on Fergie’s bio as fact. Which means that, you guessed it, when you type her name into Google today, you’re met with the sort of story she’s proud to share and be a part of.
In writing her LinkedIn profile, Fergie has reclaimed her own narrative. She’s taken charge of her destiny. She’s shown us all that she’s so much more than a so-called ‘royal scandal’: she’s also a shrewd businesswoman. A savvy social media user. An accomplished writer. A benevolent and charitable person. A woman keen to make her mark on the world, on her terms, and in her own way.
Most importantly, though? Fergie has reminded us that, in business especially, it’s up to us to big up our own accomplishments. After all, if you want to secure a pay rise or land that dream job, simply keeping your head down and hoping someone notices how brilliant you are is not a proactive strategy. Instead, you have to make your accomplishments as visible as possible. Because if you don’t blow your own trumpet, nobody else will.
Check out Stylist’s Big Yourself Up column, which explores all the ways in which women can boost their self-confidence, get better at self-promotion, and resist being sidelined in the workplace.