I Was A Media Darling - Natali Morris (2024)

I was once somewhat of a media darling and now find myself and my family to be a media target. As awful as this has been, it is fascinating to experience the shadow side of something that was once so bright in my life. In an effort to take the spiritual lesson out life’s circ*mstances, I ask myself:

Why was I supposed to experience both sides of thiscoin? What did I choose to learn from this on a soul level?

I was never Kardashian famous but I did have a decade of my life where I was shuttled around in chauffeured cars to TV sets, coiffed by makeup artists and hair stylists, given nice clothes to wear on TV (and keep!) and had that clothing carefully applied, taped, and nipple petaled by a wardrobe specialist. I worked on every American TV news network except Bloomberg and and Al Jazeera. I interviewed Vice President Joe Biden in the White House.

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I had fans who would reply sympathetically on Twitter whenever I was lonely and they swooned over how cute I was doing armpit farts in my blooper reels. I mean, can you blame them? I was saccharine.

I hardly recognize that girl now. If you told her then that the media would turn on her, she would never have believed it.

In the last year, my family has been stalked by major newspapers and my husband’s name used for headlines about someone else’s crime. We have submitted bank records, among other copious data, to show that we never had possession of the stolen money in this sad saga but the media doesn’t care. The person who did have that money does not have a famous name to bait for clicks so it is Clayton’s name they drag through the mud in their headlines, along with Fox News, because it’s fun to hate on Fox News, and my name too since I stand with him unequivocally. The media doesn’t bother to report on the several cases that have been dismissed or the fact that we have continued to fight this honorably, responding to all legal deadlines while living abroad.

My husband spent a lifetime building up genuine goodwill in his media career and to watch it used against him is agony. But his soul must have chosen this lesson too and I am lucky we have one another for support.

To the media, I am no longer Natali Del Conte, cleavage-y television reporter with Global Face. I am Natali Morris, wife of the accused, with headlines damning us as guilty until proven innocent.

It is unfair but I know from experience that the media isn’t fair. I’ve been unfair when I was a member of the media. I went on the air and piled on about early iPhones lacking cut-and-paste like everyone else when I can neither make an iPhone nor write the software to make it cut-and-paste. I spewed my opinion about things I had no business opining about and it advanced my career. In my mind, these were harmless jabs at massive companies who could not feel my bee stings. Of course that was not true. It created a karma for me that I am feeling in its reverberation. (Current members of the media beware this cautionary tale! Your words have consequences that you cannot imagine!)

Chinese philosophy teaches us that life is about duality, the yin and yang.

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I interpret this to mean that you cannot only have the upside of a life lesson. You have to also experience the dark side because forces that seem polar opposites are actually interrelated and necessary.

So when it comes to notariety, I was always supposed to experience the light and the dark in order to really learn the lesson. And here is what I have learned:

I deserve neither.

I know I don’t deserve the darkness but I never stopped to think that maybe I didn’t deserve the brighter side of the spotlight either.

It was never about deserve. It was always about observe.

Now I observe what I know to be true about my own energy in both light and dark.

I don’t need the media’s praise.

When I left my MSNBC show to have my last child, I realized that my ego no longer needed to be on television. That was a liberating discovery and in hindsight, an important baby step to what I would eventually have to endure. If I had not weaned off of hedonic praise, and still fed off the opinion of news producers, I would be in a deep personal crisis.

I see this for what it isanditisnotpersonal.

Sociologist Herbert Gans argued that the media serves an important function, both to inform and reflect the state of a society onto itself. The articles about my family speak to a divided nation that relishes a cheap hit on an easy target rather than an explanation of truth.

In this way, the media is like the Greek mythological Minotaur, half human, half monster, feeding on human flesh to survive. It is as good as it is bad. You can’t blame the Minotaur for what it is any more than I can blame the media for what it has become. My husband and I willingly stepped into the beast’s cage when we joined the news media in our 20s, never stopping to think that the beast would try to eat us too.In that way – I keep reminding myself – I should not be surprised.

So then what I can I do to learn from the darkness juxtaposed by the light?

I can keep producing content that I know is good and helpful and uses my talents as an information disseminator. I can stand in my truth that we never stole a penny from anyone. I can refuse to be intimidated by lawyers and journalists and online trolls. I don’t give stock to what they write about us but I observe it and I learn from it. I only wish I had known to do that when I was still that fresh little media darling, smiling for the camera like an inconsequential fool.

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I Was A Media Darling - Natali Morris (2024)
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